The Monopoly Sinks Slowly Into The West

“Windows OEM non-Pro revenue decreased 9%”
“non-Pro” is the one consumers buy, eh? That means while sales of */Linux are rising everywhere, the empire is collapsing at a great rate, despite economic revival and thriving emerging economies. M$ just isn’t selling what people want, freedom. The “Pro” folks, however, are in a sad state, being led around by the nose by M$, forced forever to keep buying new PCs and software if they want M$’s permission to run their IT…

I recommend they all switch to Debian GNU/Linux. I did years ago and I’m glad I did.

See M$’s latest quarterly report.

UPDATE Another nail in the coffin…U.K. Cabinet Office Adopts ODF as Exclusive Standard for Sharable Documents

See also The Announcement from the Cabinet Office: Open document formats selected to meet user needs

That is a big deal. Once the lock-in of M$’s web-browser and office suite are broken, there’s little to keep many from switching entirely to FLOSS and GNU/Linux. Great news.

UPDATE More on the UK adoption of ODF at The Document Foundation congratulates the UK government for their revolutionary and historical choice of open document standards

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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17 Responses to The Monopoly Sinks Slowly Into The West

  1. ram says:

    The success of Intel’s NUC boxen is a strong indicator of the takeup of Linux in the office environment and the adversion of IT contractors to UEFI. It played so small part in Intel’s whopping profits. AMD on the other hand has no boxen or even motherboards available without UEFI and their sales are dismal with financials that reflect that.

    Intel is not too worried about the takeup of ARM for several reasons:
    (1) Their fabs are doing ARM under contract, so the high cost fabs are busy one way or the other.
    (2) They noticed the more small cheap computers (even if most of them are non-Intel) sold, results in a corresponding increase in the sales of their high-end (and high margin) server hardware.

  2. ram wrote, “UEFI was their undoing”.

    That’s an interesting observation. I had viewed UEFI and dependency on M$ as more of a nuisance than a real problem but it is subtle. Many accepted that “secure boot” was advantageous but it was also just another lock-in to M$. Folks used to say that ~1% of users of PCs were geeks who would install an OS like GNU/Linux. From where did the other 1 or 2% come??? I don’t think there are that many computer geeks. I think that’s OEMs and retailers finally offering choice and loving it. The thing that convinces me is that while the rate of growth of web stats is low, it’s positively growing just about everywhere. Then there’s Android/Linux and ChromeOS and now FireFoxOS… Momentum just keeps building as M$’s consumer client outfit loses share. I would have thought that businesses would be escaping in droves but M$’s revenues there keep rising. I guess the rats left on the sinking ship are willing to pay more to be “rescued” and M$ keeps promising to rescue them from the mess it has made. News is that Chromebooks are being welcomed by businesses. There’s a new wedge… 😉

  3. ram says:

    UEFI was their undoing. Before UEFI people would buy PC’s with Microsoft preinstalled, remove the Microsoft installation, and put on what they wanted, which very often was Linux. When “OEMs” included UEFI, sales came nearly to a halt. Real OEMs (such as Intel) that did not enforce UEFI (even though they played a large part in designing it) came to sell directly to the customer. The pseudo-OEM Microsoft sales outlets were bypassed. Brilliant move by Intel. Likewise some others such as Shuttle.

    Microsoft was never as “popular” as they claimed. Google knew this from seeing operating system and browser stats, hence their bets on (Android) Linux.

    It is starting to look like Microsoft is the Enron of the software industry 😉

  4. kurkosdr wrote, “My point is that, although the source is open, the OEM can take away your freedoms by taking away your rights to modify the software in the device or install an open-source ROM, with tricks like Knox counter.”

    My point is that OEMs are not out to “get” their users as M$ was. It is not a sound business decision to annoy consumers. Most consumers are not interested in installing an OS but the ones that are will surely by from a more friendly OEM.

    I am a consumer. I remember every manufacturer who made or sold me junk. They get no repeat business from me: Hyundai, M$, L4U, MTD( current rototiller is junk… previous one lasted 20+ years of hard use) and a few others come to mind. Folks who sell me hardware had better not interfere with my right to use it as I see fit.

    see also “Knox Counter

    I don’t care a whit about warranties for such gadgets as smartphones. The chances of it failing after any reasonable period of time working properly are just about zilch. It’s a piece of plastic and silicon, with some bits of metal thrown in. Unless you drop it or run over it with a truck, it will keep doing its job indefinitely. There are no switching regulators on board thermal-cycling. They barely get warm. Know anyone who guarantees their software? Most providers include a “not fit for purpose” escape-clause. So, as long as the counter does not prevent flashing the ROM, who cares?

  5. oiaohm says:

    kurkosdr what you are also over looking. If I buy a Windows Tablet install Linux I could be in the same boat as Samsung with a knox counter and not know until its too late. Why you have to modify the BIOS/EFI settings and guess what a lot of X86 PC have a Flash write counter. So that x86 example kurkosdr also has something like a knox counter. People have missed the recent warranty changes(yes the ones that happened 4 years ago on PC). PC is provided as is with software. You modify it at all and you lose most of your warranty any how.

    The difference here Samsung with the KNOX counter is up front about it. Where lot of x86 tablet vendors are not. You find out x86 tablet have a counter after you have sent the tablet back with x86 tablets. A samsung knox you can inspect it before it returned. Mind you the knox counter does not change for approved images.

    Is it possible to pay Samsung to sign a company image for you to install on samsung Knox so you don’t void. The answer is yes. This is FOSS not being a free lunch. You want to install third party rom on a samsung knox and keep warranty its pony up some cash for approval.

    How much warranty you lose when the knox counter trips also depend on your country. Australia samsung is still required to provide some warranty even after the counter is tripped. We have fairly strong consumer protection laws.

    Ok I install a third party application on Windows device and the OS malfunctions to the point it breaks I am also in the same boat with no warranty. You install an application that breaks a Samsung KNOX samsung will fix it under warranty because its not meant to be possible.

    It is possible using the adb shell into a Samsung knox to turn selinux off to enable old ways back to root and doing this does not void warranty.. Replacing the OS core kernel voids. Android administration console is basically in a pain in a but location in the form of Adb shell so requiring a computer to play with the settings. kurkosdr so yes an Android device has as much admin as a Window x86 or RT device without changing the OS. Problem is you have to have it hooked up to a computer to access it.

    kurkosdr your freedom to modify and keep your warranty. intact has been gone for a long time from a lot of PC vendors.

    Open Source does not mean free lunch. Hardware vendors do have a right to say hey you run a not approved kernel on my hardware that could possibly bust it that we are not interested. Samsung is not that bad of a company here. There are worse Android vendors. There are worse Android vender’s Telstra Australia is up there. Yes Telstra has order Android devices with the core OS on ROM. Yes I said ROM. Not flash. So absolutely no possibility to upgrade at all. Let alone worry about breaking warranty.

  6. kurkosdr says:

    “Nope. Read the licence. The OEM can ship without source code, but the user is allowed to “hack”.”

    The source is open! The source is open! Freedom is guaranteed! (repeat a thousand times until it becomes a truth).

    Yes, the source is open. But the binaries running in the device are not open-source, and… (here is the interesting bit, try not to lose focus) if you want to install an open-source binary, the Knox counter kicks in and you lose software and hardware warranty rights.

    So, although Android is “open”, if you buy an Android device, there is no guarantee you will have the freedom to hack on it, if you happen to buy a wrong device. My point is that, although the source is open, the OEM can take away your freedoms by taking away your rights to modify the software in the device or install an open-source ROM, with tricks like Knox counter.

    So… you are stuck with whatever restrictions the pre-installed OS that came with the device has.

  7. thr wrote, “You don’t get to define ‘monopoly’, Pogson, that’s the beauty of it.”

    Monopoly: “The exclusive power, or privilege of selling a commodity;”

    For more than a decade M$ excluded others from selling desktop operating systems in my world. That means they had a monopoly. It doesn’t matter that a small number of PCs were sold with other operating systems, but that most consumers did not have the choice of buying other operating systems from most OEMs and retailers. 50% is how I measure the availability of choice. M$ was far beyond that so there is little doubt.

  8. thr says:

    You don’t get to define ‘monopoly’, Pogson, that’s the beauty of it. By the way, there’s something called ‘natural monopoly’, and that, if anything, is what Windows is.

  9. thr wrote, “There never was a monopoly to begin with”.

    Yes. Check the installed base on web stats. It was as high as ~90% for many years on the desktop clients. I define monopoly as over 50%, particularly when restraint of trade/lack of choice for consumers is involved. Check your retail shelves. Ten years ago what was on those same shelves? Sinking it is.

  10. dougman wrote, “the job cuts at M$ is the majority of the Nokia team it acquired.”

    Didn’t M$ promise not to be anti-competitive during the acquisition of Nokia? The EU relied on this idea when it allowed the “merger”:“2) Microsoft is unlikely to restrict the supply of its mobile apps, such as its Office suite apps and its communication app Skype, to competing providers of smart mobile devices. Since Office apps are currently not available on tablets running third party OSs, a potential supply restriction would be limited to other tablet suppliers using Microsoft’s Windows OSs. However, this strategy would hamper Microsoft’s interest to attract more app developers and ultimately users to its OSs for smart mobile devices. For smartphones, the share of Office apps is minimal and there are many popular competing apps. Similarly, with regard to Skype, other popular apps continue to be available. Moreover, given the low market share of Windows in mobile OSs, limiting interoperability with third-party mobile OSs would ultimately weaken Skype’s competitive offering. “

    Killing Nokia’s Android/Linux product while providing a client for the office suite and Skype on Google Play does seem “neutral” until you realize how many millions of phones Nokia sold. OTOH, that other OS is still a sliver in the market and the long range effect will only be negative for M$ as far as I can see. It’s definitely not neutral when looking at search/advertising. I think the EU missed that. While this act does not give M$ a monopoly of any kind, it does weaken the competition, Android/Linux, while doing little to help M$’s client business.

  11. dougman says:

    There never was a monopoly to begin with?

    Well, I would like to see you stand up and say that to a federal judge that presided in the case.

    Heck, perhaps with your salient knowledge of ‘monopolies’ you could defend other entities in the legal realm. Get to it…

    “In handing down his landmark antitrust decision against Microsoft in 2000, US District Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson wrote: “There are currently no products — and there are not likely to be any in the near future — that a significant percentage of computer users worldwide could substitute for Intel-compatible PC operating systems without incurring substantial costs.”

    “Today, Windows’ share of the market for operating systems on all computing devices — PCs, smartphones, tablets, and all manner of hybrids — stands at about 14%, according to Gartner.”

    Nature abhors a vacuum, and so it is that innovators abhor a monopoly, especially in the fast-paced IT industry.

    “We’ve seen the free market knock down dominant tech providers before. The government’s 13-year antitrust probe of IBM (yes, 13 years!) petered out in 1982, as the mainframe era ushered in the client-server era, and a wave of PC clone and then minicomputer makers flooded into the market to challenge Big Blue. Governments in the US, Europe, and Asia brought antitrust charges against Intel in the 1990s and 2000s, just as No. 2 microprocessor rival AMD was getting its second wind, and then the likes of ARM, Nvidia, Qualcomm, and even Samsung beat Intel to the mobile device revolution.

    The Microsoft, IBM, Intel, and other examples are far different from what economists call “natural” monopolies, which occur in the telecom, railroad, electric utility, and other industries whose extensive infrastructure costs and real estate demands deter market entry. There, government intervention and regulation often are necessary to promote competition (sharing of infrastructure with competitors) and/or to keep prices in check.”

    I read that the job cuts at M$ is the majority of the Nokia team it acquired. Some see this as a good thing (fat trimming), others like myself, see this is a bad thing and shows that the emperor has no clothes.

    No single company, even a large one can dominate the market forever. Sooner or later their dominance will face stiff competition from new competitors. While such competitors bring new ideas to the market. Monopolies tend to defend rather than innovate.

  12. thr says:

    There never was a monopoly to begin with, so how can it sink?

  13. kurkosdr wrote, “Android has helped create a batch of OSes that are as locked down as the OEM desires.”

    Nope. Read the licence. The OEM can ship without source code, but the user is allowed to “hack”.

    “2. Grant of Copyright License. Subject to the terms and conditions of this License, each Contributor hereby grants to You a perpetual, worldwide, non-exclusive, no-charge, royalty-free, irrevocable copyright license to reproduce, prepare Derivative Works of, publicly display, publicly perform, sublicense, and distribute the Work and such Derivative Works in Source or Object form.”

  14. oiaohm says:

    kurkosdr sorry even the latest Android does give you read write outside your home folder. Just you have to use the right APIs. You are aware Windows x86 or RT has no warranty from the device maker or from Microsoft. Go read the dell acer and so on warranties the OS with bundled crap-ware is provided as it. As long as it was running when you got the device you are on your own after that.

    If you boot other OS’s on most x86 tablets your warranty is also void. You are depending on consumer protection laws.

    HTC and Nexus devices your warranty remains in-tacked even if you install third party roms. No special rom versions required. Samsung android tablet is the same as x86 Windows tablet back to normal consumer protection laws in some cases.

    Please note the some cases. Samsung officially sanctions CyanogenMod on particular Android devices of theirs. If the rom is sanctioned the warranty is not void at all.

    By the way Samsung allows users to alter the security to allow older applications to write to more locations even on the newer devices without voiding warranty.

  15. kurkosdr says:

    “Where none of the Windows RT devices can you get the boot loader key. ”

    There are Windows x86 tablets which give you admin access, and allow you to boot Linux.

    Compare and contrast with Android tablets (ARM and x86), which won’t even grant you read or write access outside the home folder (“storage”).

    In plain english, the amount of “admin” access Windows x86 and RT tablets give you in a way supported by the manufacturer (no Swordfish-style tricks) is MUCH more than what Android offers. And Windows x86 tablets allow you to boot other OSes.

    Not that “the 99%” of users care about any of this. I just want to show you that “open source”, doesn’t mean freedom (without having to resort to warranty-cancelling tricks).

  16. oiaohm says:

    kurkosdr at least most of the Android devices you can get the boot loader key. Where none of the Windows RT devices can you get the boot loader key. So not all Windows Tablets give you proper admin access.

    Please be warned Linux root and Windows Admin are two different levels of secuirty. Windows admin you are still forbin from directly doing a stack of operations.

  17. kurkosdr says:

    “M$, just isn’t selling what people want, freedom.”

    If people wanted freedom, they would buy Nexus phones (if not phones running a fully open-source ROM).

    But they buy heavily proprietary phones from Sony or even Samsung (which has a thing called Knox, which cancels your warranty if you root it).

    Funny how the ARM revolution is creating new sackles that prevent people from even gaining root access to their phones (if they want to keep the warranty). So much freedom

    Meanwhile, a Windows tablet gives you “root” aka admin access without having to do Swordfish-style tricks and have to risk losing your warranty.

    Ironically, Android has helped create a batch of OSes that are as locked down as the OEM desires.

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