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:
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.