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The Register: MS' Ballmer: Linux is communism

Jul 31, 2000, 11:14 (63 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Graham Lea)

"Steve Ballmer was the only person to raise the issue of Linux when he wrapped up Microsoft's annual financial analysts meeting in Seattle, although he put Sun and Oracle ahead in terms of being stronger competitors. They of course are 'civilised' competitors - but the Linux crowd, in the world of Prez Steve, are communists."

"Ballmer wanted "to emphasise the competitive threat, and in some senses the competitive opportunity, that Linux represents. Linux is a tough competitor. There's no company called Linux, there's barely a Linux road map. Yet Linux sort of springs organically from the earth. And it had, you know, the characteristics of communism that people love so very, very much about it. That is, it's free. [Outlook Express is free, and also sometimes lets strangers share your hard disk - is this anarchism? - Ed] And I'm not trying to make fun of it, because it's a real competitive issue. Today, I would say, we still don't see a lot of Linux competition in most quarters on the desktop, and we see a lot of Linux competition in some server markets. And we could either say, hey, Linux is going to roll over the world, but I don't see that happening. That's not what's going on right now."

"Ballmer though Microsoft should "go back into some of the ISP markets and ASP markets where Linux has been historically strong and start to compete more successfully. Not on price, not on the free nature of our stuff, but as we get better development tools, as we make it easier for people to debug their software, as we have sort of a development approach that facilitates the applications that ISPs have been writing, I think we have a real opportunity to, if you will, push back into some of the markets that have been real Linux strongholds. But Linux has too, with its free price point, and the fact that it runs on the same hardware we do, so we have no hardware advantage versus Linux, which we do tend to have with some of our other competitors, it certainly is something very, very much on our radar screen."

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