Memo Details Plan To Crush Linux

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Microsoft plans to rally its field sales force and partners to crush Linux,and rival IBM's efforts with the open-source operating system,in 2002.

According to a Microsoft memo dated in December, the software giant will unveil a Linux Insiders program at its Envision event in January, an expansion of its existing Linux Competitive Champ Program.

Microsoft also created a new Linux/Unix escalation process that is being headed up by Microsoft Enterprise and Partner Group Vice President Charles Stevens, according to the memo, written by Brian Valentine, senior vice president of Windows at Microsoft.

In the memo, Valentine emphasized that Microsoft will take a more aggressive role in beating Linux,and any vendors that support it. "I want you to know just how seriously we're taking Linux here in Redmond," Valentine wrote. "The ground-up nature of how Linux is introduced into our accounts means that we need to modify our traditional approaches of finding out about Linux in our customer base. We have to be more hands-on and dig deeper in your accounts."

One systems integrator that sells and services for both Linux and Windows said Microsoft's big push against Linux is not a problem in the short term but could pose a conflict in the future. "This will not affect us in the current market because . . . our current revenue with Caldera is on Unix platforms," said Rich Figer, vice president of sales at S.B. Stone and Co., Cleveland. "In the future, however, when Linux and Unix become closer to one product, we could find ourselves in competition with Microsoft operating systems," he said.

The Linux Insiders, a task force of Microsoft Linux experts, will assist the sales force and partners in preventing the spread of Linux, as well as IBM mainframes/Unix servers, in corporate server centers, the memo said. "You can expect us to turn up the volume on winning against Linux, as well as IBM," the memo said.

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