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NewsForge: Linux and the Market's Big Geographic Change

Jul 11, 2002, 22:00 (10 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Jack Bryar)

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"Japan's shift of emphasis is instructive. During the '80s and '90s, Japan's superior manufacturing skills helped it contend with the United States for dominance in the personal computer marketplace. The country's once formidable Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) orchestrated a flood of innovative computer products by Japanese manufacturers. At the time, many analysts thought the country would dominate the global PC industry the much the same way it same way it took over consumer electronics in the '60s and '70s. Unfortunately, MITI never appreciated the importance of software. The country never developed a software industry on a par with North America's. Over time Japan's position deteriorated as the software and services sector became an increasingly important part of IT, and as other Asian states took over a greater share of the chips and commodity components marketplace. That slump became a crash as the U.S. and European markets faded over the last couple of years.

"Today MITI has renamed itself the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI). Along with the name is a change in its attitude. Now, METI thinks local markets are important. It thinks software is critically important. And, it has begun to promote Open Source as a way to increase the efficiency of the country's manufacturing base and to advance Japan's high technology industries. Over the last two years METI has been the force behind a number of Linux-centric projects such as the SCore Cluster System software adopted by NEC and Fujitsu.

"This week, METI will escalate its involvement with the Open Source community. It proposes to organize that community into a national resource..."

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