"In computing networks, economics rule and the winner
really does take all. And however much Bill Gates and his
colleagues may bleat about the competitiveness of the computer
industry and their fears of being overtaken by another company, the
reality is that there is no commercial operation on the horizon
that could conceivably topple Microsoft.
All of which explains why senior Microsoft executives are
increasingly hysterical about open source (that is, free) software
and in particular the Linux operating system. For that provides the
one kind of competition that is immune to the aggressive corporate
tactics in which Microsoft specialises.
Microsoft cannot compete on price, because Linux, like most open
source software, is free. And the company cannot claim functional
superiority for its products because, for many applications and in
many contexts, open source software is technically superior to its
Microsoft equivalents. (The Code Red worm scare will have alerted
many to the deficiencies of Microsoft server technology - only
machines running Microsoft IIS software were at risk.)"