IBM to Buy Red Hat, the Top Linux Distributor, for $34 Billion

IBM is making a big move to bring more software developers under its corporate wing by acquiring Red Hat, the largest distributor of the popular open source operating system Linux, for $34 billion.

The purchase, announced on Sunday afternoon, is the latest competitive step among large business software companies to gain an edge in the fast-growing market for Internet-style cloud computing.

In June, Microsoft acquired GitHub, a major code-sharing platform for software developers, for $7.5 billion.

IBM said its acquisition of Red Hat was a move to open up software development on computer clouds, in which software developers write applications that run on remote data centers.

The major cloud platforms are supplied by internet tech giants led by Amazon, Microsoft and Google. Businesses complain that these cloud suppliers include proprietary technology that makes it difficult to switch from one cloud to another.

With Red Hat, an open source leader, IBM is trying to position its cloud offering as a more open alternative.