?"> He brushed aside questions about pricing pressure from the Linux world saying, "We made the choice to extend Windows to include an application server. Its our view that customers prefer to see it packaged with Windows. We look for an opportunity to innovate in Windows products. If it adds value, well put it into the base Windows product." Such integration and packaging of functions into the software reduce the integration effort and compatibility issues customers must deal with, by putting the onus on Microsoft to "think through the relationship between pieces of software," he said.Despite the ongoing security breaches that occur in Windows, Ballmer characterized Linux as a less secure platform and defended his companys efforts to beef up the security of Microsoft products. "Theres nobody to hold accountable for security issues with Linux. We stand behind the product, we provide a [product] roadmap," he said. "Some say there is a scenario where Linux has better penetration. That pushes us to work harder. Why should code developed randomly by some hacker in China be better than software developed by a professional? Theres nothing that says there should be integrity that comes out of [the open source] process. I think it is absolutely not good reasoning that you will get better security out of Linux." Although Ballmer acknowledged Microsoft has a way to go to eliminate the security issues around Windows, he pointed to the progress the company has made to date. "In the first 150 days [after the release of] Windows 2000, we had 17 critical vulnerabilities. In the first 150 days of Windows 2003, we had four critical vulnerabilities. Since we embarked on the Trustworthy Computing initiative, weve made dramatic strides," Ballmer said. "But we need more consistent patch policies. People want better technology to help shield our systems; they want rules to help inspect systems coming into an environment. This is an area where were cranking up. We have new releases of [Windows] XP and [Windows] 2003 that will address that. We need to keep [hackers] all out. Were also trying to work with law enforcement. There needs to be more criminal deterrent." Next page: Microsoft puts "best brains" on security.
"We have to take [the integration] effort out," Ballmer said. "It was controversial when we put the TCP/IP stack into [Windows]. Now its not."