"This week's IDC report on the server market has some
tantalising numbers for Linux fanciers. Linux server shipments will
climb faster than the rest of the market, resulting in 2004 in
Linux shipments of around 4.7 million, finally within spitting
distance of Microsoft, at 5.7 million. But although this holds
the possibility of Linux taking the lead in 2005 or 2006, that's
not the real story - the changing underlying economics of the
market are what Microsoft really has to be worried about."
"As our old friend IDC pundit Dan Kusnetzky colourfully puts it
in the release: "From a revenue perspective, Linux is nothing more
than a speck of sand on an ocean beach." Total Linux sales last
year, he says, amounted to about the same as Microsoft's operating
systems business generated by the third working day of January
1999. So that's point one - Linux server shipments will start to
catch up on Microsoft, but there will remain a vast chasm between
relative revenue levels, so maybe Microsoft shouldn't worry,
"Well maybe. The market as a whole will grow 17 per cent a year,
with Linux chalking up 28 per cent within this. But revenues will
be flat, with growth of only one per cent a year. This can
partially be ascribed to the higher growth rate of Linux pulling
the average down, but IDC expects a surge of shipments of upgrades
to Microsoft server products, which will bring the number of
shipments up but will only generate upgrade revenue."
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