"I do not think we broke the law in any way, shape or form,"
Microsoft's Steve Ballmer told editors and reporters at The
Washington Post today. "I feel deeply that we behaved in every
instance with super integrity. I'm not saying we don't talk tough,
that people don't get a little 'grrrr' in their e-mail and all
"Ballmer also said the company faces "intense" competition
from Linux, an upstart operating system that features an open
source code developed largely on the Internet. But he acknowledged
that competition is only in the market for servers, the large,
back-office computers that network desktop computers and handle
large e-commerce transactions. Linux, Ballmer said, is not now a
challenge to the company's personal-computer operating system."
"So far, Linux doesn't have a lot of traction on the client
[desktop computer], except in some university environments,"
"Asked if Microsoft is considering or would consider making its
Office software available to Linux, Ballmer said he would not. The
issue is significant, particularly among some state antitrust
enforcers, who are considering a remedy requiring Microsoft to make
Office, which includes the Word and Excel spreadsheet software,
available for Linux. Such a remedy, antitrust attorneys argue,
would help turn Linux into a true competitor for personal-computer
"I'll be sort of calculating: Our job is to serve customers and
to make money," Ballmer said. "There are no customers today for
Linux on the client [desktop computer], therefore there is no
opportunity to make money. There is nothing in there that looks
like a good opportunity for us."
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