Ballmer: Windows Safer than Linux

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2004-10-27 Print this article Print

In his latest anti-Linux memo, Microsoft's chief also claims that Windows users benefit from a lower TCO, better indemnification and easy migration of ERP systems from Unix.

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer on Wednesday plunged headfirst into the controversial waters of comparing the benefits and advantages of the Windows platform with Unix and Linux in an executive e-mail he sent to customers, partners and subscribers. Ballmers e-mail is the latest in an ongoing series of communications from Microsoft Corp.s top executives addressing issues important to their customers and to the technology industry. It is also the latest salvo by the Redmond, Wash., firm to address the growing competitive threat of open-source software and the Linux operating system.
In its latest 10-K filing to the SEC (U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission) in September, Microsoft said it was facing growing pressure from open-source software across every segment of its business—a competitive threat that could have significant consequences for its financial future.
Read more here about Microsofts SEC filing. In this latest e-mail, Ballmer said customers across the globe are asking the same questions of Microsoft staff members, namely whether an open-source platform really provides a long-term cost advantage compared with Windows, and which platform offers the more secure computing environment. Customers expressed their growing concern about IP (intellectual property) indemnification and how best to minimize risk, while also wanting to know the best migration alternative for moving from an expensive Unix platform, he said. But Microsoft faces competition on that front from IBM and Hewlett-Packard Co., both of which have solutions designed to help customers and ISVs move away from Unix—mostly from Sun Microsystems Inc.s SPARC/Solaris—and onto Linux. In his e-mail, Ballmer directed customers to the companys controversial Get the Facts Web site and used the sites examples of case studies and research— many of which were sponsored and paid for by Microsoft— to validate the premise of his e-mail. Essentially, he said, "The Windows platform today offers an unmatched level of value, applications availability, simplicity, security and productivity." Next Page: Are customers "getting the facts"?

Peter Galli has been a financial/technology reporter for 12 years at leading publications in South Africa, the UK and the US. He has been Investment Editor of South Africa's Business Day Newspaper, the sister publication of the Financial Times of London.

He was also Group Financial Communications Manager for First National Bank, the second largest banking group in South Africa before moving on to become Executive News Editor of Business Report, the largest daily financial newspaper in South Africa, owned by the global Independent Newspapers group.

He was responsible for a national reporting team of 20 based in four bureaus. He also edited and contributed to its weekly technology page, and launched a financial and technology radio service supplying daily news bulletins to the national broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation, which were then distributed to some 50 radio stations across the country.

He was then transferred to San Francisco as Business Report's U.S. Correspondent to cover Silicon Valley, trade and finance between the US, Europe and emerging markets like South Africa. After serving that role for more than two years, he joined eWeek as a Senior Editor, covering software platforms in August 2000.

He has comprehensively covered Microsoft and its Windows and .Net platforms, as well as the many legal challenges it has faced. He has also focused on Sun Microsystems and its Solaris operating environment, Java and Unix offerings. He covers developments in the open source community, particularly around the Linux kernel and the effects it will have on the enterprise.

He has written extensively about new products for the Linux and Unix platforms, the development of open standards and critically looked at the potential Linux has to offer an alternative operating system and platform to Windows, .Net and Unix-based solutions like Solaris.

His interviews with senior industry executives include Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Linus Torvalds, the original developer of the Linux operating system, Sun CEO Scot McNealy, and Bill Zeitler, a senior vice president at IBM.

For numerous examples of his writing you can search under his name at the eWEEK Website at


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