Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said that “Linux is a cancer that attaches itself in an intellectual property sense to everything it touches,” in the Chicago Sun-Times on June 1, 2001.
He objected to the idea the GPL forced all further development to continue to be open source. Open source is a solution to abandoned projects. GPL is not public domain, it simply attaches a requirement to release the source code to any modifications.
Ballmer touches on a few other items, including Microsoft’s new product activation (Office 2000) and licensing schemes, which, it is hoped, will pave the way for a thriving software rental business and its subsequent endless revenue stream.
Office 2000 was the first commercial product to require activation. Then Windows XP extended activation to the operating system.
Linux already was expanding rapidly for web servers which kept costs minimized as commodity hardware prices continued to decline.