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CeBIT 2000: Linux "better off" without Office

Microsoft denies it will port its Office suite to Linux

Following speculation that Microsoft is intent to port its Office suite to Linux, the world's leading software company has flatly denied any involvement with the open source phenomenon.

Openly proclaiming its distaste for the very idea of working with or for Linux, a senior company representative told ZDNet that while there may be a minority of those interested in the OS, Microsoft wasn't one of them.

Responding to comments by LinuxCare executive vice president Arthur F Tyde at Thursday's CeBIT show in Hannover, Jeremy Gittins, senior product manager for desktop applications at Microsoft said: "I can tell you quite definitely that we have not got any plans to work with Linux, we've never had any plans like that." Asked if there was any chance of there ever being a port of Office for the Linux platform, recently cited by international analyst IDC as catching NT in the server space, Gittins was clear: "No. We will continue to develop for the best, most compelling operating system environment available. That is Windows 2000."

Quizzed on whether the software giant might feel that creating a Microsoft distribution of Linux could be a prudent move in the long term, Gittins seemed almost indignant. "What you have to ask yourself here is what the possible benefit would be. I really do believe that competition is great, but I just don't understand the proposition that they [LinuxCare] are making. What would the benefit be?"

One source, who requested anonymity, told ZDNet on Friday, "Well this is what you'd expect from the mighty M. What's laughable is the tone of Gittins' remarks. Does he know that his master admitted on TV less than a fortnight ago that Windows 2000 would cause problems for 25 percent of its users? Oh, and there's those 60,000 or so bugs it ships with, for free. That is Windows 2000. We're better off leaving Microsoft well alone."

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