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Microsoft and Its Three Biggest Threats

Mar 05, 2009, 03:03 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Paul Rubens)

"Here's why: "I think the dynamic with Linux is changing somewhat," Ballmer said at the meeting. "I assume we're going to see Android-based, Linux-based laptops, in addition to phones. We'll see Google more as a competitor in the desktop operating system business than we ever have before."

"This statement is quite revealing in that it shows Microsoft's general fear that Google is out to get it is becoming more concrete: that Google is going to try to use Linux to do much more significant damage to Microsoft's businesses than it has managed to do so far. As yet its Chrome browser (a platform for future web services?) and its cloud-based applications such as Gmail, Google Calendar and Google Docs, which compete (in a mild way) with Outlook and Office have had almost no impact on Microsoft. But Google taking a lead with Android Linux could make a far bigger impact on the desktop than any of the more traditional Linux players have been able to so far.

"Microsoft is also worried about Linux because of its success in the data center, where its share of the server market, at a little below 20 percent, is significant. It's these worries that prompted Microsoft to warn anyone who cared to listen that Linux infringed its intellectual property and to mutter darkly about legal repercussions. Last week these mutterings turned into a lawsuit launched against TomTom, alleging patent violation relating to the company's implementation of the Linux kernel."

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