InfoWorld: McNealy defends free software model

“In the past week and a half, more than 250,000 people have
downloaded the StarOffice productivity software suite Sun
Microsystems has started giving away at its Web site, the company’s
chief executive officer said Tuesday. ‘People are just going to our
Web site and downloading it like crazy,’ claimed Scott McNealy,
Sun’s chairman and chief executive officer, in a speech via
satellite from California, here at International Data Corp.’s
(IDC’s) European IT Forum.”

” ‘After so many years of Microsoft doing the same to
companies such as [database vendor] Oracle, Sun is now trying
to suck the oxygen out of Microsoft,’
said Frank Gens, senior
vice president for Internet research at IDC. Although enterprise
users are unlikely to abandon Office for Sun’s free offering, on
the consumer side the move may lead to lower revenues for the
software giant, Gens added.”

“Microsoft, however, does not believe that giving away
software for free is a viable business practice
, said Bernard
Vergnes, chairman of Microsoft Europe… Earlier, during his speech
titled ‘Changing the World Through Software,’ Vergnes painted a
picture of how Microsoft plans to develop new software products —
and derive significant revenues from them — to create a more
efficient office environment.”

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