Redmond is focused on finding the right price point and feature set for its products in developing countries, says its platform strategy chief.
Microsoft is working on new initiatives that it plans to launch over the next few months that will help Windows to compete on a more level playing field with open source.
So said Martin Taylor, Microsoft's general manager for platform strategy — and the company's main point man on Linux — during a Web cast for financial analysts, shareholders and other interested parties on Friday morning.
Taylor, who is the champion behind Microsoft's "Get the Facts" anti-Linux campaign, presented Microsoft's view of the competitive landscape on the desktop and server. He also answered call-in questions from analysts during his roughly hour-long presentation.
A number of questions centered on Microsoft's plans to stave off the growth of Linux and open-source software in developing countries. Microsoft has lost a number of well-publicized government sales overseas to Linux and open source. And the company has experimented with offering cut-rate Windows/Office bundle to go head-to-head with Linux in Thailand.
Analysts pressed Taylor for specifics on the company's plans, but he declined to offer details.
"We will have initiatives in the coming months on working with these governments on solutions," Taylor said. He said Microsoft wants to make sure it is offering the right products to the customers in all countries.
Taylor noted that Microsoft "is trying to spend time with these governments." He said that the company, during the past 18 months has added more people to his team in order to better partner with these governments.
"We know we need to make long-term interests and bets" in countries outside the U.S., in terms of committing to helping them advance computer literacy, Taylor said, as well as to help them solve government-to-government and business-to-business issues.
"We have responsibilities to work with these governments around the world," Taylor said.
Taylor said that Microsoft is trying to find a way to better calibrate pricing based on a "Big Mac index" type of measurement.
"How much does a Big Mac cost in India vs. New York vs. Taipei?" Taylor asked rhetorically. "And then how do we map that to software?"
During his opening remarks, Taylor repeated his goal to remove the "hype, noise, religion and emotion" from the Microsoft vs. open source debate. He reiterated that Microsoft is planning to expand its campaign beyond its current total-cost-of-ownership (TCO) and interoperability emphases to reliability and security in the coming months. He emphasized that comparing Windows to Linux is like comparing apples to oranges.
"Linux is simply a kernel," Taylor said. "We have an operating system stack" that includes management utilities, security utility, a directory service and other components that are part of Windows, he said. On top of that, Microsoft also has a client that is tightly integrated with this stack, he added.
Taylor repeated that his hope is to move to a "more pragmatic, fact-based conversation" in this space.
Source: Microsoft Watch