Senior Navy officer has harsh words for Microsoft

Senior Navy officer has harsh words for Microsoft

Jerry MacArthur Hultin

By Bill Murray
GCN Staff

FEB. 11—The Navy's No. 2 civilian official yesterday launched a surprise attack on Microsoft Corp., threatening to take the service's business elsewhere if the company does not improve its products.

'I'm going to Microsoft at the end of this month to say to [chief executive officer] Steve Ballmer, 'You talk about how you create a business group process system, but I'll tell you [that] you don't come close to giving us what we need,' ' undersecretary of the Navy Jerry MacArthur Hultin said. He spoke at the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association's West 2000 conference in San Diego.

Hultin oversees how the Navy's 674,000 active duty and reserve forces and 215,000 civilians spend the service's $88 billion annual budget. He said that he intends to tell Ballmer that 'we are your biggest customer and either change, or I'll tell and encourage the Navy and Marine Corps to look someplace else for services.'

There are shareware products that have better groupware features than those of Microsoft products, he said, drawing applause from the audience.

The Navy previously had a license with Lotus Development Corp. for competing products. But the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command in San Diego last year decided not to exercise an option to continue the contract, said Rear Adm. John A. Gauss, SPAWAR's commander.

Hultin's comments come as the Navy is poised to receive bids for its intranet and Internet services procurement. For the Navy-Marine Corps Intranet project, the bidders—Computer Sciences Corp., Electronic Data Systems Corp., General Dynamics Corp. and IBM Corp.—have said they plan to include Microsoft products in their proposals

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