VNU Net: Microsoft still dominant on the desktop [Gartner]Apr 13, 2000, 15:02 (17 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Linda Leung)
By Linda Leung, VNU Net
Linux and Java have failed to usurp Microsoft's dominant position on the desktop and it is unlikely that any other contender will succeed unless it offers something completely radical, according to researcher Gartner.
Michael Gartenberg, a research director at Gartner, said neither Linux nor Java will replace Windows because they offer no compelling difference in technology. "It must be something visible and clearly undeniable, and be tangible for independent software vendors [ISVs] to support," he said.
However, he compared Microsoft's position with the recording industry's vinyl standard which enjoyed domination for years until the introduction of CDs radically changed the market overnight. "When a technology shift occurs it happens really fast and the same could happen to Windows," he told delegates at Gartner's US Spring Symposium this week.
Microsoft has been successful by building a "positive feedback loop" that makes original equipment manufacturers, ISVs and end users dependent on each other, said Gartenberg. One example is Microsoft's Office architecture which has become a de facto standard for file formats, making it difficult for rivals to penetrate and users to break out. Through this the software giant has been able to integrate all its platforms, he said.
Gartenberg said it is this ability to integrate that Microsoft has been defending in its recent antitrust case with the US Department of Justice (DoJ). But until the final judgement in the legal battle against the DoJ is made, Microsoft will continue to be aggressive and do things to suit itself. This is despite the recent TV advertising campaign in the US which depicts Microsoft chairman Bill Gates as a wholesome innovator.
Gartenberg concluded: "Microsoft has learned the value of good public relations. It can't treat the US Federal Judge like it treats [Oracle chief executive] Larry Ellison."