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osOpinion: The OS Wars are Over and Everybody Won

Mar 02, 2000, 22:34 (4 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Peter Olsen)

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"Like WWII soldiers stranded on a Pacific island, Windows 2000 and Linux are fighting a pointless battle in a war that's already over. Pleasantly, for consumers at least, they both won. So did BeOS, MacOS, PalmOS and the rest."

"What made the OS Wars so brutal was the Network Effect. You might like that slick new NT, but if everyone else went with OS/2 your choice didn't count for much. Hence the flaming emails, the relentless need to evangelize. It was convert or be converted. The value of an operating system lay not in its features but in its network of users. That's the Network Effect."

"But that was a long time ago (say, 1998). Now, thanks to the Web browser, most people, most of the time, need only a handful of other applications: email, word processor, spreadsheet. The old custom programs are now server based, the old proprietary interfaces run through the browser."

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