Victory either comes quickly in a rout or slowly in a battle of endurance. The VAR Guy wrote, “History shows that technology markets typically consolidate around two competing platforms â€” a market leader and a potential disrupter.
- On the desktop, Windows won, Apple Mac OS gave chase and IBM OS/2 disappeared.
- On the server, Windows and Linux won, Unix got squeezed and NetWare got destroyed.”
That’s a pretty short view of history. The future is many centuries long… In fact, M$ did not win a battle at all. It was granted a monopoly by the sweet deal with IBM who should have known better. They insisted on second sources for hardware, but not for the OS. The result was not a victory, nor a rout, but just that guerilla warfare was needed by those who wanted to remain independent of the dynasty.
Guerilla warfare was fought on the desktop by GNU/Linux and FLOSS, and, because it was at first independent of capital for development, M$ had no levers to destroy this competition. A decade ago IBM and others began to see GNU/Linux as an eventual winner and more and more have joined the battle on the side of Free Software. So, M$’s “victory” will be hollow. They have had some fun but it is impossible for them to hold off the real competition. Just like Germany in the Second World War, they don’t have enough bullets.
The outcome is not in doubt but the timing may be. M$ has many allies and they are M$’s strength. One by one, they are seeking alternative ways of doing business and we see GNU/Linux on servers, desktops and Android/Linux on smart thingies taking enormous shares. It is possible today to make a living selling and using stuff with no input from M$ and partners. The sheer size of the IT-market makes rapid change difficult, but in the last few years we have seen M$’s share of desktops drop from 95% to 70% and the rate of decline is increasing.
So, The VAR Guy is wrong to declare the matter settled. It’s not and while the incumbent has advantages, it is locked-in to its own complex system to the point that only breakage will allow M$ to adapt to the changes we see happening. When one can buy a smart thingy which is a PC for all intents for ~$100 and it fits in a pocket, there just isn’t much need for Wintel hair-driers. M$ has a fair bit of share on servers but most of it is tied to that other OS on the desktop and that share is sliding, so they have nowhere to go but down. If M$ survives it will be either in a few niches or in a much smaller role in the world of IT.