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Q&A: Microsoft's Windows Server chief on Linux, 64-bit computing

Bob Muglia talked about the threat posed by Linux and the promise of 64-bit computing

By Carol Sliwa and Craig Stedman
May 17, 2004 12:00 PM ET

Computerworld - Bob Muglia, senior vice president of Microsoft Corp.'s Windows Server division, in an interview last week discussed the road map for future operating system releases, the competitive threat posed by Linux and the promise of 64-bit computing. Part 1 of the interview follows. Part 2 is available here.

How is Microsoft differentiating itself from the Linux competition? I don't really think that Linux itself is our competitor. I think Linux is a set of technologies, and open-source technologies in general are a set of technologies that competitors like Red Hat or Novell and IBM pull together to provide alternative competitive solutions for customers. Linux has evolved to be a commercial product. All the customers I sell to buy Linux-based products from companies like Red Hat or Novell. They put them together, stacks with other software, typically commercial software, like WebSphere. And if you look at a solution that exists in that space -- say, an IBM solution -- it's certainly not free. The cost of acquiring that is actually quite comparable to the cost of acquiring a Microsoft solution.
We think our advantage here is the fact that we understand each of these workloads that our server and our server system is used for, and we can focus and optimize to make each workload best of breed. But then we can also work across workloads and do a better job of providing an integrated experience for the customer relative to our competitors.

What's the difference running an ERP application on Windows vs. Linux?
The question comes down to how that ERP system integrates with the rest of the customer environment. In the case of a Microsoft solution, there's a whole set of tools and capabilities in the software that we include in products like SQL Server and in some of the solution sets that we make available to enterprise customers to allow them to deploy and integrate that application into their environment. Those sorts of things typically are not available on Linux, and what happens then is you bring in consulting services to glue those things together. Some of our competitors, IBM most notably, are predominantly a consulting company. And for them, complexity is a benefit, because it allows them to sell consulting services.


How can users get an edge by running non-Microsoft applications on Windows instead of Linux?
No. 1, because we're a software company, our objective straightforwardly is to use software to reduce the cost and increase the innovation for an IT organization. I think our objectives are very much in alignment



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