Microsoft: Chinese Linux companies struggling

...and Bill Gates is apparently a big hit with the Chinese youth

A senior Microsoft executive has played down the threat of Linux in China, claiming that local vendors are not making a profit and that Windows is growing faster than Linux in the Chinese server market.

"I think Linux in China really has an issue with their business model," said Tim Chen, the chief executive of Microsoft China, in an interview with The Seattle Times  this week. "The Chinese [Linux] companies, are not making money," he said.

During the interview, Chen also claimed that the growth rate of Windows on the server was faster than that of the open source operating system and that young people in China "really adore" Bill Gates, the founder and president of Microsoft.

The growth of Linux in China has been widely reported, with some in the industry speculating that this will impact Microsoft's sales, particularly as the Chinese government has issued regulations that restrict overseas vendors from providing software to government departments. But Chen claimed that Microsoft is involved with "many e-government projects within China."

Microsoft is currently pursuing a lawsuit against Google after it hired an employee from Microsoft China. Steve Ballmer, the chief executive of the software giant, was accused this week of launching a threatening, foul-mouthed and violent tirade against Google when he learnt that a member of his firm's staff was joining the search giant, but Chen reacted nonchalantly to a question about the scale of the turnover among executives at Microsoft China.

"Actually that's exciting. We're being viewed as the company that has the best talent in China," said Chen.

The full interview with Chen can be read here.