One of the things I read about M$ is that M$ facilitated wide use of PCs and so has been a blessing over the years. While it is true that other OS was cheaper than UNIX licences back in the day (~$1000), the licences still cost too much to bridge the Digital Divide.
We can see this clearly now that Android/Linux on ARM is allowing other technologies into the market. Costs per unit can be under $100, several times less than Wintel. The number of people using IT could thus double within a few years, far greater growth in numbers than is typical using only that other OS in IT.
M$ of course mostly cares about its total revenue, and not about units shipped, but imagine M$ had adopted GNU/Linux a decade or more ago and encouraged ARM. They could have cut their licensing/support fees in half, reduced expenses and had a decade with treble rate of growth, giving them even larger revenue than they have now. They locked themselves in to lower profits at the same time that they locked in users to M$’s way of doing things. They now have to raise licensing fees to maintain profits on a decreasing share of the market which will hasten their demise.
At the same time, a billion people, more or less, were denied IT by M$’s short-sighted behaviour.
The score: In a decade of error,
- 10 billion person-years of computing was lost,
- $100 billion in profits was lost by M$ alone,
- billions were kept in poverty years longer than they should have,
- Earth was polluted/raped by the material wasted/used in PCs replaced every few years, and
- the world spent $billions more fighting the malware and bloat and re-re-reboots of that other OS.
So, rather than congratulating Bill G and Co. for their success, we should pity them for their failures and regret having given them any business at all. This is essentially what will happen in 2012 as M$ loses more market share, comes late to market with that other OS on ARM, and */Linux and ARM bring IT to the next billion people.
In 2012, the installed base of that other OS on x86 PCs could well fall to 70% or less and units shipped with that other OS could fall to less than 50% at the same time that Android/Linux smartphones ship 300 million units and tablets ship 200 million units and GNU/Linux ends up on 100 million more desktops/notebooks.