Business Week recently got to talk with Kevin Johnson, Microsoft'sgroup vice-president for worldwide sales, marketing, and services. Naturally they asked him a lot of questions about Linux.
These were the wrong questions. The near-term threat to Windows comes not from Linux, but from applications like Firefox, Thunderbird, and Open Office. They should have asked Johnson about Mitch Kapor's "Chandler" project, which adds a PIM to the freeware bundle.
Separately, Google hired away the Mozilla Man, as the Times of London headline writers call him, head software engineer Ben Goodger. The Times'followed this up with speculation that Google, which has also hired some Internet Explorer programmers, might be building a Google browser.
Again, wrong question. The new Google crew is expert at getting inside Windows, at working within Windows XP seamlessly. (My Firefox browser is testament to that.) Why would Google re-invent the wheel for branding when it can add to the open source bundle?
Combine something like Open Office with the technology Firefox has developed (for moving all your old stuff seamlessly into your new stuff) and now you're starting to hit Johnson where he lives, in the wallet. Cut off those Office upgrades and Microsoft stops looking so fearsome.