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Ballmer Battles Linux

Techstination feature for Wednesday, April 30, 2003

Microsoft battles back against Linux. Bloomberg Boot Camp, a report on today's technology. With lots of companies looking to save money on computers that run corporate networks and Web sites, Linux has been gaining ground. After several delays, Microsoft is finally out with Windows Server 2003... and CEO Steve Ballmer tells us the company will spend a lot of money on advertising trying to convince companies to open up their purse strings...

"I don't think ads are going to loosen up IT purse strings. I think what advertising and communicating about this great product will do is help people really understand that for what they've got to get done now... everybody's under pressure to get more done on the information technology front... even though budgets are relatively flat. And I think people are going to take a look at the ads, take a look at the product and they're going to wind up concluding that this is a product that absolutely is the kind of product they need to help them in this environment."

That's the sales pitch. But with a Gartner forecast that Linux will capture nearly thirty percent of the server market within four years... Ballmer admits Microsoft faces a challenge...

"In most scenarios, I think we have very clear advantage. There are still some scenarios where we're going to have to push ourselves. There are many people trying to get rid of old Unix legacy systems and move them down onto Intel hardware. And that's where I think, if you will, game's on between us and Linux to see where those applications will move. They've got some advantages but we're pushing hard on that front."

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. Bloomberg Boot Camp, I'm Fred Fishkin.