US SuSE President Says Views Were "Misrepresented"
Feb 08, 2001, 20:36 (16 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Brian Proffitt)
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In an interview today, the president of SuSE Linux AG's US
division denied interpreations of statements that were attributed
to him in stories published late yesterday, saying that they were
Volker Wiegand, President of SuSE, Inc., emphasized that while
some jobs were being eliminated in the U.S. offices of SuSE, this
would in no way affect the level of services being offered to
SuSE's customers and that in fact the service level and product
offerings were actually going to increase.
Wiegand's comments are about
a story that appeared on LinuxGram yesterday afternoon. In that
article, Wiegand was portrayed as painting Linux as "a victim of
hype and irrational expectations." Wiegand flatly denies drawing
any such conclusions, and is incredulous that those conclusions
were drawn. SuSE's portrayal in the press took an even worse turn
when Australian-based news site Fairfax IT picked up the original
LinuxGram story and
condensed it to make the conclusion that Wiegand felt "Linux
Wiegand called these comments "ridiculous," and offered up his
message once again.
Wiegand said his inital comments meant nothing is wrong with
SuSE, Inc. or Linux in general, and the recent job restructuring is
part of SuSE's decision to "use our resources in a more efficient
According to Wiegand, there were two areas within SuSE where
jobs were redundant. In the area of the call support center located
here in the U.S., much of the functionality was duplicated by
SuSE's 100-person European call center, which was already geared to
handle much of the European market and could easily manage to
inclusion of U.S. support calls.
The second area was within SuSE, Inc.'s professional services
group, where three consultants would be laid off. Here, the
company's pre-existing consultancy in Germany plus the additional
services provided by the new arrangement with IBM Global Services
would be more than adequate to handle SuSE's existing and future
This does not mean, Wiegand clarified, that SuSE would be
completely giving up its consultant work to IBM, which he felt the
LinuxGram article implied.
As for calling Linux a victim of high expectations, Wiegand
seemed most affronted by those attributed statements and how the
LinuxGram article misrepresented his actual statement.
"I said it would be a sad story if Linux became a
victim of high expectations," Wiegand clarified. If expectations
were too high, then the reality of the situation could make some
label Linux as a failure, if the reality were lower than those high
Wiegand doesn't think Linux, or SuSE, is a failed business model
at all, and passionately defended this point of view.
Linux, he feels, comes from a place where volunteerism and
people donating their spare time made Linux what it is today. As
Linux moved into the corporate arena, people discovered that there
was no business model in place for Linux, since it certainly never
needed one before.
"The task right now," Wiegand said, "is to find business models
where the customer is satisfied and the business is
At this point in time, Wiegand is expressing some concern that
the Linux market is not growing as fast as SuSE would like.
"The current situation is not growing as fast as many people
have anticipated," he said. But, Wiegand does not foresee doom for
SuSE or any other segment of Linux. The challenge now, he stated,
"is to concentrate on the things we are good at." By adjusting its
business practices to a slightly more conservative approach, SuSE
plans to keep right on doing that.
As for the end users? How will SuSE's relationship with them
change, particularly in the U.S.?
"That doesn't change a single bit," Wiegand emphasized, "We are
not taking anything away from this market."