Steve Ballmer Interview

Excerpts from a Business Week interview:

[Linux is] a weirdo competitor. There is no company behind it. You don’t know exactly who builds it. It’s free. I prefer to say: “Look, what we have here is a small price disadvantage.” It’s the first time we’ve had a price disadvantage.

Most analysts think the price of Windows to our hardware customers, people like Dell Inc., is about 50 bucks. If you stop and think about it, most people are going to own their PCs for four years. So do we offer $12 a year of value where you can run tremendously more applications, it’s tremendously easier to take care of? It’s $12 a year when people are spending $90 to $100 a month on cell-phone bills, and we’re talking about saving you hours and hours of time. I think it’s a pretty good value proposition, myself.

[On the threat to US jobs from India and China]: People focus oftentimes on the labor rate differential. But the thing that’s most troubling is the graduation rate of technical graduates. The U.S. is No. 3 now in the world and falling quickly behind No. 1 and No. 2 [China and India] in terms of computer-science graduates. In the U.S., we have fewer computer-science graduates today than we did five years ago. The bigger issue is what kinds of things do we need to do to encourage more American kids.

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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.