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CNET News: Ballmer: No Sleep Lost Over Linux

Apr 25, 2003, 14:30 (72 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Michael Kanellos, Stephen Shankland)

"Q: Microsoft has beaten companies touting free software before. But as one of your former executives pointed out, Linux is a completely different kind of free. There is no single company promoting it. There are people voluntarily coding for it. Do these aspects change how you compete against them.

"A: We have competed with things that had no price attached with them before. There is a clear set of guideposts for adding value to customers to differentiate you from the guy who has no price or a lower price. It is a different model in the sense that there is no commercial company behind it, but I think that winds up being an advantage for us, rather than a disadvantage.

"In what respect?

"Innovation is not something that is easy to do in the kind of distributed environment that the open-source/Linux world works in. I would argue that our customers have seen a lot more innovation from us than they have seen from that community.

"Linux itself is a clone of an operating system that is 20-plus years old. That's what it is. That is what you can get today, a clone of a 20-year-old system. I'm not saying that it doesn't have some place for some customers, but that is not an innovative proposition..."

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