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MacBytes
Mar 7, 2009, 02:55 PM
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Category: Microsoft
Link: Microsoft's Biggest Enemy Now: Apple, Linux or Itself? (http://www.macbytes.com/link.php?sid=20090307155555)
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Posted on MacBytes.com (http://www.macbytes.com)
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IJ Reilly
Mar 7, 2009, 03:09 PM
If Ballmer truly believes that Linux is a larger threat to Microsoft than Apple, then clearly the right answer is "itself."

dukebound85
Mar 7, 2009, 03:11 PM
If Ballmer truly believes that Linux is a larger threat to Microsoft than Apple, then clearly the right answer is "itself."

do you see apple opening up its os to other manufacturers? no. Until then, apple wont be a threat at the os level


linux is in a better position imo unless apple changes its strategy, which they wont:rolleyes:

Beerfloat
Mar 7, 2009, 03:44 PM
If Ballmer truly believes that Linux is a larger threat to Microsoft than Apple, then clearly the right answer is "itself."

Linux is a larger threat to Microsoft, but you need to look beyond personal computers. Sure, if you're just looking at the desktop you could be forgiven for thinking that Apple is the more credible competitor - although Linux netbooks and nettops are doing reasonably well - but the real beauty of Linux is that it scales well and has a habit of sneaking in below the radar.

If you're in the enterprise, some of your servers may well be Linux already. You might already be using something like a GPS navigator, router, ADSL modem, mobile phone, PDA, media player, e-book reader, kiosk device, or even a car that leverages Linux to some degree. That's all space where Microsoft wants to have a finger in the pie selling Windows CE, and doesn't.

almostinsane
Mar 7, 2009, 03:48 PM
Microsoft's biggest threat is pirated version of windows.

ditzy
Mar 7, 2009, 03:57 PM
I was ready to completely disagree with him, but I actually think that he is right. Unless Apple release OSX to non Apple branded computers (I'm not saying that they should.) Linux will be their bigger threat.
Even a good proportion of mac users have windows on their macs. So even a sale to Apple isn't necessarily a sale that Microsoft have lost.

synth3tik
Mar 7, 2009, 04:02 PM
It always seems that Microsoft enjoys shooting themselves in the foot. Personally I believe they are the biggest threat to themselves unless they get their PR straight. I can't say I know anyone that is happy to use Windows. It is always that it is what was on the computer when they bought it or they need Windows for work or something of the sort.

bruinsrme
Mar 7, 2009, 04:05 PM
MS's biggest enemy is itself.

EmperorDarius
Mar 7, 2009, 04:33 PM
Microsoft's biggest enemy is...

Ballmer!
BALLMER!
BALLMER!
BALLMER!
BALLMEEEEEEEEEEEEER!

kurosov
Mar 7, 2009, 04:42 PM
It's not so much that users think older versions of windows are good enough (complaints galore about xp) but that their latest os release with vista is actually worse.

Belly-laughs
Mar 7, 2009, 05:02 PM
Iīm not sure if Ballmer is right at all. He is right about Apple, unless they open up, which of course they wonīt.

But he is also wrong about Apple.

The desktop is for most people total overkill. I bet at least 30-40% of computer users does nothing more than e-mail, web, music and a bit of photo organizing when at home. Perhaps some spreadsheets if the mood is just right.

Enter the simple desktop. Derived from mobile OS, not the other way around. The desktop re-invented; much simpler, leaner, tidier… And, it shares the look and feel of your mobile device.

Or it may go directly to the mobile device. The Vista-specced PC (or Mac) is really a power userīs tool.

Unless MS gets WinMo up to speed, it may very well see a rapid slide in market share to Apple, Symbian, Google and all the other "smarter" vendors.

Donīt you just wanna dock your iPhone to a 24" monitor and do some work? In a couple of generations Iīm sure you can.

Beerfloat
Mar 7, 2009, 05:07 PM
Microsoft's biggest threat is pirated version of windows.

That's not a threat to them, it's a benefit.

steveza
Mar 7, 2009, 05:17 PM
Microsoft's biggest threat is the economy. The worse things get for their enterprise customers they will a) stop buying the latest server or application upgrades and/or b) look for cheaper alternatives. I currently consult at a datacenter services company who handle some large enterprise and government contracts - the trend is definitely towards downscaling their infrastructures and holding off on upgrades. MS is trying to push 3 major new products: Server 2008 R2*, Windows 7* and SQL 2008 and convincing the marketplace that they need to splash out on these is getting harder by the day.

* Enterprise release expected Oct/Nov 09

steveza
Mar 7, 2009, 05:17 PM
That's not a threat to them, it's a benefit.How so?

Beerfloat
Mar 7, 2009, 05:44 PM
How so?

Retail Windows is a relatively small market, Microsoft's core customers are hardware manufacturers and enterprise agreements. The kinds of businesses who would typically never use pirated versions.

Microsoft really doesn't have much cause for concern about freeloaders using unlicensed Windows at home. Sure, they'd rather sell that extra license, but they're more worried about such users actually exploring alternatives to Windows. Which is pretty much why they give Windows away for pittance to students and developing countries. Gotta keep people on the platform.

Tesselator
Mar 7, 2009, 05:48 PM
Well, their biggest enemy simple can not be Apple. MS owns a sizable chunk of Apple! I dunno exactly how much but I heard in 2004 or so it was like 40% or 45% or something like that.

So if Apple is winning then so is MS.

Beerfloat
Mar 7, 2009, 06:03 PM
Well, their biggest enemy simple can not be Apple. MS owns a sizable chunk of Apple! I dunno exactly how much but I heard in 2004 or so it was like 40% or 45% or something like that.

So if Apple is winning then so is MS.

In 1997 Microsoft sent Apple a life raft of about $200 million, which represented a less than 7% stake back then but in non-voting shares. They've since sold of all those assets again (for a tidy profit I might add) and no longer have an Apple position at all. :)

winmacguy
Mar 7, 2009, 06:17 PM
Well, their biggest enemy simple can not be Apple. MS owns a sizable chunk of Apple! I dunno exactly how much but I heard in 2004 or so it was like 40% or 45% or something like that.

So if Apple is winning then so is MS.

MS sold their non voting stock in Apple back in 2001.

dukebound85
Mar 7, 2009, 06:55 PM
Well, their biggest enemy simple can not be Apple. MS owns a sizable chunk of Apple! I dunno exactly how much but I heard in 2004 or so it was like 40% or 45% or something like that.

So if Apple is winning then so is MS.

um better recheck your facts

IJ Reilly
Mar 7, 2009, 07:23 PM
do you see apple opening up its os to other manufacturers? no. Until then, apple wont be a threat at the os level

linux is in a better position imo unless apple changes its strategy, which they wont:rolleyes:

Is Linux gaining market share against Windows? No. I've been hearing about how it's just about to for over ten years now. I am beginning to disbelieve it for some reason. Is the Mac gaining market share against Windows? Yes. Do the math. Microsoft also has its hands full competing with Apple in digital music players and mobile phones.

Well, their biggest enemy simple can not be Apple. MS owns a sizable chunk of Apple! I dunno exactly how much but I heard in 2004 or so it was like 40% or 45% or something like that.

It is 0%. It was arguably 5% in 1997, but this was in non-voting shares purchased by Microsoft as part of the settlement of patent infringement lawsuits. Microsoft was only required to hold them for three years.

MisterMe
Mar 7, 2009, 07:50 PM
Is Linux gaining market share against Windows? No. I've been hearing about how it's just about to for over ten years now. I am beginning to disbelieve it for some reason. Is the Mac gaining market share against Windows? Yes. Do the math. Microsoft also has its hands full competing with Apple in digital music players and mobile phones.



It is 0%. It was arguably 5% in 1997, but this was in non-voting shares purchased by Microsoft as part of the settlement of patent infringement lawsuits. Microsoft was only required to hold them for three years.Oh, there you go again with those facts.

dukebound85
Mar 7, 2009, 07:52 PM
Is Linux gaining market share against Windows? No. I've been hearing about how it's just about to for over ten years now. I am beginning to disbelieve it for some reason. Is the Mac gaining market share against Windows? Yes. Do the math. Microsoft also has its hands full competing with Apple in digital music players and mobile phones.



there is more linux adoption in the corporate world than there is mac

oh wait, youre refeering to the consumer os arent you lol

the money is in the corporation segment, not the consumer as much

Belly-laughs
Mar 7, 2009, 08:25 PM
the money is in the corporation segment, not the consumer as much

Apple has it all wrong, then.

Linux is free (-ish), much money in corporate still?

Beerfloat
Mar 7, 2009, 09:00 PM
Apple has it all wrong, then.

Linux is free (-ish), much money in corporate still?

Oh yeah, definitely.

dukebound85
Mar 7, 2009, 09:02 PM
Apple has it all wrong, then.

Linux is free (-ish), much money in corporate still?

my point is apple isnt a serious alternative until they try to go commerical

rfruth
Mar 7, 2009, 10:07 PM
MSFT needs to figure out the whole netbook thing (a stripped down *cheap* ver of windows 7 for that market) ?

twoodcc
Mar 7, 2009, 10:59 PM
wow. i guess i'm not surprised people at microsoft would rate "itself" as it's biggest threat. with that kind of mindset, they'll just continue to lose marketshare

IJ Reilly
Mar 7, 2009, 11:08 PM
there is more linux adoption in the corporate world than there is mac

oh wait, youre refeering to the consumer os arent you lol

the money is in the corporation segment, not the consumer as much

No I'm referring generally lol. The Mac's market share is increasing. The Linux market share is not. If the Windows market share is declining, it's going to the Mac, not to Linux. This is called "doing the math." The money is where you find it.

fohawk17
Mar 7, 2009, 11:15 PM
well about 3.9 percent of pc users use linux. in 03 it was 2.6. the list is growing, its just a matter of time. with the current economy free is good. and with os's like Ubuntu, the average pc user can easily use linux. then you have xubuntu for low-ram systems, edubuntu for educational purposes. the growth is there


as for mac, as long as the computers are so expensive and they are diffucult to upgrade, they will never catch or pass microsoft. if they open their os for other platforms, then maybe

Syrus28
Mar 7, 2009, 11:25 PM
No I'm referring generally lol. The Mac's market share is increasing. The Linux market share is not. If the Windows market share is declining, it's going to the Mac, not to Linux. This is called "doing the math." The money is where you find it.

Any stats? By my knowledge, Mac's been sitting at ~3% FOREVER. Linux has been sitting ~1% (rounding up, of course :))... However, Linux is free, and Macs are generally MORE expensive. It's not hard to see the "threat' here.

kastenbrust
Mar 7, 2009, 11:28 PM
well about 3.9 percent of pc users use linux. in 03 it was 2.6. the list is growing, its just a matter of time. with the current economy free is good. and with os's like Ubuntu, the average pc user can easily use linux. then you have xubuntu for low-ram systems, edubuntu for educational purposes. the growth is there


as for mac, as long as the computers are so expensive and they are diffucult to upgrade, they will never catch or pass microsoft. if they open their os for other platforms, then maybe

So from 2003 to 2009 they gained 1.3% of computer users, thats 0.22% market growth a year, pitiful really, in business terms thats a complete failure. Considering the tens of millions of new computer users over recent years have mainly come from LEDC's like China, other parts of Asia, and Africa where expensive Microsoft software cant be afforded and cant run on old machine technology so they use free open source alternatives like Linux instead what your saying isnt amazing at all. When these areas get wealthier the growth of Linux usage will stop again, and then begin to decline and reverse as these poorer areas begin to afford Microsoft software, and for businesses purposes begin to use it so they can make their companies easily compatable with the western world. This has already been seen in India.

Syrus28
Mar 7, 2009, 11:30 PM
So from 2003 to 2009 they gained 1.3% of computer users, thats 0.22% market growth a year, pitiful really, in business terms thats a complete failure. Considering the tens of millions of new computer users over recent years have mainly come from LEDC's like China, other parts of Asia, and Africa where expensive Microsoft software cant be afforded and cant run on old machine technology so they use free open source alternatives like Linux instead what your saying isnt amazing at all. When these areas get wealthier the growth of Linux usage will stop again, and then begin to decline and reverse as these poorer areas begin to afford Microsoft software, and for businesses purposes begin to use it so they can make their companies easily compatable with the western world. This has already been seen in India.

What is apple's market growth? Just curious. :D

IJ Reilly
Mar 7, 2009, 11:31 PM
Any stats? By my knowledge, Mac's been sitting at ~3% FOREVER.

Been around here long? Seriously. The most recent figures posted here from a variety of sources place the Mac's US market share closer to 10%. For the last couple of years Mac sales have been growing at 20-30% per year, while Windows PC unit sales are essentially flat. These stats get posted in front page MacRumors stories every three months at a minimum.

Syrus28
Mar 7, 2009, 11:32 PM
Been around here long? Seriously. The most recent figures posted here from a variety of sources place the Mac's US market share closer to 10%. For the last couple of years Mac sales have been growing at 20-30% per year, while Windows PC unit sales are essentially flat. These stats get posted in front page MacRumors stories every three months at a minimum.

I'm talking about the big picture (worldwide).

Tesselator
Mar 7, 2009, 11:35 PM
MS sold their non voting stock in Apple back in 2001.

um better recheck your facts

Done. :)

IJ Reilly
Mar 7, 2009, 11:36 PM
I'm talking about the big picture (worldwide).

I haven't seen any worldwide figures, but based on unit growth in the US, Mac sales growth worldwide seems likely to be growing at something close to a proportional rate.

Done. :)

We don't actually know when Microsoft disposed of their non-voting AAPL shares but it's generally assumed that they did so not long after the three year holding period expired, which would have been in 2000.

dejo
Mar 7, 2009, 11:37 PM
Any stats? By my knowledge, Mac's been sitting at ~3% FOREVER. Linux has been sitting ~1% (rounding up, of course :))... However, Linux is free, and Macs are generally MORE expensive. It's not hard to see the "threat' here.
If a free Linux is such a threat, why does it continue to wallow at 1%?

kastenbrust
Mar 8, 2009, 12:00 AM
The reality is Ballmer just likes to hype things up, anything to get the spotlight on Microsoft and he'll do it. He's like Microsoft's prostitute for hire.

This is monkey dance Steve Ballmer we're talking about, noone can possibly take anything he says seriously after this little incident:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nc4MzqBFxZE

Yes...thats the CEO of a multi billion dollar software company.

Syrus28
Mar 8, 2009, 12:15 AM
Been around here long? Seriously. The most recent figures posted here from a variety of sources place the Mac's US market share closer to 10%. For the last couple of years Mac sales have been growing at 20-30% per year, while Windows PC unit sales are essentially flat. These stats get posted in front page MacRumors stories every three months at a minimum.
It's easy to grow 20% when your only controlling 8% of the market. That number, in reality, only shows a ~1.5% numeral increase. Even then, some PC manufacturers like Acer are outpacing (growth wise) both Apple and Dell/HP while still controlling a considerable portion of the market.

I haven't seen any worldwide figures, but based on unit growth in the US, Mac sales growth worldwide seems likely to be growing at something close to a proportional rate.

Not quite... Worldwide, Apple doesn't even make it into the Top 5 Computer Manufacturers. In July 2008 (http://news.cnet.com/8301-13860_3-9992688-56.html), IDC put Apple's marketshare at 3.2%. Interesting, in December 1997 (http://news.cnet.com/Apple-market-share-sinks-again/2100-1001_3-206284.html), IDC calculated their marketshare at 3.3%.

If a free Linux is such a threat, why does it continue to wallow at 1%?
As of now, it doesn't offer a worthwhile experience to compete with Windows. As time goes on, there's quite the possibility of Linux improving, and if that happens, Microsoft will have a hell of a time convincing users they need a $250 OS over a free one. This threat won't apply to Apple, as their products are generally higher in cost. In this regard, it is Apple's job to do the convincing. See what I'm getting at?

IJ Reilly
Mar 8, 2009, 12:39 AM
It's easy to grow 20% when your only controlling 8% of the market. That number, in reality, only shows a ~1.5% numeral increase. Even then, some PC manufacturers like Acer are outpacing (growth wise) both Apple and Dell/HP while still controlling a considerable portion of the market.

No, it's not easy. In fact it's very difficult. If it was easy, Apple would not have been stalled in low single digit market share in the US for so many years. It took the mindshare generated by the iPod and the iPhone to get people to take Apple and the Mac seriously again.

The Windows PC makers have been essentially trading off market share with each other for the last couple of years with a net aggregate growth in the 2-3% annual range. The breakout growth has been all Apple.

Not quite... Worldwide, Apple doesn't even make it into the Top 5 Computer Manufacturers. In July 2008 (http://news.cnet.com/8301-13860_3-9992688-56.html), IDC put Apple's marketshare at 3.2%. Interesting, in December 1997 (http://news.cnet.com/Apple-market-share-sinks-again/2100-1001_3-206284.html), IDC calculated their marketshare at 3.3%.

Rank is a totally meaningless statistic. You can bet your last dollar that Apple doesn't give a hoot about their rank relative to other computer makers. What they care about is growing unit sales at a faster rate than the rest of the market -- which they have been doing.

Syrus28
Mar 8, 2009, 12:54 AM
No, it's not easy. In fact it's very difficult. If it was easy, Apple would not have been stalled in low single digit market share in the US for so many years. It took the mindshare generated by the iPod and the iPhone to get people to take Apple and the Mac seriously again.
I'm saying its easy to put up BIG numbers as a percentage (20-30% growth) but it doesn't always translate into the biggest growth of actual users.

The Windows PC makers have been essentially trading off market share with each other for the last couple of years with a net aggregate growth in the 2-3% annual range. The breakout growth has been all Apple.
Again, your trying to compare 20-30% growth in a 8% marketshare with 2-3% growth in a 90% marketshare. 30% growth in a 8% segment translates into a "2.4" real-world increase (i.e. 8 to 10.4)... 3% growth in a 90% segment is "2.7" real-world increase (i.e. 92 to 94.7) 8-to-92 is a 8% marketshare, while 10.4-to-94.7 is a 9.8% marketshare. Not as drastic as a "30% vs 2%" growth chart would have you believe.

Yes, Apple is growing faster than the average PC maker, but you should put it in perspective. Both HP and Dell sell ~4.5X as many computers, and the difficulty in which each companies can create 30% growth is much larger than Apple. It is also a mistake to say all the growth is Apple. Acer, for example, reported a 55% year-over-year growth, essentially flying past Apple to a 15.2% marketshare. All Apple?

Rank is a totally meaningless statistic. You can bet your last dollar that Apple doesn't give a hoot about their rank relative to other computer makers. What they care about is growing unit sales at a faster rate than the rest of the market -- which they have been doing.
You totally missed the point. Apple's worldwide marketshare has remained nearly unchanged in the last 12 years, despite the "20-30% increase yearly in the US"

steveza
Mar 8, 2009, 07:03 AM
MSFT needs to figure out the whole netbook thing (a stripped down *cheap* ver of windows 7 for that market) ?The Starter Edition is designed for developing countries but will run really well on Netbooks. According to MS all other editions of W7 will run fine too but the cost will probably be a restricting factor here. I don't have access to a Netbook so I can't test this out but it runs really well (Ultimate 32bit version) on an old Dell laptop that I have.

OllyW
Mar 8, 2009, 08:03 AM
You totally missed the point. Apple's worldwide marketshare has remained nearly unchanged in the last 12 years, despite the "20-30% increase yearly in the US"

There's a piece on Ars Technica (http://arstechnica.com/apple/news/2009/02/mac-market-share.ars) that tries to make sense of the Mac market share figures. It puts Acer's recent surge almost entirely down to the sale of netbooks and thinks Apple is doing well despite the current economic turmoil.

I don't think you can say Apple's worldwide market share has remained unchanged in the last 12 years. Yes, the market share is now at a similar figure, but it had lost market share during that period and has now regained it's percentage of 12 years ago with increased sales over the last few years.

lftrghtparadigm
Mar 8, 2009, 08:47 AM
Apple is the only "threat" in the industry, period, because Apple is the only company with a marketable product from top to bottom, hardware to software.

They have the whole package that everyone wants, and some can afford.

lftrghtparadigm
Mar 8, 2009, 08:50 AM
I'm saying its easy to put up BIG numbers as a percentage (20-30% growth) but it doesn't always translate into the biggest growth of actual users.


Again, your trying to compare 20-30% growth in a 8% marketshare with 2-3% growth in a 90% marketshare. 30% growth in a 8% segment translates into a "2.4" real-world increase (i.e. 8 to 10.4)... 3% growth in a 90% segment is "2.7" real-world increase (i.e. 92 to 94.7) 8-to-92 is a 8% marketshare, while 10.4-to-94.7 is a 9.8% marketshare. Not as drastic as a "30% vs 2%" growth chart would have you believe.

Yes, Apple is growing faster than the average PC maker, but you should put it in perspective. Both HP and Dell sell ~4.5X as many computers, and the difficulty in which each companies can create 30% growth is much larger than Apple. It is also a mistake to say all the growth is Apple. Acer, for example, reported a 55% year-over-year growth, essentially flying past Apple to a 15.2% marketshare. All Apple?


You totally missed the point. Apple's worldwide marketshare has remained nearly unchanged in the last 12 years, despite the "20-30% increase yearly in the US"

Where in this analysis do you acknowledge the massive losses and out of touch business practices of HP and Dell?

Marketshare nearly unchanged in 12 years is a massive, MASSIVE mis-understanding of Apple.

pilotError
Mar 8, 2009, 09:16 AM
I think the article is dead on.

I don't think MS has to worry about Apple at all in the Datacenter. Linux rules the datacenter. MS still holds on to a few key niche areas, mainly mail and has a decent database they ripped off from Sybase. They without a doubt rule the corporate desktop. Apple is just now starting to offer some MS integration to get a toe hold in that market, but until more wide scale development and support shops hop on board, Apple will continue to be non-existent in the corporate world.

Mobile platforms have shifted to Linux in response to Apple. Smaller faster OS with built in programmer support. Apple might lose this battle if they don't start to address their developer program issues. 2-3 months to get app approval is killing their reputation. If Palm and Google get their act together, they can pull off a comeback. I don't think that market is decided yet.

Netbooks, Big numbers, small profit. I doubt Apple will even bother introducing one unless the market shows that it's not a fad. OTOH, I've been playing with an EeePC 901 with Linux for a few weeks, I think it's a pretty cool little device. Not practical for any real work though. Then again, that's not its target market. MS could care less if you installed windows on a toilet seat, as long as they get their license fee. Win 7 could be a big winner here. Although Asus is showing the world that Linux isn't as scary as MS claims it is. They made it dead simple to use on these devices. At $199 entry point, Apple would probably suffer in this market unless they did a deal with AT&T (not again!) to subsidize the thing with a 2 year 3G contract.

MS is it's own worst enemy at this point in time. Market momentum has really allowed them to take some major missteps and still remain healthy. Vista was a wake up call. So far they are on the road to recovery with Win 7, let's see if they can pull it off.

I guess the big question is how much does pirated windows take from their bottom line? It must represent a number in dollars that is bigger than Apples market share for them to publicly announce it.

They've also publicly admitted that people having good enough equipment at home kills them. Be prepared for yet another incompatible API switch that only runs on the latest and greatest OS. :rolleyes:

Speedy2
Mar 8, 2009, 09:38 AM
For a massive company with a monopoly such as Microsoft, the biggest threat is always the actions of that company itself. Microsoft can hardly gain market share as long as they hover at 80-90% in several segments.
They are surrounded by smaller and more innovative companies, the most important being Apple and Google, and by the "movement" called Open Source, which includes Linux, Apache and the like. All of them are threats to Microsoft's current status, too.

In my opinion, the most dangerous of them is Google. They are extremely successful ($$$) in the whole Internet business, where most others failed, and innovative and smart enough to dominate Microsoft there in the long run. And they are expanding steadily. Google has several strong points: they have a very strong market position themselves, they make a lot of money, they are quite popular, they are able to diversify to new markets (a feat that Microsoft lost long time ago) and they go for openness and interoperability instead of paranoia and closed source.
In the long run the goal is not OS market share, but the amount of how much a company will be present in your life. OSes will lose importance, as the Internet (browser, search engines, social networks etc) gains.

While Apple will continue to be successful and take a lot of money away from Microsoft, they will never be a _substantial threat. That's easy to predict, because Apple focuses on the tasty high-end, and until everyone's rich and famous (including all Chinese, Africans and the Middle East), Apple will never eclipse a certain market share. The iPod was a major exception, since Apple hit the market early and hit it hard, but that will remain an exception. Apple will continue to grow by entering new markets, not by overtaking the computer, phone or any market. So far Apple, has not really tried to attack the business segment (lots of $$ to be made). I wonder when that happens.

Finally, the open source movement has always been feared the most, since it is fundamentally different to anything MS represents. However, its importance in the marketplace remained limited. It's a great idea and all, but in the end o/s is still only a movement, lacking any strategical impetus. While all the major companies were fighting for a goal (making $$, gaining maket share, dominate the market etc), o/s just floated around and waited for people to pick it up. This worked well to a certain amount (Apache, Firefox), but in other areas it missed the point badly. People want solutions, not holy wars. MS can provide very good solutions (their whole server biosphere is pretty neat), o/s has to rely on others and these others often lack the ability to do that. Notable exception: IBM.

[/self-indulgent analysis]

Speedy2
Mar 8, 2009, 10:06 AM
Mobile platforms have shifted to Linux in response to Apple. Smaller faster OS with built in programmer support. Apple might lose this battle if they don't start to address their developer program issues. 2-3 months to get app approval is killing their reputation. If Palm and Google get their act together, they can pull off a comeback. I don't think that market is decided yet.


I agree that the battle is still on. I disagree about the role that Linux/Android will play. So far there is one phone with questionable success and a lot of marketing talk. Companies like Motorola, which are on the way down, throw their arms around Android as their last hope, while the big players stick to their own platforms (ex: Samsung, but Samsung does everything anyway). While there is a lot of potential, I'm still waiting for the new ideas. It has only been a classic "me-too" so far. Even worse: by forcing everyone to use Google services, the G1 ridicules the ideas of openness, that Linux usually conveys. Even Apple isn't that forceful.
Even though I hope for a major success of Android for the sake of choice, I believe that only the companies that offer mobile software AND hardware will prevail. That is, Nokia, Apple, the Blackberry, any maybe Palm. Once they realize that, Microsoft will eventually jump on the boat, too.

Apple's programmer support can't be that bad. In fact, pretty much everyone wants to develop for the iPhone, and the development tools are actually quite good. 2-3 months for approval were in the beginning, they've sped up the process in the meantime.
Palm isn't out with a product yet, and their platform looks very limited, being Web-only. Even so, if the Pre is as good as it looks, they might be back in the business.



I guess the big question is how much does pirated windows take from their bottom line? It must represent a number in dollars that is bigger than Apples market share for them to publicly announce it.


I think the other poster was right: the copies actually helped MS to spread the platform, and MS knew and tolerated that. The picture is probably different these days, that's why they came up with all that activation and "genuine advantage" pain. Still, piracy will never endanger MS, since they make most of their money with the help of others (PCs sold) or in the business (office, servers). And this income is safer than the banks of Switzerland :) However, this is also the reason, why the slump in the economy hit MS relatively bad.

MisterMe
Mar 8, 2009, 11:34 AM
For a massive company with a monopoly such as Microsoft, the biggest threat is always the actions of that company itself. Microsoft can hardly gain market share as long as they hover at 80-90% in several segments.
...

While Apple will continue to be successful and take a lot of money away from Microsoft, they will never be a _substantial threat. ...These statements contradict each other. Success in the American economic system depends on growth. Microsoft has been working like a Trojan to maintain its own growth and to forestall the growth of the competition. To make this happen, it has accepted financial losses in the majority of its business units.

Microsoft is a house of cards and has been so for at least a decade. This is something that computer fans both pro and con have missed. The investment community has finessed it. The popular press has ignored it. If you examine Microsoft's stock prices, then you will see that Microsoft lambdaed in 1999. Heck, I remember when William J. Gates III was worth $100 billion. That was a long time ago. Most others have ignored this fact, but Microsoft knows it all too well.

What you don't seem to understand is that Microsoft's monopoly position in operating systems and office productivity software means that any new entrant to the market is a threat. Microsoft is a public company. Its health is not governed by its marketshare; its health is governed by the willingness of investors to purchase Microsoft stock. The test is: is one dollar's worth of Microsoft stock likely to return more money than one dollar of some other company's stock. With so little room to grow, almost any credible competitor will hurt Microsoft--possibly severely.

It is not a question of which competitor is Microsoft's worst enemy because each hurt it--only in different ways. These include Apple, the Linux distros, the Linux-based netbooks, the PS3 and Wii game consoles, etc.

IJ Reilly
Mar 8, 2009, 12:10 PM
I'm saying its easy to put up BIG numbers as a percentage (20-30% growth) but it doesn't always translate into the biggest growth of actual users.

Because it's not relevant, and no, it's still not "easy" to post big growth numbers, no matter how large or small the base figure may be.

Again, your trying to compare 20-30% growth in a 8% marketshare with 2-3% growth in a 90% marketshare. 30% growth in a 8% segment translates into a "2.4" real-world increase (i.e. 8 to 10.4)... 3% growth in a 90% segment is "2.7" real-world increase (i.e. 92 to 94.7) 8-to-92 is a 8% marketshare, while 10.4-to-94.7 is a 9.8% marketshare. Not as drastic as a "30% vs 2%" growth chart would have you believe.

I'm sorry, this is nonsense. The figures don't lie. Assuming it matters to you, in several of the recent quarters fully half of the new PCs sold were Macs. This is astonishing, considering the much larger installed base of Windows PCs. Simply told, sales of Windows PCs are little better than flat while Mac sales are growing at 20-30% per year. Believe it or not, this is what has been happening, and this is also why the Windows market share has been declining in recent years. Not because of Linux, but because of the surge in Mac sales.

Trying to bring this back on topic, if Microsoft is more worried about Linux than they are about Apple, then they are their own worst enemy because they are failing to see where their market share is actually going. This is probably at least partly corporate politics on Microsoft's part -- they surely are loathe to admit that Apple can beat them at anything. But it probably also represents some of their internal thinking, their party line on competition. They decided a long time ago that open source was the enemy and that Apple was irrelevant. Apparently the changing circumstances hasn't changed their thinking. This is a perfect example of a company driven by inertia instead of reality.

All of this reminds me of something Guy Kawasaki said many years ago. He talked about how important it is in business to know who is your opponent, who you are trying to beat. He said this in the context of Apple, which during the '80s decided that IBM was their opponent. He realized later that was a mistake. Apple's main opponent was always Microsoft, and if they'd geared their attack to combat Microsoft, they might have done a lot better.

Just so we know, all companies can make this strategic error. There's no reason to assume that Microsoft is immune.

Beerfloat
Mar 8, 2009, 12:30 PM
Trying to bring this back on topic, if Microsoft is more worried about Linux than they are about Apple, then they are their own worst enemy because they are failing to see where their market share is actually going.

You're missing the big picture. Consumer PCs as we know them are less and less relevant. Microsoft knows that full well.

This is about who owns everything from the server to the settop box, the console and the mobile phone. It's about content delivery, communication and having a big finger in the advertising pie. Basically, it's about who controls the eyeballs of the future.

Linux is viral and dangerous. It's a level playing field for all sorts of companies, and everyone who was once a Microsoft customer by default seems to be getting on that train in some way. This is IBM, HP, Dell. It's Google and Sun, Cisco. But it's also the army, it's banks, stock exchanges. It provides leverage for complete countries in their negotiations with Microsoft.

Microsoft is anything but dumb in this assessment.

IJ Reilly
Mar 8, 2009, 02:42 PM
I don't see where I'm missing the "big picture." All buzzwords aside, it's about moving product. Perhaps my skepticism is based on been hearing for so many years about how Linux is going to take over, and all these years later, it's still only a tiny fraction of the user base. An important fraction in some respects, but still not large enough to make any significant different to how much product Microsoft moves. Clearly Apple has made a larger dent in that number, which in the end, is all that matters.

No, I think it's Microsoft which is missing the big picture. They decided a number of years ago that open source was their enemy, and began a very determined campaign to undermine it. This was back when it was easy to dismiss Apple as a threat. Today the threat has changed, but Microsoft's positioning has not. They know they are chasing Apple in many respects, but institutionally they can't admit it.

Microsoft doesn't change direction and never admits defeat. They barrel onwards, whether they're going in the right direction or not. This is just another example. I've been watching Microsoft closely for about 15 years, and that's my opinion based on my reading of their corporate culture.

Syrus28
Mar 8, 2009, 03:04 PM
Because it's not relevant, and no, it's still not "easy" to post big growth numbers, no matter how large or small the base figure may be.
Believe it or not, it is relevant. 30% growth of a small number can not be compared to 2% of a large number. If I have 1 person using my product, and next year I have 11, I just posted a 1000% growth rate. Seems spectacular, until you figure that my competitor went from 100 to 150, even though it's a 50% growth. Now, is it easier to attract 10 more customers, or 50? So yes, it is easier for Apple to grow.

I'm sorry, this is nonsense. The figures don't lie. Assuming it matters to you, in several of the recent quarters fully half of the new PCs sold were Macs. This is astonishing, considering the much larger installed base of Windows PCs. Simply told, sales of Windows PCs are little better than flat while Mac sales are growing at 20-30% per year. Believe it or not, this is what has been happening, and this is also why the Windows market share has been declining in recent years. Not because of Linux, but because of the surge in Mac sales.
Exactly, the figures don't lie - Apple has the nearly the same worldwide marketshare it did in 1997. Also, Apple has never posted a 50% quarterly marketshare. MacRumors itself (http://www.macrumors.com/2009/01/14/apples-us-market-share-growth-slows-in-4q-2008/)recently pegged Apple's 4th quarter marketshare at 8%, with a yearly growth of 25%. Where'd you get that from?

Lastly, It's statistically impossible for PCs to post 30% growth in the US, unless the rate at which Americans adopt computers suddenly increase.

Trying to bring this back on topic, if Microsoft is more worried about Linux than they are about Apple, then they are their own worst enemy because they are failing to see where their market share is actually going. This is probably at least partly corporate politics on Microsoft's part -- they surely are loathe to admit that Apple can beat them at anything. But it probably also represents some of their internal thinking, their party line on competition. They decided a long time ago that open source was the enemy and that Apple was irrelevant. Apparently the changing circumstances hasn't changed their thinking. This is a perfect example of a company driven by inertia instead of reality.
Again, your overstating Apple's growth. Apple has stolen a few % of marketshare in the US, yet this hasn't translated into any meaningful gain worldwide. Apple has remained stagnant in this area for the last 12 years, it's not hard to understand why Microsoft considers a free alternative more of a threat. As developing countries continue to adopt more and more computers, Microsoft is pushing Windows to combat potential Linux growth. In fact, Microsoft sells Windows for $3 in emerging countries. Any competitor that forces Microsoft to sell it's flagship product for $3 should be considered a threat. The growth potential for Microsoft isn't in the US, but overseas. And as the numbers point out, Apple doesn't experience a fraction of the success worldwide as it does here.

All of this reminds me of something Guy Kawasaki said many years ago. He talked about how important it is in business to know who is your opponent, who you are trying to beat. He said this in the context of Apple, which during the '80s decided that IBM was their opponent. He realized later that was a mistake. Apple's main opponent was always Microsoft, and if they'd geared their attack to combat Microsoft, they might have done a lot better.

Just so we know, all companies can make this strategic error. There's no reason to assume that Microsoft is immune.
Mr. Steve Jobs seems to disagree with you. If I remember correctly, he stated that Apple needs to loose its attitude that Microsoft has to die for Apple to succeed. It's not hard to see why Microsoft considers a free, open-source alternative to their product than a more costly alternative. Macs are never going to enjoy immense marketshare with higher prices and Apple as the sole vendor and operator. An important draw to Macs is being different, and that will cease to exist long before Apple overtakes Microsoft. Do you really see half the world owning identical looking MacBooks?

IJ Reilly
Mar 8, 2009, 03:46 PM
Ah, so Apple has to die in order for it to really succeed? Finally we get to your real argument. That took way too long. I don't agree. In any event:

Gartner: Apple To Double Its Market-share By 2011
http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=425392

2Q08:
Apple's U.S. Market Share Continues to Grow
http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=524149

Windows PC industry YOY sales increase: 1.8% (281,000 units)
Apple YOY sales increase: 38.1% (386,000 units)

3Q08:
Apple's U.S. Market Share Approaches 10%
http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=580920

Windows PC industry YOY sales increase: 2.9% (393,700 units)
Apple YOY sales increase: 29.4% (374,200 units)

Speedy2
Mar 8, 2009, 03:52 PM
These statements contradict each other. Success in the American economic system depends on growth. Microsoft has been working like a Trojan to maintain its own growth and to forestall the growth of the competition. To make this happen, it has accepted financial losses in the majority of its business units.

Microsoft is a house of cards and has been so for at least a decade. This is something that computer fans both pro and con have missed. The investment community has finessed it. The popular press has ignored it. If you examine Microsoft's stock prices, then you will see that Microsoft lambdaed in 1999. Heck, I remember when William J. Gates III was worth $100 billion. That was a long time ago. Most others have ignored this fact, but Microsoft knows it all too well.

What you don't seem to understand is that Microsoft's monopoly position in operating systems and office productivity software means that any new entrant to the market is a threat. Microsoft is a public company. Its health is not governed by its marketshare; its health is governed by the willingness of investors to purchase Microsoft stock. The test is: is one dollar's worth of Microsoft stock likely to return more money than one dollar of some other company's stock. With so little room to grow, almost any credible competitor will hurt Microsoft--possibly severely.

It is not a question of which competitor is Microsoft's worst enemy because each hurt it--only in different ways. These include Apple, the Linux distros, the Linux-based netbooks, the PS3 and Wii game consoles, etc.


Half of your statement simply isn't coherent, so it's hard to form a coherent reply. You're putting way too much weight on the shareholder value. Calling Microsoft a "house of cards" because of the less than stellar share price development is plain ridiculous and entirely ignores the fact that this house of cards has an insane margin and can basically print its own money the way it wants. MS is still the most valuable IT company stock-wise, so how exactly can you call this a fluke? There are no indications, that this will change in any way in the next, say 5-6 years.
The only thing that can really hurt MS financially at the moment is the economic downturn.

Bill Gates was worth 100 billion during the new economy bubble. We know now how worthless these astronomical numbers were. Comparing that number to his current status (still rich, btw) does not warrant a useful conclusion in any way. Plus, he has been reducing his MS share steadily and is invested in a few other things, a well known fact. Besides, he set up a nicely bolstered fund to help the needy, in case you forgot.

You are absolutely right in saying that new competitors in the OS/office productivity market are a potential threat for MS (where exatcly did I 'not understand' this obvious fact?). But when exactly has there been the last successful attempt to attack Office or Windows? It must be decades now. Apple's + Linux's tiny gains in market share are negligible, especially now that Apple chose to ignore the netbook market and Linux was only shortly successful in the first days of the netbook. The story is different, of course, for mobile devices, where MS is just another player among others, but this paragraph is about MS's monopolies, right?

Syrus28
Mar 8, 2009, 04:01 PM
Ah, so Apple has to die in order for it to really succeed? Finally we get to your real argument. That took way too long. I don't agree. In any event:

What the hell? I said nothing of the sort. I'm agreeing with what Steve Jobs said: Microsoft doesn't have to die for Apple to succeed. How you twisted that into "Apple has to die for it to really succeed", I do not know. :confused:

Secondly, none of those articles reinforce your "several recent quarters fully half of the new PCs sold were Macs." What I do see is that Apple stands to capture about 10% of the US market which is impressive. But the fact remains that Apple's growth in the worldwide market is negligible at best.

Evangelion
Mar 8, 2009, 04:12 PM
If Ballmer truly believes that Linux is a larger threat to Microsoft than Apple, then clearly the right answer is "itself."

On desktops, MacOS is bigger than Linx, no question about it. But you need to look at the big picture. If we look at Linux, we can see few things:

- About 30% of servers run Linux
- About 90% of supercomputers run Linux
- About 20% of phones run Linux
- About 30% of netbooks run Linux.

Linux is also present in whole lots of embedded systems, like airline in-flight entertainment-systems and so forth. Linux is just about everywhere, and no matter which market Microsoft turns to, they will run in to Linux.

All those markets are something that Microsoft wants to dominate. And if we look at netbooks, they present a real threat to Microsoft, since normally Linux has few percent share of desktops, but in Netbooks it's A LOT bigger, and netbooks are just about the only market-segment that is growing. Netbooks are an excellent road for Linux to gain lots of new users, and MS knows that.

Simply looking at desktops (that includes laptops) and then determing that Linux is not a threat, is short-sighted in the extreme. Those computers are just a small fraction of the entire market. And even if we just look at desktops, we can see that Linux is gaining market-share, even though that is the market that is hardest to crack.

Syrus28
Mar 8, 2009, 04:14 PM
Interestingly enough IJ Reilly, you may over overlooked a statement from your own source:

...Toshiba continues to hold the fifth spot with a 4.4% market share in a worldwide PC market that experienced 15-16% growth in shipments year-over-year.
As you can see, the U.S. market is topping out for PCs, but to state that the market as a whole is stagnant is undoubtedly ignorant.

Evangelion
Mar 8, 2009, 04:18 PM
Is Linux gaining market share against Windows? No.

Yes. For starters, quite few of netbooks run Linux, and that is a growing market. And while something like Netapplications is a lousy way to determine actual market-share, it's a good way to determine the trend in market-share. And it shows that Linux'es share is growing.

I've been hearing about how it's just about to for over ten years now. I am beginning to disbelieve it for some reason. Is the Mac gaining market share against Windows? Yes. Do the math. Microsoft also has its hands full competing with Apple in digital music players and mobile phones.

You are doing the mistake of only looking at desktop-OS market-share, which is just a small part of the whole. I bet that you are using Linux even today, but you just don't know it. Microsoft would much rather see you use Windows instead.

And, as it happens, I have seen Linux pop up more and more recently. I have seen people use it on trains, I have run in to co-workers who use it actively etc. All that was completely unheard of few years ago.

When you go online, you are probably visiting websites that are hosted on Linux, Microsoft would much rather see those websites run on Windows instead. When you tape TV-shows using your DVR, you might be using Linux, as opposed to Windows CE. And so forth.

Evangelion
Mar 8, 2009, 04:21 PM
So from 2003 to 2009 they gained 1.3% of computer users, thats 0.22% market growth a year, pitiful really

Actually, those figures means that Linux'es market-share increased by 50%....

in business terms thats a complete failure.

50% increase in market-share is not a "complete failure" by any stretch of the imagination.

kastenbrust
Mar 8, 2009, 04:29 PM
Actually, those figures means that Linux'es market-share increased by 50%....



50% increase in market-share is not a "complete failure" by any stretch of the imagination.

yes it is, because its exactly that, market share.

When your company goes from making $10 to $20 a month what do you tell your bank manager? "oh ive doubled my profit" :rolleyes: theres words for that, its called creative accounting...

Syrus28
Mar 8, 2009, 04:32 PM
yes it is, because its exactly that, market share.

When your company goes from making $10 to $20 a month what do you tell your bank manager? "oh ive doubled my profit" :rolleyes: theres words for that, its called creative accounting...
You say this as if it doesn't apply to Apple.:D

twoodcc
Mar 8, 2009, 04:43 PM
Microsoft's biggest enemy is...

Ballmer!
BALLMER!
BALLMER!
BALLMER!
BALLMEEEEEEEEEEEEER!

lol, i agree. i cannot stand him

Syrus28
Mar 8, 2009, 04:53 PM
lol, i agree. i cannot stand him

I seriously think he's bi-polar. I mean, what else can explain his transition of jumping/spitting/sweating like a 3rd grader to his [rare] showings as a pretty smart guy.

Back on topic, I'm inclined to agree with Ballmer here. Linux competes with Windows on nearly every front, especially emerging markets, where Microsoft sees most of its growth potential. Like I said before, they'll have a hell of a time convincing its customers they still need Windows if Linux ever truly presents itself as a competent and worthwhile alternative. While its growth now may be negligible, a free product "developed by the people for the people" certainly shows promise.

In the large grand scheme of things, I truly do not see Apple ever overtaking Microsoft in market share in its current form. Apple rides it hardware business on it's software, which is ultimately its largest advantage AND disadvantage.

kastenbrust
Mar 8, 2009, 04:59 PM
I seriously think he's bi-polar. I mean, what else can explain his transition of jumping/spitting/sweating like a 3rd grader to his [rare] showings as a pretty smart guy.

Back on topic, I'm inclined to agree with Ballmer here. Linux competes with Windows on nearly every front, especially emerging markets, where Microsoft sees most of its growth. Like I said before, they'll have a hell of a time convincing its customers they still need Windows if Linux ever truly presents itself as a competent and worthwhile alternative. While its growth now may be negligible, a free product "developed by the people for the people" certainly shows promise.

We're talking about Linux like it actually means anything, but technically Apple OS X is Linux. Lets be more specific, we're talking about Redhat for commercial servers and Ubuntu for home geeks.

Syrus28
Mar 8, 2009, 05:05 PM
We're talking about Linux like it actually means anything, but technically Apple OS X is Linux. Lets be more specific, we're talking about Redhat for commercial servers and Ubuntu for home geeks.
OS X is not Linux. Both are based on Unix-like ideas, but not in any circumstance would it be appropriate for OS X to be called "Linux". Besides, Ballmer is referring to Linux as an idea - that the OS is open-source and free. It'd be premature to to just say Redhat or Ubuntu, the next great distro could pop up tomorrow.

kastenbrust
Mar 8, 2009, 05:10 PM
OS X is not Linux. Both are based on Unix-like ideas, but not in any circumstance would it be appropriate for OS X to be called "Linux". Besides, Ballmer is referring to Linux as an idea - that the OS is open-source and free. It'd be premature to to just say Redhat or Ubuntu, the next great distro could pop up tomorrow.

Thats true but OS X is based on Unix, it uses a Unix filesystem, unix codes, and is cross compatible with a lot of unix software. Ballmer is clearly frustrated Microsoft cant sue any Linux distro's because they arnt commercially owned.

IJ Reilly
Mar 8, 2009, 05:20 PM
What the hell? I said nothing of the sort. I'm agreeing with what Steve Jobs said: Microsoft doesn't have to die for Apple to succeed. How you twisted that into "Apple has to die for it to really succeed", I do not know. :confused:

Secondly, none of those articles reinforce your "several recent quarters fully half of the new PCs sold were Macs." What I do see is that Apple stands to capture about 10% of the US market which is impressive. But the fact remains that Apple's growth in the worldwide market is negligible at best.

You said that "Macs are never going to enjoy immense marketshare with higher prices and Apple as the sole vendor and operator." First, I take it this means that you believe that Apple must license OSX to other hardware manufacturers or their market share growth is meaningless. This was a near-death experience for Apple the first time they tried it, and there is no reason on Earth to suspect that it could work out any better a second time. In addition, I don't understand the argument that Apple's market share has to be "immense" or it can be regarded as negligible. Healthy and growing is good enough. Apple doesn't have to be Microsoft to be successful. I think this is what many people don't fully understand.

I meant that half of the growth in unit sales in these quarters were Macs. Sorry for the confusion on that point.

Syrus28
Mar 8, 2009, 05:22 PM
Thats true but OS X is based on Unix, it uses a Unix filesystem, unix codes, and is cross compatible with a lot of unix software. Ballmer is clearly frustrated Microsoft cant sue any Linux distro's because they arnt commercially owned.

Not true. Microsoft, if it so-pleased, could pursue "Linux" in court. The companies that distribute the distros can in fact be sued. Linux isn't exactly ran by a bunch of people in their garage, there are legitimate companies developing these distros. Ubuntu is distributed by Canonical, RedHat by RedHat Inc.

kastenbrust
Mar 8, 2009, 05:53 PM
Not true. Microsoft, if it so-pleased, could pursue "Linux" in court. The companies that distribute the distros can in fact be sued. Linux isn't exactly ran by a bunch of people in their garage, there are legitimate companies developing these distros. Ubuntu is distributed by Canonical, RedHat by RedHat Inc.

They could sue a few distros, but no way could they sue all of them, including the ones which are made by people in garages, which sometimes they are, usually Swedish people for some reason :confused:

This means linux distro's can do what they want, include native NTFS read/write capabilities, include native Exchange Server support, include native Windows app install support, which must drive Ballmer insane in the membrane. Apple has to get people to make things like NTFS-3G and Fusion in order to make OS X Windows compatible, and you have to pay Microsoft for the right to make its OS X 10.6 Exchange Server compatible.

Syrus28
Mar 8, 2009, 06:05 PM
You said that "Macs are never going to enjoy immense marketshare with higher prices and Apple as the sole vendor and operator." First, I take it this means that you believe that Apple must license OSX to other hardware manufacturers or their market share growth is meaningless. This was a near-death experience for Apple the first time they tried it, and there is no reason on Earth to suspect that it could work out any better a second time.
I think we can both agree the "near-death experience" 10-20 years ago in the computer industry is of no relevance today. The computer market is VASTLY different than it was back then. If Apple were to license Mac OS X, computer manufacturers would pick it up, and a simple check box will enable users to choose either OS. Yes, Apple's profits might suffer, but whether it does or not is dependent on the failure of OS X to gain widespread adoption. This possibility leads to a quite larger discussion that I won't get into here.

In addition, I don't understand the argument that Apple's market share has to be "immense" or it can be regarded as negligible. Healthy and growing is good enough. Apple doesn't have to be Microsoft to be successful. I think this is what many people don't fully understand.
This, was exactly what we were saying about Linux...;) Was it not you that quickly dismissed Linux because there was "no growth" and it's been hovering around 1% for years. I you think about it, Linux's position is not unlike Apple's. Both are struggling to gain a discernible foothold in the OS market worldwide. One is for profit, one is not. It's natural to assume Linux will continue to improve to a point of usability comparable to Windows, and when it does that, there's nothing stopping it from mass adoption . Apple's hardware business is stopping OS X from that adoption.

I meant that half of the growth in unit sales in these quarters were Macs. Sorry for the confusion on that point.
Thanks for the clarification. Even then, however, your point is simply not true. It is of my opinion that when making such absolute statements, we factor in the rest of the world - not just the US.

IJ Reilly
Mar 8, 2009, 07:10 PM
I think we can both agree the "near-death experience" 10-20 years ago in the computer industry is of no relevance today. The computer market is VASTLY different than it was back then. If Apple were to license Mac OS X, computer manufacturers would pick it up, and a simple check box will enable users to choose either OS. Yes, Apple's profits might suffer, but whether it does or not is dependent on the failure of OS X to gain widespread adoption. This possibility leads to a quite larger discussion that I won't get into here.

No, we can't agree on that. Fundamentally the computer market is the same as it was 12-15 years ago, the economics are unchanged, so there is absolutely no reason to presume that rerunning this radical experiment would produce different results. Apple's profits suffering is not just a footnote in this sad chapter in Apple's history. Apple's profits vanished when they attempted licensing, and the Mac's market share did not grow. In fact it shrank. This is the likely result again. The rules haven't changed.

This, was exactly what we were saying about Linux...;) Was it not you that quickly dismissed Linux because there was "no growth" and it's been hovering around 1% for years. I you think about it, Linux's position is not unlike Apple's. Both are struggling to gain a discernible foothold in the OS market worldwide. One is for profit, one is not. It's natural to assume Linux will continue to improve to a point of usability comparable to Windows, and when it does that, there's nothing stopping it from mass adoption . Apple's hardware business is stopping OS X from that adoption.

I haven't "dismissed" Linux, I have only pointed out that the promises that it would be ready for mass adoption have been made for over ten years now. At some point it might be wise for Linux fans to admit that this probably isn't going to happen. Linux has its place, but mass adoption isn't it. Even more to the point, mass adoption isn't the only definition of success.

Thanks for the clarification. Even then, however, your point is simply not true. It is of my opinion that when making such absolute statements, we factor in the rest of the world - not just the US.

I only have figures for the US, so I'm not going to debate without good numbers for the rest of the world. Two data points ten years apart don't do it for me.

OllyW
Mar 8, 2009, 07:28 PM
I only have figures for the US, so I'm not going to debate without good numbers for the rest of the world. Two data points ten years apart don't do it for me.

Why is it so unbelievable?

Mac sales may be on the up in the USA, Europe and other wealthy countries but the world market has changed dramatically over the last 12 years. China, India and Africa are now a major part of the market and they are buying really cheap PCs running (mainly pirated) Windows.

Speedy2
Mar 8, 2009, 09:35 PM
Healthy and growing is good enough. Apple doesn't have to be Microsoft to be successful. I think this is what many people don't fully understand.


I think the main misunderstanding is visible in this statement.

This is not that much about Apple being successful and gaining a decent market share. Nobody denies that.

It is more about the question whether this growth will be enough to pose a threat to Microsoft and their position in the PC market. This is I think, where most people would say no. Even if Apple grew to a whopping worldwide 20%, Microsoft would still be able to print money and dominate the remaining 80%. Maybe a bit less recklessly than now, but such a loss in marketshare to Apple would mostly hurt the PC makers since they'd sell fewer high-margin PCs. MS on the other hand earns pretty much the same per PC, high-margin or not. And don't forget that a certain number of Macs also run Windows.

Apple growing to more than a worldwide 20% is highly unlikely. Simply, because they don't want to.

IJ Reilly
Mar 8, 2009, 10:58 PM
Why is it so unbelievable?

I didn't say it was.

I think the main misunderstanding is visible in this statement.

This is not that much about Apple being successful and gaining a decent market share. Nobody denies that.

It is more about the question whether this growth will be enough to pose a threat to Microsoft and their position in the PC market. This is I think, where most people would say no. Even if Apple grew to a whopping worldwide 20%, Microsoft would still be able to print money and dominate the remaining 80%. Maybe a bit less recklessly than now, but such a loss in marketshare to Apple would mostly hurt the PC makers since they'd sell fewer high-margin PCs. MS on the other hand earns pretty much the same per PC, high-margin or not. And don't forget that a certain number of Macs also run Windows.

Apple growing to more than a worldwide 20% is highly unlikely. Simply, because they don't want to.

These is are the points worth debating.

I don't know how you gage a competitive threat except by what it does to growth and profits. You can be sure that Microsoft isn't happy to be giving up share to Apple or anyone else. Remember, Microsoft thought Netscape to be sufficiently threatening to their future prosperity for them to snuff out Netscape with prejudice, even at the cost of hundreds of millions, and violating antitrust laws. Do we think that to be ridiculously defensive now? Was Netscape taking bread out of Microsoft's mouth then, or could they have seriously threatened Microsoft's profits at some theoretical point in time? It didn't matter -- they were sniffing around Microsoft's turf. For no other reason, Microsoft wanted them terminated.

So why is Apple different? Apple is competing directly with Microsoft in at least three markets; they are clearly being beating them in one, arguably in another, and giving up share in a third. And yet we imagine that Microsoft doesn't notice or care?

MisterMe
Mar 9, 2009, 12:30 AM
... Even if Apple grew to a whopping worldwide 20%, Microsoft would still be able to print money and dominate the remaining 80%. ...Do you ever read the business section of the paper? If you did, then you would know that Microsoft is experiencing layoffs. I put to you that layoffs are not a sign of a company with the ability to "print money."

... And don't forget that a certain number of Macs also run Windows.You might do well to explain this fact to Microsoft because it does not seem to understand the benefit. Remember, it was Microsoft that removed support of EFI from Vista after Apple transitioned the Mac to Intel processors. You will also notice that Microsoft never ported the Mac version of Virtual PC to Intel processors.

Evangelion
Mar 9, 2009, 02:21 AM
I haven't "dismissed" Linux, I have only pointed out that the promises that it would be ready for mass adoption have been made for over ten years now. At some point it might be wise for Linux fans to admit that this probably isn't going to happen. Linux has its place, but mass adoption isn't it. Even more to the point, mass adoption isn't the only definition of success.

Those claims are not that different when we compare them to promises made by Mac-users over the course of the years. What was it? "Microsoft is doomed! Apple is going to get 20% of the market any day now! Soon everyone is going to switch over!". Still waiting.....

Yes, we have had several "year of the Linux-desktops". And every time, detractors have come along and said something like "Well, this was supposed to be the year of the Linux desktop, yet it's nowhere to be seen! Linux is a failure!". But the thing to remember here is that Linux (or any other OS for that matter) is not going to take over the desktop in one year. Just look at OS X. Compared to Windows, it has A LOT of goodwill, good design, ease of use, the press loves it etc. etc. Has it "taken over"? No. It has gained few percentage-points in market-share, but that's about it. Clearly, OS X is a failure since it hasn't crushed Windows, right?

IMO, what "year of the Linux-desktop" really means is that when will Linux reach the point when it is a viable desktop for normal users. I would say that it reached that point several years ago. I have seen grandmothers and children alike using it with little problems. It has been on my desktop for years. For me, the "year of the Linux-desktop" was in about 2000 or so. "The year of The Linux-desktop" is not some monumental occasion where everyone will suddenly stop using Windows and switch to Linux.

If Linux is ready, then why hasn't people moved over? Mostly, it's inertia. Most people are content with Windows, so they see no reason to switch over. And businesses are always reluctant to make big changes like that. But places where that inertia does not exist, Linux has thrived. Linux is used at this very moment as the OS for 50 million Brazilian schoolchildren. There was no inertia there, it was a new "market". Or take supoercomputers for example: There's very little inertia there. Supercomputer-users will use whatever OS makes their calculations run faster and helps them lower their costs. Linux helped them achieve that, and it took 90% of that market in timespan of just few years.

When it comes to normal users, OS X has the advantage of the fact that it comes in a beautiful package (Mac-hardware). Now Linux has something similar in netbooks.

Yeah yeah yeah, we have the stories of how Linux is a lot harder to use than Windows. But it isn't really. What it is, is that it's different. People who have used Windows and only Windows will have problems moving to a totally different system. My wife had problems using Linux at first. But once she understood and accepted the fact that Linux is not Windows and things will work differently, things went quite smoothly, and she quickly learned to use it. Same thing with OS X. She struggled initially, but then it was smooth sailing.

But on the other hand, there are my in-laws, who bought their first Mac a bit over 1 year ago. And my mother in-law still complains about hoiw things "don't work" or how it's "hard to use". Why? Because she has only used Windows before, and she expects OS X to work just like Windows does. To her, OS X is hard to use, a claim just about everyone here would laugh at. It's more or less the same with Linux. People who complain that it's "hard to use", are people who expect it to work just like their previous OS worked (which is usually Windows). When it doesn't, they start complaining that it's "too hard".

Saladinos
Mar 9, 2009, 05:19 AM
On desktops, MacOS is bigger than Linx, no question about it. But you need to look at the big picture. If we look at Linux, we can see few things:

- About 30% of servers run Linux
- About 90% of supercomputers run Linux
- About 20% of phones run Linux
- About 30% of netbooks run Linux.

Linux is also present in whole lots of embedded systems, like airline in-flight entertainment-systems and so forth. Linux is just about everywhere, and no matter which market Microsoft turns to, they will run in to Linux.

All those markets are something that Microsoft wants to dominate. And if we look at netbooks, they present a real threat to Microsoft, since normally Linux has few percent share of desktops, but in Netbooks it's A LOT bigger, and netbooks are just about the only market-segment that is growing. Netbooks are an excellent road for Linux to gain lots of new users, and MS knows that.

Simply looking at desktops (that includes laptops) and then determing that Linux is not a threat, is short-sighted in the extreme. Those computers are just a small fraction of the entire market. And even if we just look at desktops, we can see that Linux is gaining market-share, even though that is the market that is hardest to crack.

To be fair, Linux has strengths that Microsoft simply can't compete with, and Apple is doing their part to make sure OEMs' relationships with Microsoft are strained.

- Linux is infinitely flexible. Companies love branding. They all believe they have the best brand on the planet, and that you didn't buy their product because it was the cheapest, but because you're loyal to that brand. They love customising stuff. Short of bundling free trialware, you can't do that with Windows. You can with Linux. And if you're designing a new type of product (such as a netbook or airline computer), you don't need to wait for Microsoft to come up with a new UI for you (which won't differentiate your product at all, since it's standard across all PCs)- you can do it all yourself, and have it ready when you need it ready. There's a struggle going on - OEMs want to grow their brands, and Microsoft wants to grow the Windows brand (Vista was all about branding for them. Always was).

- Apple has been straining OEMs relationship with Microsoft. Apple has been pushing the boat out amazingly far with software: they added multi-touch to their trackpads and it was supported in the OS instantly, they added a second GPU and the OS supported it instantly, they added backlit keyboards with ambient light sensors and it was all supported instantly. Apple has entire control of their ecosystem, so they can push new features that require hardware and software integration quickly. This helps differentiate Apple's products in the marketplace. Windows PCs, on the other hand, have remained largely the same since, well, Windows XP. There haven't been any software advances that enable new features that integrate with hardware, so OEMs haven't been able to take advantage of hardware advances.

This is the reason that most OEMs are believed to be working on their own flavours of Linux. Using linux will put the software back under their control so they can take advantage of any new hardware as soon as it hits, instead of waiting however many years for the next version of Windows.

This has been going on in the smartphone arena since the iPhone hit. Apple had this magical touch-screen display that consumers actually queued and fought each other to get a chance to pay for. Everybody making Windows Mobile phones had to wait for Microsoft to get their act together so they could compete. Google saw the opening and announced Android, which is far more of a competitor feature-wise for the iPhone than WinMo. No surprise it's been doing so well.

This serves Apple twofold: firstly, it creates difficulties for Microsoft.

Microsoft needs to keep those partners, so they need to rejuvenate their relationships. There are two ways to do that: giving them the features they want, or lowering licensing costs. Lower licensing costs means less income for Microsoft, which leads to cuts in all areas of the business, lowering product quality and opening markets. Lower licensing costs also sets a dangerous precedent: what if the OEMs decide to lower costs even further by switching to a free OS like Linux? As far as giving them the features is concerned - different partners have different priorities, and juggling all those feature requests is very difficult and time consuming. This means that new products will either take a long time to complete, or ship lacking in features or quality. Either works for Apple.

The second way this works for Apple is that it keeps the onus on them to keep innovating. Apple works well under pressure - some of their greatest products have come at the most difficult times (iPod, NeXtStep/OSX, iPhone ...etc). If they keep that going, they're going to end up with some spectacular products.

*Note: Yes, the iPhone is a great product at a difficult time. Apple accounts for the iPhone over a two-year period, and it hit just before a global recession. This means that Apple's accounts should remain healthy throughout the crisis. Stroke of extreme good luck that they chose that model.

nplima
Mar 9, 2009, 06:06 AM
There is one interesting aspect about Linux development, which is that it is more likely to improve than to stagnate or to break. This is of course because of the licensing. If someone dislikes the way the product is going, they can pick new components, fork existing projects to lead them in the direction they prefer, they can abandon items they dislike, etc., etc.

This is not compatible with a commercial approach of creating artificial limitations in software, to license 5 different editions of the product with varying functionality, to remove features to promote obsolescence... this is a problem that MS can have with the development of the Windows OS that Linux users/developers do not have.

Speedy2
Mar 9, 2009, 09:41 AM
Do you ever read the business section of the paper? If you did, then you would know that Microsoft is experiencing layoffs. I put to you that layoffs are not a sign of a company with the ability to "print money."


This is purely because of the current crisis, nothing else. MS is still making a lot of money, while others are struggling. As soon as the market rebounds, MS will be back to its usual performance.

Speedy2
Mar 9, 2009, 10:05 AM
Linux rant

While I understand your position as a Linux supporter and also wished that it'd be more successful, we have to acknowledge that Linux on the desktop has been a massive failure so far. I remember very well the time ten years ago, when KDE and Gnome were just out and made huge steps towards usability and ease of use. Everyone was dreaming of a free alternative to Windows. Pamphlets were written about cathedrals and bazaars. The famous battle about free source code = free speech was raging. Free software, how could this not be successful?

Now ten years later, not much has changed. Linux is still in no way suitable for the masses. The initial installation might be easier these days, but as soon as there's a problem or an unsupported device, you're in dire straits. And there are still way too many unsupported devices. The holy wars about interfaces, doctrine vs. pragmatism, pure code and god knows what are still going on, fiercer than ever. Heck, we still have two desktops, one of which nobody needs (make your choice). Instead of focusing on the needs of the desktop user (get those drivers out of the kernel!!), the kernel gets extensions for supercomputers and new file systems for highly exotic purposes instead. Featurewise, Linux is playing catch-up everywhere. There are no impulses coming from the Linux world. All the stuff that made Linux (or any X) special and more powerful has been around for ages (multi-user, X servers, multi desktops, powerful shell etc) and is now ubiquitous.

All the companies that invested in Linux big time and are still successful (mostly IBM) did so in the server business. This is where Linux's strengths are and this is, I fear, where Linux will remain for now. However, the big advantage of Linux is, it is not in a hurry. It can sit around and wait for eons until it finally may have a breakthrough.
(I've already mentioned Google/Android in another post)

(note: this is about Linux, not about open source in general)

IJ Reilly
Mar 9, 2009, 10:10 AM
Those claims are not that different when we compare them to promises made by Mac-users over the course of the years. What was it? "Microsoft is doomed! Apple is going to get 20% of the market any day now! Soon everyone is going to switch over!". Still waiting.....

Some people make these claims, but I've made the opposite claim. My point is that Apple doesn't need to be Microsoft to be successful, and Linux doesn't need to take over the desktop to be successful. But you must admit, Linux fans put Mac fans to shame in the hyperbolic claims department. During the years when the dwindling number of Mac users' boldest words were "we are not nuts," the Linux partisans were claiming to be on the verge of toppling the Microsoft empire.

To be fair, Linux has strengths that Microsoft simply can't compete with, and Apple is doing their part to make sure OEMs' relationships with Microsoft are strained.

Interesting thoughts. Thanks.

This is purely because of the current crisis, nothing else. MS is still making a lot of money, while others are struggling. As soon as the market rebounds, MS will be back to its usual performance.

Microsoft could go into the sausage making business and make money, but the key to success in industry is growing profits. Microsoft's growth has been stalled for a number of years, not just since the onset of this recession. Just take a look at their stock chart for the last ten years as evidence of how investors have rated their ability to grow over that time.

Tenebrous
Mar 9, 2009, 10:41 AM
Yup, color me skeptical. I keep hearing how Linux will take over any day now, and I'm waiting...still waiting...and waiting some more. When you push a Linux fan, you'll find an unhinged person on the order of Ron Paul or a pot advocate. No matter the facts, no matter the reality, no matter anything -- pot will be legalized soon, Ron Paul will win the presidency, and/or Linux will triumph. I'm so sick of it. I'll use Apple because it makes things EASY for me. Microsoft DOESN'T. Linux DOESN'T. So go put that in your distro and smoke it.

MisterMe
Mar 9, 2009, 11:16 AM
...

Microsoft could go into the sausage making business and make money, but the key to success in industry is growing profits. Microsoft's growth has been stalled for a number of years, not just since the onset of this recession. Just take a look at their stock chart for the last ten years as evidence of how investors have rated their ability to grow over that time.This was the point that I had made in an earlier post. No one doubts that Microsoft is the 500 pound gorilla, but the gorilla has been malnourished for a decade now. To repeat, Microsoft's stock lambdaed in 1999, lost substantial value meandered on a plateau for most of the last decade. It had an recent upward spike, but has since fallen--hard. You can see it all here (http://moneycentral.msn.com/investor/charts/chartdl.aspx?PT=0&compsyms=&D5=0&DCS=2&MA0=0&MA1=0&CP=1&C5=1&C5D=9&C6=1996&C7=3&C7D=6&C8=2009&C9=-1&D7=&D6=&showchartbt=Redraw+chart&symbol=MSFT&nocookie=1&SZ=0).

IJ Reilly
Mar 9, 2009, 11:23 AM
To torture your analogy just a little, if the gorilla had really been malnourished he would have been looking harder for food. I'd call him a lazy gorilla who is used to having his meals served to him on a silver platter.

Speedy2
Mar 9, 2009, 11:59 AM
Microsoft could go into the sausage making business and make money, but the key to success in industry is growing profits. Microsoft's growth has been stalled for a number of years, not just since the onset of this recession. Just take a look at their stock chart for the last ten years as evidence of how investors have rated their ability to grow over that time.

Microsoft has seen a very healthy growth in revenue and profit over the last ten years. The stock price development does not reflect this at all. It is still high compared to other stocks.

And no, growth is not everything. Profit is everything. The fixed (and mildly insane) idea of constant or even accelerated growth has been the reason for the current crisis.

MisterMe
Mar 9, 2009, 12:16 PM
Microsoft has seen a very healthy growth in revenue and profit over the last ten years. ...For most of the past decade, Microsoft stock lost half of its peak value. As of Friday, March 6, 2009, it had lost about 75% of its peak value. You just continue to call that healthy. One person is almost guaranteed to believe you.

FX120
Mar 9, 2009, 12:25 PM
For most of the past decade, Microsoft stock lost half of its peak value. As of Friday, March 6, 2009, it had lost about 75% of its peak value. You just continue to call that healthy. One person is almost guaranteed to believe you.

Oh, wait, you mean like Apple's stock did when it fell from $200 a share down to $80?

I guess Apple isn't healthy either.

Stock price isn't the tell-all indicator people seem to think it is.

MisterMe
Mar 9, 2009, 12:58 PM
Oh, wait, you mean like Apple's stock did when it fell from $200 a share down to $80?

...A decline from $200 to $80 is a 60% drop, not a 75% drop. So, no they are not the same. This thread is about Microsoft, not Apple. If you want to bring Apple front and center, then we can do that. Here is Apple's stock price over the same period as covered in my previous post (http://moneycentral.msn.com/investor/charts/chartdl.aspx?symbol=AAPL). We may also compare Apple's performance to that of Microsoft simultaneously (http://moneycentral.msn.com/investor/charts/chartdl.aspx?PT=0&showchartbt=Redraw+chart&compsyms=MSFT%2CAAPL&D5=0&DCS=2&MA0=0&MA1=0&CP=1&C5=1&C5D=9&C6=1996&C7=3&C7D=6&C8=2009&C9=-1&D7=&D6=&symbol=MSFT&nocookie=1&SZ=0).

IJ Reilly
Mar 9, 2009, 01:24 PM
Microsoft has seen a very healthy growth in revenue and profit over the last ten years. The stock price development does not reflect this at all. It is still high compared to other stocks.

And no, growth is not everything. Profit is everything. The fixed (and mildly insane) idea of constant or even accelerated growth has been the reason for the current crisis.

Huh? Growth is everything to investors. Companies, even profitable ones, that don't show an ability to grow their profits will reflect this situation with stagnant stock valuations. Discounting for the last six months or so, the period when every stock has been hammered, you can see clearly from the charts that MSFT has stagnated for about ten years. The P/E ratio has declined due to lowering growth expectations.

Hrududu
Mar 9, 2009, 02:03 PM
Microsoft's biggest enemy is...

Developers!
DEVELOPERS!
DEVELOPERS!
DEVELOPERS!

:)

Gyrferret
Mar 9, 2009, 10:33 PM
I'm a monkey. As a monkey, I like to fling my poo at things that I distaste.

As people, we also are monkeys. But we don't fling poo. No, we fling numbers. Big numbers.

In the end, this ends like the Mahna Mahna Song:

"The Question is: what is a Mahna Mahna?"

"The Question is: who cares?"

Poo Flinging monkeys care......

Evangelion
Mar 10, 2009, 01:07 AM
While I understand your position as a Linux supporter and also wished that it'd be more successful, we have to acknowledge that Linux on the desktop has been a massive failure so far.

So why is OS Xthen a success? I mean, all it has achieved is that it has increased it's market-share by few percentage-points.

Now ten years later, not much has changed. Linux is still in no way suitable for the masses.

Sure it is. Like I said, there are 50 million schoolchildren using it at this very moment in Brazil alone. Are you saying that 50 million is not "masses"? What's the Mac-userbase again? Less than 50 million? I guess Macs are noit suitable for masses either....

The initial installation might be easier these days, but as soon as there's a problem or an unsupported device, you're in dire straits.

How is that different from OS X or Windows? It isn't.

Heck, we still have two desktops, one of which nobody needs (make your choice).

By my count, we have at least three desktops. And so what? People working on KDE (for example) have no desire to work on GNOME, or vice versa. If they stopped working on KDE, it would not mean that GNOME would suddenly get better.

The thing is that those desktops and UI's offer people choice. I know people who dislike MacOS-UI. And there's nothing they can do about it. If they use MacOS, they just have to adapt.

Instead of focusing on the needs of the desktop user (get those drivers out of the kernel!!), the kernel gets extensions for supercomputers and new file systems for highly exotic purposes instead.

This may come as a shock, but people who work on making Linux scale on supercomputers, are not the same people who work on making Linux better on desktops. Meaning thaqt their supoercomputer-work does not take away any of the effort to make Linux work better on desktops.

Featurewise, Linux is playing catch-up everywhere.

Nope.

All the stuff that made Linux (or any X) special and more powerful has been around for ages (multi-user, X servers, multi desktops, powerful shell etc) and is now ubiquitous.

And I distinctly remember Mac-User oohing and aahing on Spaces and Spotlight....

Evangelion
Mar 10, 2009, 02:23 AM
Yup, color me skeptical. I keep hearing how Linux will take over any day now, and I'm waiting...still waiting...and waiting some more.

Again, it depends which market you are looking at. Desktops? Well, Macs haven't taken over there either, so what's your point?

When you push a Linux fan, you'll find an unhinged person on the order of Ron Paul or a pot advocate. No matter the facts, no matter the reality, no matter anything -- pot will be legalized soon, Ron Paul will win the presidency, and/or Linux will triumph.

Which ios more or less what you will get from a Mac-fan. If you look at Windows-users, Mac-users and Linux-users, you would notice that the latter two have more in common with each other, than they do with the Windows-users.

I'm so sick of it.

Just like Windows-users are so sick of hearing Mac-fan going nuts about OS X....

I'll use Apple because it makes things EASY for me. Microsoft DOESN'T. Linux DOESN'T. So go put that in your distro and smoke it.

And Linux-users use Linux because it makes things easy for them, whereas Windows or OS X does not. So what's your point? That we should all use OS'es that we find ourselves to be productive with? Well duh!

Evangelion
Mar 10, 2009, 02:31 AM
But you must admit, Linux fans put Mac fans to shame in the hyperbolic claims department.

Um, no. Sure, I have seen Linux-users make hyperbolic claims. And I have seen Mac-users make hyperbolic claims. VERY hyperbolic claims. Go talk to a Windows-user and ask them to describe a Mac-user, and you can be sure that the word "fanatic" would pop up. Cult of Mac anyone?

During the years when the dwindling number of Mac users' boldest words were "we are not nuts," the Linux partisans were claiming to be on the verge of toppling the Microsoft empire.

That would be in 1997-2000 or so? During that time, VERY few Linux-users were making any claims that Linux is about to crush Microsoft in the near future. The ideas about Linux crushing Microsoft came later, and even then most people thought that Microsoft is not going to go away.

And in many ways, those claims came to fruition, it just wasn't a huge singular event, it happened gradually. And no, it didn't happen in visible places, like on peoples desktops. But to claim that Linux has "failed" is utter BS. Like it or not, Linux changed the computing-landscape. All those people who keep on telling how Linux has failed to make any headway in the market, are probable using Linux all the time, they just don't know it.

AlmostThere
Mar 10, 2009, 08:16 AM
I really don't see what is so complicated here.

1 billion personal computers in the world.
5% Mac
95% Windows
- 20% Vista
- 35% Older Windows
- 35% Pirated Windows.

If you were MS and get $1 for each computer moved to Vista (or Windows 7), would you target:
35% using an older version of Windows?
35% with a pirated version of Windows?
5% using a Mac?

Even if Apple grew 100% to 10% of global market share they would still be far from the biggest target, knocking down each of the other groups by a couple of percent. Apple's growth, as impressive as it has been and as much money it has made investors, is a distraction. It is all about the bottom line.

(For Linux, translate to the server market, where Linux has ~40% penetration but you get $50 per conversion to Server 2008, plenty of observations well made in previous posts).

pilotError
Mar 10, 2009, 08:22 AM
I really don't see what is so complicated here.


I think that's a nice summation to the article.

IJ Reilly
Mar 10, 2009, 10:13 AM
Um, no. Sure, I have seen Linux-users make hyperbolic claims. And I have seen Mac-users make hyperbolic claims. VERY hyperbolic claims. Go talk to a Windows-user and ask them to describe a Mac-user, and you can be sure that the word "fanatic" would pop up. Cult of Mac anyone?

Sorry, but after having been exposed to these attitudes for more than ten years, I will take my observations over yours. During the '90s in particular, Mac users were extremely defensive about sticking with the Mac, which was being portrayed by the media and nearly everybody else as a dead platform, and the people still using as having not gotten the memo. Nobody with whom I associated made hyperbolic claims for the Mac beyond that it could, or at least deserved, to survive. A claim, BTW, that many thought ridiculous, and was openly ridiculed in the press (hence, the "Mac faithful" and the "Mac cult"). Linux OTOH was being promoted by the geek followers of Stallman et al. Real fanatics, very devoted to the concept of open source. True believers in the theory that the only way to defeat Microsoft and its ilk (a category which also included Apple for some) was free software. Free, as in beer.

That would be in 1997-2000 or so? During that time, VERY few Linux-users were making any claims that Linux is about to crush Microsoft in the near future. The ideas about Linux crushing Microsoft came later, and even then most people thought that Microsoft is not going to go away.

On the contrary, see above.

And in many ways, those claims came to fruition, it just wasn't a huge singular event, it happened gradually. And no, it didn't happen in visible places, like on peoples desktops.

It did? Funny you should make that extravagant claim and yet argue that Linux promoters don't make extravagant claims. I rest my case.

But to claim that Linux has "failed" is utter BS. Like it or not, Linux changed the computing-landscape. All those people who keep on telling how Linux has failed to make any headway in the market, are probable using Linux all the time, they just don't know it.

I don't know who "all those people" are, but they don't include me. I've made precisely the opposite argument.

Evangelion
Mar 10, 2009, 12:10 PM
During the '90s in particular, Mac users were extremely defensive about sticking with the Mac, which was being portrayed by the media and nearly everybody else as a dead platform, and the people still using as having not gotten the memo. Nobody with whom I associated made hyperbolic claims for the Mac beyond that it could, or at least deserved, to survive.

But now they make claims about ow MS is doomed and how everyone is going to switch to OS X. And then there's the foaming-at-the-mouth Mac-fanatics who get Apple-tattoos and refuse to have sex with Windows-users. Yet I'm now being told that it's the Linux-users who are the fanatics around here?

Uh, OK.....

Linux OTOH was being promoted by the geek followers of Stallman et al. Real fanatics, very devoted to the concept of open source.

If you limit your selection to just the "geek followers of Stallman, real fanatics", then of course your selection will only consist of real fanatics. Were Linux-users in general calling for immediate destruction of Microsoft? I didn't see it. Sure, they hoped that people would stop using crappy OS that is called "Windows", but other than that, they were mostly indifferent to Microsoft.

Sure, there are fanatics among them. Just like there were and are fanatics among Mac-users. So I don't really see any difference. And yes, Mac-users DID want to destroy Microsoft, even in late nineties. I mean, why else did Steve Jobs have to get on stage and tell them that for Apple to succeed, Microsoft is not required to fail? Why did all those people boo when SJ announced the deal with Microsoft?

True believers in the theory that the only way to defeat Microsoft and its ilk (a category which also included Apple for some) was free software. Free, as in beer.

There are "Linux-fanatics" and there are "free software-fanatics". What you describe fits the latter more than the former. While the two groups do overlap, they are not identical.

And I would like to quote Linus Torvalds here: "I'm not out to destroy Microsoft. Really. It's just an unintended side-effect".

It did? Funny you should make that extravagant claim and yet argue that Linux promoters don't make extravagant claims. I rest my case.

Like I said, it didn't happen in visible places, like desktop-OS'es, but it did happen. Just look at servers. Embedded systems. Supercomputers. Phones. And yes, it did happen on desktops to some extent as well.

I really don't understand how you can proclaim OS X to be a "success" on the desktop, while Linux is a "failure". I mean, what exactly has OS X really achieved? Sure, it has increased it's market-share a bit, but it's nowhere near of "taking over" Windows. So why is OS X a success, while Linux is not? We are still waiting for that magical moment when everyone will switch over from Windows to OS X. And my guess is that we will be waiting for a very long time.

So if we look at OS X we can see this:

Desktops: Some increase in market-share (few percentage-points), currently at about 8%
Servers: Microscopic
Embedded: None
Phones: IIRC, about 5% at the moment. Which is great, since they had 0% before.

If we look at Linux we can see this:

Desktops: 1-2%
Servers: 25-35%
Embedded: About 20%
Phones: Varies according to source, I have seen 10% mentioned

And then there's the case of Linux powering those Android-phones. And it powering the Palm Pre. And we are supposed to believe that OS X is a success, while Linux is a "failure"?

No, I'm not going to claim that OS X is a failure, quite the contrary. What I AM doing is to dispute the idea that OS X is a success, while Linux is a failure. If Linux is a failure, then so is OS X.

And like In said, Linux DOES have user on the desktops. Millions of users. 50 million in Brazil alone (well, not yet as such, systems are being rolled out as we speak). How exactly is that NOT a success? If Apple managed to add 50 million users to OS X in just 1-2 years, Mac-users would be ecstatic. When Linux does exactly that (in ONE COUNTRY!), people like you march along and proclaim that "Linux is not going anywhere!". I'm sorry, but something does not compute here.

I don't know who "all those people" are, but they don't include me. I've made precisely the opposite argument.

And I have said that Linux is not going to "take over" the desktop in the foreseeable future, so I guess we are even, huh?

IJ Reilly
Mar 10, 2009, 12:45 PM
Brazil is not even remotely a typical case, since the government has essentially mandated the use of Linux in government and schools. Are you suggesting that as a course of action here or anywhere else?

I was a pretty major player in the anti-Microsoft movement of the mid-1990s so I came in contact with a lot of people in that camp. It was truly dominated by the Stallmanites, who believed that no commercial approach to software development could defeat Microsoft. Even at the time it was clear that their devotion to this cause put Mac users to shame, if only because Mac users were still buying Microsoft software for their Macs. They were far more interested in the survival of Apple than seeing Microsoft curbed. By in large, they were hunkered down hoping to survive the storm. At the same time, the open source crowd was on the offensive, because they figured they had the answer. Clearly this has not played out as they expected.

Still I have not described Linux as a failure. What I am saying is that it has not taken over the desktop, as a great many Linux advocates were claiming it would ten or more years ago. I know this was a common prediction because I was there to hear it.

Evangelion
Mar 11, 2009, 03:15 AM
Brazil is not even remotely a typical case, since the government has essentially mandated the use of Linux in government and schools. Are you suggesting that as a course of action here or anywhere else?

I'm not suggesting anything (although I think that governments should use Linux, because they should not support proprietary standards and vendor lock-in). I'm just disputing your claim that "Linux is not going anywhere".

I was a pretty major player in the anti-Microsoft movement of the mid-1990s so I came in contact with a lot of people in that camp. It was truly dominated by the Stallmanites, who believed that no commercial approach to software development could defeat Microsoft.

If you just focus on "anti-Microsoft movement", are you really that surprised if you find bunch of fanatical people in that group?

That said, weren't they pretty much right? OS X has A LOT of advantages over Windows, yet it hasn't taken over. Not by a long shot.

Even at the time it was clear that their devotion to this cause put Mac users to shame

Like i said: you were involved with a radical group (Stallmanites as you put it), and then you act surprised when they had radical ideas? That's like if I joined some ultra-communistic group, and then started wondering that "damn, supporters of leftist politics are really radical....".

They were far more interested in the survival of Apple than seeing Microsoft curbed.

Which is why they booed when SJ announced the deal with Microsoft.....

At the same time, the open source crowd was on the offensive, because they figured they had the answer. Clearly this has not played out as they expected.

No, they haven't taken over the world or anything like that. But to claim that they have "failed" is utter BS.

Still I have not described Linux as a failure.

Oh yes you have. Maybe not with those words, but the meaning is the same.

What I am saying is that it has not taken over the desktop

And neither has OS X, so what's your point?

as a great many Linux advocates were claiming it would ten or more years ago.

If we compare Linux on the desktop today to what it was ten years ago, it's pretty obvious things have changed. No, it hasn't taken over. But it IS a valid alternative for lots of users. Hell, OEM's are selling systems that come preloaded with Linux! Large portion of netbooks ship with Linux preinstalled!

I know this was a common prediction because I was there to hear it.

I don't think that anyone was claiming that Linux is going to take over the desktop in a timespan of few years. If they did, they were deluding themselves.

That said, the common prediction among Mac-users seems to be that OS X is about to crush Windows.

IJ Reilly
Mar 11, 2009, 10:36 AM
I'm not suggesting anything (although I think that governments should use Linux, because they should not support proprietary standards and vendor lock-in). I'm just disputing your claim that "Linux is not going anywhere".

That is not my claim, as I have so clearly stated several times in this thread. So you are "quoting back" something I never actually said or implied. Either you are being deliberately nasty, or you are simply ignoring what I've written, or are inserting your own interpretation. No matter which it is, I can see the pointlessness of continuing to discuss this with you.