Ballmer Defiant on Security

Microsoft "stands tall" on IT security issues, while IBM lacks a plan and Sun's approach is "unconscionable," according to Steve Ballmer.

LAS VEGAS – Microsoft "stands tall" on IT security issues, while IBM does not have a security plan and Suns approach to security is "unconscionable," according to Microsofts Steve Ballmer.

In a wide ranging interview held on the first day of the annual Comdex trade show here and on the day that an American Airlines jet plunged into a New York neighborhood, the issue of security, including IT related security, drew some of the most vocal response from Microsofts very vocal chief executive officer.

Claiming to be far more open in dealing with software security issues and emphasizing each point with a rising voice and finger snap, Ballmer said when a security issue arises, "We acknowledge it, we respond to it, we check it out, we publicize our problem and we get the solution out. We are very open about security issues."

In contrasting Microsoft to the companys competitors, Ballmer said, "IBM does not have a security strategy because they do not have an operating system strategy." And implying that Sun is not publicly forthcoming when it encounters a security issue with its products, Ballmer said, "In Suns case, Sun does not---Ill use a stronger word---I think what Sun does is unconscionable."

Ballmers focus on security reflected the wider interest that security issues took at this years Comdex as the war on terror and a fear that the next terrorists attack could take the form of a cyber attack permeated many of the discussions and actions at this years event.

The focus on security was also part of Microsofts renewed efforts to convince software and systems developers that the companys product line can be matched up against any other enterprise development platform. During the week here, Microsoft executives were busy championing what they claimed was a TPC benchmark performance test, which outpaced Sun.

In other topics, Ballmer said he felt the proposed antitrust settlement is a "right, fair and reasonable," compromise.

Regarding the economic outlook, Ballmer said he did not expect to see any rapid return to the economic growth that marked the last several years before the current downturn hit.