The Monopoly Will End in 2010

KACE has repeated their survey of IT professionals’ attitudes to M$ which they did in 2007. The survey from June, 2008 has these findings:

  • the number seeing no possibility of migration from M$ is less than 10%, down from 15% in 2007
  • of the 40% looking at migration, the number in the process of switching is 11%
  • of the 40% looking at migration, the number planning to migrate this year is 30% up from 22% in 2007
  • of the 40% looking at migration, the number planning a later migration is 50% down from 57% in 2007
  • 29% of those planning to migrate plan to migrate to MacOS instead of Vista
  • 68% of those planning to migrate plan to migrate to GNU/Linux

Assuming most IT professionals work for business, this means a huge part of M$’s business will be gone by 2010. Combined with spectacular growth in emerging markets and established retail markets, this means GNU/Linux and MacOS could take 50% of PC seats in 2010. That would mean the end to M$’s monopoly.

Here is my calculation:

year GNU/Linux MacOS M$
2008-06 7% 3% 90%
2009-06 26% 5% 81%
2010-06 46% 12% 41%

I have assumed 1000 million seats with about 700 million in business to which the KACE numbers apply. I combined that with known figures for retail sales/predictions for GNU/Linux and 100% per annum growth in those numbers. This may be optimistic, but if M$’s “Lose 7” is anything like VIsta: vapourware/buggy/bloated, and M$ does not do a GNU/Linux release of its own, or promote Novell, seriously, this is how it will go. Retail lock-in is crumbling. Business lock-in is all but gone. Only those businesses securely locked-in will stay with M$ because they have to have working IT in order to stay in business and to compete with those using GNU/Linux or MacOS to good effect.

M$’s only effective defenses are to produce a good OS but that will not be compatible with what they have in their installed base: XP, or to distribute GNU/Linux which could retain market share but not lock-in or cash flow. The PR task is just impossible with GNU/Linux for M$ so they will have to produce XP version 2 or something to keep the money flowing. Vista has nothing to offer business so they need to make something business finds useful. That will be an improvement on XP, but with all the backward compatibility customers expect, it will be no better. That is the best M$ can do, continue to produce an OS that was obsolete in 2001 when it was released. Perhaps they can continue to sell something like Vista to consumers but it has to be toned down to run on existing hardware. No one but gamers are interested in 3-year replacement cycles for home PCs. It will be years before everyone is quad-core + 2gB. M$ will have to write off emerging markets going lighter although their embedded stuff may work there, at greater cost. No matter how they go, they will have drastically reduced market share in two years as things go. There is no marketing campaign that can prevent that, only good product and M$ never designed a good product in the desktop OS field. M$ is soon to become irrelevant to the desktop OS market or at least, just another player, not anything larger than life.

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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17 Responses to The Monopoly Will End in 2010

  1. Haven’t you noticed all the Android/Linux and GNU/Linux systems on retail shelves. More units ship with Linux than with that other OS in 2011. The monopoly is over.

  2. jamie says:

    Hello, the real world greets you!

    Seriously, aren’t you embarrassed?

  3. SirGorash says:

    „…Just as M$ has locked up retailers, they seem to have done the same in USA for search but not elsewhere…“

    “…The world does not need M$. I don’t know why the USA feels it does…”

    Oh. My. God. Maybe you should get some serious counseling for your Microsoft paranoia. If you really think that Microsoft has “hooked up“ people for search in the U.S. you are probably too much gone to get a real valuable discussion going. Because I included the red alert “Microsoft” in the sentence your brain just shut down and went into “paranoid” mode. I was just using an example that absolute market share figures aren’t everything. I wasn’t promoting that Bing is the best thing on earth, I was just using it as an example. Google will continue to dominate that market. Please calm down.

    “…I think it could be two years before “8″ comes out, by which time GNU/Linux on ARM will be the one to beat, not an intruder…”

    That was the big story on netbooks, too and we all know how that turned out. If you look at ARM press releases you would find that they are concentrating on the smartphone, DTB/STV market and try to expand into the server market. To them, their alliance with Microsoft on the desktop market is sufficient. GNU/Linux will face the same fate they did on netbooks. Once Microsoft comes out with a Windows on ARM offering GNU/Linux will be dead – if they ever were alive anyway.

  4. The difference between netbooks and smart thingies is that the ARM CPUs cost much less so the price of the finished product is much less. Smart thingies can sell for less than $100. If M$ can live on $20 licence fees, good for them. Currently they need/want $50. It will be a lifestyle change for them. They will not be able to dominate the market as the price/performance differences will be dramatic. I think it could be two years before “8” comes out, by which time GNU/Linux on ARM will be the one to beat, not an intruder.

    Google losing to Bing? Do you actually know anyone who uses Bing? I do not. Don’t imagine USA numbers where people seem to love M$ is representative of the world. That link shows Bing at 3% and Google at 85%. Just as M$ has locked up retailers, they seem to have done the same in USA for search but not elsewhere. The world does not need M$. I don’t know why the USA feels it does.

  5. SirGorash says:

    I think you’re too much fixated on that market share figure. Currently Google is losing market share in search to Bing. Does that mean that Google is “dying”, too? No, it simply means that more parties are getting a piece of the cake with Google being the undisputed number one and growing like crazy.

    Same goes for Microsoft. I agree with you that other device categories based on Android are thriving and will continue to outpace Windows. So what? Microsoft is still growing and continues to be the undisputed leader in the desktop market. Android is currently embraced by vendors to tie it to their own specific configuration. That’s a long, long way to go until is will become a general-purpose OS to challenge Windows on desktop devices or notebooks – which I think is not the way Google wants to go anyway. If you buy a general-purpose device such as a desktop PC or a notebook, there will be Microsoft and Apple – just forget the rest.

    I also agree that nobody is afraid of Microsoft anymore. Again I ask: “So what?” They have posted record figures and record sales. I think Microsoft has learned its lesson with the Vista disaster and is getting its act together. Windows 7 and Office 2010 are very good products. SharePoint is growing like crazy, Windows Server 2008 is actually gaining market share in the business environment area. Microsoft doesn’t need to sue anybody, since FLOSS or any Linux distributors are simply not worth suing. Kicking somebody who is already on the floor is considered bad sportsmanship. Suing them would only put them back in the “evil monopolist” corner (where – at least in Europe – Google is currently residing). Currently it’s enough for Microsoft to simply watch them struggle.

    And the race for who is taking over ARM-powered devices has just begun. Now that Microsoft has announced that it works on a Windows version for ARM, it will be interesting to watch who will dominate this space. If the netbook episode is any indication I would put my money on Microsoft, but we will see…

  6. M$ is all about monopoly. If they are stuck with declining market share it is a big loss for their plans. Further, once the slide become obvious, it will increase because the lock-in decreases.

    My thesis is that M$ is uncompetitive and cannot compete in a free market. Why else would they bother with exclusive dealing etc.? If they were competitive, they could leave the competition alone and take the share resulting from the merits of their products.

    If you believe all this fuss over Android/Linux and Ubuntu and HP and ARM is about 1% share, you are deluded. IBM invested a $billion in GNU/Linux a decade ago and had a one-year break-even. That was mostly about servers but now they and RedHat and Suse and Canonical are pushing desktops. It may not be obvious in USA but the rest of the world is getting the message.

    UPDATE If M$’s 85% share is worth $5billion in revenue, even 1% is worth $58million to them. The share lost to GNU/Linux on servers is much larger. That much is worth a lawsuit. Where is it? M$ claims patents are violated. They could sue the big distros and put a stop to this encroachment instantly. More reason to sue if the share lost to GNU/Linux or Android/Linux is larger. Suing a FLOSS project is fairly cheap. The source code is out there. All they have to do is present an analysis which they have supposedly made already. An injunction could stop all distribution of Linux instantly to prevent continuing “harm”. Where is the lawsuit? There is not one because M$ is not an innovator, has a raft of phony patents and would lose in court the basis of much of its monopoly power. This is another sign of M$’s lost stature in IT. No one is afraid of them any longer.

  7. SirGorash says:

    I’m a big believer in “don’t trust statistics you haven’t faked yourself”, so I’m not exactly sure if quoting visits to a single website is a credible source for your “prediction”. Especially the Linux share of 5-6% doesn’t have anything to do with real desktop shipping numbers.

    If you look at statistics you see that the windows market share is steadily declining since 2008. But is that really because Microsoft is losing? According to Gartner PC shipments will rise by almost 16 percent in 2011. Most of these will ship with Windows so Microsoft sees a steady stream of profits – if “dying” means making >15billion profit annually then I really like your version of “dying” 🙂

    Even more catastrophic to your “prediction” is the fact that in all these views, Linux is still glued to the 1% mark – not exactly a big threat. If Windows is losing market share, it’s to everyone else but Linux. So your original “prediction” of Linux taking over from Windows in the desktop market is plain and simply wrong.

    To my mind the declining market share is because there is a whole new set of devices out there that people use in addition to a PC/notebook and that are now taken into account when collecting these statistics.

    So my “prediction” is that we will see a growth in the PC market – and a continuing domination of Windows in that market – but other markets will grow even faster, making room for new players and big profits outside Microsoft.

  8. M$’s market share is sliding by any measure. e.g. W3Schools.com shows about -2% per annum. That’s a lot of PCs missing from their “refresh cycle”. In 2003, M$ was at 93% share and recently they are at 86.2% share of PCs visiting the site. The average rate of slide is about -1% but recently it has increased to 2%. So, we have shrinkage/negative growth and at an accelerated rate even with “7”. What does that tell us? The world has awaken and is open to other technologies. We see Android/Linux doing very well in smart thingies as is ARM and M$ has only CE and Phoney 7 in place.

    Look at the numbers. M$ is increasing units shipped but only because everyone is shipping more units and the competition is gaining ground. M$ does well because most of the retail shelf-space is reserved for their product. That has ended and 2011 will see lots of space for Android/Linux on tablets. The shrinkage will ramp up.

    Consider sales of “7”. Out of 350 million PCs shipped last year with every one having a shot at “7” many did not. M$ raised their average selling price on the ones that shipped with “7” to keep the numbers up but the units slid a long way. iOS took a big bite and now it is sliding with respect to Android/Linux. Competition is great for the consumer but not for the monopolist.

  9. SirGorash says:

    I really pity those poor guys that predict „Microsoft Dying“ every year – just to fail again. Ever seen „Groundhog Day“? If not, I highly recommend it.

    Now that it is proven that this „prediction“ (I call it wishful thinking) is all wrong, you start grasping at straws and start manipulating figures by mixing it up with smartphones, ARM, etc.

    Microsoft just posted record sales and Windows 7 sells like crazy. The market share of Windows just stays at almost 90%. If anyone gains some market share its MacOS. Or take a look at the Netbook market. Everyone started out trying non-Windows platforms. What’s the reality now? Netbooks run Windows 7. GNU/Linux didn’t even manage to get a hold in a completely new segment. So let’s face it: Linux for the mass market was, is and will continue to be dead.

    Microsoft also continues to be strong and grow in the enterprise market. Windows Server and SQL Server are moving into the business critical arena, offering a much better price/performance ratio than the UNIX-based solutions ever could. Microsoft is certainly not dying here but making lots of money. It is die-hard UNIX vendors like Sun that are dying and must be rescued by others.

    By the way, using M$ for Microsoft might have been cool 5-10 years ago. Using it today does only show that you still live in the old times.

  10. “You can read about it here. XP was obsolete when it was released.”

    Boot time and uptime as a measure of relevancy? Lol you really are grasping at straws. Get a hold of some actual standards.

    “I started using GNU/Linux because it would run indefinitely while I had multiple machines with that other OS crashing daily.”

    Until you have to upgrade the kernel, x.org, ect. But hey security and features? YouDon’tNeedThat™!

    “Last year, I converted a school to use GNU/Linux. There were only a couple of complainers. Most users found GNU/Linux faster and more reliable.”

    And how are you qualifying their responses, I want to see full disclosure of your data otherwise it is bullshit.

    “Read it and weep. The difference between desktop and smartphone are vanishing. We even see machines in which you dock your smart phone and the CPU of the smartphone runs a large display, keyboard, etc.”

    Oh goody! For this to be true smartphones have to perform the expected tasks and handle the expected hardware of desktops. It is simple: they must be able to handle hardware virtualizion and have hardware for digital disks (DVD, BlueRay, CD). I cannot wait to run AutoCAD! Is it available on Android?

    “Within 2011, ARM will intrude widely in this space. We have already seen ARMed servers.”

    Which are not desktops, please try again.

    “These “embedded” devices are not controllers.”

    Define a “controller” please.

    “They are real PCs in a small form-factor.”

    Define a “real PC” because I smell a No True Scotsman fallacy.

    “M$ will survive a while longer with shrinking share. The locked-in may even pay more for their habit just to keep M$ afloat.”

    OH NOES MicrosoftIsDyingâ„¢ any minute now! Care to make a prediction?

  11. “You can read about it here. XP was obsolete when it was released.”

    Boot time and uptime as a measure of relevancy? Lol you really are grasping at straws. Get a hold of some actual standards.

    “I started using GNU/Linux because it would run indefinitely while I had multiple machines with that other OS crashing daily.”

    Until you have to upgrade the kernel, x.org, ect. But hey security and features? YouDon’tNeedThat™!

    “Last year, I converted a school to use GNU/Linux. There were only a couple of complainers. Most users found GNU/Linux faster and more reliable.”

    And how are you qualifying their responses, I want to see full disclosure of your data otherwise it is bullshit.

    “Read it and weep. The difference between desktop and smartphone are vanishing. We even see machines in which you dock your smart phone and the CPU of the smartphone runs a large display, keyboard, etc.”

    Oh goody! For this to be true smartphones have to perform the expected tasks and handle the expected hardware of desktops. It is simple: they must be able to handle hardware virtualizion and have hardware for digital disks (DVD, BlueRay, CD). I cannot wait to run AutoCAD! Is it available on Android?

    “Within 2011, ARM will intrude widely in this space. We have already seen ARMed servers.”

    Which are not desktops, please try again.

    “These “embedded” devices are not controllers.”

    Define a “controller” please.

    “They are real PCs in a small form-factor.”

    Define a “real PC” because I smell a No True Scotsman fallacy.

    “M$ will survive a while longer with shrinking share. The locked-in may even pay more for their habit just to keep M$ afloat.”

    OH NOES MicrosoftIsDyingâ„¢ any minute now! Care to make a prediction?

  12. You can read about it here. XP was obsolete when it was released. Even as late as last year, I encountered some XP machines with FAT32. I started using GNU/Linux because it would run indefinitely while I had multiple machines with that other OS crashing daily. Last year, I converted a school to use GNU/Linux. There were only a couple of complainers. Most users found GNU/Linux faster and more reliable.

    Read it and weep. The difference between desktop and smartphone are vanishing. We even see machines in which you dock your smart phone and the CPU of the smartphone runs a large display, keyboard, etc. Within 2011, ARM will intrude widely in this space. We have already seen ARMed servers. These “embedded” devices are not controllers. They are real PCs in a small form-factor. M$ will survive a while longer with shrinking share. The locked-in may even pay more for their habit just to keep M$ afloat.

  13. —–BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE—–
    Hash: SHA256

    “M$ has not been leading on the desktop in a long time. That’s why I have
    been using GNU/Linux on my desktop for ten years.”

    In what alternate dimension are you living in? But hey, please do provide a
    source, this should be fun.

    “Do you or anyone actually believe that M$ is not seriously weakened with
    the huge flux of Android/Linux smart-thingies produced in 2010.”

    Which are embedded devices and not desktops, hence you have committed a
    categorical error. Please try again.

    “Where is the power to dictate to the market? Gone. In 2011 as many ARM
    as x86 personal computing devices could be produced. So I was a year off.
    Sue me.”

    OH NOES its ARMaggedonâ„¢! However shall Microsoft survive? Oh wait:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-10741448

    —–BEGIN PGP SIGNATURE—–
    Version: (N/A)
    Charset: utf-8

    wlcDBQFNOkr1MiSrPaXCPwQRCFbJAQCFZa7al3SVVhTobIRg8I/YNsbCtAKLZMva
    wHEmrMRU6QD5AUXrpnOUQGC6S8MBCCOi5KPwGS3enoiAap5WSpH8y8Y=
    =te2u
    —–END PGP SIGNATURE—–

  14. M$ has not been leading on the desktop in a long time. That’s why I have been using GNU/Linux on my desktop for ten years.

    Do you or anyone actually believe that M$ is not seriously weakened with the huge flux of Android/Linux smart-thingies produced in 2010. Where is the power to dictate to the market? Gone. In 2011 as many ARM as x86 personal computing devices could be produced. So I was a year off. Sue me.

  15. —–BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE—–
    Hash: SHA256

    Wow, the Linux loonies never fail to be predictable. Its 2011 and Microsoft
    is not dead and still a leader on the desktop, but hey you can always claim
    that MicrosoftIsDyingâ„¢ right?

    —–BEGIN PGP SIGNATURE—–
    Version: (N/A)
    Charset: utf-8

    wlcDBQFNOjFdMiSrPaXCPwQRCNQIAP4p8Pr8B94EIqV6suyyCehqxNWjbysdzTLU
    rKQmoF1rXgD9E0s6OtFzIfCDIdNlYPWaw91XCTGL9SLY5yuwq3iike4=
    =bqnq
    —–END PGP SIGNATURE—–

  16. Well, that did turn out to be optimistic. “7” did pretty well retail. OTOH Linux exploded on Android and M$ lost huge share. There are still nearly 50% of PCs using XP so the predictions may still come true in 2011. The monopoly was certainly weakened in 2010 and ARM is expected to take as many computing devices as M$ in 2011 so it will not be long.

  17. Elhana says:

    46% in June ’10? WOW. Just WOW.

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