Cause or Effect; is Mobility Killing Monopoly or Is Monopoly The Cause of Mobility’s Success?

Bundling and exclusive dealing has made the Wintel monopoly very solid but totally lacking the flexibility that consumers want. FLOSS and ARM have succeeded wildly in small cheap computers for consumers. Was Android/Linux an idea whose time had come or was Wintel the cause? One of Google’s motivations was to ensure the web would remain a place Google could play but what was the motivation of consumers?

Consumers lapped up Android/Linux but deserted “Phoney 7”. I think the rigidity of the EULA and the crippling of “Phoney 7” with lack of copy-and-paste as first released, higher prices and limited suppliers on limited products just does not work on small cheap computers. People love small and cheap not small expensive computers. The small size, small price leaves no space for bloat and high licensing fees. After consumers got used to Android/Linux, that other OS certanily looks less attractive. I have predicted and now I am certain FLOSS will invade Wintel’s usual space, killing the monopoly. The inefficiency of monopoly is its downfall.

A monopoly like public transit or public roads does work because of the efficiency that results. Having multiple sets of bus stops or multiple roads would seriously crowd already crowded cities. A monopoly on operating systems prevented people from running lots of software on small cheap mobile computers and was unacceptable. Now that consumers have seen that other platforms are available x86 will be seen as just another place the new platform can succeed.That OEMs and retailers can push the new products and make money is icing on the cake. Nothing prevents new operating systems from flourishing on x86 PCs. There’s no lock-in once people realize they can get things done with other software.

“Until recently, OEMs pretty much refused to get serious about introducing computers running anything other than Windows, and for good reason. On computers, consumers use what they know, and they knew Windows. That’s all changed. Not only have consumers come to like their experiences with Android on handsets, they’re coming to have the same affection for Android on tablets as well. Just weeks after release, Google has already sold out of the 16GB version of the Nexus 7.

It might be time for Google to release a version of Android optimized for desktops and laptops. If it did, that might reduce Windows to being just another option, even on the desktop. The walled garden approach isn’t going to work for Redmond like it does for Cupertino. That approach requires a superior product and neither Windows nor Office falls into that category.”

see The ‘Walled Garden’ Approach Won’t Work For Microsoft | FOSS Force.

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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21 Responses to Cause or Effect; is Mobility Killing Monopoly or Is Monopoly The Cause of Mobility’s Success?

  1. JR says:

    @ Clarence Moon

    Thank you for your reply.

    I have been researching the problem you had with Redhat linux and I see there are problems with detecting the CD drive in some distros of linux as there were with that version of Redhat Linux.

    Most of the problems were solved with the mount command. Although I did not find a fix which required entering hexadecimal numbers.

    Bios settings can also play a part in the detection.

    Anyway be that as it may don’t you think that you are being a bit harsh by tarring Linux with the same brush from an experience you had 5 years ago with one distro namely Redhat Linux.

    If we are knocking OS’s here this may interest you regarding windows and non detection of the CD/DVD Drive.

    http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=KB;EN-US;314060

    and as you will notice it requires editing the registry, maybe not with hexadecimal numbers but the registry nevertheless which I think will not appeal to most users either.

    Remember you pass comment here without substantiating it or putting it in perspective.
    ie. You say Linux and do not mention the distro
    that you had problems with.

    Do you think that is fair.?

  2. Clarence Moon says:

    Care to name the linux distribution that you had to enter hexadeciaml numbers for.

    Red Hat Linux, purchased at a local bookstore and it came in a blue box with a red hat printed on the outside. “Version 5” sticks in my head, but that may not be accurate. It has been a while.

    I had to enter an address for my CD drive, IIRC.

    The bookstore quit carrying copies or else Red Hat quit selling them. I never tried another one from there.

    The first Ubuntu I installed was locked up in 640×480 mode with 16 colors, too, since I had an Nvidia card in the machine. Some of the buttons on the install GUI were actually off the screen and I had to just tab and use the space bar to click them.

    The last Ubuntu I installed worked pretty well, though. It doesn’t do anything special, but it works.

  3. oiaohm says:

    Yep HP sells Linux machines with the same repair process as there windows machines. So the Linux machines from HP are cheaper.

    JR
    “Strange! Microsoft always maintained that the TCO for Linux was greater than Windows.”
    Even when it has been disproved for years.

    http://www.cioupdate.com/budgets/article.php/1477911/Linux-TCO-Less-Than-Half-The-Cost-of-Windows.htm

    Every non rigged study has found that introducing Linux correctly can bring TCO reduction since 2002 and before. Of course bringing in Linux does not always mean getting rid of Windows instantly.

    How MS commonly get Linux with a higher TCO is instantly pave over Windows with Linux causing a major increase in staff training and other expenditure. This is basically way to rig numbers. Same is true if you tried the reverse instantly converting a Linux network to Windows.

    Clarence Moon
    “On a couple of distributions that I have tried, I had to enter numbers in hexadecimal, for instance.”

    How much of that hardware was machines that shipped out as Linux machines or listed by manufacture as Linux compatible. I would suspect none. There is x86 hardware that is not Windows compatible Clarence Moon.

    There are reasons not to pave over Windows machines. Paving over windows machines means having to deal with the odd few machines that are not Linux compatible.

    Clarence Moon
    “It is easy to install Windows if you have the disk, pirated or not. Just stick it in the drive and wait a while. Done deal.”
    Really what class of idiot do you think you are talking to here. Unless you have a OEM customised windows disc installing windows is not ensured to install the right hardware drivers.

    So windows. Stick disc in drive install. Hope you have drive discs as well or another machine with working Internet connection. Because the computers network card might fail to function. Linux with its livecd’s options allow you to find out about any of these nasties before you nuke the currently installed OS. Nice to know while you still have a abort process option.

    I get a lot of computers that are installed by Clarence Moon stupid method here that are suffering intermittent problems people blame on malware. The malware was the idiot who installed Windows. Why is the machine intermittent it does not have the hardware makers drivers. Microsoft generic drivers are no where near as stable or functional as Linux generic drivers.

    Installing Windows is not straight forwards in all cases. Windows update can even be fighting with you attempting to install the wrong drivers for the hardware.

    Its always a simple claim of Windows Trolls that Windows is simple to install. All studies of the install process find that most modern Linux distributions are simpler to install and even better have a very safe install process. Every distribution recommend inserting a livecd first to find any hardware problems before you install Linux.

    So when it comes to installation Windows need todo some work on theirs.

  4. Ted says:

    “All that put GNU/Linux at ~1% are wrong.”

    So only most of them, unsurprisingly those being the ones that you disagree with, are wrong?

    “GNU/Linux was at ~3% by statistical sampling back in 2003”

    Link?

    “and GNU/Linux has been going strongly ever since:”

    It’s still 1% to 2% by most counters. I’m not repeating a lie; I can post (and have posted) MULTIPLE reputable sources that back these numbers up. Even FOSS-darlings Wikimedia say it’s currently 1.5%

    “OEMs weren’t pushing GNU/Linux,
    Retailers weren’t pushing GNU/Linux, and
    Android/Linux had not shown the way.”

    OEMs still aren’t pushing that statistically “Other” OS
    Retailers still aren’t pushing that statistically “Other” OS
    Android still isn’t that statistically “Other” OS. Here’s an oft-missed clue; the name of the software is “Android”.

    “What about Walmart’s “best-sellers list” in Brazil? The number 1 and 2 spots are GNU/Linux. M$ comes in third place at twice the price.”

    A cheap tower PC would be a good replacement buy from someone who already has a monitor and a Windows DVD, however obtained. A more expensive all-in-one with a near identical spec – not so much. And ten gets you one those cheap systems get a copy of Windows installed on them. One of the customer reviews even mentions Windows 7!

    “Do you think GNU/Linux is at ~1% with Walmart’s customers in Brazil?”

    Are Walmart really selling that many??

    Brazil;
    StatCounter – 0.89%
    NatMarketShare – 1.36%

  5. JR says:

    Strange! Microsoft always maintained that the TCO for Linux was greater than Windows.
    Maybe things have changed since then.

  6. oldman says:

    “It all boils down to the EULA versus GPL. One enslaves you. The other frees you. I choose freedom.”

    Bushwah. You choose cheap!

  7. JR wrote, “Care to name the linux distribution that you had to enter hexadeciaml numbers for.”

    Great point. At my age and weight and with the location of some “stickers” I have to remove my glasses, stand on my head, and transcribe to paper before I am able to type in the code. The guy who invented that system should be charged with crimes against humanity. I have found the stickers in very strange places like the farthest corner of the case from the user, the back side and even on the bottom. In many schools, space is scarce in the classroom and it’s just a pain to have to deal with stickers in those places. Of course one could do the setup somewhere else but that too is an extra step not required of GNU/Linux.

    It all boils down to the EULA versus GPL. One enslaves you. The other frees you. I choose freedom.

  8. JR says:

    @ Clarence Moon

    Your comment refers “It is easy to install Windows if you have the disk, pirated or not. Just stick it in the drive and wait a while. Done deal. OTOH, if you want to install Linux, you need to find a disk, which is not so easy to do, and then do things unnatural to many. On a couple of distributions that I have tried,I had to enter numbers in hexadecimal, for instance.”

    This has to be the most moronic comment I have ever read.
    Care to name the linux distribution that you had to enter hexadeciaml numbers for.
    You really do not have a clue do you ?
    Get a life.

  9. Clarence Moon wrote, of installing that other OS, “Just stick it in the drive and wait a while.”

    Not at all. The last installation I did took hours (reverting from GNU/Linux and installing applications) and the user lost functionality and asked for GNU/Linux back. “7” could not connect to our file-shares and had no driver for her printer.

    People largely don’t choose that other OS around here. The retailer does. In places where the retailer offers choice, GNU/Linux sells.

  10. Clarence Moon says:

    So, in USA GNU/Linux share is ~1% because consumers are incapable of installing an OS yet in Brazil GNU/Linux share is ~1% because consumers are capable of installing an OS?

    You draw the wrong conclusion due to your wrongly postulating that “lock-in” is the reason that people re-buy Windows. People buy Windows because that is their ,b>expectation as to what a PC is. Remember the ads about “I’m a PC”? They didn’t say “I’m a Windows PC”, there was no need to do that. A PC is a thing that has a Windows OS. A Mac is something else. That is what people think and why the market is the way that it is.

    Don’t get all steamed up and make technical definitions and split hairs and things, Mr. Pogson. You would be technically correct, I agree, but that is not the point. Rather it is what people think things are when they are about to buy.

    Being right about technical issues is an advantage in terms of being able to ultimately convince buyers that they should take a chance on Linux, but the road to a successful sale on that basis is long and hard to navigate. The reward for doing so is nil, so very few people, perhaps yourself to the contrary, are going to bother traveling there.

    It is easy to install Windows if you have the disk, pirated or not. Just stick it in the drive and wait a while. Done deal. OTOH, if you want to install Linux, you need to find a disk, which is not so easy to do, and then do things unnatural to many. On a couple of distributions that I have tried, I had to enter numbers in hexadecimal, for instance.

  11. Phenom wrote, “in US more often than not a Windows PC is at the same price as a OS-free PC”.

    Nonsense. You ignore M$’s revenue. It does not come by magic. Consumers provide it.

    Here’s an example of HP’s configurations:

    Click to enlarge.

    Notice the GNU/Linux configurations are cheaper by ~$100 for identical hardware and support.

  12. Phenom says:

    “So, in USA GNU/Linux share is ~1% because consumers are incapable of installing an OS

    Who did ever say that? In US people are simply not that cheap, and do not seek to save $10 on some obscure bundle with no OS. They prefer to get a setup with Windows, and get the full waranty from the OEM. Heck, in US more often than not a Windows PC is at the same price as a OS-free PC. Saving costs on scale and decreased support, Pogson.

  13. Clarence Moon wrote, “it can only mean that the buyers are installing a copy of Windows on these machines as soon as they take them out of the box”.

    So, in USA GNU/Linux share is ~1% because consumers are incapable of installing an OS yet in Brazil GNU/Linux share is ~1% because consumers are capable of installing an OS? Clarence completely misses the lock-in effect of bundling the OS with the PC, something M$ has known about for decades.

  14. Clarence Moon says:

    Do you think GNU/Linux is at ~1% with Walmart’s customers in Brazil?

    According to Net Applications, the Linux share in Brazil for desktops is 1%. If a lot of computers are actually being sold with Linux pre-installed, it can only mean that the buyers are installing a copy of Windows on these machines as soon as they take them out of the box. Most likely, it is one of the pirated copies that Ballmer was complaining about years ago.

    Alternately, I must point out that the ranking of units in the Walmart list are relative to one another and there appear to be many more Windows units than Linux units. So perhaps one or two of the Linux units are most popular, since the people intending to install Windows on their own would favor them as lowest price opportunities, but the overall number of machines sold more closely matches the pirated vs genuine Windows values detected by Microsoft in surveys.

  15. Ted wrote of web-counters, “They can’t all be wrong.”

    All that put GNU/Linux at ~1% are wrong. GNU/Linux was at ~3% by statistical sampling back in 2003 and GNU/Linux has been going strongly ever since:

    • OEMs weren’t pushing GNU/Linux,
    • Retailers weren’t pushing GNU/Linux, and
    • Android/Linux had not shown the way.

    What about Walmart’s “best-sellers list” in Brazil? The number 1 and 2 spots are GNU/Linux. M$ comes in third place at twice the price. Do you think GNU/Linux is at ~1% with Walmart’s customers in Brazil?

  16. Ted says:

    “iLia repeats the ~1% lie”

    It’s not a lie.

    Most counters put that statistically “Other” OS between 1% and 2% worldwide.

    They can’t all be wrong.

  17. kozmcrae says:

    iLia thinks it’s still 1995. Every thing you write iLia is based on the premise that Microsoft is still as powerful as it was in 1995. That is not the case. You are living in a dream.

  18. iLia says:

    iLia repeats the ~1% lie

    Wikipedia does the same

  19. iLia says:

    Where does the 1% number come from? There are two sources: very old data and web counters.

    Could you find a more old article?

    And I don’t see a real difference between %1 and %1.5, especially if 3/4 of Linux users use an other OS and mostly that “other OS”.

    Even Windows Vista is much more popular than Linux and Linux is somewhere in “Others” 🙂

  20. iLia repeats the ~1% lie, “oblivion of an 1% market share?”

  21. iLia says:

    People love small and cheap not small expensive computers.

    So all this people who buy Apple stuff hate it? So what? Apple still makes huge amounts of money 🙂

    the crippling of “Phoney 7″ with lack of copy-and-paste as first released

    So what? So what? So what? When it was? And now?

    That approach requires a superior product and neither Windows nor Office falls into that category

    And what about Linux, where does it fall? Into oblivion of an 1% market share?

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