US Market Becoming Irrelevant in IT

For decades, the USA was the trend-setter in all things IT. In the last few years that has changed dramatically:

It follows that USA no longer calls the tune in IT. What is happening is that Governments, businesses and individuals are now getting choice in IT instead of the default options chosen by US companies.

Android/Linux is a global product made from the Linux kernel globally and Android developed by Google. It mostly runs on ARM (UK) but is invading the x86 space as well. Retail shelves around the world usually display Android/Linux devices prominently and in many regions, consumers and businesses can buy GNU/Linux PCs sometimes locally produced but also supplied by global OEMs.

The governments of BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China), Malaysia, much of Europe, Cuba, Venezuela, Argentina, and Peru all use GNU/Linux and actively promote GNU/Linux in their countries. Brazil, Russia and India all have huge projects to promote GNU/Linux in schools. Only a few years ago, use of that other OS in government and business was a given but now many governments prefer FLOSS in their purchases.

USA has a lot of FLOSS development but is one of the lowest countries on Earth in usage of GNU/Linux on the desktop in business.
NetApplications: (USA, excluding Designated Market Area of San Francisco)

That other OS 85.08%
Mac 14.30%
Linux 0.62%

NetApplications does overcount that other OS but even by its measures, USA is an outlier (Cuba 3.9%, Finland 3%, France 1.7%,…) . You have to go to places like Viet Nam to find lower numbers for GNU/Linux.
This makes USA businesses less competitive and is part of the malaise felt in the economy of the USA. Rather than fattening M$’s coffers, USA should be investing in education and technology that will make the economy flourish. It is very strange that hatred of taxes is widespread yet many residents pay “the tax” for that other OS and are not aware it is optional…

2012 is a year of decision. Is the USA going to continue going down the drain of IT with M$ or will the USA wake up and give FLOSS a chance in education, government, business and retail spaces? The dependence on M$ is entirely artificial and once the dependence on desktops from M$ declines, so can IT be free from malware and get the best price/performance for IT. It’s not just about licences. It’s about IT designed to work for the users, not M$.

Munich’s migration to GNU/Linux desktops receives much derision in the USA, but has saved the city $millions in hardware and licensing expenditures while giving Munich first-rate IT and promoting local business. While Munich could have migrated more rapidly, they placed a premium on no downtime and cost was not the prime motivation. Independence from M$ was.

The whole world is becoming independent from M$ and so should the USA. The idea that the world cannot do without M$ is nonsense, a fable. The sooner USA grows up and realizes that the better off it will be.

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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26 Responses to US Market Becoming Irrelevant in IT

  1. gewg_ says:

    Your fantastic spam filter ate another comment.

  2. gewg_ says:

    [It’s] not your own ability.
    True. I’ve stretched the metaphor a bit.
    No user is -required- to contribute back to the project.
    As we both pointed out, however, by contributing (in whatever capacity), the project gets stronger–and through many memes that are not available with the closed-source junk (which you also noted).

    Bingo! I failed to mention the elephant in the room: Eternal life for a FOSS project as long as there is sufficient interest.

    FOSS is democracy
    I won’t argue against that point.
    Democracy, however, is a *governmental* system[1] while Marxism is an economic system; the 2 **should not** be exclusive:
    The workers, owning the means of production, can make their decisions democratically.
    (Surely you’ve noticed how people say they want democracy in their lives and as soon as they show up at work, all traces of that meme disappear?)

    Again, I really hate the way the USA and its allies distorted the word “communism” during the Cold War and continue to do that (Cuba, N.Korea, China).

    [1] The polar opposite of Democracy is, of course, Authoritarianism.
    Opposites of Marxism are centrally-planned economies and (vulture) Capitalism.

  3. oiaohm says:

    “The Politburo says “Won’t fix.

    Seriously, it doesn’t matter that somebody needs a fix, and it doesn’t matter that somebody has the ability to provide a fix. More often than not, the fix will not happen.”
    Question is how important is the fix.

    History tells you what happens if it important enough there is a solution. It called a fork. Basically new management.

    Person can private fork if required with FOSS. A will not fix answer from Microsoft you are screwed. You don’t have the source code and you cannot pay someone to fix it up just for you. FOSS you can always pay someone to fix it up for you.

    egcc, gcc then glib and eglibc. eglibc is most dominate libc in distributions these days because it has the fix. Gcc and egcc merged back into each other after the gcc developers decided to accept the egcc changes.

    pidgin vs Carrier that is still on going.

    “As of version 2.4 and later, the ability to manually resize the text input box of conversations has been altered—Pidgin now automatically resizes between a number of lines set in ‘Preferences’ and 50% of the window depending on how much is typed. Some users find this an annoyance rather than a feature and find this solution unacceptable. The inability to manually resize the input area eventually led to a fork, Carrier (originally named Funpidgin)”

    Mysql has many forks these days due to disagreements with Oracle management over many things.

    If the difference is important enough the project forks.

    “FOSS is actually an apt analog of Marxism.”

    This is wrong you just fail to see how FOSS votes. Candidates are the projects. You vote between the forks by what one you will support.

    A fork that gets no followers dies fast.

    Really this is where FOSS is democracy. Every person has the right to fork. So basically has the right to stand for project lead. Question now is if you can convince everyone else that you should be the lead. If the person believes they have the skill and they have the right ideas they can will the lead of the project in time.

    State of translations alter from FOSS project o FOSS project.

    There is serous involvement in projects. Then there is the normal USA person response I don’t have to vote yet still can complain that my management suxs.

    Every bit of change helps.

    “To each, according to his need; from each, according to his ability.”
    In fact this does not apply to FOSS. Its not your own ability. Its how important the problem is to you and how much you are either willing todo or pay to have it fixed.

    Redhat, IBM and other companies sell developer time. So its not according to ones own ability. Its according to what you can afford in FOSS. If you cannot afford much you get the crumbs from the rich table that can keep you alive.

  4. aardvark says:

    “FOSS is actually an apt analog of Marxism.”

    An interesting theory, Mr Underbar. Let’s see, then. (And I’m going to ignore the obvious fact that an “analog” would have a one-to-one correspondence, because no matter what I think of RMS, I’m hardly going to accuse him of being Lenin or even Karl I.)

    Y’say you can’t code? Hey, no sweat.”

    The Marxist equivalent of this is “To each, according to his need; from each, according to his ability.”

    So far the analogy stands up. You’re basically an IT vegetable, but even vegetables have universal rights.

    “Advocate for FOSS”

    I think the analogy here is with the various, splintered, mostly Trotskyist groups who wasted what little intellectual power they had in the 1970s by wearing Che Guevara T-shirts. Not much in the way of “abilities” there, I’m afraid.

    “Demonstrate a LiveCD to a Windoze user (who undoubtedly has a self-borked system)”

    And the analogy moves one step beyond “abilities” and more towards the Avon Lady. Good luck with that one.

    “Help out in a FOSS forum”

    Which now moves beyond the Avon Lady and into Alcoholics Anonymous.

    “Contribute artwork”

    Che Guevara T-Shirt, anyone? Terrifically popular when I was young. Nobody remembers them now.

    Penguins are nice, though.

    “Translate a UI into another language”

    Have you actually seen the state of Linux translations? It’s pitiful, and for good reason: this is a very, very difficult thing to do unless there’s money behind it. Even German is beyond most of these people.

    On the other hand, you can get a pretty decent version of Manx, and I understand that the Klingon is unimpeachable.

    Well, I suppose you have to start somewhere.

    “Translate a help file”

    A sub-set of the above (although I’m sure there are several Manx Klingons out there just gagging for a translation of the whole man page system into either of their preferred languages).

    It just doesn’t happen very often at all, does it. According to their abilities.

    “Proofread a FOSS wiki.”

    I don’t see how “proofread” and “wiki” belong in the same sentence. That’s not how wikis work.

    TA-DAA! The Final Proof that FOSS works:

    “Found a problem in a FOSS app? File a -detailed- bug report.”

    The Politburo says “Won’t fix.

    Seriously, it doesn’t matter that somebody needs a fix, and it doesn’t matter that somebody has the ability to provide a fix. More often than not, the fix will not happen. Silly internecine politics will get in the way. There are celebrated Bugzilla threads, lasting over many, many, years, where the actual fix is buried at the top and still has not been incorporated, five years later.

    “There’s all kinds of ways to pitch in via your labor.”

    And there, I am afraid, is the nub of it. Not only is this “pitching in” thing so vague as to be totally worthless; there’s actually a precise analog to Marxism as practised by the Soviet Union.

    Schostakovich? Mighty labour: despised by the system.
    Prokoviev? Mighty labour; came back from exile. Despised by the system.
    Gorky, and countless other Soviet literateurs? Despised by the system. Occasionally executed. Often exiled.

    Yes, I suppose the analogy holds after all, in some ways.

    Just, not in very appealing ways to normal people.

  5. The fact that software is widely used in our society makes all aspects of it social. If everyone packed a pistol, or washed there would be social aspects of those products as well. For soap, think of “soap operas”, marketing gimmicks like floating soap or pure soap… These pervade our society.

    Whether or not one is constantly worrying about our society and its values is irrelevant to people who do worry about such things. It’s not paranoia if M$ is out to get us.

  6. NetApplications’ bias to business use probably happens in Viet Nam as well. They may be excluding use by government, education and consumers for all we know.

  7. Clarence Moon says:

    FOSS is actually an apt analog of Marxism…

    Holy cow! What’s next?

    Why is software so subject to social science analysis? Some people are in the car business and some are in the soap business and and others are in the firearms business and none of them are subject to such categorizations. Why pick on software?

    Of course 99.44% (or more) of the people do not have even a passing thought about software as a social issue, so maybe it isn’t really being picked on, just around here.

  8. Clarence Moon says:

    Nope. If clinging to such desperate hopes brings you solace, Mr. Pogson, it is hard to bring them into question, I am sure, but you are building your dreams on a false foundation.

    I am equally sure that you do not give any credence to marketing science and I even doubt that you would accept that there even was such a thing. Thus it is likely pointless to try to “argue the toss” on this issue.

    Even so, you might recognize that a business that is generating the sort of profit margins and revenue levels as Microsoft Windows might be seen as a viable producer by most people. They do not need to worry if Linux is 0.6% growing to 1.1% in regard to whether or not to buy a new Windows computer. Computers will be in the same wing of the museum as butter churns by the time that Linux becomes widely recognized.

    I might put in a word about market freedom as well. Start with no one really cares as long as they are satisfied with the products and the pricing is affordable. That is the case, regardless of your jaded view, with the personal computer business today. There are low-price goods, shopping goods, and luxury goods in the stores. All offer Windows and, at the upper end, Macintosh. It is a pretty stable environment with no place for desktop Linux.

    Bask in the glory of the success of Android devices as a counterpoint to Apple’s products. The Linux “community” had nothing to do with that success, I think, but go ahead and act like it was so. Google won’t mind, I think that is part of their image-building intent.

  9. Clarence Moon wrote, “The only real use of market share for a business is in devising a product promotion plan that is compatible with one’s share of a target market.”

    Nope. Customers of the business and users of products can also use market share to judge the viability of the business and/or the quality of the product in a free market. We can also use share to judge the freedom of a market. In this case, M$’s products do not compete well on price/performance to deserve a high market share so we judge the market less free than we’d like. The declining share of M$ shows freedom is returning to the market.

    The numbers at the SEC show that crime has paid too well.

  10. Clarence Moon says:

    that seems more accurate than 1%

    And your reasoning or, better yet, proof of that is what?

    The only real use of market share for a business is in devising a product promotion plan that is compatible with one’s share of a target market. I doubt that anyone in business relies on the Wikileaks numbers or on the NetApplication numbers either. People’s use of the internet is not a very direct measure of OS sales and there is really only one company, Microsoft, that is even mildly interested in the statistic’s number.

    Microsoft, I am sure, is not changing its promotions or product plans in response to those numbers either. Bottom line, it has no use except as a sort of scoreboard. Even that is in dispute around here since the losers on the board want to either disbelieve any bad news and get a new board to read or else build yet another castle in the air on any uptick reported for desktop Linux. Failing that, they will add their score to Android based on a few bits and bytes of shared code.

    For most people, the best measure of Microsoft’s product success is in the reported numbers in their SEC filings. There you can see the actual results, plot the actual profitability and likely future of their wares, individually and overall. Decide for yourself whether it is likely that they will stay in the business to reap the real rewards as declared in this legal filing that is not subject to the whimsy of statistical estimation or oblique counting of some intermediate quantity.

    The way I read it, they are very certain to still be in business in 2013 and many years beyond. There is nothing in the reality described by the financial results to suggest anything else.

  11. gewg_ says:

    Post went in the dumper.

  12. gewg_ says:

    It really bugs me when systems with centrally planned economies and authoritarian governments call themselves “communist”.
    Those couldn’t be farther from Marx’s notions of The workers own the means of production” and From each according to his ability; to each according to his needs”.

    FOSS is actually an apt analog of Marxism:
    Y’say you can’t code? Hey, no sweat. Advocate for FOSS; demonstrate a LiveCD to a Windoze user (who undoubtedly has a self-borked system); help out in a FOSS forum; contribute artwork; translate a UI into another language; translate a help file; proofread a FOSS wiki.
    Found a problem in a FOSS app? File a -detailed- bug report.
    There’s all kinds of ways to pitch in via your labor.

    It’s also interesting that Pogson mentioned the low adoption rate of FOSS in “communist” Vietnam.
    I remember reading that there was a mandate there to get off of M$’s junk by June 30, 2009.
    I figured those sorts of control freaks would jump all over easily-localized FOSS.
    It appears instead that the “communists” are just as susceptible to graft/bribes/corruption as the places where “democracy” and “free markets” are the rule and where English is the lingua franca.

  13. aardvark says:

    Mr IPBear:

    Double posting is enough emphasis, I think. Three is edging it.

    Why is it that you and Mr McCrae are completely incapable of a single original thought between the two of you?

  14. oe wrote, “the rate of decline of MS OS share is increasing”.

    That’s what one would suspect when there is feedback. More people use GNU/Linux, exposing more people to it and so it goes. Years ago only one person in a few thousand even knew about GNU/Linux. Now it’s a few in a hundred. When people know they choice, they make that choice. I know there are many people who still accept XP as “default” but there are quite a few who don’t. A few years ago, my home had a few XP machines. Now there are none and no one misses them.

  15. oe says:

    5% in the wikemedia for Desktop Linux share, that seems more accurate than 1%. Also it seems the rate of decline of MS OS share is increasing.

  16. I think it’s because they are arrogant blowhards with the mindset of three-year-olds ( I have a grand daughter of that age…).

  17. aardvark wrote, “The USA is admittedly the largest market for IT in the world, by far. “

    That is not admitted into evidence. The big OEMs make the majority of their money outside of USA.

    In software, the USA may spend more than the rest of the world but let’s check:
    * Oracle – more than 50% of revenue from outside USA
    * Dell – more than 50% of revenue from outside USA
    * M$ – more than 50% of revenue from outside USA

    So, add it all up and USA is less than 50% of IT revenue of all kinds. The world is changing. It may be that USA is the largest market for some particular software or service but that is certainly not true for the global product.

    Forrester reports Global IT spending in 2011 was expected to be $3.6 trillion but only about $1 trillion was US, about the same as the emerging markets.

  18. Kozmcrae says:

    aardvark gives us a good example of why the US IT market is becoming irrelevant by posting a comment that is irrelevant.

  19. lpbbear says:

    “This is a fascinating hypothesis, Mr Pogson. Let me see if I have it right:

    The USA is admittedly the largest market for IT in the world, by far. Microsoft can make serious profits here, given their rotten stinking gouging…blah blah blah blah…..”

    Why is it all M$FT fanbois sound like arrogant blowhards in everything they say?

  20. lpbbear says:

    “This is a fascinating hypothesis, Mr Pogson. Let me see if I have it right:

    The USA is admittedly the largest market for IT in the world, by far. Mic……blah blah blah blah….”

    Why is it all M$FT fanbois sound like arrogant blowhards with everything they say?

  21. lpbbear says:

    “This is a fascinating hypothesis, Mr Pogson. Let me see if I have it right:

    The USA is admittedly the largest m..blah blah blah blah….”

    Why is all M$FT fanbois sound like arrogant blowhards with everything they say?

  22. aardvark says:

    This is a fascinating hypothesis, Mr Pogson. Let me see if I have it right:

    The USA is admittedly the largest market for IT in the world, by far. Microsoft can make serious profits here, given their rotten stinking gouging nature, as we all know.

    The rest of the world is using more and more IT that depends solely on the fact that it is free of cost, works only on tiny little devices that you can lose in your pocket lint if you are not careful (I’m extrapolating from Moore’s Law on this point), and the only people who can possibly make any money out of it are large slave labour factories like FoxComm on the consumer level and Huawei on the business level. And even they won’t make much, because they’re in an undifferentiated race to the bottom.

    Yes, I can see how this hypothesis of yours would have Microsoft quaking in their boots.

    Viva La Revolucion!

    Oh, and Mr McCrae: You are an idiot.

    It wouldn’t be much of a post without me stating the obvious, would it?

  23. FLOSS is quite useful to any regime, capitalist or socialist. It’s good for both because the software is designed to work for the user. The right to run, examine, modify and distribute the code works for everyone, no matter their orientations. On the other hand, non-free software is a burden to everyone. Reading M$’s EULA is painful for most people. When I was a teacher, I had students read it. They were appalled. The GPL was considered very welcoming.

  24. To equate FLOSS with communism is sophistry of the highest order. That argument doesn’t fly; there is no equivalence. Microsoft is becoming increasingly irrelevant, and they are doing it to themselves—along with the natural progression toward organizations and individuals taking control of their own computing future. Much of the world rightly wants to avoid the costs, strings, and malware that come standard with Microsoft and its software.

  25. Kozmcrae says:

    “Despite that illustrous example, left-minded people never tire to wait for the revolution to come. ”

    You mean again?

  26. Phenom says:

    USSR longed for the crushing death of capitalism some 70 years before it crushed itself. Despite that illustrous example, left-minded people never tire to wait for the revolution to come.

    Of course, you are free to keep waiting for Godot.

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