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Microsoft Software Linux

Linux's Role In Microsoft's Decline 532

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the karma-catching-up dept.
nerdyH writes "As early as last quarter, Microsoft admitted that Linux and netbooks were eating into its fat profits. Recently, it came home, with the software giant announcing its first-ever layoffs. LinuxDevices interviewed Linux Foundation Director Jim Zemlin on Linux's role in Microsoft's misfortunes. Zemlin sums it up pretty well: 'Companies can offer their own branded software platform based on Linux. If Microsoft is getting 75 percent margins, you would like some of that high-margin business, too.'"
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Linux's Role In Microsoft's Decline

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  • Oh, Dear (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hardburn (141468) <hardburn@@@wumpus-cave...net> on Friday January 23, 2009 @03:52PM (#26580555)

    As early as last quarter, Microsoft admitted that Linux and netbooks were eating into its fat profits. Recently, it came home, with the software giant announcing its first-ever layoffs.

    Yeah, it couldn't be because there is a massive economic crisis going on. It's all Linux.

    • Re:Oh, Dear (Score:5, Funny)

      by Wandering Wombat (531833) <mightyjalapeno.gmail@com> on Friday January 23, 2009 @03:53PM (#26580575) Homepage Journal
      Shut up! You don't know what you're talking about. Obama's made of kittens and sparkles, held together with HOPE... and more sparkles! If anything bad happened this week, it's Linux's fault!
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by houstonbofh (602064)
      There have been a couple of economic crises in Microsoft's history, but no one was let go. Admittedly, this one may be worse, but it is not unprecedented.
      • Re:Oh, Dear (Score:5, Informative)

        by je ne sais quoi (987177) on Friday January 23, 2009 @04:07PM (#26580813)
        Also, if you look at the trend in Microsoft Windows "market share" estimated by people like Net Applications [hitslink.com], you can see that the decline of Windows started long before the housing bubble deflated. They were still being rated at 96% of the market in 2004 and 2005 and have been in what looks like continuous decline ever since. Granted, it's not much of a decline yet, only 7% or so according to Net Applications, but it does serve as evidence that Microsoft's troubles did not start with the economic crisis, the economic crisis may have compounded their existing troubles though.
        • Re:Oh, Dear (Score:5, Interesting)

          by es330td (964170) on Friday January 23, 2009 @04:45PM (#26581441)
          I think that what has probably happened is that MS knows their share has been declining but hasn't had to lay anybody off because the decline simply allowed them to not replace people who left through natural attrition. The economic slowdown made people more likely to hang on the security of their job and forced them to let go the people who would normally have left on their own.
          • Re:Oh, Dear (Score:4, Interesting)

            by mabhatter654 (561290) on Friday January 23, 2009 @05:25PM (#26582063)

            that and their reliance on temps. They could close and shuffle offices far bigger than this without a peep. They used to hide "right sizing" in the legions of temps.. but of course now it's better to shed the real employees and keep the temps!

            They're just saying this to "look busy" so the stock market will still like them.

            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by Cromac (610264)
              Exactly. This isn't Microsofts first layoff, it's just the first time they've called it that. In the past they called it a "re-org" when they laid people off, both CSG and FTE.
            • Re:Oh, Dear (Score:5, Interesting)

              by symbolset (646467) on Friday January 23, 2009 @10:51PM (#26585171) Journal

              They used to hide "right sizing" in the legions of temps.. but of course now it's better to shed the real employees and keep the temps!

              Ya think? Having been a temp in this whole blue-badge, green-badge continuous reorganization scheme I can speak to this. In this environment the temp's got a lot of leverage. He can afford to call a turd a turd and not say it has potential. He can make fun of PHBs. He can do honest work and contribute without fear his out-of-scale achievements become the flag that gets him targeted for political career assassination. He can take bigger risks without fear of being labeled a 10%er. He has the power of laughter, and oh, what a power that is. He can do this because - what are they going to do? Fire him?

              But this isn't Microsoft specific. I've never worked for them and I probably won't - they would have to pay enough more than I was worth to make me feel like I was exploiting them. Seinfeld money maybe. I would for what he got paid, and I think I could give them what they got for what they paid him.

              They're just saying this to "look busy" so the stock market will still like them.

              Agreed. Do you think anybody will notice their stock is worth half of what it was ten years ago today? Apple's good for 10x your money in the same period. For you 401K folks that's the leverage that investing in a growth company gives you. Companies that have achieved monopoly have no growth potential - the best they can hope for is graceful decline potentially (but rarely) followed by a bet-the company reinvention of process. This is going to surprise a lot of you dollar-cost-averaging investors, but betting that a company will survive the retirement of its founders is a very bad bet. If you start investing in a company at the beginning of your working life, and keep your money in that company throughout your careers, 95% of the time you'll lose it all because founders of companies don't have longer working lives than you do.

        • Re:Oh, Dear (Score:5, Insightful)

          by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968@@@gmail...com> on Friday January 23, 2009 @07:30PM (#26583653) Journal

          And I think that can be directly traced to them losing their way and ignoring their core markets. One of MSFT's biggest customers have always been business. From the littlest SOHO to the largest enterprise MSFT has been right there making boring as hell backwards compatible low resource business OSes. But then with Vista they suddenly take a giant turn into left field and completely blow off their core market to get into a multimedia pissing contest with Apple.

          I mean it is no wonder you have so many sites like this [msdn.com] and this [sapphiresteel.com] showing step by step how to turn Win2k8 server into a desktop. It is because MSFT has abandoned their business users to try to compete with Apple in the multimedia space. Which frankly is insane as Apple has this little thing called the iPod that pretty much gives them the lock on the multimedia space, not to mention the hip factor, and the amount of money they make off of business licenses and support contracts is worth FAR more than the niche they are trying to muscle their way into.

          Mark my words, and the MSFT shills can mod me down all you want, but the biggest threat to MSFT is MSFT. They are neglecting their core markets, they are flailing around from one idea to another like the company has ADHD, and by trying to stuff everyone on the planet into this giant bling bling multimedia OS they are screwing over one of their biggest customers, the business users. I mean, is there anyone here with a straight face that can say Vista was made for business? The thing practically screams HTPC! It is like they fired all their business and accounting guys and put some marketing drone in charge of the whole company. And worse, the drone wants to be as cool as Apple so bad it hurts.

          Mark my words, if they do not get some common sense and make another business OS then companies like Red Hat will be more than happy to take a shot at those customers. If they want a single codebase, fine and dandy. Make a "Win2k10 Pro" out of Win2K8 server and leave Win7 for the home users. But I truly believe that Win7 will bomb, just as hard if not harder than Vista. And when it does all those corporations that have been ignored for two OS releases will start to look for alternatives.

    • Completely agree. I don't think the 1% user share that Linux has is cutting into Microsoft that much - plus, MS's Win2k8 is apparently doing well, and I've heard a lot of people say they actually like it.

      Not to mention this choice quote:

      'Companies can offer their own branded software platform based on Linux.

      I know very few companies that have "their own branded software platform based on Linux." That sounds like they're talking about releasing a custom Linux OS branded with their company? Is that really that prevalent? It's a lot easier (and you don't have to hire super spe

      • Re:Oh, Dear (Score:5, Insightful)

        by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Friday January 23, 2009 @04:11PM (#26580879) Journal
        I suspect, both from the statement, and from the fact that this is a Linux Devices interview, that the "own branded software platform[s]" in question are more likely to be replacing WinCE or WinNT/XP Embedded(which does, indeed, seem to be happening a fair amount). To a lesser extent(though still a notable one) netbooks have been doing some of the same.
      • by hardburn (141468)

        I think they're talking about a modified OS to fit a very specific purpose, e.g. TVs. The Sony Bravia [wikipedia.org] runs Linux, for instance.

      • by _Sprocket_ (42527)

        Completely agree. I don't think the 1% user share that Linux has is cutting into Microsoft that much - plus, MS's Win2k8 is apparently doing well, and I've heard a lot of people say they actually like it.

        Did we just jump from quoting desktop statistics to talking servers?

      • Re:Oh, Dear (Score:5, Insightful)

        by UnknowingFool (672806) on Friday January 23, 2009 @04:24PM (#26581105)

        It's not just the more enterprise market share that Linux can get. It's also the threat of more market share as a negotiation tactic. Before companies didn't have much choice. Windows or higher priced Unix servers. Now they can negotiate with MS. MS lowers their pricing or they threaten to migrate to Linux.

        Also the Linux threat in the interview is not just in the Enterprise Server market. Embedded devices and netbooks are going with Linux due to its ability to run lean. Vista is not currently lean enough for these applications. XP is lean enough though but not as customizable as Linux.

        Redhat and Novell/SuSe offer their Linux solutions. IBM and HP will support these distros and others. That's 4 major players right there. Also this doesn't just apply to companies. China has their own brand and Russia is exploring one as well.

        • Re:Oh, Dear (Score:5, Interesting)

          by mikael (484) on Friday January 23, 2009 @05:59PM (#26582571)

          Embedded devices and netbooks are going with Linux due to its ability to run lean.

          It has been known for at least 20 years that systems-on-a-chip or embedded systems were going to take off - although it has not been until wireless communication and true-color displays have become affordable that this has happened.

          For many years, Microsoft could specify the standard of hardware required to run their OS, and the hardware vendors had to obey in order to get compatibility certification.

          Linux distro developers did not have that level of influence over the hardware developers and so had to modularize their software in order to adapt to hardware with limited memory and resources.

          By not having this evolutionary pressure, Microsoft have really pushed themselves into a very restricted evolution path, and just hope that memory increases enough to run the embedded versions of their OS.

      • Re:Oh, Dear (Score:4, Insightful)

        by thtrgremlin (1158085) on Friday January 23, 2009 @04:49PM (#26581507) Homepage Journal

        When an OEM negotiates a price agreement with Microsoft, they now have a viable alternative. It changes the negotiating relationship.

        1% isn't that much, but Microsoft MUST make deals with EVERY major OEM to keep their position, and before Microsoft had the leverage to ensure that every OEM MUST have Windows. The game has changed, and even though every OEM is still going to sell Windows, having Linux on the table to wave in their face makes Microsoft sweat a little. Especially with netbooks because an OEM CAN walk away if they don't get whatever price they feel like asking. Apple sells its own products, so what did Microsoft have to compete against? Nothing! While it isn't much, Linux offers not just competitive options for users, but OEMs. The fat Microsoft had before was the monopoly. Remember that market share is only a warning sign of monopolistic practices; remember Cisco Systems and their investigation? Cisco successfully argued that their market share is directly related to innovation and a superior product, nothing else. Microsoft on the other hand HAS been playing dirty. Microsoft is now being forced to play in the real world where a Microsoft computer tax will no longer be status quo.

        I think they mean company branded Linux in the same way HP, Dell, and the old Compaq and others brand Windows and the machine bios. I'll agree this isn't any kind of advantage, but only because this was always reasonably easy to do with Windows.

    • Re:Oh, Dear (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Penguinisto (415985) on Friday January 23, 2009 @04:09PM (#26580839) Journal

      Windows sales (or at least revenue) shrank by 8% (CNN blames Vista sales in particular [cnn.com]). Since PC/Server sales in the industry overall didn't drop (let alone by that much), and netbooks only count for 5% of the whole market (with Windows + Linux netbooks combined in that figure), it stands to reason that there are other factors besides economic malaise that contributed to the losses.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by roc97007 (608802)

      That was my first thought also. If it's all Linux, why did IBM announce massive layoffs in the same time frame?

    • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

      by OrangeTide (124937)

      Obama is president now, there is no crisis.

      Also Linux is ran by hippies, who most likely caused the economic crisis in the first place. Pretty sure Linux hippies caused the dot-com crash too.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      It's even worse than that. Intel is going to shut four plants and lay off 6,000 workers. [computerworld.com]

      I'm no business analyst, but obviously Linux (the netbook market in particular) is severely cutting into the profits of computer giants like Microsoft, Apple, Intel, and IBM. If you needed a sign for the year of Linux, this is it!

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Jorophose (1062218)

        You would think Atom rakes in enough profit for Intel to keep them running...

        And hey, linux users love their high-performance hardware too. It just happens that there's less high-performance lovers.

      • by DuctTape (101304)

        I'm no business analyst, but obviously Linux (the netbook market in particular) is severely cutting into the profits of computer giants like Microsoft, Apple, Intel, and IBM. If you needed a sign for the year of Linux, this is it!

        Well, I've got a circa-1998 333MHz Pentium II processor with 128 MB of memory running my file server at the house. If it wasn't for Linux, I'd have replaced it a loooong time ago with some of that new fancy-shmancy Intel stuff. Now it sits there for months between reboots and hardly draws any power. And when that goes, I've got an 800MHz beastie waiting in the wings to take over.

        Nope, Linux hasn't hurt Intel at all.

        DT

    • Re:Oh, Dear (Score:5, Interesting)

      by linhares (1241614) on Friday January 23, 2009 @05:00PM (#26581693)

      Yeah, it couldn't be because there is a massive economic crisis going on. It's all Linux.

      Microsoft is getting beaten down by Apple at the high end and by Linux on the netbook space. Obviously, I don't mean that people are buying linux netbooks. Hold your horses there. But MS's bargaining position has changed because of linux. They could have said in 2002 that netbooks should cost $600, because of the $200 windows copy. But that does not apply anymore. They sell XP for $28-$32. This is a huge relative loss to what they were making.

      And at the high end, Apple is all over it. Take a look at bestbuy. It is rare to find a $1000+laptop, Apple notwithstanding. Or take a look at Amazon's best seller list, only to find hordes of netbooks and macbooks, perhaps with a 1 in 20 Vista machine.

      To make matters worse (for MS), if these high-end phones and proposed tablets such as the techcrunch one come to life, they won't be using windows. Nothing below $300 can afford windows, even at $32.

      Finally, MS's stock price has been walking sideways for years and years and years. They cannot bring the best talent in the basis of money or stock options alone. This is not the year of linux on the desktop. But its presence is being felt in the markets undergoing disruptive innovation [wikipedia.org], like the netbooks.

    • Agreed. And that's aside from the fact that no one should be celebrating job losses anyway. Granted, it would be nice if devs would quit microsoft in favour of paid work for a free desktop project, but job losses are never good, and it's just cheap to gloat over them. Those people have lives to live, dreams to fulfill, kids to feed, etc. Yes, microsoft as a company sucks. But really... grow the fuck up, and don't misrepresent free software's ideals please. We're about making lives better, not celebrat

    • After a trip with Gates, Warren was asked if he invested in Microsoft, and he answered something to the effect that he 'didn't understand the long term viability of software as a business model.'

      Warren is FAR more understanding of core business issues than techies give him credit.

  • by geoffrobinson (109879) on Friday January 23, 2009 @03:53PM (#26580573) Homepage

    Of course the Linux guy will say Linux. And the Apple guy Apple. So on and so forth. And there is probably a mixture of truth to all that.

    But it would be interesting to get that internal memo.

    • by Jurily (900488)

      Of course the Linux guy will say Linux. And the Apple guy Apple. So on and so forth. And there is probably a mixture of truth to all that.

      Oh, and that little global economic crisis may have something there, too...

      • by jedidiah (1196)

        >> Of course the Linux guy will say Linux. And the Apple guy Apple. So on and so forth. And there is probably a mixture of truth to all that.
        >
        > Oh, and that little global economic crisis may have something there, too...

        Yeah, because no one is going to be more interested in a ZERO COST product during a global economic crisis.

        Of course: as others have said, this isn't the first recession that Microsoft has seen.

        • by Jurily (900488)

          a ZERO COST product

          Technically, copying Vista costs the same as copying Ubuntu. Development is already paid for.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by jedidiah (1196)

            >> a ZERO COST product
            >
            > Technically, copying Vista costs the same as copying Ubuntu. Development is already paid for.

            What you are describing is a FELONY.

            You personally don't get to make extra copies of Windows and sell them.

            Although you bring up a good point. As Linux has been rising up as a reasonable
            alternative, Microsoft at the same time has been making it more difficult for
            casual pirates to copy their OS. This is a real corporate brain fart.

    • He points out many catalysts, but mainly that companies like HP and IBM and Google are innovating, creating high margin platforms from which people can make more money, whereas Microsoft is only being reactionary and relying on lock-in.
      • I also thought the point that Office makes more than the operating system does was a great point. How can Microsoft react to things like OpenOffice? They don't have any ideas right now, that I can tell.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by aurispector (530273)

          The article cited the ODF fiasco, which indicates their degree of dependence on the Office revenue stream. The mere existence of Open Office, Google Docs and the like gives people a valid alternative - and wakes them up the fact that they have a choice as to whether they want to be held hostage to proprietary data formats.

          MS doesn't innovate, they copy, then leverage their market share...and the market responded.

  • I dunno (Score:5, Interesting)

    by liquidpele (663430) on Friday January 23, 2009 @03:53PM (#26580589) Journal
    I think most of their lost profits are from people negotiating lower prices because of the Linux alternative, not so much that people are actually choosing Linux.
    • Re:I dunno (Score:5, Insightful)

      by houstonbofh (602064) on Friday January 23, 2009 @03:59PM (#26580679)

      I think most of their lost profits are from people negotiating lower prices because of the Linux alternative, not so much that people are actually choosing Linux.

      From TFA... Actually the first question in TFA.

      Q1 -- Jim, thank you for your support in talking with LinuxDevices today. Do you think it was really Linux that hurt Microsoft? Or was it the emergence of netbooks? XP seems to ship on most, but Microsoft isn't making much money selling XP for low-cost PCs [story], are they?

      A1 -- When an OEM negotiates a price agreement with Microsoft, they now have a viable alternative. It changes the negotiating relationship. It's a combination of Linux, missteps by Microsoft, and not enabling Vista for a low-power, long battery-life device.

      I wonder if you can be modded insightfull for "insights" from the article? No one reads them anyway...

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by sigismond0 (1455695)
      Agreed. I wholly plan on getting an HP Mini 1000 at some point. I'm getting the Linux version because it's cheaper, and then putting Vista/Win7 on it. Fuck paying for the OS.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by PitaBred (632671)
        Have you ever considered just actually using Linux? That machine's so underpowered that it can't play games, which is the only thing that Windows really has over Linux any more. That, or if you need to run MS Office for professional reasons, but if you're pirating the OS I'd hope you're not doing that.
    • That certainly seems to be the case in netbooks. Once MS got going there, the proportion of netbooks running linux dropped fairly sharply. On the other hand, MS had to commit to keeping XP's corpse stumbling along a while longer, and for only peanuts a unit. That must have sucked.

      Ironically, Linux probably does more to strangle MS's non-OS products than it does its OS products. Historically, MS's non windows/office divisions have had a great deal of strategic freedom, because MS could afford to keep burn
  • Making $4 Billion in one quarter isn't much a decline. Looks like layoffs were induced by greed, so that executives stocks options go up. It would be interesting to see if some of those 4000-5000 employees use linux as a platform for a technology startup.

    On the bright side if I were laid-off I'd have plenty of time to juggle [youtube.com].

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Penguinisto (415985)

      IIRC, wasn't $2.1bn of that income from the recent (as in, early this week) sale of Comcast stock that MSFT held?

      /P

    • by Lumpy (12016) on Friday January 23, 2009 @04:18PM (#26581023) Homepage

      THANK YOU....

      Most large corporate layoffs are for greed reasons only. to make the books look a little better for next quarter. It's trendy right now and you wont be questioned if you do.. Look GM is dying! we can too!!!

      There is a crapload of shady things going on right now in the business world. Look at every bit of it with a heavy dose of skepticism and never ever trust a company as far as you can physically throw it.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by east coast (590680)
      Sure, companies should keep on dead wood through a decline so that they don't just ride the edge but they go over and EVERYONE loses their jobs.

      I know that it's a popular option around here for the future of MS but try to understand that keeping the same staff to produce less product isn't a very good business model. A company should not be forced into the red before they do what's best. AFAIC Microsoft has an obligation to shareholders to keep things running in a possitive direction.

      Funny how when a comp
  • by Jurily (900488)

    FTFA:

    It's a combination of Linux, missteps by Microsoft, and not enabling Vista for a low-power, long battery-life device.

    Translation: it's the most bloated OS, ever.

    Let's see, how they handle 7.

  • Netbooks are NOT that big a market yet. It just became a market in late 2008. Too recent for any conclusive statements to be made.

    But even if that were the case, it is well within Microsoft's power to keep WindowsXP alive and supported for use on Netbook devices. I have seen some custom loads that run extremely well on the ASUS 900. They can do what they want -- it's their retiring OS.

  • by jhfry (829244) on Friday January 23, 2009 @04:07PM (#26580795)

    Microsoft isn't losing because of Linux, it's losing because of Microsoft.

    Essentially, if MS dominated the industry by creating the BEST product, then they wouldn't have a problem. Their problem is simply that their target customer isn't willing to be abused any longer. That and the of years of abuse have pushed millions of victims to contribute to the creation and improvement of alternatives to Microsoft.

    • by ciaohound (118419) on Friday January 23, 2009 @04:51PM (#26581545)

      Exactly. They are reaping what they've sown with their Windows-for-everything strategy. That worked against Lotus, Borland, Netscape, etc... ten years ago. But where is the Windows iPod? The Windows iPhone? The Windows Android? Innovations are sidestepping Windows.

      Of course, Microsoft has the technical ability to do so as well, but organizationally, that's like asking Detroit to make a small car.

  • What if... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by djberg96 (133496)

    "Companies can offer their own branded software platform based on Linux."

    Next up, Microsoft Linux!

  • In the face of credible and supported competition that's FREE, it becomes hard to justify to PHB's that they'll need to spend a few grand per server on licenses (plus hopping on the license upgrade merry-go-round every couple of years) to do the same work.

    On the desktop side, it's the same deal. Trying to shoehorn in a few hundred bucks of worthless software licenses onto devices that are going to be priced in the low to mid hundreds is going to be a non-starter for the companies that want to sell the devi

  • yeah right (Score:2, Interesting)

    by timmarhy (659436)
    time to pass the crack pipe son. Yes MS is shrinking, just like the world economy. linux has made in roads in some markets, but it's completely dwarfed by MS's market share and probably will be for the forseeable future.

    instead of boasting you've toppled MS, try going back to fixing the numerous issues with linux software that keep it off the desktop.

  • Companies can offer their own branded software platform based on Linux. If Microsoft is getting 75 percent margins, you would like some of that high-margin business, too.

    This makes absolutely no sense. First, there is no reasonable way to calculate a profit margin on a copy of Windows or Office. This is not a car or a book. The incremental cost of producing one copy of Windows is nearly zero. There's no way to quantify MS's investment in their software. What would you do, try to estimate how many man-hour

  • by cinnamon colbert (732724) on Friday January 23, 2009 @04:24PM (#26581107) Journal

    i have been looking a lot at netbooks online, at best buy and at staples and microcneter, and it is hard to even find a linux netbook - I seriously doubt this has caused any significant harm to MS
    But, be glad to see some actual sales data
    Anyway, the whole idea that linux is better or cheaper then MS is not true for the avg user,

    • by onkelonkel (560274) on Friday January 23, 2009 @05:29PM (#26582131)
      The first netbooks were all linux, because they were all sporting 4 GB SSDs. Within about a year, a lot of the models had 8 GB or larger SSDs or 160 GB regular laptop drives, and they almost all came with XP home. I think MS may have put together a special XP-Lite, low cost package to push linux out of the netbooks.
    • by QuantumRiff (120817) on Friday January 23, 2009 @05:39PM (#26582289)

      But how many Vista netbooks do you see? The fact that MS has had to continue to allow companies to us XP in new products is a slap in the face to MS, and really hurts their profits. Microsoft has no choice but to allow XP to be used (and very cheaply) or face those companies moving to Linux.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by westlake (615356)
      i have been looking a lot at netbooks online, at best buy and at staples and microcneter, and it is hard to even find a linux netbook - I seriously doubt this has caused any significant harm to MS

      Check out Walmart.com.

      The Linpus Linux netbook - "not available in stores" - has a modest 512 MB of RAM and 8 GB of flash.

      For ten bucks more the XP netbook comes with 1 GB RAM and a 120 GB HDD. Mini laptops [walmart.com]

      It weighs two pounds and ships for 97 cents.

  • Please pull your head from Tux's ass long enough to realize that maybe the recession coupled with the craptacular Vista cause the 'Microsoft Decline'

    Linux will NEVER be a viable home user desktop replacement until you can go to Wal-Mart and buy software for it.

  • by bogaboga (793279) on Friday January 23, 2009 @04:31PM (#26581207)

    Yes, Linux marketed as a distro can do better. The good thing is that very soon, we'll have KDE with a business friendly license. What I would like Linux programmers to do is to get their act together and solve problems that continue to plague the Linux ecosystem.

    These come to mind:

    1: Multimedia. There are so many back-ends to choose from, each with problems of their own. The associated front-ends are even worse both in functionality and bloat.

    2: Polish. It seams that by default, Linux distros are less polished by default. In fact, I can say they are ugly by default. This does not help.

    3: Bloat. KDE is wonderful but suffers from bloat. GNOME is kind of OK, but it's interface looks ancient and lacks the functionality of modern systems.

    My 2 cents.

  • by Zombie Ryushu (803103) on Friday January 23, 2009 @04:45PM (#26581437)

    Linux has a Sane Desktop environment: Its called KDE. It conforms to FreeDesktop.org standards.

    Linux has actually TWO Sane mans of Installation. RPM, DEB. (Sorry Gentoo Users, Portage doesn't cut it.)

    Under absolutely no circumstances should ANY Linux application be "installed" by typing ./configure; make; make install. Those steps are for DEVELOPERS and MAINTAINERS only to MAKE packages (RPM, DEB.)

    Couple things. RPM and DEB need a standard and understood hierarchy. DEB wins out here. There is less variability in the configuration of DEB, and a great deal of variability in RPM (SUSE, Mandriva, Fedora.) This creates problems that could be solved if someone created a "Unified RPM standard". As far as the RPM and DEB differences are concerned, its my opinion that dpkg and RPM should be interchangable on both systems without having to "convert" from Alien. For example, if I am a Mandriva user, and Ubuntu has something I want, I should be able to set up dpkg and rpm to understand each other and retrieve the DEB Packages from Ubuntu.

    There do need to be improvements in SDL, SDL is getting stale.

    Another issue is Upstream maintainers. Upstream coders are coding some of these applications with bizzare and stupid configurations that don't work well with EITHER Package manager and all they provide is a tar ball. And then you look at their Windows build, and in some cases its easier to install the Windows Build in Wine. Thats unforgivable.

    However, I think that what we are seeing right now is not the outright resistance to Linux. Its not that Linux sucks, its just that Adobe, and Quicken, and several of these ISVs have strictly Anti-Linux policies. Its kinda the same thing as when you see these heavily DRMed web sites that Are Windows+IE only because they rely on IE DRM, and have a written policy against Linux OR Mac.

    The fact is, they hate Linux, not because it sucks, not because its hard to write applications for, its that THEY HATE LINUX. Its not rational, its not anything there is a reasonable excuse for. They just hate Linux and they want to see Linux die.

  • Look at their books (Score:5, Informative)

    by BlendieOfIndie (1185569) on Friday January 23, 2009 @04:47PM (#26581479)
    Microsoft Revenue/Growth
    Year Revenue %Growth
    2005 39,788 -
    2006 44,282 11%
    2007 51,122 15%
    2008 60,420 18%


    Red Hat Revenue/Growth
    Year Revenue %Growth
    2005 196 -
    2006 278 41%
    2007 400 43%
    2008 523 30%


    Red Hat is growing much faster than Microsoft, but Microsoft has 115x more sales.
  • First ever layoffs? (Score:3, Informative)

    by greg_barton (5551) <greg_barton@ya[ ].com ['hoo' in gap]> on Friday January 23, 2009 @05:42PM (#26582331) Homepage Journal

    I was an employee of Microsoft in end user tech support in '94. I'd been a contractor for six months, then I went perm. About a month going perm, all ~200 of the remaining contractors at my worksite were let go, every last one of them. (This was including my roommate at the time.)

    So whe they call this the "first ever" layoff for the company, take that with a (salt lick sized) grain of salt. Sure, it might be the first ever for "perm" employees, btu I frankly don't see the difference.

  • by P00k13 (1309485) on Friday January 23, 2009 @05:50PM (#26582441)

    I think Microsoft will still dominate market share until Google makes an OS based on FreeBSD. Until then, Microsoft's biggest competitor is itself because while their software is over-priced, most people just keep reusing their old XP disk rather than trying to learn something new. Linux doesn't have the marketing power required to take on Microsoft no matter how good the software is. I'm not a fortune-teller, but if I were, this would be my prediction.

  • The big picture (Score:5, Interesting)

    by westlake (615356) on Friday January 23, 2009 @06:53PM (#26583221)
    There are damn few companies in the tech sector that haven't announced lay-offs.

    Microsoft isn't reporting billion dollar losses.

    Microsoft is reporting a bare 2% growth in revenues, to $16.6 billion dollars in its second quarter.

    Microsoft is debt free, with tens of billions in liquid reserves and Exxon-Mobil grade corporate credit.

    The last I heard, OpenOffiice.org was down to 24 full time developers.

    Sun is hurting.

    There are others who have made big commitments to Linux and open source who are hurting.

    Before the geek crows too loudly about Microsoft's "dilemma" he might usefully rate his own chances of survival.

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