"One of the tightropes that Microsoft walked--poorly--during its
antitrust trial was the company's attitude toward competitors. In
court, for example, Linux, AOL, and even the BeOS were strong
competition, waiting in the wings to seize Microsoft by the throat.
In public, however, Microsoft blew off each one in turn, as it told
developers, tradeshow attendees, and the press that Windows was the
clear choice, with nothing standing in its way. Since the trial
ended, however, the company's public attitude about some of this
evidentiary competition has changed a bit. Microsoft CEO and
President Steve Ballmer recently revealed the not-so-surprising
notion that Linux was his company's number-one threat. For any
other company, this would be a sure sign that it was finally taking
the Linux threat seriously. But for Microsoft, you can only tell
they're worried when the trash-talking starts. And Microsoft is
trash-talking Linux big time...."
"The company's feud with the government, which is now in the
appellate stage, hasn't been the major news item it was more than a
year ago, when major Microsoft executives were getting skewered on
the stand one after the other. Microsoft prides itself on straight
talk and tough competition, and this sort of bravado reminds one of
the Microsoft of old. The company is convinced that it will win its
lawsuit on appeal, and if the Linux movement hopes to be more than
just the latest in a long list of competitors that have been run
over by the Redmond giant, it needs to come up with a better
response than its peers from the past did."
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