Washington, D.C., February 2, 1999 – The Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA) today scoffed at Microsoft executives for testifying in the software company’s antitrust trial that the Linux open-source operating system poses a short-term threat to Microsoft’s product line.
“Saying that Linux is a competitive threat to Microsoft Windows is like saying that Cuba is capable of overpowering the U.S. Clearly, Linux is out of Microsoft’s league,” said CCIA President and CEO Edward J. Black.
“Microsoft’s insistance that small-time, alternative operating systems like Linux are an immediate threat to its multi-billion dollar core business is a bogus smoke-and-mirrors defense. The only significant competition Microsoft is facing now in its monopoly area is what it willfully tolerates.”
An international, nonprofit alliance of computer and communications firms, CCIA has been vocal in the antitrust case against Microsoft. In January 1995 and November 1997, CCIA filed “friend of the court” briefs supporting strong antitrust action against Microsoft. Since then, CCIA President Black has spoken out on behalf of his organization’s members and the overall well being of the industry, charging that Microsoft undertook certain exclusionary and predatory practices in a deliberate and illegal attempt to maintain and expand its monopoly in the personal computer operating systems market.
“Realistically speaking, the Linux operating system is a niche market product. Although it has merit and long-term potential and is beginning to gain a small measure of popularity among some users, it is years away from challenging Windows in a competitive battle for the enormous operating systems market,” Black said. “Even if Microsoft played by the rules and didn’t try to snuff it out.”
In a comparison of the Linux and Windows systems, Black cited specific disadvantages that Linux has which reduce its competitiveness, including its cumbersome setup process, weak technical support system, lack of installed base, and incompatibility with many mainstream software packages, among other drawbacks.