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Despite looming threats, Microsoft still gaining market share

Here's my real question with regards to Microsoft's dominance: Is there any other desktop operating system that the masses could actually use on their desktops without having to learn stuff that only geeks have to know today?

People have asked about many different products and technologies over the years, "Is this a Microsoft killer?" The latest to spur that query is the Adobe Integrated Runtime (AIR), an operating environment that allows the user to run applications in a Web browse or a stand-alone application environment much like a Java Virtual Machine. The true impact of Adobe's new offering could be the continuing expansion of options in the computing world. Every day, we get new technologies that give us choices, such as the ability to use business productivity applications through a Web browser; to connect to the Internet with a variety of devices; or to access data anywhere at anytime.  AIR may or may not be a "Microsoft killer," but it will certainly add to our choices -- a situation that will in one way or another benefit consumers.

Could this finally be a bonafide Microsoft killer? (CNET)

The media can't seem to decide what to say about Microsoft, with examples from months apart seeming to cotradict each other.  In one story, USA Today reported that rivals were "chip[ping] away" at Microsoft's lead, and then a few months later, the IDC showed data that proved that Microsoft was increasing its market share. The dominance of Microsoft has also caused the tech giant its share of problems, most recently in the form of an antitrust ruling in Europe that could cost the company nearly $900 million in fines.

Sometimes it seems to me that a lot of people are extremely emotionally invested in seeing Microsoft go down in flames.  To some extent, I can understand those sentiments, as Microsoft is as cutthroat a company as has existed since the times of US Steel and Standard Oil.  However, a lot of credit should also be given to Microsoft as, without its aggressive strategy of making computing easy enough for the masses, we may not have seen the explosion in technology, the Internet, and computing that we have experienced over the last decade. Here's my real question with regards to Microsoft's dominance: Is there any other desktop operating system that the masses could actually use on their desktops without having to learn stuff that only geeks have to know today? I know that Linux has come a long way over the past five years, but is it to the point that a consumer can go out, buy some random piece of technology, and easily hook it up to their computer?  In other words, is there a viable Microsoft OS replacement out there?
13 comments
TechExec2
TechExec2

. [b][i]"...Despite looming threats, Microsoft still gaining market share...[/i][/b] This title is ALL WRONG. Microsoft is NOT gaining market share in operating systems or application software. The "gains" claimed by professional Microsoft fanboys in Windows web Servers are false gains. They come from Microsoft's deals with GoDaddy (world's largest domain registrar) to have them use Windows Server to serve up "parked domains". Like most everything with Microsoft, it is a friggin' lie and a deception. If anything, Microsoft is LOSING market share on all fronts. I don't have hard statistics (and neither do you), but it sure feels that way. In short: Microsoft is heading down (but they are not out nor do I expect them to be).

ley1963
ley1963

I have a problem with stating MS is losing market share, but not having the facts to back it up. It might seem that way in your world, but in my world, MS is as strong as ever. I manage a network of computers on multiple countries and continents, and though we in the US might experiment with new technologies (mostly techies) then claim they will be the next MS killer, all I get from my sites outside of the US and overseas is MS Windows and MS Office. The only other OS I see is Apples OSX (very small %), which some of my users will use at home. But in the office, those same people prefer MS for a variety of reasons. I am not necessarily a Microsoft homer, but I have been using their products since 1983. I remember the day I first saw the Edit program and was thankful I did not have to continue to memorize those crazy Edlin commands. So, I have been pragmatic in my approach, and I will say the MS has satisfied my needs on the OS and Networking fronts. Can they do better?Yes, but if you look at the number lines of code in Windows, and the fact that they have to support every Tom, Dick and Harry niche program or hardware, they are doing OK in my book. I do send my complaints and recommendations to my suppliers and participate in my share of questionnaires on MS products. It is that type of feedback, and even blogs like this one that will keep MS on their toes. So, I will continue to use MS products, since they will help pay my mortgage, get my kids through college and set me up for a good retirement.

TechExec2
TechExec2

[b][i]"...I have a problem with stating MS is losing market share, but not having the facts to back it up. It might seem that way in your world, but in my world, MS is as strong as ever..."[/i][/b] I was crystal clear that I was offering an unsubstantiated impression. There's no need to "have a problem" with it, unless you also "have a problem" with the original author's claim that "Microsoft is still gaining market share". The author's title is complete crap. There is lots of anecdotal evidence that Macintosh is gaining market share (around 6-7%) and Linux is gaining market share (around 2-3%). And, if those two are really gaining a little, Microsoft is losing a little. Microsoft is making piles of money. And, in Microsoft shops, [u]of course[/u] Microsoft is as "strong as ever". My post was addressing the fallacy that Microsoft is "gaining market share". I had been a Microsoft customer and Windows user since 1992. I switched to Linux this year because I refuse to tolerate Microsoft's unacceptable predatory business practices and unacceptable product design problems anymore. Sure, with effort you can make Windows workstations and servers sufficiently safe and reliable. I've done it for decades. I just won't run Vista (or Server 2008) that comes with WGA capricious de-activation built into every copy. I refuse to get on the phone to a call center in India to get re-activated when Microsoft's WGA falsely de-activates my systems. I refuse to tolerate the uncertainty and suffer the business damage. Imagine one of your executives on a long plane flight, Vista-equipped laptop in hand, and the damn thing de-activates on him. You'd better start preparing to have "the discussion" with him now. I now run an operating system that is "mine" and has my best interests at heart for the first time. I am really liking it and have no plans to return to Windows laptops, desktops, or servers. Ever. It's fine if you choose to stick with them. I hope you do well.

TechExec2
TechExec2

. [b][i]"...a lot of credit should also be given to Microsoft as, without its aggressive strategy of making computing easy enough for the masses, we may not have seen the explosion in technology, the Internet, and computing that we have experienced over the last decade..."[/i][/b] Are you lost in a time warp? This is ancient history from the 20th century. Microsoft has made many many billions of dollars and gotten all the accolades they deserve for their past accomplishments. What has Microsoft done to me lately? ** Windows Vista took 5 years and was delivered in REALLY bad condition. Vista is not Windows hardware-compatible nor Windows software-compatible. Much of my hardware and software is not compatible, and it never will be. Vista sucks. Period. ** WGA constantly phoning home and capricious de-activation triggered by everyday use of my laptops and desktops (and would-be servers with Windows Server 2008). This incredibly overconfident arrogant insanity is unacceptable. I will not be running Windows laptops, desktops, or servers in the future. Windows XP is the end of the line. Tony Hopkinson is absolutely right. For all of the good things Microsoft [u]tries[/u] to do, and all of the good things they [u]could[/u] do, they shoot themselves in the foot every single time. It's truly astonishing. There are some really big problems inside Microsoft that are REALLY holding them back. Curious? Want a glimpse? Check out the "Mini Microsoft" blog (1). Read the anonymous comments from Microsoft employees going back several years. Very interesting and enlightening. [b][i]"...I know that Linux has come a long way over the past five years, but is it to the point that a consumer can go out, buy some random piece of technology, and easily hook it up to their computer? In other words, is there a viable Microsoft OS replacement out there?..."[/i][/b] Linux is getting closer and closer to being a great consumer OS for the PC, Ubuntu in particular. I switched from Windows to Kubuntu this year (but I'm a techie user). There are many things that I [u]prefer[/u] about Kubuntu over Windows XP. I wouldn't hesitate to sit ANYONE down in front of a Kubuntu workstation. The Macintosh has always been a better consumer OS. Always. But, Apple's business model where they make and distribute all of the hardware themselves makes them very successful, but always a niche player. --------------------------------------- (1) Mini Microsoft Blog http://minimsft.blogspot.com

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

They've run roughshod over everybody for so long, people are trying to do them up the back on a regular basis. I don't see AIR as a threat at all. It's customer base is predominantly MS, in fact it's dependant on MS for success. Bill and co have missed the ball technologically on a regular basis, they never miss stamping on rivals though. As long as they are allowed that dominance they will have that dominance. The tipping point will be when it's percieved that MS has enough competition for hardware and software providers to consider it commercially sound to support them. I only develop for windows, that isn't going to change until the people I develop for stop using it as much. So you won't see Tony's killer app, until MS has got rogor mortis. Not their yet, unfortunately...

BillFerreira
BillFerreira

The IDC statistics are 4 years old, talk about journalistic incompetance. Get a life Andy.

Andy Moon
Andy Moon

...of the comparison. I know that the stats were 4 years old, but the article that declared that rivals were chipping away preceded the IDC study by only a few months. The point was that, despite some claims of "MS killers" or competitors gaining ground, the numbers tend to show the opposite.

DanLM
DanLM

By the way, I did not realize they were not untill reading these threads. I think the article would be more substansive. There has been a number of court case's in 4 years. There has been a number of improvements in other operating systems in 4 years. There also has been advancements in desk top applications by other parties that were only ruled by MS 4 years ago. No, I'm not trying to bash. Just raising the point that some major players have stepped up their attacks/offerings against what can be considered MS major buisness applications. ie: Dell offering linux desk tops. IBM and google both offering or supporting other office suites. Court decesions that have removed some of the MS bite they had in various nations. Alot of these things have happened sence the report that you offer of Microsofts market share increasing. I would be intrested in knowing if this is still the case. Dan p.s. Damn, I miss my spell check.

DanLM
DanLM

That was a good read. Dan

Andy Moon
Andy Moon

I really do like Mac's OSX, but until it can run on cheap hardware, it will not be a domnant player. Is there another desktop OS that your average consumer could easily use?

etruss
etruss

The last Windows version that the average consumer could easily use was Windows 98SE. The level of knowledge required to really use the OS rose with XP then really took off with Vista. The level of knowledge required to solve problems with Vista are now beyond even former power users - especially in the area of security.

bikingbill
bikingbill

My Mac Mini cost just about the same as an equivalent PC when you add on the various security tools you need for Windows but which are included with OSX. And I don't have ongoing subscription costs for anti-virus and parental controls that I had with the PC. I don't think that Apple is good at marketing these advantages. Perhaps they don't want to get too involved at the bottom end of the market, but until they do that OSX will remain a niche product and mass-market software publishers will stick with Windows.