Ballmer on StarOffice and Linux

An excellent editorial here from Dan Farber at ZDNet. He's talking about Microsoft's Steve Ballmer dealing with some security issues at the Gartner Symposium/ITxpo recently. Linux and Sun's StarOffice desktop productivity suite came up in the conversation as well. Imagine that.

I'd hate to do Ballmer's PR. Check out this great stuff from Farber's piece (the sub-heads are mine):

Ballmer on desktop Linux ...

"There is no appreciable amount of Linux [desktop] anywhere in the world," [Ballmer] said, pointing to the study for the city of Paris that determined an open source desktop would have an unacceptable ROI impact. "People can sit here and read the drama stories from other parts of the world and assume they are true or not. People said the city of Paris said it was going to adopt Linux and the studies came back. It would be dramatically more expensive than Windows, and there is no ROI case for the next seven or eight years to even consider a movement from Window to Linux in the city of Paris. In Brazil, it's the same thing," Ballmer said.

Ballmer on StarOffice ...


He has also dismissed open source Microsoft Office competitor Star Office, describing it as being as "good as what we were shipping seven years ago," citing lack of total compatibility with Microsoft Office and a robust e-mail client.

The city of Munich, Germany has reached a different conclusion, despite recent concerns about infringement claims. Ballmer viewed the Munich deal as critical enough that he personally tried to persuade the mayor of Munich to stay with Windows. "Yes, we lost the city of Munich," Ballmer said. "But, the fact that the same story gets told 65,000 times, and there is still only one customer … still diddling around to some degree to decide when they are going to do the migration ... come on, where's the evidence?"

Ballmer forgets the Sun Java Desktop System ...

It was also unclear as to whether Ballmer was including Sun's Java Desktop System (JDS) in his scorekeeping. Although most people think of traditional Linux distributors like Red Hat and Novell when discussing desktop Linux, at least one version of JDS is a Linux desktop (it's bundled with Novell's SUSE Linux). Sun also just announced a Solaris x86-based version of JDS, but it only runs on Sun's AMD-based workstations. JDS is getting some traction. Although Sun CEO Scott McNealy admitted that it wasn't going to be much of a money maker for his company, JDS was viewed as having scored a victory when the Chinese-backed China Software Standard Company agreed to license 500,000 copies of the desktop suite.

Then this little nugget ...

Since then, JDS has scored several other victories and this week, Sun is expected to announce another major deal.

Cool! Anyone have any idea what the heck we're announcing this week?
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