According to a report late last week in the Wall Street Journal, Microsoft Corporation has finally recognized Linux as a threat and formed an in-house team to "keep tabs" on Linux. The team, which currently consists of less than 10 people, will evaluate the Linux threat and come up with measures to counter the open source sensation, which caused Windows NT to lose its growth momentum for the first time in 1998. Microsoft established a similar team for Java two years ago, the report says.
"Getting inside the heads of our competitors is one of our best practices here at Microsoft," says Jim Ewel, the director of marketing for Windows 2000.
Jim Allchin, who is responsible for Windows 2000 at Microsoft, concurs.
"I have now upped the focus on \[Linux\]," he says. "I've got the performance team prepared to benchmark it every which way."
Indeed, Microsoft has gotten into some hot water lately trying to make Linux look bad compared to Windows NT. Though the Linux community never questioned the fact that its OS would beat NT, Microsoft's own tests--and the tests it commissioned from Mindcraft show NT blowing Linux out of the water. More balanced tests from PC Week and others, however, show that a properly tuned Linux system can at least compete with NT. Microsoft's job, then, is to widen the gap with the successor to NT, called Windows 2000. But open source never sleeps: All around the world, programmers are working to make Linux better every day.
In any event, Linux has achieved a certain debatable goal: They've gotten Redmond's attention big time