Are you working on a version of Windows without the Media Player to satisfy the EC? Well do what we need to do to appeal. And well do what we need to do to comply. Right now, we have an opportunity to appeal. Well comply with the order when its appropriate to comply with the order.What has been pushed back other than "Longhorn"? "Yukon." Yukon slipped. Well get it delivered, and I think customers will be happy. Well have a way to make sure theres good customer satisfaction for people who have been on Software Assurance for SQL Server. And for the Windows client? It hasnt been pushed back. It was never going to be two years. It was more than three years after XP. Theres a lot of value in the Software Assurance program other than new releases. We want to make sure we have a strong value proposition. With regard to security, on a scale of 1 to 10where 1 is completely insecure and 10 is completely securewhere would you put the level of security for Microsoft enterprise products? There are three different answers: First, theres what were doing now in our R&D labs; second, theres the quality of what we have in the market right now; and third, theres the state of the installed base. We can be doing a perfect job in No. 1 and No. 2, and we could still have problems with No. 3. In our installed base, the key work were doing is education for the customers on the best way to secure their environment. Its a hard problem. There are 600 million PCs in the world, and even for companies that have the best discipline about security, you have an imperfect world. I would say there, relative to the challenge, were doing maybe "4" work. In terms of what we have in the marketor will have in the next several monthsI think were probably doing about "7" work on a 10 scale. But in terms of the quality of ongoing executionthe focus, the learning and the IQ that we have applied and where we will beI think were doing the best work weve ever done. Bill got some interesting feedback on this when he did his recent college tour. He was meeting with professors at the five universities, and he was expecting just to get nailed on security, but they surprised him. They said you guys have a real bad problem, but youre really doing great work. Youre doing superb work. Youre going to be so far ahead of the rest of the world on security. Youre learning things that nobody else gets to learn because youre so popular. Youre taking exactly the right approach. Youve hired some of the worlds greatest security guys. Were trying to make the installed base more protectable. Its not just fixing all problems, its building in better isolation. How do you isolate a network from the rest of the Internet? How do you isolate PCs from one another? Even if there is a vulnerability in the code, people can defend themselves against those vulnerabilities. All of us have vulnerabilities to disease, but our bodies also produce antibodies that isolate or protect or defend us. Were going to try to get rid of every vulnerability, but if the vulnerability happens to be there, you still want the system to protect itself. Its a very important concept. For more on Microsofts security initiatives, click here. Who do you see as your biggest competitors in the enterprise? IBM and community-developed software. Why do people think Linux is a real competitor to Microsoft? Its because its low-price, high-volume. Thats our model. I think youve got to have lots of customers in the long run to succeed. A company that has the strategy to focus narrow and deep only, in the long run, theyre out of business, in my opinion. Thats what I think in the long run is going to be the thing that undoes IBM. I think it has undone IBM to some degree already. Let me even be more blunt. I think IBM is less credible as an enterprise player today than they were 10 years ago. Why? Their software just doesnt get used very much. Read more about Microsofts battle with IBM in Channel Zones special report. When I came to Microsoft 24 years ago, people used IBM software for everything. Today, 90 percent of all that goes on in the enterpriseoff the mainframeis not done with IBM software. Its because theyre happy to have few customers that give them a lot of money. Were not. We much prefer to have lots of customers who pay less money, and then we build from that foundation depth that allows us to have the full enterprise relationship. Id much prefer to have 100 guys paying me ten bucks than have ten guys paying me a hundred bucks. Next page: An interim Longhorn?
One of the things were hearing from enterprise customers with regard to Software Assurance is their concern about new releases being pushed back so that they may not get upgrades during the life cycle of their Software Assurance agreement.