Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 25th Feb 2009 10:17 UTC
Microsoft Microsoft's CEO Steve Ballmer had some interesting things to say yesterday about which companies Microsoft sees as its competitors in the client operating system space. You'd think Apple was their number one competitor - and you'd be wrong. Microsoft sees two other competitors as their primary adversaries.
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Cheaper won't matter for Linux
by kragil on Wed 25th Feb 2009 10:32 UTC
kragil
Member since:
2006-01-04

Linux has it own strengths and has a insane speed of innovation. Both 7 and 10.6 won't offer much to normal consumers, except better resource usage. That is something you get on Linux today.

With more and more companies (Google, Intel, HP etc.) pouring R&D into the Linux ecosystem it will be very hard to compete for MS and Apple in the long run. Especially with the clear trend for smaller and cheaper internet devices.

No OS does Internet (on different devices) better than Linux.

Reply Score: 14

RE: Cheaper won't matter for Linux
by Temcat on Wed 25th Feb 2009 12:25 UTC in reply to "Cheaper won't matter for Linux"
Temcat Member since:
2005-10-18

No OS does Internet (on different devices) better than Linux.

Uhm, no. In reality, Linux (if used as a collective name for today's desktop Linux distributions) doesn't do Internet very well even on regular PCs. Wireless can still be a problem (though much less than before, thanks to the kernel driver improvements). Dial-up is supported very poorly (yes, many people do still use dialup, some full time, some as a fallback when other options don't work or aren't available). VPN capability (critical for home broadband in some regions such as Russia) isn't provided out of the box while being a question of installing a couple of supporting packages for NetworkManager.

Reply Score: 10

kragil Member since:
2006-01-04

For new distros and especially new devices those aren't issues.

No sane person installs the OS themselves. OSnews readers do that .. normal people don't.

Reply Score: 4

aesiamun Member since:
2005-06-29

How do you expect people to get to use Linux? Buy a new computer? Way to get converts!

Reply Score: 2

kragil Member since:
2006-01-04

New devices. Like Netbooks, G1s or Kindles.

BTW It worked for Apple.

Reply Score: 2

interval Member since:
2009-02-25

No OS does Internet (on different devices) better than Linux. Uhm, no. In reality, Linux (if used as a collective name for today's desktop Linux distributions) doesn't do Internet very well even on regular PCs. Wireless can still be a problem (though much less than before, thanks to the kernel driver improvements). Dial-up is supported very poorly (yes, many people do still use dialup, some full time, some as a fallback when other options don't work or aren't available). VPN capability (critical for home broadband in some regions such as Russia) isn't provided out of the box while being a question of installing a couple of supporting packages for NetworkManager.


Uhm, no. In reality, Linux (I don't really care what Distro you use) does internet supremely well, much better than windows, especially in the realm of stability. What it has lacked in the past is useability, but that is rapidly changing. In Ubuntu Hardy Heron (the latest, I believe) my ralink wifi adapter works right out of the first installation. The version before (forget the name) required installation of external drivers and command line configuration. Thats ONE version iteration, which speaks to the pace of Linux development. Dial-up has always been supported, once again the failing factor was useability, not lack.
VPN has always been excellent considering it was Unix R&D that invented it, and doesn't cost anything. Similar packages (until recently when once again OSS came to the rescue) for Windows used to be very expensive.

Please speak of these matters using FACTS, sir.

Reply Score: 6

lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

In Ubuntu Hardy Heron (the latest, I believe) my ralink wifi adapter works right out of the first installation. The version before (forget the name) required installation of external drivers and command line configuration. Thats ONE version iteration, which speaks to the pace of Linux development.


Hardy Heron (8.04) is the most recent Long Term Support (LTS) release of Ubuntu. Intrepid Ibex (8.10) is the most recent release of Ubuntu. Jaunty Jakalope (not yet released as 9.04) is due out as an Alpha 5 pre-release today or tomorrow. The recently announced Karmic Koala will be the next version after that.

Hardy did not contain many dirvers for netbook wireless. A raft of "Ubuntu for your EEEPC" or "Easy Peasy" (Google for it) style projects sprang up, offering specially-compiled kernel versions ann a re-mastered liveCD release that could be booted from USB sticks.

Intrepid Ibex did start to include drivers for quite a few of the netbook models, but not all. It was still often necessary to hook into a wired network via the ethernet port to download a driver before the wireless would work properly.

Jaunty Jackalope has netbook support as a focus. It should install and run everything-works-out-of-the-box on most currently available netbooks.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Cheaper won't matter for Linux
by pedrobl on Thu 26th Feb 2009 00:50 UTC in reply to "Cheaper won't matter for Linux"
pedrobl Member since:
2009-02-26

Bingo!! I completely agree with you, kragil. The revolution has begun! ;)

More and more public administrations are seeing the advantages. Just recently, the UK government:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/7910110.stm

Big win! How long until the general public does the same thing? I don't think it'll be very long.

Pedro.

Reply Score: 2

lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

Big win! How long until the general public does the same thing? I don't think it'll be very long.

Pedro.


I don't know about that ... there are little wins springing up more and more often ...

http://blogs.eweek.com/storage_station/content/general/userful_thin...

... but one doesn't hear about them much in the popular press.

Sometimes when there is a Linux win the press coverage about it only mentions "PCs":

http://www.futuregov.net/articles/2009/feb/18/worlds-largest-virtua...

(This is the same event as the first link above).

It will propbably take quite some time yet before Linux becomes common knowledge.

Edited 2009-02-26 01:10 UTC

Reply Score: 3

Microsofts biggest competitor is...
by John.Gustafsson on Wed 25th Feb 2009 10:33 UTC
John.Gustafsson
Member since:
2005-08-08

...Microsoft itself. They are number one already, and their number one problem comes from within, themselves. If Microsoft goes down, they go down because of themselves and nobody else.

Reply Score: 6

kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

...Microsoft itself. They are number one already, and their number one problem comes from within, themselves. If Microsoft goes down, they go down because of themselves and nobody else.


Of course, but that is like any other company. They are outflanked by a faster more nimble competitor and thus they lose their edge. Any company that fails, it fails because of their own doing and not because of some evil boogyman.

Linux does have one benefit - the code is open and any code developed will remain open for someone else to come along and continue its development. It isn't like when a proprietary company goes bust and all the code is lost in the process.

Reply Score: 4

gustl Member since:
2006-01-19

I would say, Microsoft has a problem because Linux simply cannot fail.

The licensing cost of Linux distibutions will always be zero, and it will become better and more user-friendly with every release.

As soon as Linux is coming pre-installed like on netbooks, a market share of 20 - 30% is currently achieveable.
With people growing up who are more and more used to free software, those numbers will rise. Microsoft can only hope to delay a large market share for Linux by hindering it's adoption by the big OEMs.

Microsoft's throwing out of XP licenses for netbooks is a clear sign that they understand what is at stake here.

Reply Score: 7

Jon Dough Member since:
2005-11-30

As soon as Linux is coming pre-installed like on netbooks, a market share of 20 - 30% is currently achievable.


A GNU/Linux distro did come pre-loaded on netbooks. When the netbook manufacturers offered a choice between a GNU/Linux distro and a Microsoft OS, the vast majority of netbook buyers opted for the Microsoft OS. That indicates that pre-loading the OS doesn't guarantee market share.

Reply Score: 2

lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

"As soon as Linux is coming pre-installed like on netbooks, a market share of 20 - 30% is currently achievable.


A GNU/Linux distro did come pre-loaded on netbooks. When the netbook manufacturers offered a choice between a GNU/Linux distro and a Microsoft OS, the vast majority of netbook buyers opted for the Microsoft OS. That indicates that pre-loading the OS doesn't guarantee market share.
"

I think you might find that the truth is that XP Home and a full-featured Linux were seldom offered to consumers on the exact same hardware. In my country, there is barely any Linux offered to regular consumers at all ... and when it is offered, it is always on the very low end models only. Barely useable.

In my country, if you want OS choice, if you want a netbook with a proper full Linux pre-installed (not a tame one like Xandros), then you more-or-less have to go to an "independant supplier", such as this one:

http://www.liliputing.com/2009/02/australian-netbook-with-user-requ...
http://www.kogan.com.au/blog/2009/feb/17/what-do-you-want-see-kogan...

This nicely explains the apparent "choice" of XP Home on netbooks ... really it is due to no (commonly available) choice.

In the US, Dell offers its Mini Inspiron 9 (AFAIK) on the same hardware models as it offers XP Home. This is one of the few side-by-side comparable deals that is apparently commonly available to regular consumers. In this scenario, Linux accounts for a third of the units sold.

http://blog.laptopmag.com/one-third-of-dell-inspiron-mini-9s-sold-r...

Where there is a real choice of a decent Linux on the desktop offered, then 20% - 30% seems to be a quite achieveable goal.

Reply Score: 4

spiderman Member since:
2008-10-23

What?
That must be in the US.
In my country, not many people choose to pay for Windows!
I look around me and most netbooks run linux. The phone companies sell the linux version, not the Windows one.
Some geeks who want windows for .. what for again? anyway some geeks do install a pirated version of windows on them, but I've hardly ever seen a netbook with windows on it.

Reply Score: 1

backdoc Member since:
2006-01-14

I think you've got a point.

I contribute Microsoft's losing my business to Microsoft. They ran me off by choosing to focus on things other than making computing more productive and less annoying. Instead, they make computing miserable by focusing on protecting themselves from piracy and vendor lock-in.

I've switched to Mac and Linux. I know longer boot into Windows on my personal machines (just work). I have no intentions of ever buying another Microsoft product again.

Reply Score: 7

BigDaddy Member since:
2006-08-10

I contribute Microsoft's losing my business to Microsoft. They ran me off by choosing to focus on things other than making computing more productive and less annoying. Instead, they make computing miserable by focusing on protecting themselves from piracy and vendor lock-in.


I couldn't have said it better myself. Hell, it's almost like you read my mind. Another thing I have noticed. I don't feel like I am being bombarded with advertisements all the time. When I used windows, I paid good money to have advertisements from any company that bought ad space in every program. Microsoft only cares about money, not about the people using their product.

I will admit I have a Microsoft comfort curve keyboard, I love it. I have another in the box still just in case this one ever breaks. It's a wonderful keyboard. I'll agree with you about not buying their software, but damn they make a good keyboard.

Reply Score: 3

gustl Member since:
2006-01-19

They also make a good mouse ;)

I bought a netbook last year, and made it very clear at the shop, that I wanted the Linux version, because it was both cheaper and better at the same time.

Then I told him, I also would buy a mouse. He asked me, which mouse, and was really surprised to hear me say "Microsoft".

I said: "If Microsoft only sells mice and keyboards, the world would be a much better place"

Reply Score: 5

B12 Simon Member since:
2006-11-08

I will admit I have a Microsoft comfort curve keyboard, I love it. I have another in the box still just in case this one ever breaks. It's a wonderful keyboard. I'll agree with you about not buying their software, but damn they make a good keyboard.


Credit where it's due MS do make very good input devices.

Reply Score: 4

StephenBeDoper Member since:
2005-07-06

Credit where it's due MS do make very good input devices.


As cynical as I generally am about anti-Microsoft posturing, I've always found that their input devices (mice especially) seem like cheap knock-offs of Logitech products.

Reply Score: 3

soonerproud Member since:
2008-03-05

"Credit where it's due MS do make very good input devices.


As cynical as I generally am about anti-Microsoft posturing, I've always found that their input devices (mice especially) seem like cheap knock-offs of Logitech products.
"


That is because Logitech makes both keyboards and mice for Microsoft. They are engineered at Redmond and contracted out to Logitech, much like the iPhone is contracted out to be made by a third party vendor for Apple.

Reply Score: 2

StephenBeDoper Member since:
2005-07-06

Ah, that would explain it ;)

Reply Score: 2

sargek Member since:
2007-07-12

"I think you've got a point.

I contribute Microsoft's losing my business to Microsoft. They ran me off by choosing to focus on things other than making computing more productive and less annoying. Instead, they make computing miserable by focusing on protecting themselves from piracy and vendor lock-in.

I've switched to Mac and Linux. I know longer boot into Windows on my personal machines (just work). I have no intentions of ever buying another Microsoft product again."

Very good point. I believe the reason for this is Microsoft simply does not care about the consumer. Why should they - they have a huge market share and force (coerce?) hardware vendors to install Windows on all systems they sell so Windows has become ubiquitous, a commodity if you will. The latest run of products: Vista Office, clearly shows their sole motivation is profit and not customer satisfaction.

I too have abandoned them entirely except for gaming, where they rule the roost. I will never purchase another Microsoft product again regardless of the supposed benefits because I do not trust them, and they have no viable desktop products I trust my data to or actually enjoy using.

Reply Score: 2

ShadesFox Member since:
2006-10-01

I can't help but think that we aren't Microsoft's customers. It seems like the 'great masses of PC users' are considered by Microsoft to be the product that they sell to developers. "We have this great mass of people using our frameworks for you to sell your doodads and widgets."

Reply Score: 2

kryogenix Member since:
2008-01-06


I too have abandoned them entirely except for gaming, where they rule the roost. I will never purchase another Microsoft product again regardless of the supposed benefits because I do not trust them, and they have no viable desktop products I trust my data to or actually enjoy using.


I don't even run Windows on bare hardware anymore for gaming. Parallels on the mac has ok 3D support now. On a new bottom-end $999 Nvidia 9400M-based Macbook white I get 40fps playing IL-2 1946 at 1024x768 within Parallels. Only supports DX9 at present though.

Most of the games I'm interested in have ports to the mac but there's a few that don't. So I use Parallels. There is NOT ONE decent prop combat sim for the mac anymore.

Reply Score: 1

poundsmack Member since:
2005-07-13

actually MS admitted that MS's biggest competitor IS itself, BUT that it is pirated coppies of Windows that makes that competition.

Reply Score: 2

Linux worldwide
by -oblio- on Wed 25th Feb 2009 10:36 UTC
-oblio-
Member since:
2008-05-27

Ballmer and this article are admitting what I've been saying all along - worldwide, Linux is a bigger threat than Apple. Linux comes in all shapes and sizes, from servers, to netbooks, to mobile phones, and it's eating away at profits in most Microsoft markets.

Right now it's not eating away at the market share, but it does force a lower price point for Microsoft in many cases.

Reply Score: 13

What competes?
by johnnysaucepn on Wed 25th Feb 2009 10:42 UTC
johnnysaucepn
Member since:
2006-08-22

MS only sees Linux as competition because they're fighting for the same hardware market.
If you want an Apple OS, you buy an Apple machine from Apple.
If you buy a PC however, you have the choice of what to put on it. Or at least, the hardware manufacturers have a choice as to whether they offer Windows on it, or one of the simpler Linux variants, which we already know has potential on netbooks.
Dell aren't going to stop making PCs (what else would they make?) but they are able to move to Linux if the market demands it.

Reply Score: 5

RE: What competes?
by shiva on Sun 1st Mar 2009 00:12 UTC in reply to "What competes?"
shiva Member since:
2007-01-24

This is the true reason why Apple cannot be the #2 competitor of MS and all the computer makers in all the countries.

IBM tried to recapture control of the PC market by introducing an advanced proprietary architecture, the IBM PS/2 computer and they failed. IBM-PC was a success because it was an open hardware made by many companies.

While Apple insists to sell its OS tied to a proprietary hardware it will never have chance to compete with Microsoft. Linux is open, runs in the same open architecture (PCs) and many other architectures, from MMU-less processors to supercomputers. And it is as solid as MacOS X because of the common Unix heritage.

Reply Score: 2

Old PCs
by tombstoner on Wed 25th Feb 2009 11:13 UTC
tombstoner
Member since:
2009-02-25

I would be interesting to know how many people are not throwing away their old PCs, but installing Linux on them and giving them a new lease of life, as we do in the school I work at, that must be killing MS as well.

Reply Score: 8

makkus
Member since:
2006-01-11

In my opinion this is because they had to fight linux for a whole segment: Netbooks.

They had to keep Windows XP in the running and probably had to do a lot of persuasion to prevent the loss of that whole segment to linux.. I even think this is the reason why they ditch Vista so soon and bring in Windows 7. So yes linux is a much greater threath a the moment because, untill Windows 7 they won't have a answer for new hardware requiring a lean flexible OS.

Edited 2009-02-25 11:34 UTC

Reply Score: 3

Microsoft's has to Beat Microsoft
by REM2000 on Wed 25th Feb 2009 11:52 UTC
REM2000
Member since:
2006-07-25

As was highlighted in the article the biggest problem Microsoft has is itself. There is gonna be a lot of people staying on XP as it does the job. How many machines are still using Win98 or 95 and to a lesser extent 3.11.

A lot of the literature from Microsoft for sale's is how to persuade and discuss reasons to upgrade.

Microsoft Exchange 5.5 was a case in point, many people left it running, it done the job, with many companies skipping 2000 and 2003 and going straight to 2007.

Same in the business world, how many companies are still using Win2K, quite a few until support drys up i would think.

Reply Score: 5

JMcCarthy Member since:
2005-08-12


Does not make any sense, Linux hardly grabs 1% of the market share.

Depends on who you ask, anyone who quotes it that low is generally only talking about the desktop market vs overall though.

Reply Score: 4

lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

This is flawed thinking, Linux did not make big impacts in the netbook market being quickly replaced with windows XP, and still what it is about here?


http://blog.laptopmag.com/one-third-of-dell-inspiron-mini-9s-sold-r...

One third of a product's sales going to Linux in direct competition with Windows on the same machine ... even a year ago that would have been unheard of.

Microsoft gives XP Home to OEMs at almost-zero cost, and still it can't beat out a significant percentage of Linux sales on netbooks for any vendor who actually offers a choice.

Reply Score: 8

segedunum Member since:
2005-07-06

Yes, and you have to remember that is done off the back of no pre-existing installed base and a rather limited manner of getting third party applications installed and developed. Without those three things then it can all roll back down the hill fairly quickly.

Reply Score: 2

bralkein Member since:
2006-12-20

Linux presents a big problem for MS because if it becomes popular it could completely change the way software is sold. Apple are in the business of selling proprietary software licenses, which is the same as what MS does so I think MS are more comfortable with the idea of competing with Apple on those terms.

Linux and Free Software represent a completely new way of doing business, and I think this is what MS is afraid of. After all, the current model has been very good to them.

Reply Score: 6

ggeldenhuys Member since:
2006-11-13

Does not make any sense, Linux hardly grabs 1% of the market share.

I think such statistics are totally unreliable. There is no way to accurately determine the Linux market share. Linux is not always sold, you are allow to install one CD on many PC's at the same time, you are allow to copy and redistribute the CD, etc.... These are all things that cannot be accurately tracked by anybody. Unlike Microsoft or Apple that can track their sales, shipments to OEM's and track the software registration process. That gives them an idea of usage, but such a infrastructure for Linux doesn't exist and isn't required. Linux market share is a total unknown! Don't you just love the mystery!! :-)

Reply Score: 10

polololoq Member since:
2009-02-25

Ah yes indeed. As it is, I bought 2 laptops in the last 2 years, both with Vista pre-installed. But I never even booted Vista on these machines. First thing I did was install a Linux distro.
Yet, in the pie chart, I imagine my boxes belong to the MS market share.
I think the market share of Linux is highly underestimated. But I see more and more people around me actually trying and, more importantly, using it.
So yes, it will remains a mystery. Although I think companies like Google and Yahoo have a pretty good idea of the reality in the field.

Reply Score: 10

l3v1 Member since:
2005-07-06

First thing I did was install a Linux distro.


Every distro installer should have an optional pingback during install, so the distro owners could track the number of installs. I'd say "market share" numbers would grow really fast. In our lab here every machine came with a Windows license (some preinstalled, some with a separate box install) yet some of them became linux machines, or e.g. I'm using one with Windows on it with a linux distro in vbox. At home I have two originally Windows machines running linux only. I'd say a fairly large number of people belong to these categories and linux usage numbers could be really high if there was a way to count every and each one of those distros running out there.

Reply Score: 2

dagw Member since:
2005-07-06

I don't get it.

Microsoft's Windows division gets most of its money from bundling Windows with machines from companies like HP, Dell etc. Apple isn't competing in this market, Linux is. Apple's marketshare isn't that important to Microsoft as long as every non-Apple computer that is sold is sold with Windows. If Microsoft starts losing control over non-Apple computers then it will start being in real trouble. Thus Linux is a bigger competetion.

Another factor is that Linux is a fundamentally different way to think about operating systems, while Apple is fundamentally the same. The concept that an OS is something that is modular, adaptable and can be downloaded for free from a variaty of sources is a concept Microsoft doesn't want to take hold. Here they are in full agreement with Apple. If the idea that an operating system should be free (any either sense of the word) and downloadable becomes widely accepted then that will do far greater damage to their bottom line then Apple could ever hope to do.

At the end of the day I'm sure MS would happily see Apple double its world wide market share if it meant keeping Linux at bay.

Reply Score: 8

Ballmer's focus is apparently on the desktop
by lemur2 on Wed 25th Feb 2009 12:05 UTC
lemur2
Member since:
2007-02-17

If we take a different focus more in tune with this site, then Linux actually has a far greater (OS) market share. Linux is big on servers, on embedded devices (including mobile phones), in network infrastructure equipment and even in supercomputing. Everywhere but the desktop market, Linux has far greater market share than Ballmer is apparently prepared to admit.

Linux installs probably far outnumber Windows installs. Even in your own home, for example, Linux is probably running: on your router, in your TV, in the TV set-top/cable box, in your washing machine, in your printer and your scanner, in your DVD player/recorder, in your games console and on your mobile phone. You possibly do, however, have one lone copy of Windows or of OSX running on your PC.

The web sites you visit are most probably served to you by Linux machines, and the traffic is routed over the Internet to your PC by other Linux machines. Your email likewise.

Edited 2009-02-25 12:10 UTC

Reply Score: 10

Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

on your router


No.

in your TV


No.

in the TV set-top/cable box


No.

in your washing machine


No.

in your printer and your scanner



No and no.

in your DVD player/recorder


No.

in your games console


No.

and on your mobile phone


No.

But yeah, I'm pretty sure there are more Linux installs than there are Mac OS X installs. Windows remains a bit debatable though, as they are doing relatively well on mobile phones and servers, and p0wn the desktop.

Reply Score: 2

3rdalbum Member since:
2008-05-26

Well, my router appears to run Linux; at the very least, it runs GPL software. I know because it came with a notice of where you can find the source code for the GPL software.

I've seen a GPL notice in several Panasonic TVs, and the URL given for source code does include a Linux kernel.

I also know there are a couple of set-top-boxes around that run Linux, and my DVD recorder appears to run either Linux or a Unix.

Reply Score: 12

UltraZelda64 Member since:
2006-12-05

My router runs Linux, though I purposely get it for that reason (Linksys WRT54GL). I modded it to run the Tomato firmware, and it works great. I was also looking at specs for some LG and Mitsubishi HDTVs I was considering buying, and found that some of them had a GPL notice (I think the Mitsubishi models, though I can't remember for sure). I didn't get a new TV yet, but I can certainly say my router runs Linux.

Reply Score: 10

jabbotts Member since:
2007-09-06

I ended up running through the alternative firmware images when Linksys stopped providing updated firmware for my first generation router. Tommato is nice. You may also like DD-WRT as a different replacement. It offers a few features above tommato.

Reply Score: 4

SEJeff Member since:
2005-11-05

Ever heard of this dvr vendor named Tivo? They are completely linux. The only crap thing about them is that they digitally sign all executables. The kernel refuses to run non-signed software and believe me I've tried.

Reply Score: 6

daedalus8 Member since:
2008-03-10


on your router


No.



What you use Windows Routing Services? = FAIL

Router+Firewal = BSD/Linux NOT Windows.

Edited 2009-02-25 18:53 UTC

Reply Score: 3

thecwin Member since:
2006-01-04

Linux runs on my Netgear router, mobile phone, games console (though that was my choice) TV set top box and netbook, and a number of other systems that I installed it on myself.

I read a while back that my TV (some LG model) has it too but I don't know how true that is. I work at a windows-shop and we now have a Linux server for doing Subversion.


Nevertheless, I've identified at least one Linux install in all of my friend's houses. ;) Linux based router models are extremely popular here.

Reply Score: 4

Comment by Darkmage
by Darkmage on Wed 25th Feb 2009 13:33 UTC
Darkmage
Member since:
2006-10-20

Apple isn't a threat to microsoft because Apple can never gain 100%. If Apple gain 100% share it'll destroy their exclusive/cool image. Microsoft already have apple in their pockets anyway since most macs are running microsoft office. Linux is far scarier to Microsoft because even if they manage to get office onto Linux machines, once Linux is in a dominant position it won't be budged off ever. You can't compete with free and high quality at the same time. Linux might eventually get dislodged by another open source kernel with say a mac like environment, but the new platform will still be open source and all the code will be cheap/free. Microsoft are scared about linux because the writing is on the wall. Ubuntu and netbooks are proving that linux is a viable desktop os and when Linux reaches critical mass eg EA pledging linux support like they did with macs, the market will surge forward. For Microsoft it means they may be left without an office or OS product to sell to anyone.

Reply Score: 5

RE: Comment by Darkmage
by h3rman on Wed 25th Feb 2009 14:31 UTC in reply to "Comment by Darkmage"
h3rman Member since:
2006-08-09

Apple isn't a threat to microsoft because Apple can never gain 100%. If Apple gain 100% share it'll destroy their exclusive/cool image. Microsoft already have apple in their pockets anyway since most macs are running microsoft office.


I'd add to that that Microsoft, as far as I know, still has a lot of Apple stock (!). When Apple does well, MS is happy too.

Linux is far scarier to Microsoft because even if they manage to get office onto Linux machines, once Linux is in a dominant position it won't be budged off ever.


That's why you can expect Microsoft to invest heavily in their relationship with OEMs. It's still impossible for "Linux" (whatever that is) to compete with an OS that's installed on virtually every pc-ish device out there.

Ubuntu and netbooks are proving that linux is a viable desktop os and when Linux reaches critical mass eg EA pledging linux support like they did with macs, the market will surge forward. For Microsoft it means they may be left without an office or OS product to sell to anyone.


Well, no empire lasts forever. But don't except MS to collapse anytime in the next decade.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Comment by Darkmage
by wakeupneo on Wed 25th Feb 2009 14:53 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by Darkmage"
wakeupneo Member since:
2005-07-06

I'd add to that that Microsoft, as far as I know, still has a lot of Apple stock (!). When Apple does well, MS is happy too.


Actually, I'm sure there was a Fortune article some time ago that said MS sold their Apple shares in 2003, once the initial 5 year deal was complete.

The list of major shareholders seems to confirm it. No mention of MS:

http://finance.yahoo.com/q/mh?s=aapl

Edited 2009-02-25 14:58 UTC

Reply Score: 8

RE: Comment by Darkmage
by rbrhood on Wed 25th Feb 2009 19:22 UTC in reply to "Comment by Darkmage"
rbrhood Member since:
2009-02-25

Apple isn't a threat to microsoft because Apple can never gain 100%. If Apple gain 100% share it'll destroy their exclusive/cool image.


Competent marketing people (of which Apple has its share) can always generate 'exclusivity'. You know, some people will pay good money for water that is less pure than tap water, so long as it comes in a bottle with the right brand on the label. This can be done within the product range of one company, too. Simply create more exclusive Macs and iPods and charge more.

Reply Score: 1

OS free PCs
by tombstoner on Wed 25th Feb 2009 14:02 UTC
tombstoner
Member since:
2009-02-25

I recently bought a server without a OS on it, so Microsoft didn't benefit from my paying for a license, thats the only problem if you buy a PC/laptop with windows and then load Linux MS still get their cut and I don;t want to do that.

Reply Score: 3

Comment by ameasures
by ameasures on Wed 25th Feb 2009 14:16 UTC
ameasures
Member since:
2006-01-09

This is an interesting comment for Steve Ballmer to make. Not long ago the bottom line was that users couldn't or wouldn't use a platform where MS Office was not present.

Now then, Office is Microsofts crown jewels - financially speaking. Users going to Linux despite the lack of Office, must really be worrying.

Obviously OpenOffice is doing better than we suspected.

Edited 2009-02-25 14:18 UTC

Reply Score: 8

ARM
by mnem0 on Wed 25th Feb 2009 14:36 UTC
mnem0
Member since:
2006-03-23

Repeat after me: Win7 does _not_ run on ARM. Read it again, _understand_ what it means.

Microsoft was do pre-occupied with their Vista mess that they lost track of where the market was going.

Half of the market basically only needs surfing and watching movies etc, now are they doing to get a less than 1cm thick netbook, with no fans that runs for hours and hours and pay $199 fpr it OR are they going to buy a really slow $300 netbook with a fan and less battery time?

The revolution is here, even Red Hat is getting back into the desktop business. OMG ITS THE YEAR OF THE THE LINUX DESKTOP!!!!1

Reply Score: 9

RE: ARM
by DigitalAxis on Wed 25th Feb 2009 15:54 UTC in reply to "ARM"
DigitalAxis Member since:
2005-08-28

Windows Mobile runs on ARM though. If they just sink their time and money in there once Windows 7 is over, they could build it into something truly impressive. I'm sure they want to, seeing as they're now competing against more than Symbian in the cell phone OS space.

Of course, Windows Mobile on ARM is not Windows XP unless they invent a magical full-speed x86 emulator for ARM. My guess is that they will simultaneously try to improve Windows Mobile, and make a massive ad campaign about how you can't run your favorite Windows programs on these netbooks that are therefore useless. No WoW, no deal!

Edited 2009-02-25 15:56 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: ARM
by UltraZelda64 on Wed 25th Feb 2009 18:07 UTC in reply to "RE: ARM"
UltraZelda64 Member since:
2006-12-05

If someone's main reasons to buy a new computer include the ability to play WOW and run other resource-intensive software, then a netbook is a pretty stupid buy in the first place. Small screen, battery power, low specs, and cramped up keyboard are a few things that come to mind as something that would completely kill the idea of any possible gaming sessions.

I hope other OSes get a foothold on ARM netbooks before Microsoft has the chance to bring their monopoly to yet another market (well... kind of, if you look at them in a different light than Atom netbooks). Last thing I want to see is them dominating yet *another* processor on the market with their crap. This is a good time for someone else to finally rise.

Reply Score: 3

symbian?
by spiderman on Wed 25th Feb 2009 14:58 UTC
spiderman
Member since:
2008-10-23

How can they mention the iphone and not mention symbian?
The iphone has less than 0.5% of the market.
They may compete with Apple on the desktop but on the phones? Why mention Apple at all? Even if you add all the other OS together, that's not half of symbian market share. Both Microsoft ane Apple are irrelevant in that market.

Edited 2009-02-25 14:58 UTC

Reply Score: 3

Microsoft, Linux, OEMs and Apple
by acobar on Wed 25th Feb 2009 15:26 UTC
acobar
Member since:
2005-11-15

Of course, Ballmer must see Linux as a big threat than Apple, that just make a lot of sense. Apple tie its software with its hardware and send all signals it want to keep the whole situation this way, even making hard to an independent developers to create solutions to their products.

Contrast that to Microsoft way. The relationship of Microsoft, OEMs (Dell, HP, Sony, and so on) and integrators creates a different "tie", way larger, way more complex and, more important and worrying, one that can be broke if the right things are on place.

It already happened on server side, where linux made huge gains, it is occurring on special devices, where linux flexibility is of great use and now it is happening on the client side.

More than ever, the principal Microsoft advantage, its "good enough" ties, i.e. software tools and documentation, together with market share, are under attack. Drivers are less and less a problem on linux now. The same can be said about interoperability, where MS keep trying to make the barrier more complex but at same time, is under pressure to refrain to do so (Office and IE extensions). And now, specially with Qt 4.5, but also with eclipse and many other tools, developers are presented with a loophole to attack the "market share" fortress.

The price and customization, specially on hard economic time, may be very appealing for OEMs and integrators where every penny saved can be saw as an extra one in theirs pockets and where more exposition can be conquered, and even expanded, with customization.

That is why Microsoft should be worried, their "grip" is weakening very fast.

Reply Score: 3

Piracy & Linux
by bert64 on Wed 25th Feb 2009 15:36 UTC
bert64
Member since:
2007-04-23

Competing against piracy and linux combined is likely to provide rather difficult...
Anything they do to decrease piracy (ie to force people currently using pirate versions to pay) will result in some revenue increase, but also some market share loss as some of these people decide to move to linux rather than pay (many wont be able to pay, and dont want a crippled "Starter edition")

Reply Score: 2

Sure, cheap (or free) is tempting
by bousozoku on Wed 25th Feb 2009 16:20 UTC
bousozoku
Member since:
2006-01-23

Here we go again. There are a few countries that cannot afford Microsoft's typical pricing and they have been getting Windows for the equivalent of US$3.00. Those who don't live in one of those countries and can't get that pricing are likely using a pirated version of Windows.

They don't have a desire to use Linux because the best games aren't available for Linux. For the same reason that many buyers have avoided Apple's machines, they're not going to Linux: they don't know anyone using Linux to get them their favourite software for free. The free software movement means little since they don't recognise any of the names.

Cheap is compelling but until cheap has its act together software-wise, it's not going to take the desktop (or the laptop). There is no application on Linux or *BSD that compels a majority of people to switch.

Add to that the fact that making adjustments from the GUI is not always intuitive and sometimes not possible, people aren't going to flee Windows. (Windows has quirks of course but people can deal with those quirks because someone else has encountered them already.)

Linux would be a great competitor if it worked smoothly and intuitively for more than those who know Linux.

Reply Score: 3

wanderingk88 Member since:
2008-06-26

Goddamnit, stop it with the "intuitiveness" bullshit. There's no universal guidelines on intuitiveness, only those that exist in the users' mind. And guess what qualifies as intuitive in a user's mind? What they're used to. Nothing more, nothing less.

People are used to popping in a CD and clicking on the "Setup" icon to install a program. I'd argue that using officially supported repositories is hundreds of times more comfortable and secure than hunting down CDs and executable installers. But then again, people aren't used to it, so they think it's "unintuitive" (which, by the way, it's something they never think about. They only think about the things they're used to. The only ones talking bullshit about intuitiveness are the wanabee interface designer trolls like you).

Losing the FLOSS strengths over a stupid sense of "intuitiveness" is ridiculous, and is never going to happen.

Reply Score: 1

BigDaddy Member since:
2006-08-10

There's no universal guidelines on intuitiveness, only those that exist in the users' mind. And guess what qualifies as intuitive in a user's mind? What they're used to. Nothing more, nothing less.


I have to agree with you 100%. I even have a "fer instance". I have a friend that is completely computer illiterate. He is a stand up comic that finally felt the need to post some of his shows on youtube and keep track of his engagements. The only computer experience he had was his part time job with a movie rental store inventory program.

I set him up with my old PIII laptop with Ubuntu (not my flavor, but good for him) about a year ago. In about a day of simple tutelage he was prepared enough to go on his own. That laptop finally gave up the ghost two weeks ago. So we went out and bought a new one on Monday since he now had a better idea of what he wanted to do with a laptop. I didn't have time to set up Ubuntu for him so he has make due with Vista until this weekend for me to set it up. He called me on Tuesday night asking if I could come over sooner because there just wasn't anything there that he liked. I am so proud of him!

What I am trying to say is simple: if you take a person with no experience, be it child or adult, intuitive UI design opinions are not formed yet.

Reply Score: 0

abraxas Member since:
2005-07-07

People are used to popping in a CD and clicking on the "Setup" icon to install a program. I'd argue that using officially supported repositories is hundreds of times more comfortable and secure than hunting down CDs and executable installers. But then again, people aren't used to it, so they think it's "unintuitive" (which, by the way, it's something they never think about. They only think about the things they're used to. The only ones talking bullshit about intuitiveness are the wanabee interface designer trolls like you).


Very true. Just look at most cell phones and their providers. They're packaging systems are very similar to what you see on Linux. There is a central, categorized repository to install software. People don't seem to have a problem with the way that works when they download games and applications for their phone. But somehow on when a similar approach is taken for Linux it is "unintuitive". I have the same beef with people who claim there only should be one Linux distro to reduce packaging formats. Application developers for phones don't seem to have a problem creating alternative versions of their software for different platforms.

Reply Score: 4

Who is the real competitor
by griffinme on Wed 25th Feb 2009 19:06 UTC
griffinme
Member since:
2005-11-09

Piracy is a double edged sword. Sure you lose money, but it also sucks all the air out of the room. Office is the biggest example. Office was really easy to pirate once upon a time. It became the standard because that is what everyone was using at home and it was easy then to use at work. Sure they moaned about all the lost sales but their eyes light up at figures for the percentage of documents made with Word (I heard 95% once). Adobe has had the same problem for years with Photoshop. Sure there is lots of piracy, but they are the standard because eventually some of the pirates start to do graphics professionally and insist on using Photoshop.

You end up with a loop that is hard to break. An OS withers because it can't attract devs. Devs go to the major OS because that is where the customers are.

A few asides....

"MS will be dead in five years." Don't hold your breath. People have been predicting that for a lot longer then that.

"XP is their biggest competitor." No, they get very little cash from people upgrading their OS. The vast majority comes from sales to OEM's that put it on new computers. Really they couldn't care if they put XP or Vista on the machine, either way they get the sale. Hardware not getting faster has been hurting them. Chips have hit a ceiling and are not getting much faster making it harder to incorporate new whizzbang features that customers must have.

"Look at all the companies that skipped from Exchange 5 to 2007" Again, they don't care. Most companies buy a volume license so they owned all those previous versions, they just didn't bother to install them.

Reply Score: 3

v ...
by Hiev on Wed 25th Feb 2009 19:29 UTC
RE: ...
by darknexus on Wed 25th Feb 2009 20:04 UTC in reply to "..."
darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

Oh men, The day Linux as a desktop reach the mayority in the marked share it will be the sadess day of the desktop in history.

Oh come on, it won't be anywhere near as awful as win 9x was.

Reply Score: 5

Not everything has a keyboard & monitor
by DRIQ on Wed 25th Feb 2009 19:29 UTC
DRIQ
Member since:
2008-04-28

I live in New Zealand. The university here teach students three years of Java Programming, but not the OS.
In contrast, Chinese universities teach their students Linux, BSD, and programming fro devices and appliances. I visited China recently, and was amazed what they are doing. A lot of BSD development in progress. Why? they said it is limited by the memory of the device or appliance, even a Linux kernel is too big. That is the reason why they use BSD.
The moral of the story. If you don't see a keyboard and monitor, it does not mean it is not running an OS.

Reply Score: 1

abraxas Member since:
2005-07-07

Why? they said it is limited by the memory of the device or appliance, even a Linux kernel is too big. That is the reason why they use BSD.


An embedded Linux kernel is about 300k compressed and an entire system can be run in 4MB of memory. I can't imagine many places where that's too big.

Edited 2009-02-25 21:36 UTC

Reply Score: 3

Comment by diego
by diegoviola on Wed 25th Feb 2009 20:13 UTC
diegoviola
Member since:
2006-08-15

"Really, I'm not out to destroy Microsoft. That will just be a completely unintentional side effect. "

— Linus Torvalds

Reply Score: 3

Embedded Linux on Motherboards
by DieSse on Wed 25th Feb 2009 21:04 UTC
DieSse
Member since:
2009-02-25

Just wait until moblin, and/or other "instant-on" linuxes come as standard in laptops and regular motherboards - then there'll be linux in EVERY PC.

Then wait until a huge proportion of users say - wait - I don't need the cost of Windows on top - I can use free Open Office or Google Cloud for office needs.

Then there'll be a real revolution.

Reply Score: 3

tyrione
Member since:
2005-11-21

I can go to 3 different sites and it's quite clear that BOTH MAC OS X AND LINUX are eroding Microsoft's markets.

BOTH.

Reply Score: 3

OS X and Android
by tyrione on Wed 25th Feb 2009 22:00 UTC
tyrione
Member since:
2005-11-21

http://news.cnet.com/8301-1035_3-10170883-94.html?part=rss&tag=feed...

``"We're very focused on both Apple as a competitor and Linux as a competitor," Ballmer said.''

``"The truth of the matter is all the consumer market mojo is with Apple and to a lesser extent BlackBerry. And yet, the real market momentum with operators and the real market momentum with device manufacturers seems to primarily be with Windows Mobile and Android," Ballmer said.''

Reply Score: 2

Comment by darrelljon
by darrelljon on Wed 25th Feb 2009 22:51 UTC
darrelljon
Member since:
2008-05-29

All you Microsoft doom-mongerers are forgetting one thing ... Microsoft Songsmith!

Reply Score: 2

MS Office for Linux
by vikramsharma on Thu 26th Feb 2009 01:56 UTC
vikramsharma
Member since:
2005-07-06

Now that Microsoft realizes linux to be their number one threat, can we linux users please have MS Office for linux, running MS Office on Crossover or WINE sucks. Plus Microsoft should know Linux can't be beat, and in the business world if you can't beat them join them.

Reply Score: 2

RE: MS Office for Linux
by lemur2 on Thu 26th Feb 2009 03:16 UTC in reply to "MS Office for Linux"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

Now that Microsoft realizes linux to be their number one threat, can we linux users please have MS Office for linux, running MS Office on Crossover or WINE sucks. Plus Microsoft should know Linux can't be beat, and in the business world if you can't beat them join them.


... or sue them.

http://www.engadget.com/2009/02/25/microsoft-files-patent-lawsuit-a...

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: MS Office for Linux
by vitae on Thu 26th Feb 2009 04:18 UTC in reply to "RE: MS Office for Linux"
vitae Member since:
2006-02-20

Yes, one can only hope this patent litigatin nonsense comes to an end sooner rather than later:
http://www.engadget.com/2007/05/02/vonage-sees-hope-in-supreme-cour...

Surely Microsoft has better things to do than play the Darl McBride sweepstakes.

Edited 2009-02-26 04:20 UTC

Reply Score: 4

Comment by matako
by matako on Thu 26th Feb 2009 08:37 UTC
matako
Member since:
2009-02-13

I think Linux as a competitor is *always* something to look out because it is relatively hard to edge out.

You want to enter server market? Obviously a Linux based OS can do it. Mobile? Again, somebody might tweak and adapt a Linux OS. Netbooks - there will be that pesky Linux again in a form of a custom solution. Defense industry... you get the idea.

I do not consider Linux based OS's as the best per se, but the whole class of the systems sure is flexible! They should have adopted an amoeba for their mascott, rather than the penguin ;)

Edited 2009-02-26 08:39 UTC

Reply Score: 3