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ComputerWorld: Dell CEO Explains Shift From PCs; Microsoft concerns re Dell and Linux

Dec 18, 2000, 14:45 (7 Talkback[s])

"On Dec. 7, Dell Computer Corp.'s share price fell to a 52-week low of $17.44 after hitting a 52-week high of nearly $60 in March. On Dec. 8 at the company's headquarters here, Chairman and CEO Michael Dell spoke with Computerworld's Don Tennant about what Dell plans to do to make his company less vulnerable to a whimsical financial market that's punishing PC makers."

"Q: You've made it very clear that you're interested in the Linux market. Do you feel as if [Microsoft Chairman] Bill Gates and [Microsoft President and CEO] Steve Ballmer are keeping an eye on you?

A: When I think about Linux, I don't think about Ballmer and Gates. For Unix-centric customers, we think Linux is a great alternative to [Sun Microsystems Inc.'s] Solaris. The gestation cycle for Linux is a fairly long one, so we don't expect that this thing will all of a sudden be a massive percentage of the market."

"Q: Has Microsoft approached you directly to talk about your Linux plans?

A: It certainly has been a topic of discussion. What we've tried to impress upon them is that there are reasons why people are buying this [Linux], and we try to help them understand what we think those are. To the extent that they want to address those, great. Competition is a beautiful thing."

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