Steve Ballmer Speech Transcript - Fusion 2002

Fusion 2002
"Partnering for Success"
Remarks by Steve Ballmer, Chief Executive Officer, Microsoft Corporation
Monday, July 15, 2002

The one issue we have now, the unique competitor we have is Linux. We haven't figured how to be lower cost than Linux. (Laughter.) Lower price, I should say. We can be lower cost; we can't be lower price.


In the old days we used to just say we had more features, more capabilities, more ease of use and a lower price. In the case of this special new competitor we have, Linux, we're actually having to learn how to say we may have a higher price on this one but look at the additional value. Look at how the value actually leads to lower total cost of ownership despite the fact that our price may be higher. Look at the difference in ease of use. Look at the difference in terms of how comprehensive and integrated our offer is.

Newsmaker:  Ballmer: No sleep lost over Linux
By Michael Kanellos and Stephen Shankland
Staff Writer, CNET
Published: April 25, 2003

Q: Microsoft has beaten companies touting free software before. But as one of your former executives pointed out, Linux is a completely different kind of free. There is no single company promoting it. There are people voluntarily coding for it. Do these aspects change how you compete against them.

A: We have competed with things that had no price attached with them before. There is a clear set of guideposts for adding value to customers to differentiate you from the guy who has no price or a lower price. It is a different model in the sense that there is no commercial company behind it, but I think that winds up being an advantage for us, rather than a disadvantage.

In what respect? Innovation is not something that is easy to do in the kind of distributed environment that the open-source/Linux world works in. I would argue that our customers have seen a lot more innovation from us than they have seen from that community.

Linux itself is a clone of an operating system that is 20-plus years old. That's what it is. That is what you can get today, a clone of a 20-year-old system. I'm not saying that it doesn't have some place for some customers, but that is not an innovative proposition.

[...more good stuff in the article...]

Steve Ballmer's Linux Memo (primary document)

June 9, 2003

IBM's endorsement of Linux has added credibility and an illusion of support and accountability, although the reality is there is no 'center of gravity,' or central body, investing in the health and growth of noncommercial software or innovating in critical areas like engineering, manageability, compatibility and security.

(There is also no 'center of monopoly' - mang)

Linux not accountable for security, Ballmer says
By Jim Connolly, []( Executive Editor
21 Oct 2003,289142,sid1_gci932906,00.html

What sets Windows apart from Linux in terms of development, security and patching, Ballmer said, is that Microsoft has an infrastructure that takes responsibility for Windows. "There's no roadmap for Linux. Nobody is held accountable for security problems with Linux."

Noting that Microsoft has professional developers working with a common methodology, he said, "Should there be a reason to believe that code that comes from a variety of people, unknown from around the world, should be somehow of higher quality than that from people who get paid to do it professionally?

"There's no reason to believe it would be of higher quality. I'm not necessarily claiming it should be of worse quality, but why should code submitted randomly by some hacker in China and distributed by some open source project, why is that, by definition, better?"

Microsoft sings a new tune on Linux
Once dismissed, open source now seen as formidable opponent
By Victoria Murphy
Updated: 9:22 p.m. ET Aug. 6, 2004

At a recent gathering of venture capitalists Ballmer went so far as to suggest Microsoft might own intellectual property in Linux and assured the audience that Microsoft would pursue any violation of its own patents. Before he spoke, a fire alarm went off. "It was eerily symbolic," says a venture capitalist in attendance. "We all scattered." Microsoft denies this, and says it will not litigate.

(Mmmm, FUD. - mang)

Ballmer: We'll outsmart open source
By Peter Judge, ZDNet (UK)
Published on ZDNet News: September 24, 2002

Asked by one lateral-thinking MVP whether Microsoft planned to offer applications software on Linux, Ballmer said no. "We do not anticipate offering software on Linux. Nobody pays for software on Linux." Even StarOffice, sold by Sun, was originally a free product, he said. And IBM, arguably the No. 1 player in the Linux market, promotes Linux to big users, but does not actually sell Linux: "It's weird! IBM says 'Hey British Aerospace! Buy Linux.... From SuSE."

That Steve Ballmer Linux memo in full
Soundproof room required, but hear the man out
By INQUIRER staff: Thursday 28 October 2004

[I]t's pretty clear that the facts show that Windows provides a lower total cost of ownership than Linux; the number of security vulnerabilities is lower on Windows, and Windows responsiveness on security is better than Linux; and Microsoft provides uncapped IP indemnification of their products, while no such comprehensive offering is available for Linux or open source.

Ballmer attacks Linux on patent front
Reuters November 18, 2004

"There was a report out this summer by an open-source group that highlighted that Linux violates over 228 patents"

"Someday, for all countries that are entering (the World Trade Organization), somebody will come and look for money to pay for the patent rights for that intellectual property," Ballmer said. "So the licensing costs are less clear than people think today."

(Author of study cited rebuffs Ballmer - mang)

Ballmer: We'll help you run Linux, if we must
Microsoft to offer more support for non-Windows systems
By Ina Fried
Published: Thursday 21 April 2005,39024651,39129739,00.htm

Ballmer said on Wednesday that Microsoft has listened to customers who've demanded better support for non-Windows machines in Operations Manager software, Microsoft's key management product. The company will also, he said, step up support for running Linux-based virtual machines in a service pack update to its Virtual Server product later this year.

A Microsoft representative demonstrated Virtual Server running instances of Red Hat Enterprise Linux as Ballmer delivered a keynote speech at a management conference on Wednesday.

"Much as that hurts my eyes, I know that's an important capability for our Virtual Server customers," Ballmer said, speaking at the Microsoft Management Summit 2005 in Las Vegas.


OK, Win 2000 Still Needs Polish
by Bob Trott, [InfoWorld](InfoWorld.html) Electric
May 6, 1999,1510,10840,00.html

"Linux is UNIX. I don't consider it to be very innovative."

(I guess he doesn't realize that GNU's Not... - mang)

Microsoft Executive Says Linux Threatens Innovation (Update1)
2/14/01 4:57 PM
Source:Bloomberg News

'Open source is an intellectual-property destroyer,'' Allchin said. ''I can't imagine something that could be worse than this for the software business and the intellectual-property business.''

Microsoft exec calls open source a threat to innovation
Last modified: February 15, 2001

Allchin said he's concerned that the open-source business model could stifle initiative in the computer industry.

''I'm an American, I believe in the American Way,'' he said. ''I worry if the government encourages open source, and I don't think we've done enough education of policymakers to understand the threat.''