Linked by Howard Fosdick on Mon 13th Dec 2010 23:11 UTC
PDAs, Cellphones, Wireless It's hard to predict the future because we humans prefer to think in terms of familiar paradigms. Even the most brilliant of our species are subject to this flaw. Now, Microsoft faces its turn. The owner of the operating system that likely runs your personal computer, the company that achieved monopoly with Windows and ducked the Department of Justice's scythe to keep it, faces a midlife crisis as the world goes gaga over portable consumer devices. This is the story of what's happening to Microsoft in the handheld operating system markets -- and how it parallels the earlier, similar journeys of IBM Corporation and Digital Equipment Corporation. Can Microsoft achieve dominance on mobile devices?
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RE[2]: Comment by Neolander
by Neolander on Tue 14th Dec 2010 08:40 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by Neolander"
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Well, apparently it's not obvious to everyone, looking at the number of people who seem to think that the rise of smartphones and tablets, along with that of better web technologies like HTML5, is marking the end of Microsoft's monopoly on the desktop/laptop market.

It'll take a bit more than that, I think. Currently, Microsoft is crushed in an area where they never became dominant in the first place, the entertainment market. But I don't think that things like Office or Windows are threatened yet.

Edited 2010-12-14 08:46 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[3]: Comment by Neolander
by lemur2 on Tue 14th Dec 2010 09:24 in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by Neolander"
lemur2 Member since:

But I don't think that things like Office or Windows are threatened yet.

It will take some time before people generally come to realise that they don't need to run Office or Windows these days in order to be perfectly compatible with those who do.

At the moment, some government contracts are still being let which stipulate that Microsoft software must be offered as the solution. In most cases, this is actually against the governments own rules, and this practice is being challenged now. As soon as freedom software is allowed to compete for contracts on a level playing field, which is most likely to begin with government departments, it should start displacing Office and Windows in large deployments.

This is already policy in some countries.

OpenOffice installed base is currently between 10% and 20% depending on geographic location.

Edited 2010-12-14 09:29 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[4]: Comment by Neolander
by Neolander on Tue 14th Dec 2010 09:55 in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by Neolander"
Neolander Member since:

OpenOffice has the best compatibility with Office which the open-source world has to offer, but it's not perfect. Complex documents may or may not work. For a home user or a student like me it's okay, but on a larger scale it's really not okay.

Apart from that, there's also a problem of intrinsic software qualities. Oo's UI is obscure in places, they cloned office 2000 and it was not the best UI microsoft has ever done to say the least. Impress is okay for light use, but Writer makes some simple things very complicated (ex : OO formulas vs MathType, paragraph numbering...), and let's not even talk about Calc vs Excel.

Finally, there's plug-in compatibility. Office has some very interesting add-ons like XLSTAT, which are obviously not compatible with OpenOffice.

Windows is yet another issue. There are two problems here : hardware and software.

Since there are no standard interfaces to hardware anymore, modern hardware requires drivers. Drivers are made by the manufacturer and OS-specific, which means that Linux is often doomed to using either crappy proprietary drivers (as they don't matter in terms of market share, the HW manufacturer does not pay attention to what it codes) or second-class community drivers made from reverse engineering, which are often coming late at the party, unstable, or poor in some areas (3D acceleration, power management).

And then, there's software. Where are AutoCAD, Photoshop, After Effect for Linux ? There are sometimes (not always) equivalents, but they don't have the same UI, and often do not offer exactly the same functionality - which results in a productivity loss.

Edited 2010-12-14 09:58 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 3