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Washington Post: Ballmer Defiant on Judge's Ruling in Antitrust Case

Apr 18, 2000, 22:40 (24 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by James V. Grimaldi)

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"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 that...."

"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," Ballmer said."

"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 operating systems.

"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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