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The Register: Is the end looming for the Microsoft monopoly?

Dec 15, 2000, 20:31 (24 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by John Lettice)

"Meanwhile back at the core OS revenue front it doesn't look particularly promising either. There's clearly a point beyond which Microsoft can't squeeze the OEMs, and while it's a substantial leap of faith from that to say they'll start retaliating by shipping PCs with alternative operating systems, the pressure could induce them to concentrate more heavily on platforms that aren't exactly PCs. Linux appliances could become more attractive to them than the lowest price PCs, and they just might start to get more interested in Palm and Symbian as well, given that stuff you shove in your pocket and stuff that works with wireless is hot."

"The difficulty with devices in these categories here is that they'll be cheaper still, and even a Microsoft defensive strategy that used CE as the sacrificial victim to avoid cutting Windows prices wouldn't add up to the right numbers. A decline in the PC platform could be triggered or accelerated by the hardware manufacturers increasingly viewing PCs as high spec, higher cost devices they could actually make a profit on, and cutting the low-cost non-PC platforms in at the bottom end, thus at last knocking back Microsoft's percentage take from the hardware business."

"That wouldn't be the case, even if Microsoft was charging Symbian's $5-$10 rate in the device/mobile phone market, so long as Microsoft took a big slice of the market. But you've no doubt noticed that the three biggest handset companies are (largely) in the opposing camp, and that Microsoft partner Sagem (rather small, rather French) recently issued its own profits warning. Still, there's always Samsung..."

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