[photopress:IT_steve_ballmer_tongue_funny_nasdaq.jpg,full,alignright]Steve Ballmer at Microsoft can be quite eccentric at times — although in fairness he is apparently an unassuming family man who is a decent cove — and the mention of the operating system Linux makes him come over strange.
The problem is Linux is mainly free and Linux works on personal computers. Works quite well. In fact, a lot better than the original version of Microsoft Vista which was as slow as Annie, the asthmatic ant with a heavy load of shopping. It has improved but much remains to be done.
On Linux Ballmer is not rational. As he said to the Chicago Sun-Times, ‘Linux is a cancer that attaches itself in an intellectual property sense to everything it touches.’
(It is not just Linux that gets him going. This report from the Sydney Morning Herald, a newspaper with which I was once associated, suggests he is not keen on Google either: ‘I’m going to f—ing bury that guy, I have done it before, and I will do it again. I’m going to f—ing kill Google.’ He has not succeeded yet. Perhaps he should try harder.)
What really, really upsets Steve Ballmer is that Novell, a major distributor of the Linux operating system, expects its revenue from China to more than double this year as the open-source software continues to gain ground.
Chang Sen-ming, managing director of Novell East Asia said, ‘A number of our customers have chosen to buy upgrade services for their existing Linux systems this year. That will help us to outpace the average market growth here.’
This is the sort of thing that would make a chap throw a chair around the office although Ballmer swears he never did any such thing. Certainly not.
Novell is now one of the world’s largest distributors of the Linux operating system.
Presently, Novell generates most of its revenue from the server market as Microsoft’s Windows system still holds the lion’s share of the desktop segment. But in recent years, an increasing number of the world’s top PC makers have been embracing Linux, especially in China, where the government has required local PC makers to pre-install patented operating systems to reduce piracy. For Steve Ballmer that operating system has to be Microsoft Vista, even if Microsoft has to pay to get the computer makers to use it.
But Lenovo did Linux, has now been brought back to Windows. So has Dell. And, indeed, Dell has two support centers for Linux. According to a report by IT researcher IDC, China’s Linux market is projected to grow fivefold from 2006 to 2010 to $51.1 million. Enough to make a chap go into a monkey dance of frenzy.
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