It’s Been A Long Time Coming But Competition Returns To The Market For PCs

It was just a few years ago that M$ could tell OEMs what to do if they wanted to sell a PC and that included bundling M$’s OS with (almost) every PC shipped on the planet.“Microsoft operating chief Kevin Turner said that the company and its partners won’t cede the low-end of the PC market and will sacrifice Windows licensing margins to do it.” That’s over and here’s what happened:

  • That pesky GNU/Linux operating system would not go away and was installed on just about everything except desktop PCs…
  • Finally Dell, HP, and other big OEMs figured out that they could make money selling some PCs with GNU/Linux, probably as a result of US Department of Justice twisting arms…
  • Then Google figured out that PCs had to be a lot cheaper if Google’s market, everyone on the Internet, was going to grow sufficiently rapidly to maintain Google in the manner to which it had become accustomed, and Google provided an inexpensive */Linux OS, Android/Linux the world could ship on inexpensive ARMed PCs of all kinds: tablets, smartphones, all-in-ones and yes, even desktop PCs. Further, Android/Linux did not have a lot of the problems of that other OS: malware, slowing down, re-re-reboots, and high and hidden price…

Chuckle. The good times are rolling. Eventually even retailers and businesses locked into doing things M$’s way will take the opportunities that exist in the market. Already Google has sponsored a billion small cheap computers running Android/Linux and there could be more than another billion shipped this year. M$ had better compete on price to have any hope of keeping up. Then there are all the lock-ins that M$ has built over the year. Those lock-ins now keep M$ out of the market: Bloatware just doesn’t fit on most small cheap computers, bloatware just doesn’t run fast on most small cheap computers, and M$’s GUI for the desktop and the touch-screen doesn’t fit well on the tiny screens that people love to put in their pockets.

Forget charging a price of $0. M$ will have to pay people to buy something running that other OS. People won’t take that pay as just a reduction of the price of the device a few dollars. They will want a huge cut or some substantial benefit. Using a word-processor designed in the 1980s won’t cut it. Most users of small cheap computers can’t even type… They just want to click and */Linux lets them and their friends and their friends’ friends click to their heart’s content. Remember the 1990s when M$ held that monopoly naturally called on them to dominate the market? Well, it’s the 1990s all over again, done right this time. :-))

Do the maths. Millions are buying small cheap computers that do for them what bulky PCs used to do: compute and communicate. Those small cheap computers even do it better, being small and cheap (bonus for no extra charge). If M$ does give away its OS for small cheap computers or pay people to use its OS, everyone will know that the value of M$’s OS on desktop PCs and servers is about $0, too. The endgame is that M$ cannot just compete on price for consumers’ gadgets. M$ will have to compete everywhere and actually work for a living from now on. That will lower their margins considerably. That will cut into their bottom line. That may not maintain their market share anywhere near where it is now.

See Microsoft eyes Chromebooks, low-end PC market: All about the platform.

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.
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4 Responses to It’s Been A Long Time Coming But Competition Returns To The Market For PCs

  1. dougman says:

    Won’t cede the low-end market? HAHA…what a dolt! How can they even cede something that they do not control?

    M$ can sacrifice the licensing revenue all they want, but just because your eggs are cheaper won’t bring you returning customers that you sold rotten eggs to previously.

  2. dougman says:

    http://betanews.com/2014/06/06/chesterfield-county-schools-buys-32000-dell-chromebooks-for-students/

    http://www.techrepublic.com/article/32000-chromebooks-how-a-virginia-school-system-bet-on-googles-pc-platform/

    Just search Google, NOT BING , the term “chromebooks school” and the query will comeback with pages replete of people dumping Windows.

    If you already use Google services, having a Chromebook in the house will be a great purchase and soon it will spawn the need for a few more for the rest of the household. I can say without a doubt, the 3-second boot time and lack of needing to restarting made it popular as hell.

    With 32000 coming online, you can estimate that each one will lead to five more sales, so 32K becomes 1.6M by exposure, as Google made it easy to hand off the machine for a guest or another Google user.

    Here is the CCPS website for the Chromebook upgrade.

    https://sites.google.com/a/ccpsnet.net/anytime-anywhere-learning/

    What’s funny is that they quoted Bill Gates, but are deploying a customized Linux operating system, which is a slap in the face to MicroSh1t….LOL.

  3. dougman wrote, of Dell’s sales of ChromeBooks, “It would seem that Dell is suspending retail sales to fulfill its contractual demands first.”

    That shows that Dell’s business-model does not scale. In the rest of the world, an OEM would farm out production to a bunch of ODMs or little guys and ramp up production in weeks. Dell tends to do everything in house which can be efficient when growth is more gradual. What were the trolls saying about GNU/Linux not selling? Why was that? No one wants it? Yeah, that’s it… Nobody wants those ChromeBooks so they’re not selling. I guess Dell and the others are just throwing them in the trash after they build them…

  4. dougman says:

    “Dell’s decision comes as Chromebook shipments rise and competitors launch new models. Chromebooks accounted for 35 percent of all U.S. commercial laptop shipments to date in 2014, jumping more than 250 percent compared to the same period last year. Chromebooks accounted for 5 percent to 6 percent of overall consumer laptop sales in the period, and that number will continue to rise, said Stephen Baker, vice president of industry analysis at NPD.”

    http://www.pcworld.com/article/2453800/dell-halts-chromebook-online-sales-cites-rising-demand.html

    It would seem that Dell is suspending retail sales to fulfill its contractual demands first.

    I can see both Apple and MicroSh1t, both vainly trying to copy this idea someday. Nowadays, 80% of the population don’t even need a full OS, this is why Android has become so popular and of which M$ tried to replicate by offering tiles on the desktop, but LOL… M$ cannot fool people into thinking it is the same thing.

    Eh.

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