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Red Herring: Bill Gates Unplugged [Interview]

Aug 03, 2000, 11:37 (47 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Jason Pontin)

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"Pontin: Do you think the American press is obsessed with Linux?"

"Gates: No, they're obsessed, in general, any time some upstart comes along and takes on a company that's doing well. I mean look at the publicity that GeoWorks got. Remember? The press said that GeoWorks was going to wipe us out and throw us over. Linux is much more important than GeoWorks, admittedly. It's actually out there, selling copies. It's probably, in a certain sense, our primary competitor. But if you look at the value in an operating system, Linux just competes with one piece [of Microsoft's Windows business]. There's no new features in Linux. Linux is just 1960s-era Unix deployed in a very interesting development model. But when you look at management, user interface, security -- people have to buy things to make it do those things. So, it's a competitor. But there's no place in the world where Linux has been mandated by the government."

"Pontin: But you have raised an interesting question. What if I concede that Linux is years behind Windows NT in all sorts of ways? How do you explain the extraordinary interest IT departments have for Linux? It is growing more than 200 percent a year in sales."

"Gates: That's, that's -- When GeoWorks sold its second copy, they grew! It's unbelievable! And then, when they sold four! It's incredible!"

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