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)
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"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.
"...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
"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."