What's this? Mighty Microsoft worried about give-away operating system and
server software from much smaller rivals?
OK, perhaps a little.
Microsoft Corp. President Steve Ballmer allowed that the giant software maker is
paying attention to the growing popularity of the operating system Linux and
Apache server software -- both given away free.
Paying attention because both increasingly compete in some markets with
Microsoft NT, the company's next cash cow after Windows. Linux is a Unix-based
operating system while Apache is used on network servers. Both are increasing in
Free doesn't mean good
"Sure we're worried," Ballmer said following his keynote address at the Seybold
conference in San Francisco Wednesday.
But Ballmer maintained that "at the end of the day" the clincher for customers
was the total cost of a project, not free software.
"The free nature of it itself, actually, I don't think that's a customer plus,"
Separately, Ballmer left the door open to following a decision by rival Netscape
Communications Corp., which opened up its Internet browser source code to other
developers for free.