Several sites are reporting that the Sidekick LX 2009 will run NetBSD, and not a Windows variant.  Here’s a job posting from Danger/Microsoft:

“We are seeking a talented NetBSD software developer interested in helping ship the next generation of Danger’s Sidekick platform. They are looking for someone who has rolled up their sleeves to integrate or modify NetBSD itself and have a working knowledge of the internals of the OS. “

It seems that Danger has been working “actively and openly” on NetBSD since September 2007.  Microsoft bought Danger in February 2008, so it’s safe to assume that there was a discussion on how to get Windows as the OS on future Danger products.  Choosing to use NetBSD over Windows for a (high profile) product from Microsoft must have been a difficult and contentious decision.

Having spoken to several Microsoft execs over the past year it became blindingly clear that Microsoft was willing to sidestep an opportunity if the opportunity didn’t provide an advantage to the Windows franchise.

When Microsoft works to improve PHP performance on Windows, the benefits to the Windows franchise are clear and easy for Microsoft executives to get behind.  This is not the case with the NetBSD on Sidekick decision.

So what gives?  Could it be that Microsoft is turning a corner with its use of open source as a competitive weapon?  Why spend Microsoft resources to alter Windows CE to fit the Sidekick’s requirements when NetBSD appears to be a better fit?  Why not offer Windows-based and non-Windows based mobile devices and let the market decide?  Even though it causes pain internally, offering choice is always the best route for customers.

Interesting times…