MUMBAI (Reuters) - Microsoft Corp. (MSFT.O) is open to more deals like one it just agreed with Novell for open-source Linux software, but believes customers will continue to pay for software, its chief executive told an Indian newspaper.
“We will love to put that kind of agreement in place with anyone who distributes Linux software, Red Hat, whoever else,” Steve Ballmer told India’s Economic Times in an interview published on Thursday.
Last week, Microsoft and Novell NOVL.O entered a broad set of business and technological agreements to make their products work together to serve corporate customers using both Linux and Windows computer servers.
On Tuesday, Novell said Microsoft would make up-front payments to it of $348 million under the deal.
Ballmer, on a visit to India, said while he believed software would be increasingly downloaded and managed off the Internet, it would still also be sold through a more traditional chain.
“I think some software will be bought, some will be subscribed to and some will be monetized through advertising,” Ballmer said in the interview in New Delhi.
“I would say we are moving to a world where there is a lot more electronic distribution. It is a new style of software, not the old-style distributed electronically.”
On Wednesday, Microsoft said Windows Vista, the software giant’s first major upgrade of its operating system in five years, would be available to retail customers on January 30. 2007.
Plagued by a series of delays, Windows Vista is key to a new product cycle at the world’s largest software maker that includes a new version of its Office business software suite.
Ballmer said people would be impressed by the new software, and also by Microsoft’s new portable media player, Zune.
“Lot of people will be impressed with what we offer in Zune. Lot of people are already impressed with what they have seen in XBox 360,” he said of the gaming console.
Zune, which hits store shelves next week, would compete against Apple Computer Inc.’s (AAPL.O) popular iPod music and video player, and Ballmer was confident of its success.
“The notion that iPod is an island is what plays into one of the strengths of Zune in what we can do,” Ballmer said, also downplaying the threat posed by Google Inc. (GOOG.O).
“People point to Google because Google is the emblem for somebody who has embraced a different business model than we have,” he said.
“The next frontier for us is to embrace a new business model. And if we embrace it well and that business model is subscription and advertising, where we will be a market leader. If we do not embrace it well there will be issues.”