Somewhere in the early 1990s, M$ really got the concept of monopoly. Everything they did was about killing competition. Almost nothing was done to give end-users great software. They created Lose 3.1 and Lose ‘9x. They had a shot at producing great software because of the abundance of resources that monopoly gave but then came Internet Exploder 6 (saw it at work yesterday at my bank… discussed it with the manager…) and NT became XP and malware took over the world of IT.
In all that time, shareholders reaped short-term gains. Insiders reaped huge windfalls. End users suffered one indignity after another. A better product was not produced until 2009 by which time the world had seen a better way to do IT: GNU/Linux on desktop and server and Android/Linux on mobile devices. M$ has climbed to the top of the “shareholder value” ladder only to find it’s not resting on anything. The monopoly is a house of cards now that OEMs are discovering they can cut M$ out of the stream of revenue. M$ is scrambling to put something forward in the mobile space buying Nokia (more or less) and pushing a laughable product consumers don’t buy and suing competitors to hold them back. In a year or two all this will bear fruit and M$ will be on a downward slide with no bottom.
Somewhere along the way, M$ became short-sighted, focusing on immediate returns with no thought for the future. The vehicle that is that other OS is about to hit the ditch, having too much inertia for the curve in the road. M$ has made the EULA so onerous, the performance of the OS so low, the burden of malware so great and the price per unit so high that end users are looking for a way out and they will take whatever the OEMs and retailers put in front of them that’s not from M$. We saw the eeePC with GNU/Linux bought in such volume that ASUS could barely keep up with demand for months. Android/Linux and iThingies are outselling M$’s offering by a wide margin. Thin clients running GNU/Linux are selling well. It’s only a matter of time before all retailers are offering good notebooks and desktops running GNU/Linux, Android/Linux even on ARM processors. That’s the death of the Wintel monopoly.
Even the deeply locked-in corporate world does not love M$:
- In a recent survey, only 7% of one group of organizations had completed a migration to “7”.
- In August 2011, 71% of PCs in that group of businesses had XP installed.
- 13% have “7” running on less than 1/4 of their fleet.
If that dedicated group are not following M$, the world with its millions of freedom-loving people anxious for change will not.
See a review of a thoughtful book on this topic (capitalism gone wrong) at Forbes: The Dumbest Idea In The World: Maximizing Shareholder Value