Originally Published: Tuesday, 9 November 1999 Author: Ronny Ko
Published to: columnists/Ronny Ko Page: 1/1 - [Printable]

The Fallout of the Microsoft Monopoly

For quite some time, a great deal of computer users have known that Microsoft is a monopoly. Now it is a confirmed fact. Now that you've read all the news and analysis from the experts, you may wonder what this all mean to alternative operating systems such as Linux, BeOS or even OS/2....

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For quite some time, a great deal of computer users have known that Microsoft is a monopoly. Now it is a confirmed fact. Now that you've read all the news and analysis from the experts, you may wonder what this all mean to alternative operating systems such as Linux, BeOS or even OS/2.

The "Findings of Fact" statement was clearly a boost to all Linux companies. Linux is viewed as the most likely successor to Windows. But the strength of Linux has yet to be realized. Linux and Windows NT compete aggressively on the corporate server market, but Linux has yet to crack the home desktop market.

The home desktop market is made up of users who make use of their computer as much as their TV, VCR or any home appliance. In fact, they couldn't care less what operating system they use. Linux still has a long way before it can be a formidable threat to Windows in the home desktop market. However, in true Microsoft style, Microsoft will move swiftly and forcefully to shut down any possible threat to its empire. This is the reason for the Halloween files and more recently Linux Myths [FUD Attack from the Empire].

Nonetheless, Linux is putting up an aggressive fight in the enterprise server market. It is in this market which Information System (IS) Managers have greatest flexibility to deploy and use any operating system they wish.

Like Red Hat Software which received a great boost on their stock price on Monday at close, Be Inc., the company that makes the highly friendly and advanced BeOS, saw its share jump from just under $5 to close at well over $7.25. This is a great shot in the arm for Be. BeOS is aimed at the home appliance and advanced multimedia markets.

Whether Linux or BeOS becomes serious contenders to Microsoft Windows at the home desktop market remains to be seen. But one thing is clear, BeOS and Linux are marketed at different market segments.

Will Linux and BeOS be able to displace Microsoft? That remains to be seen. Many market analysts predicted a run on Microsoft stock. Contrary, Microsoft stock only moved slightly. This shows that Microsoft is a very resilient company and, industry analysts and investors alike have faith that Microsoft will be able to come back.

Over the next ten years, I predict that the market share that Windows currently enjoys will slowly erode away. BeOS and Linux will fill the gaps. I wonder if the operating system will matter as much in the future as it does today?

Ronny Ko is the Editor-in-Chief of 32BitsOnline Magazine, a multi-platform magazine founded on the idea that "There's more than one way to Compute."





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