America On Line, IBM and Linux: this is the list of true competitors. Nothing new, therefore, under the sun among those that the Redmond company considers as its most fearful opponents. The list was compiled in person by CEO Steve Ballmer who also took the time to explain to the CRN online magazine the reason for these rivalries.
AOL remains on the list even though MS claims to have made great progress with MSN 7, because it is still the service with which more people connect to the Internet in the USA
IBM is a tough nut to crack, Ballmer says, not resurrected but had some good time with WebSphere.
Linux is a huge factor, free and cheap, and MS has always been the economic alternative to date, it was less expensive than Novell and Oracle, and now it can no longer rely on this, continues Ballmer. However, the recent introduction of UnitedLinux, which is preparing to fight the overwhelming power of RedHat, would demonstrate that in the Linux world there is a schism, as before there was in UNIX.
MS's strategy, Ballmer continues, is to make the transition from Linux to Windows as easy as possible.
Among the most dangerous enemies Ballmer excludes the once (and perhaps still today) hated Sun; "Just a Java implementer for the enterprise, and not even the best … and in a much worse position than last year," says the CEO of Windows. The president, Ed Zander, has abandoned the company and the pressure of Linux in the lower end of the market higher than that exerted by MS itself.
According to Ballmer, MS's next move will be to make Office the definitive tool for knowledge workers, and the inclusion of Sharepoint Team Services in Office XP came last year. "We must continue to do better and innovate to push people to upgrade."
Ballmer concludes that MS's growth rates are not at the highest levels, Office XP and Windows XP sales are good (last month managed to sell 60 million Office XP licenses), and the only way to keep these quote the intervention decided against piracy.
(By Marco Centofanti)