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Q&A: Martin Taylor, Microsoft's Top Anti-Linux General
As general manager for platform strategies at Microsoft, Martin Taylor leads the software company's charge to contain and eventually eliminate open-source technology. Needless to say, that means Taylor does not shy away from controversy. In an interview with CRN Editor-In-Chief Michael Vizard, Taylor discusses the lessons Microsoft is learning from customer interest in open source and how the company may ultimately respond with more modular, component-based server offerings that would allow it create a more competitive solution in any given market.
CRN: On the face of it, one could conclude that interest in Linux is the market's way of telling Microsoft that Windows pricing needs to change. What message do you think the market is trying to send?
TAYLOR: I would actually look at a similar construct but a different answer. You have to ask one of two questions. Is it either a) Windows is priced too high, or b) are we offering the right product at the right price point? We position Windows server as a multifunction server that does a variety of things. So in some ways, we've got a McDonald's No. 5 super-size offering that costs $2.99 and someone just wants a Diet Coke that costs 99 cents. So do we cut the entire super-size No. 5 down to 98 cents, or do we try to find a way to just give somebody the Diet Coke if that's what they want?
From that perspective, there are a couple of interesting phenomena happening. As companies try to monetize Linux--i.e. Red Hat--the Red Hat enterprise server and their advanced server costs as much or more than Windows server, if you want it to be supported with security and everything else. If you model our security and our support and everything else, they actually cost more. It's not so much Linux monolithic vs. Microsoft. But it's Novell SUSE with one price point, one set of functionality; Red Hat enterprise server with one price point, one set of functionality; and Windows server. When you understand what you are paying for and where, then you see the relative price pressures come into play.
CRN: Sounds like there is a bit of soul searching going on. Where does all of this lead Microsoft?
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