With his usual boundless energy and optimism, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer took to the stage at the Business Summit here Wednesday to sell the company's vision for the midmarket segment.
He fielded a question about how midmarket customers should think about Linux, one of Microsoft Corp.'s biggest competitive threats.
"If you ask me, you don't have to think about it," he quipped, before adding that it is good for any company, including Microsoft, to have competition, saying it makes Microsoft "think more creatively and innovate more."
Ballmer said Linux is also directly responsible for helping keep Microsoft's prices down: "It makes sure we watch our prices and make sure we're offering value. Competition is a good thing and we do compete with Linux," he said.
He also said Linux was ahead in the area of high-performance computing, but said Microsoft's staff comes to work every day looking at how to offer customers an even better solution.
"It is important to remember that Linux is not free and that, on a TCO basis, Microsoft comes out tops most of the time. I hope that when you look at Linux, you look at it as a competitor to the vendor with whom you do all of your business," Ballmer said to laughter and applause.
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