Microsoft

Poll: Should Microsoft really be considered a monopoly?

This week's Microsoft Windows Blog poll: Should Microsoft really be considered a monopoly? This is your chance to sound off on the topic.

Last week I polled the TechRepublic membership regarding the use of unlicensed copies of Microsoft Windows. I was looking for an explanation of why and how someone would consider that activity to be justified. After the poll runs its course, I'll present the results, and then we can discuss some of the more inventive responses.

However, in the meantime, one common theme kept creeping into the conversation and that was the idea that Microsoft is a monopoly. That got me thinking, what exactly do we mean by monopoly? The Oxford English Dictionary contains this definition:

Monopoly: noun (pl. monopolies) 1 the exclusive possession or control of the supply of a commodity or service. 2 an organization having a monopoly, or a commodity or service controlled by one. 3 exclusive possession or control of something.

So, while Microsoft certainly enjoys a substantial market share in the operating system market, it really doesn't meet the formal definition of a monopoly, does it? I mean, there are several other operating systems available, some even for free. Doesn't that preclude Microsoft from being labeled a monopoly or are there other mitigating factors we should consider?

About

Mark Kaelin is a CBS Interactive Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He is the host for the Microsoft Windows and Office blog, the Google in the Enterprise blog, the Five Apps blog and the Big Data Analytics blog.

97 comments
admin
admin

Google is a clear example of monopoly with their ads system. They are not the only ones providing ad services, but they have fought versus any serious competitors and always destroyed em. That?s a monopoly for me, having 95% of market and still destroy competitors. Microsoft did it in past, now appears is Google turn

dseedorf
dseedorf

Why hasen't the Government taken a look at Apple, a company in Florida was selling PC's with Gigabite motherboards and loaded OS 10.5. Apple sued and now the company is no longer.

ian
ian

A monopoly is a singular (mono) choice. There are other choices, good or bad. Whether we exercise those choices is up to the punter, but they do have a choice. The only reason that Microsoft holds a large market share is because of advertising and providing something with bells and whistles. Punters have the option to use Linux but they choose not to because it needs to much brain power to learn something when it is easier to use an OS straight out of the box. As it is now, if a punter wants Linux, they have to download it, learn how to install it, learn how to tweak it, download all the various applications necessary to compete with M$. The majority of punters do not know how to do that or have the time to do that. They want something they can take out of a box, plug it in and start using it. If Linux were marketed better (faster, safer, cheaper) and punters were given the opportunity to buy PC's already configured with Linux O/S and Open Office we would see a dramatic change in the marketplace.

tfirstclass
tfirstclass

It's pretty simple, Microsoft has been around since the late 70s or early 80s. The competition has had plenty of time to offer something better. Microsoft is the preferred choice because they do their homework and are consequently the best,the people's choice.

sar10538
sar10538

or getting a refund if you do not intend to use it. You end up being treated like a criminal as they think your just going to put a pirate copy of Windows on it anyway. The Microsoft tax needs to be ditched first and PC manufacturers need to stop taking back-handers (reduced license fees for Windows exclusivity) before we can ever say it is not a monopoly. Everyone who has read the technical press has seen past stories of leverage being put on manufacturers to cut out the competition. So you say this is just business, but it is anti-competitive and that makes it a monopoly action. Other software houses don't try to kill off the competition with dirty tricks, they compete on the merit of their products and the consumer wins. When the competition is stifled the consumer looses and has to put up with what the monopoly puts out. Still, I guess this way of operating is in the blood of Microsoft as top of their company mantra is "Don't let anyone do to us what we did to IBM"

Gis Bun
Gis Bun

Just because they have a good chunk of the OEM market, it's not a monopoly. After all, you can buy a system with Linux. But it seems that since Linux has a 1% share in the OS market nobody wants it and the OEMS know that [at one point 80% of all netbook returns were because of the fact that the purchaser bought a netbook with Linux on it without knowing what Linux was - the majority of the remaining 20% was because they expected a faster system]. If they are a monopoly it's because of Apple's refusal to allow the Mac OS to be installed on non-Apple hardware. Actually, the Mac OS is a monopoly. After all after paying the "Apple Tax" would you then trash OS X to install Ubuntu? Nope. Additionally, I built my own system in January. I can choose what I want to install.

premdas67
premdas67

Microsoft bashing is like anti semitism. The reasons are not always clear. I mean the Palestinians might have a reason to hate the Jews but what excuse have the rest of the world. So with Microsoft, it has to be sheer envy of an Organisation that has the world in its hand by its marketing genius.

Questor1
Questor1

I could write a long dissertation paper about illegal and predatory actions taken by Microsoft in the past 25 years to protect their OS and applications monopoly power that is gradually slipping away. I have been in the IT field for over 25 years and survived the IT business wars that Microsoft started, yet continue to this day. To start with in Part 1, Microsoft when first created, was not an innovative software development company. The MS-DOS operating system was pieced together mostly by Bill Gates from public domain listings of Gary Kildahl's CPM OS. Does this make Bill Gates a "scriptkitty"? Microsoft started to gain industry attention in the early 80's when they signed an OS licensing deal with IBM which did not understand the PC market at first and granted Microsoft additional licensing rights IBM later regretted. Then, Microsoft came out with MS Multiplan - a competitive character-based spreadsheet choice similar to Lotus 1-2-3 at that time. These 2 products and the IBM marketing deal were the main cash cows that gave Microsoft industry notice. Apple's Steve Jobs in the mid 80's wanted to use Microsoft's corporate name recognition and needed to create business appeal by port Multiplan to the Mac interface. Microsoft was looking for unique ways to make Microsoft products standout from character-cased competitior applications through an innovative Mac "point and click" user interface that could not be easily copied by other PC competitors. Apple and Microsoft got "married" as technology partners for convenient marketing that benefited both companies. However, the business relationship started to sour and Steve Jobs grew concerned when he learned Microsoft was secretly copying the Mac interface and trying to port it to a newly created "Windows" interface without Apple's knowledge or consent. Gates tried to mislead the industry news media claiming Microsoft was a major Mac developer, but did not admit how little they actually worked on the original Mac OS. Admittedly, Apple had copied the very basic OS framework ideas and mouse use as a digital input from Xerox PARC that gave up the intellectual property rights to Apple for free. Apple's Jobs was later thrown out in a business politics coup and new Apple Pres Scully really did a stupid thing when he allowed Microsoft more access to the Mac OS code development, yet he did not immediately sue Microsoft when they copied the "Look and feel" of the Mac OS interface and functions. Rumor at that time was that Scully wanted to integrate Apple more with the Microsoft Windows products for a possible mega-merger and allow joint PC and Mac marketing & sales through retailers who sold both PC & Mac products at the same time. Apple sales fell after Windows was introduced and the Board of Directors at Apple later got rid of Scully. Apple sued Microsoft for copying the Mac proprietary interface in federal court, but the legal case was dismissed on procedural grounds because the lawsuit itself had been filed way too late by Apple. As a result, the federal court never heard or considered the merits of the Apple lawsuit against Microsoft copying the Apple computer interface since the case was dismissed before it went to trial. Since Microsoft copied many the ideas for its Windows OS from Apple Mac OS and CPM, it continually amazes me how Microsoft repeatedly tries to shut out and mislead both friends and foes by restricting microcode access to its closed Windows operating system, not provinding adequate nor complete documentation of Windows code, and continually changing the OS microcode without giving developers or affiliated companies adequate lead time to check or modify 3rd party software compatibility with Microsoft products. In summary, Microsoft inflates its corporate reputation and success by often watching other companies establish software markets and create viable products. Microsoft then approaches those potential competitors dangling bait Microsoft wants to become a distribution partner and/or investor with the competitior company and require the competitor to reveal all of the microcode to help Microsoft decide if it wants to invest time and resources to partner with that company. The result that happens most often is that Microsoft may license the product for a brief time, but later reverse engineer's the competitior microcode and modifies it just enough and add a few "features" to call it a new Microsoft product developed in-house without paying any license fee to the competitior. IMHO, Microsoft is the software company bully that steps on smaller innovative companies in its quest to retain dominance in the software market. Product innovation is stifled because companies fear Microsoft will copy their software ideas. Innovation at Microsoft is dead and has been for a long time because Microsoft is more interested in increasing sales by controlling the IT industry direction towards Microsoft products while stepping on competitior companies...

Tommy S.
Tommy S.

If we didnt had MS, we would be lost, or worst, be forced to use a MAC.

ddreibelbies
ddreibelbies

With no offense meant to Linux users, it is hard to imagine a large business structure using anything except Microsoft operating systems. However, there are options for those willing to use them. Hence, legally, I doubt that Microsoft can be considered a monopoly.

jsaubert
jsaubert

Having the larger market share and the level of control they have on their own products does not make them a monopoly. Or at least no more a monopoly than every other company that survives. Lack of competition has made them the massive force they are now far more than suppressing competition that is one of the hallmarks of a monopoly. We as humans have become LAZY when we find something that "works".

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

What are my options? Apple seems to be doing well financially. Does it actually compete for the same customers as MS systems? It's always struck me as being aimed at the high end of the market. If it deliberately chooses not to license it's products to other manufacturers, does it compete with MS? Linux / OpenOffice.org? Can free products be hindered by the actions of a 'for profit' company? Linux has no problem competing in the server room or on non-PC platforms. Is anyone else attempting to market a desktop OS? It maybe that MS's past actions have led possible competitors to abandon the market but if no one else is trying, is it still a monopoly?

jck
jck

an "other" option. Do I consider them a monopoly? Yes. a) They do control the market from having the majority stake. Your kid wants to play Assassain's Creed 2 on the PC? Can't play it on Linux or Mac. You *have* to buy Windows, or go buy a whole new game system (which defeats the purpose of your child having that gaming rig). b) Microsoft has enough market share to influence peripheral manufacturers to accept their driver standards, etc. Microsoft single-handedly made Adobe what they are today, as well as HP printers. And, Bill Gates owns lots of shares of both companies and has been an "adviser" to them via being a board member in the past. Yes, you can get a PC with a different OS. However, your options are somewhat limited now. That is changing, but the big turn around in numbers won't be for a while. And, Microsoft will do everything marketing and technically to cripple that process as much as they can and string out the American consumer's dependence on them as long as possible.

Questor1
Questor1

Microsft ignored Google until it was too late for Microsoft to react. In the USA, Microsoft tried to ignore the Internet and its sales potential because Microsoft wanted (and still wants) PCs to have a locally installed OS and local apps purchased and installed to run on the PC. Software companies such as Sun, Novell, and Wordperfect in the 1990's all tried to be "1 stop fits all" by creating software suites that tried to match Microsoft Office. However, Microsoft and these companies were caught by surpise when Internet use really started to take off. Google and the Internet pose a real threat to Microsoft monopoly sales and profit margins because applications no longer have to be purchased for a high price that feeds the Microsoft monopoly. Comparable apps are often availabe free of charge through Internet web sites and cloud computing. Up until 1 year ago, Microsoft could not decide on a business model to include "software as a service" and subscription sales. Microsoft's slowness to react is yet another sign of why it is a monopoly. With few competitors and Internet technology it does not fully understand (ie Internet security software & protection), Microsoft has no compelling economic reasons to move to "central server-based software" when so much of its revenue comes from PC stand-alone OSs and apps.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

a PC with a non-MS OS installed? What factors contribute to the continuance of this difficultly? For ma and pa user there is only one choice available, so for them it is a monopoly.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

And please define better, one of us is missing something. Cheaper, adherence to standards, more secure, more robust, more applications. It is simple, MS are effectively a monopoloy on the home appliance desktop market. If they weren't they wouldn't be the Microsoft we've come to know and love.

Questor1
Questor1

Over 80% of new PC sales have a Microsoft OS and/or apps installed on new PCs. This 80% is consistent with past yearly sales of Microsoft products. I have seen Microsoft bully OEM vendors for YEARS to buy licenses the PC buyer does not want or need. These jacked up costs for unwanted software are automatically passed to consumers and results in extending Microsoft's reach into the wallets and purses of American consumers. Why should users in North America be penalized for excessive Microsoft profits while Microsoft does not enforce the same pricing and policing tactics in other world markets? Microsoft needs to take a hard fall on product sales to be brought back to earth and end their abusive monopoly power.

graphx
graphx

Wow. It amazes me to see so many people who think they are informed over this question. I mean, the question itself has nothing to do with why Microsoft has been a and always will be a monopoly. It also has nothing to do with the OS or it's programs. It has to do with the companies corporate polices and practices in business. When we start talking about it with this as the core of the question, then *YES Microsoft is by all means is a Monopoly*. This articles poll question is like many others, put out to take your focus off the real issue. This isn't a war about what OS is better, it a war of which company or entity has the power to change peoples view through marketing, through politics, through alliances with other companies, through intellectual property rights agreements and trade secrets and law trending through lobbying. With this kind of power allowed to a company, it can call the ball and make changes that otherwise could and most of the time should not be done for the good of the customer (because it usually benefits the company only and not the user or customer). If you don't think this is how Microsoft has been successful, lets change the playing field and see what happens. Microsoft is another example of a company who doesn't want to have to compete with it's market. It wants to dominate it so that what it says is fact and it doesn't have to share the the spotlight with other reputable technologies and softwares. Spend time reading some history on M$ claim to fame and watching the comments from the prior and current CEO's of Microsoft.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

That's the only possible reason that one may have grievances with how they do business or quality of the products?

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

They keep changing them everytime we develop to one, almost like not having one at all....

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

If MS hadn't have broken the IBM monopoly on non-Apple machines, some other company would have eventually. Maybe it would have been Apple for a time but someone else would have come along also.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

Most organizations already have a data addiction to Microsoft's products. Exchange/Outlook really is the killer combination for businesses once your using it. Of course, now that Evolution supports Exchange 2003, we have Exchange 2007 and new "standards" to support. But, there are options for organizations that don't already have an addiction to maintain.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

But, there existing position is the result of using the majority position in the past to impose a lack of competition against there inferior products. It's like saying us round eye'd white immigrants are the majority land owners now because we where all fine upstanding citizens while ignoring the horrendous crap that we did on arrival to the original inhabitants including the use of chemical weapons (knowingly distributing smallpox infected blankets; yeah, we winners are all kinds of moral aren't we).

Ocie3
Ocie3

Maybe I am wrong, but I thought that creating a UNIX kernel that would make a user GUI more feasible (or even possible), in contrast to -- or in addition to -- the traditional command-line interface, was the original inspiration for Linus Torvalds. People talk about KDE and something else which I can't recall at the moment, but I do not have the impression that any GUI that "runs on Linux" actually is an interface for the "Linux OS" itself. They seem to be more akin to the Windows GUI for MS-DOS. Windows NT and its subsequents are integral to the operating system, not just GUIs for the underlying operating system. So, is any Linux "developer" attempting to market a "desktop OS"? Note that Open Office is an alternative to Microsoft Office, not to Windows 2000, XP, Vista and 7.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

Technically, Microsoft sells a part to commodity vendors which is then combined along with the rest of the components. Apple is a commodity vendor who happens to produce there own firmware. They are two different levels in the supply chain. I'd say OS can be compared to OS or other product to equal product but overall company is not directly comparable to overall company. But, to answer your posed question; yes. A company can be a monopoly the absence of competition. That is actually the absolute definition of monopoly. This in and of itself is not a problem provided the company does not abuse that position. One example is mail deliveries to northern extremes. I understand there is really only one shipping/mailing company that delivers because other's choose not too provide competitive services. That one company only becomes a problem when they jack shipping prices to gouge the customers in absence of any other service provider. Maybe we'll get a business lawyer passing by that can clarify some of this from a legal perspective though.

jck
jck

Microsoft still is trying to corner the market. They single-handedly plug up the US patent and trademark office with dozens of applications per week both for algorithmic as well as physical hardware designs. Also, Microsoft exerts enough pressure on other software makers (who develop end-user apps), as well hardware companies, to conform and adopt their standards rather than adopting an open standard. Since they have majority control as well as apply enough influence to make the market anti-competitive, I'd say they are still a monopoly. Monopoly doesn't just mean you are running folks out of business, or the Justice Dept. would never have went after them.

taylorstan
taylorstan

a) You don't HAVE to play that game. It is not a critical fucntion of the computer. So if you WANT to play that game , you must meet THE GAME developers standards, which in this case the OS must be MS. I'm sure you can't play it on a old 8bit PCI graphics card either. So if the developer wanted to, they could write code for Apple or *nix or any OS they saw fit. They decided not to. b)Hardware is hardware there are defined standards that a peice of hardware must follow. The firmware and/or software(drivers) for the hardware can be made so it's functions will work with ANY O/S. Again it's up to the product developers to make it available for multi O/Ss. So no, Microsoft does not have a monoply. It's like what they said in the movie "Tommy Boy", "He could sell a ketchup popsicle to a lady wearing white gloves." That's MS, they have the marketing beast to do that and keep control of their share.

graphx
graphx

Once again I agree with Questor1, I wouldn't have no problem if M$ was an honest company at the top and played by the rules, As well as not sticking the customer with an astronomical price tag for it's OS and software products.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

The have a target number of units to ship and minimum number of units to trigger a price change. They can ship XX number of units at an obsorbitant price point in the EU/North American markets. If they ship at that same price point in places like India, they only move X number of units which is below the trigger point so they drop the price to maintain the XX number of units shipped. Where consumers will pay the higher prices, they milk it for profit margin purposes. Where consumers will not pay the higher prices, they drop the price point to try and maintain market share for future gouging.

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

I apologize, but after reading your discussion post I am still not sure why the poll is lame or the question is rigged. If I read correctly, you are saying Microsoft is a monopoly because they are big, have tremendous influence, and use questionable business tactics. There are plenty of companies that fit that category but we don't consider them monopolies.

osgcurt
osgcurt

I agree with Neon. Why did the OEM market go to MSFT? Well before many of the critics of Microsoft even knew how to create a batch file, there was a great magazine called computer shopper. May of the new PC vendors of the time advertised in that magazine. It was think like the MAN pages manual. When you brought a PC, you were fortunate if formated the drive in DOS for you. So one company started including Windows 3.0 on their machine. Sales went way up. So all others, Including Dell, which was a very small operation at the time started to do the same. Then the stakes were raised higher. Choose Microsft office or Microsoft Visual Basic or Microsoft Visual C++ free with the price of the PC. Sales went up again. You see, People WANTED this. WHY. Because it was better than anything they could get at the time and the price was right. Sure, Unix and linux were around. Yes, some of us did the Walnut Creek software thing. But it did not fly with users who had to get going. And Microsoft software worked on Novell networks and later they had the TCP/IP stack which at the time Apple did not. So now, slander, propaganda, and kiddie features are the weapons against the successful. Perhaps they will succeed in getting much of Microsoft's Market share. But if truth be told, we know that back in the early 90s Apple had no hope of knocking off the mainframes. Microsoft did. So why do most techs today have a job? Redmond baby.

jck
jck

The MS TCP/IP stack in Windows NT Server 3.5 The MS Administrative Policy Handler in Windows NT 4.0 SP3 Microsoft Bob FTW! :^0

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

"Linux developer" would technically be a developer working on the kernel through kernel.org or a distribution specific fork of the kernel. It's like asking "is any other NT Kernel developer working on Windows GUI?" - No, because the NT kernel developer would be working on the kernel where the interface or userland development team would be working on GUI. What your actually looking for is distribution maintainers like Red Hat, Novell, Mandriva, Cononical, Debian, PCLinuxOS and so on who are developing with the target customer "average user" and/or all GUI management. In that regard, the distribution "vendors" a line above would be your starting point. Novell's Suse would be a good pick as it's getting kind of Windows-bloated and most likely to provide full CIFS/SMB/Samba and AD support through Novell's relationship with Microsoft. With the original topic being "is Microsoft an monopoly" the overall question would not be "what other OS are trying to compete" but "does MS market share legally denote monopoly status and have they used that position against other OS trying to compete" - Yes, in the past they clearly have by near-blackmailing computer retailers into not offering customers an alternative to Windows. That single anti-competitive act solidified much of there hold on the market and the momentum that keeps them there.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

Your probably thinking of Gnome. The GUI layer can easily be seporated and swapped out for others. The distributions that focus on GUI use and average users provide GUI administration tools. Mandriva's draketools are a great example and KDE4 includes a more osX like system settings tool. In general, programs are built in two halfs; core program with cli interface and GUI wrapper to sit on top. The GUI essentially uses the same command lines as a user could choose to type on the cli. This allows for the best of both worlds along with the possibility of someone writing a better GUI wrapper. It's only in the specifically GUI only applications that you see the complete integration of the core program. If your interested, you should look at some of the GUI distributions like Suse, Mandriva, Mint...

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

This isn't an area I know much about, and one I'm not going to lose much sleep over.

jck
jck

a) Did I say you had to play the game? No. I said you had to have Windows to play it on a PC. Speaka Engrish? b) You can not develop for DirectX natively on Linux. So, DirectX drivers will *not* work with ANY O/S. Microsoft evidently can't sell ketchup to Valve. Steam is going non-IE now and using open standards. Looks like maybe Microsoft might tank in about a decade. Lack of innovation in a tech arena will do that to a company.

graphx
graphx

Exactly what I was trying to get across. Thanks. I would also include others items to what you have said here, but this is pretty much the core of the truth!

john3347
john3347

Microsoft isn't "a monopoly because they are big, have tremendous influence, and use questionable business tactics." They have used these questionable business tactics and tremendous influence, plus a few other factors (some of questionable legality and some unquestionable ethics violations) to gain an overwhelming market penetration which DOES qualify them as a monopoly. edited to correct spelling error

Questor1
Questor1

Recent and past IDC market surveys report that Microsoft dominates the PC OS market with over 80% use. Microsoft abuses this monopoly power by forcing current users to follow Microsoft support policies that affect the entire computer industry. Microsoft has been sued by OEM computer manufacturers that won because Microsoft required OEMs to pre-purchase and pre-install WinXP EVEN THOUGH THE OEM HAD NO INTENT TO INSTALL THE OS ON ITS PCs (ie UNIX). If the OEM failed to buy the volume license agreement, Microsoft would put them last in line for future OS purchases. Can you say monopoly? Microsoft would only share programming details of its OS with "Microsoft certified partners". Smaller software developers who did not pay Microsoft for "certified partner" status would miss out on software updates and tech notes. This Microsoft delay of information harms users because software programmers cannot quickly react to unannounced Microsoft OS changes. Microsoft has forced software and hardware upgrades upon users due to Microsoft-planned discontinuing support for past versions of OS software. The current Microsoft products are large, complicated, and bloated while consuming more hardware resources. This requires users to upgrade both hardware and any applications software when being forced to shift from 16 bit apps, to 32 bit apps to 64 bit apps. When Microsoft advertises a new OS, they often understate the hardware requirements that later anger users when they realize the real costs of upgrades undisclosed by Microsoft.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

The normal process for a patent issue is to approach the infringing party and discuss licensing or allow them to remove the infringing code. To date, Microsoft has not approached the kernel developers or clarified what 240'ish patents are infringed upon. If they have valid patent claims, why do they refuse to clarify them? It seems the strategy is to make a lot of marketing-spin noise to scare consumers away from the competition. They've been working on closed deals with anyone they can get a license agreement with but the "partner" is silenced with an NDA so MS can continue pumping out the FUD. In reality, MS has already lost. They won't clarify details and they can't file court cases against every company using a Linux based system for business needs or in product. The FUD is more valuable to them than properly resolving the issue or bringing too much light toward patents that would be invalidated by anyone but a USPTO employee. Here's a good recent article on it: http://news.cnet.com/8301-13505_3-10458849-16.html

santeewelding
santeewelding

Unless you are willing to take up arms. Otherwise, take your melatonin and lie thee down. Or, go subversive.

Ocie3
Ocie3

some person(s) and/or organization(s) who have developed and/or distributed the "Linux OS" on the grounds that it violates, reportedly, 40 Microsoft "software patents". I don't know the details, but I can say that I saw this sort of legal resort coming the day that I first read anything about Linux. Microsoft and IBM, who had plenty of legal muscle and experience, probably have the most "software patents" and the revenue to petition the courts to enforce them. I don't know whether any "software patent" has ever been upheld, for, for that matter, whether the courts have accepted them as a "constitutional" exercise of power by Congress. Ahyyyyyyyyy legal matters are so often so vital, but always so dreary!

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

Your *buntu and 1B$ reminded me of an article from earlier this week: "The development costs would reach over a billion euros (or about ?900m, or $1.4bn USD), according to researchers from the University of Oviedo, Spain. Jes?s Garc?a-Garc?a and M? Isabel Alonso de Magdaleno are set to present this open source thought experiment at the European Union's Conference on Corporate R&D next month." "The results came to an estimated total value for the Linux kernel version 2.6.30 (released in December 2009) of 1,025,553,430 euros. About 985 developers would be needed over a span of just under 14 years, the researchers claim." http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/02/24/linux_kernel_randd_estimate_u_of_oviendo/ I thought that was an interesting bit of information in passing the other day though it doesn't relate to this discussion in any way.

jck
jck

I just wish karma to come back on MS for all their backroom, nefarious deeds they have done in the past. I hope Linux (namely *buntu distros) takes at least $1B in sales from them in the home PC market over the next 5-10 years, and they have to learn to innovate again. MS has gotten lazy and more about profit than technical progression.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

you need a new driver for every nearly portable just to detect the lid is closed? Open... Yeah right. Enforced obsolescence and new versions are commercial wheezes to get us to cough up for new kit, even though there was naff all wrong with what we had.

harryolden
harryolden

Yes Mcsoft did buy all the other software programs that were on the market and killed them here in Australia you go to the shop and all you see is McSoft with a little bit from Appels all the schools teach McSoft I did home repairs for about 5 years and all I got was McSoft the other programs are on the market but all you hear about is McSoft hardly anything about other operating systems Cheers

wzrobin
wzrobin

"Standard Oil was a monopoly becasue the controlled every aspect of the business. product supply(wells and refineries), product delivery(railroads and trucks), and product distribution(the stations) and NO competion(bought them or forced them out with unfairly low costs). That is a monopoly in a capitalistic market." That's actually a fairly decent analogy to Microsofts hold on the OEM market. When the federal government took them to court for anti-competitive practices they chose very poorly by fighting the IE vs netscape arguement instead of focusing on the OS / OEM relationship. They were presented with evidence that OEMs were being told that if they sold a PC with any other OS setup as a dual boot, the MS would revoke their license to sell windows. Because of Windows market share no OEM is going to do anything that costs them that license, it's a death sentence. What they did there was an absolute class case of a monopolist using their position to erect bariers to trade against their competitors.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

Consider windows; we talk about WindowsXP, Windows7, Vista, Windows2k. We don't start a conversation with an average computer user about what kernel that version of Windows happens to use. With Linux based platforms, the distribution is the product not the kernel it happens to use. It's not hundreds of different "Linux", it's Debian, Ubuntu, Red Hat, Suse. That doesn't change the clear advantage to getting one's product into schools as the defacto teaching aid; and MS "educational" pricing reflects this along with there numerous "brand 'em young" school hardware donations. This is as much a problem with the school system that teaches students how to use a single brand of tool rather than have to use a category of tools. We should be teaching computer use not Windows use. In organizations based on tax payers dollars; it's near negligence to go to such extremes to keep alternatives out of schools. With apple, they simply don't want to compete with there products done better by others. There is also the case that it is currently a premium brand sold as a botique item and they fear the brand's becoming watered down. A limited supply of product also keeps the price point higher. I personally think Apple could make a go of it as easily by allowing the OS to be sold separately but few things enrage Apple fans more than that suggestion.

Gerbilferrit
Gerbilferrit

Apple could be as cost effective and entrenhced as windows if only they'd open up their hardware to manufacturers en masse. whereby other manufacturers could create competition and improve upon cost and production. Also Apple don't push out all the enterprise features which make managing Windows the de facto standard in business. Apple could but they don't - instead they target people who see their wares as a lifestyle choice and charge accordingly. Linux is in a difficult place coz it's free and open source and doesn't have a single company to market it to get it noticed so. The fact linux is so splintered too doesn't help, and just totally confuses new-comers as to know where to start. Installing an app one version on linux can be quite different on another = confused general consumers = doesn't sell to them so retail don't generally push. Linux's niche is the backend powering our web servers and giving uber geeks soemthing opine about. Windows does so well because the hardware is open and cost-effective. The Windows OS has become like a baseline standard for computer literacy and experience. This is great in some respects, like it's a common language; an everyday untensil; people can just pick it up and go. That's why it sticks. It'd be like someone changed all the letters of the alphabet because they saved more space on paper and looked prettier - people would be slow to adopt it because it doesn't really change anything a huge amount.

jck
jck

I'm sure that the average person is able to understand these things from just a little bit of "informed" reading: What is DDR2 vs DDR3 What is an SSD and how it benefits over a conventional HDD The difference between Pentium D, M, Core2, C2D, C2Q, T4400, T8200, etc etc The difference between Sempron, Athlon, Phenom, Turion, PhenomII The difference between LCD, LED, OLED How i3, i5 and i7 differ What things are standardly integrated on a PC vs a laptop etc etc Everyone would have to become a computer geek to go shopping at Best Buy. Of course, even Microsoft gives Best Buy free training about MS propaganda so that they become more "evangelical" about MS products. Actually what it is, Best Buy people are just generally ignorant of Linux is all. BTW. Whenever you want to use Firefox or another browser. Try going out to the internet to get it without IE. Fact is, IE is still forced on you. And if you don't want it in the USA, it takes practically a tech act of God to get rid of it.

jck
jck

Again: I said you had to have MS on your PC for that game Then, you somehow came up with your "choice" argument about operating a PC. I can operate a PC without MS Windows...sure. I can operate it without any MS product. I could go get a AMD64T RISC OS and run it. But, you still fail to realize that: Microsoft's control extends out of the realm of the OS, which applies to gaming. If a company develops against DirectX, it is INCOMPATIBLE with other OSes. Since a lot of companies (EA and others) were pushed or suckered into adopting DirectX years ago, it became the standard. And since MS won't allow adaptation of DirectX to outside of the Windows environment...yes, it is monopolistic. Microsoft won't even port DirectX to Linux because it would kill Windows sales. Microsoft even pressured companies like Dell and other PC makers that if they used Linux on installs that they'd up their cost for a Windows license. That's anti-competitive and a monopolistic practice too. So if Microsoft isn't a monopoly...then why did the US Department of Justice go after Microsoft for abuse via "monopoly power on Intel-based personal computers in its handling of operating system sales and web browser sales."? Guess they couldn't have been practicing...a monopoly. They're still doing it. Just using a loophole to technically get away with it. If you stuck to your own definitions...Standard Oil was not a monopoly, by your own definition. People did have other options for oil. They could have moved from OH or NJ. They didn't have to stay there. And, Standard Oil controlled only 88% of the oil in the United States. Microsoft Windows, as of October 2009, had approximately 91% of the market share in the United States. So if I could choose Linux and that makes Microsoft not a monopoly... People could have chosen to move from that region of the United States to not use Standard Oil.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

But, the reality is that consumers are the majority of buyers and they do not research such purchases in detail. They look at the hardware on teh store shelf, see that it's all Widows and pick the colour they like. Unless it's actually a car or house purchase, it's probably not going to be researched too geek degrees. And, even if they do research there options with the local retail vendors; where are the options beyond Windows at bestbuy and osX in Apple boutique stores? consumers take the OS provided by the hardware vendor; they don't look at the hardware then ask the vendor for a preferred OS. How many consumers can tell the difference between Windows and Office2007 let alone realize that "Windows" is not a none meaning "computer".

taylorstan
taylorstan

Research before you purchase. This isn't limited to "geek" stuff. Cars, food, clothing, education, homes. Be an informed buyer. No one is forcing you to buy anything.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

what CHOICE (as you capitalize it) do average consumers have in 95% of retail stores they walk into? Do we same the same hardware platforms demonstrating multiple software platforms for the consumer to select from?

taylorstan
taylorstan

If you read my responce....it's a matter of CHOICE....you are not required to have MS products to operate your PC. If another product you CHOOSE to use requires MS then that's your CHOICE to use the product and you'll need to meet it's requirements. Again, did the developer HAVE to use directx, NO...COMPREHEND. Because you have a choice, there is not a monopoly. Standard Oil was a monopoly becasue the controlled every aspect of the business. product supply(wells and refineries), product delivery(railroads and trucks), and product distribution(the stations) and NO competion(bought them or forced them out with unfairly low costs). That is a monopoly in a capitalistic market.

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