"Microsoft's President and CEO this week named Linux as the
company's biggest problem going into 2001. Speaking at an Internet
conference hosted by Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, Steve Ballmer said
that both Unix and Linux threaten Windows' stronghold in the
marketplace, but that the latter is the bigger headache."
"I think you have to rate competitors that threaten your core
higher than you rate competitors where you're trying to take from
them. It puts the Linux phenomenon and the Unix phenomenon at the
top of the list," said Ballmer, in a statement last Monday. "I'd
put the Linux phenomenon really as threat No. 1."
"In his talk, Ballmer identified Oracle and Sun as second-tier
rivals because "I think [server sales are] our biggest potential
short-term return." In statements made to CRN last summer, Ballmer
identified America Online as the top threat to Microsoft. But this
week he said, "I'd put AOL probably maybe at that level or a
half-step down [from Oracle and Sun]."