Microsoft increasingly acknowledges strength
of Linux"> Microsoft executives are now also increasingly admitting that Linux and open-source software is one of its main competitive threats. At its annual financial analysts day held at the Redmond campus last month, Kevin Johnson, the group vice president of Microsofts worldwide sales, marketing and services group, gave a 40-minute presentation entitled "Competing and Winning Around Linux." And, in a recent interview with eWEEK, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said that, on the competitive front, in addition to Google and Yahoo, Linux remains among the most significant challengers Microsoft faces.Ballmer also said that he believed that the religious war between Linux and Windows was over and the battle now was about which offers customers the best technology solution. Conceding that Linux holds the upper hand in areas such as Web hosting, Ballmer stressed that Microsoft is doing all it can to change that.Click here to read what else Ballmer had to say. Asked about Microsofts recent moves to meet with open-source executives and the taming of its anti-Linux rhetoric, Red Hats Day said this was proof that Linux had become a standard platform and a major competitive threat. But Microsofts Taylor disagrees that funded research is not useful, saying that a discussion on facts and independent data is always a benefit to the industry. "As much as Microsoft might get billed as being anti-Linux, thats actually not the case. I just want people to judge technology on its merit versus on hype and emotion. It helps all of us build better products and respond to customer needs more effectively," Taylor said. As the commercialization of Linux played out even more, customers are going to require that type of research data. "I actually have customers even now asking for analysis on Linux. While we have done some in our Linux and open-source Lab for internal purposes, there is nothing substantial out there," he said. Click here to read more on Microsofts Linux and Open-Source Lab. Asked what Microsofts motives were for suggesting such a move and offering to jointly fund it, Taylor said "because I want to know the facts. I want people to see the facts for how they truly are. If we did this, some of the research would be good for us and some of it bad for us, just like all the other studies we do. I think they just help with the dialogue. "Success for us isnt that Linux goes away. Success for us is getting past all the hype and emotion and where people choose technology on its merits," he said. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest open-source news, reviews and analysis.