Linspire Founder on Linux, iPod

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Interviews

Is Michael Robertson afraid of anything? The entrepreneur has a made a career—and a fortune—playing rough with giants. Now, though, he’s turning up the volume: predicting an end to Apple’s hold on digital music, shaking up the Linux community by looking to marry open source smarts with proprietary know how, and talking trash about Microsoft’s new Zune.

Pay attention, because this is a guy who finds a way to win every time he mixes it up. In 2000, Mr. Robertson’s startup, MP3.com, was hammered in the courts for letting users upload their music to online lockers where they could access it from anywhere in the world. Mr. Robertson ultimately lost his business, yet won a fortune, after Vivendi Universal bought what remained of MP3.com for $368 million, plus sizeable bonuses and an assumption of legal liability.

Next target: Microsoft.

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