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LinuxToday.com.au: When The Music Stops; Effects Of PC Downturn On Linux & Microsoft

Dec 08, 2000, 19:35 (4 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Bill Bennett)

"At first sight, the dramatic downturn in PC hardware sales growth has little to do with Linux. There's certainly no straightforward link between the two. Yet the PC hardware market is at a crossroads - a situation that could have important implications for the entire computer industry and a significant knock-on effect in the Linux space."

"There's a growing feeling in the industry that the so-called 'Microsoft tax' is now inhibiting growth. Microsoft doesn't have to play ball, but this is a game it can not win. It can drop prices and maintain volumes or maintain prices and see volumes fall even faster. Either way, revenues from this area are going to drop. Which brings me to the most obvious impact of the desktop PC slow down. It's going to hit Microsoft harder than anyone expects. Much harder."

"...the non-commercial, or at least not-very-commercial nature of Linux means that it is effectively decoupled from short term financial considerations. Open source programmers will go on cutting great code so long as they have enough money for electrical power and the occasional morsel of food. It's worth remembering that the golden days of the shareware phenomenon were during the recessionary years of the late 1980s and early 1990s when people didn't have much money to spend on software. I'm confident that if the PC market stumbles, Linux and open source will pick up strength."

"The bottom line is that a hardware slowdown isn't going to propell Linux onto the consumer desktop, nor will it ignite the corpororate desktop market. But it will shift industry emphasis to the server market and it will cause manufacturers to reassess their existing relationship with Microsoft."

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