31 January 2007

Steve Ballmer on Open Source

I am always amused - and slightly annoyed - that so much space is devoted to the wit and wisdom of Steve Ballmer, because basically he has none. That is, his words are pure marketing-speak, full of the right phrases, but signifying nothing. But at least in this FT interview, there's some interesting information about how Microsoft understands the open source challenge:

The biggest competitive challenges that any business faces is actually alternate business models. It is not a company. If you tell me somebody wants to come compete with us and do software in an area where we compete, or that we are going to get in a new area and it’s the same business model, it’s selling software, I know we can do it.

When somebody comes with a different business model, that’s where you get… or a phenomenon comes with a different business model.

What was the number one different business model that our company has confronted in the last six years? It’s Open Source. Open Source is not a technology phenomenon; it is a business model phenomenon. Frankly speaking, exactly what that business model is, is still unclear.

But that is a different business model and we had to ask ourselves: What do we do to compete? And we wound up saying it’s all about value and total cost of ownership, and high performance computing is a good example. It’s about 30 per cent of Linux share, and we are saying: Hey look, this is actually an area where we can take a lot of share with the right innovation, and the right total cost of ownership.

We shall see, Steve.


Anonymous said...

He almost sounds sentient in that quote. Personally, I think it is good to have Microsoft around... gives Linux something to compete against. :-)

Glyn Moody said...