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Microsoft Linux Business

Microsoft Acknowledges Linux Threat To Windows 348

Posted by kdawson
from the credit-where-due dept.
angry tapir sends along coverage from Good Gear Guide of a recent Microsoft !0-K SEC filing: "Microsoft for the first time has named Linux distributors Red Hat and Canonical as competitors to its Windows client business in its annual filing to the US Securities and Exchange Commission. The move is an acknowledgment of the first viable competition from Linux to Microsoft's Windows client business, due mainly to the use of Linux on netbooks, which are rising in prominence as alternatives to full-sized notebooks. ... 'Client faces strong competition from well-established companies with differing approaches to the PC market,' Microsoft said in the filing. 'Competing commercial software products, including variants of Unix, are supplied by competitors such as Apple, Canonical, and Red Hat.'"
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Microsoft Acknowledges Linux Threat To Windows

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  • by Nefarious Wheel (628136) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @09:00PM (#28950743) Journal
    It's more of an indication that they want to discharge their obligations in reporting threats to their business from competitors. The stock exchange and rules for publicly traded securities require this sort of disclosure to holders of a company's stock. I think it's purely a matter of adhering to their obligations for honest reporting to the people who own them. NTSHMA.
  • by Antique Geekmeister (740220) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @09:12PM (#28950819)

    Watch this sort of announcement very, very carefully. Microsoft loves to describe Linux as a 'UNIX variant'. In both its basic kernel and its accumulated software bundles, it's as valid as calling Windows XP "DOS". (For those new to Microsoft history, XP is actually a Windows NT descendant, which is in many ways descended from VMS and many of its fundamentals stolen by David Cutler from DEC, where David wrote much of VMS and was hired to work on NT.)

  • From the article:

    Microsoft for the first time has named Linux distributors Red Hat and Canonical as competitors to its Windows client business in its annual filing to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

    Yeah, there are lots of pointless legal disclaimers in 10-K filings to cover respective companies' own asses.

    It's not the first [catb.org] time [catb.org] that [catb.org] Microsoft [catb.org] has acknowledged [archive.org] Linux as a threat to their business model. It might be the first time they have put it in their 10-K report, but I don't consider legal disclaimers in an annual SEC filing to be newsworthy.

    Has anyone read the Red Hat, Inc. 10-K report. Anyone take the time to count the number of competitors, listed by name, in there? Now ask yourself, is that newsworthy?

  • by w0mprat (1317953) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @09:54PM (#28951179)
    It seems Dell, ASUS HP and others have invested in shipping linux based machines partly as something to threaten MS with. Simply put, Linux doesn't sell PCs (yet), Windows does. Watch TV, you'll see Microsoft and Apple ads but you won't see a damn thing about linux. TV, Print and Radio validates the product to consumers.

    Add in the the evergreen problem: Windows PC tax is more or less the same regardless if it is a $200 netbook or a $3000 overkill gaming rig. You think PC/Laptop manurfaturers like having only one choice of OS? It's a liability.

    Frankly all the OEMs are probably pissed at having their bottom lines hurt by Vista too.

    Linux offered something they could bludgeon MS with and demand a discount. Result, MS really did come up with cheaper OEM licences and are even producing Windows 7 starter, but only after Linux gained some traction in the netbook arena.

    Google sees the oppurtunity to pimp it's cloud services by doing Chrome OS, which is going to fill the need of PC makers to have yet better tools to apply leverage against microsoft.

    I'm not convinced that Linux will ever squash Windows, the test of this being possible will be seen in the smartphone arena. Can Android conquer the iPhone? If it does then I'd believe Linux becoming the no 1. OS within a decade.

    Frankly, Linux is inside routers, set top boxes, embedded devices, PMPs, mobile phones (WebOS and Android are linux), and runs more than half the internet servers and the majority of the worlds top supercomputers and datacentres. Yet none of these companies are wearing the Linux badge, you don't hear Palm, Google, IBM, Linksys, Cisco evangelising Linux all over the TV and radio.

    It's rather worriesome. I don't really have an answer why.
  • by RedK (112790) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @10:30PM (#28951451)
    Linux is not Unix. It's a close approximation. For one, the base APIs are not fully POSIX compliant. Right there is a big hurdle to being Unix. If someone were to pony up the cash for certification (RedHat, Novell, Cannonical), there are issues yet to be fixed before it can be called UNIX, so it's not just a question of certifying it.
  • Yes, they did. Here's Linus' announcement of his "minix-like" kernel: http://groups.google.com/group/comp.os.minix/msg/2194d253268b0a1b

    And here is the famous Tannenbaum/Torvalds "Linux-is-Obsolete" debate: http://groups.google.com/group/comp.os.minix/browse_frm/thread/c25870d7a41696d2

    " Most older operating systems are monolithic, that is, the whole operating
          system is a single a.out file that runs in 'kernel mode.' This binary
          contains the process management, memory management, file system and the
          rest. Examples of such systems are UNIX, MS-DOS, VMS, MVS, OS/360,
          MULTICS, and many more.

          The alternative is a microkernel-based system, in which most of the OS
          runs as separate processes, mostly outside the kernel. They communicate
          by message passing. The kernel's job is to handle the message passing,
          interrupt handling, low-level process management, and possibly the I/O.
          Examples of this design are the RC4000, Amoeba, Chorus, Mach, and the
          not-yet-released Windows/NT."

    Though I've heard here and in a few other places that NT/Windows is a microkernel, I've also heard teh opposite. No opinion there, as I'm not a kernel hacker, just a PHB.
  • Re:how is this news (Score:3, Informative)

    by Technician (215283) on Tuesday August 04, 2009 @11:07PM (#28951687)

    The other attack was the campaign against vendors selling naked PC's.
    http://news.zdnet.co.uk/hardware/0,1000000091,39286228,00.htm/ [zdnet.co.uk]
    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2000/11/23/ms_how_pcs_shipped_without/ [theregister.co.uk]
    http://www.linfo.org/naked_pc.html/ [linfo.org]

  • by Eli Gottlieb (917758) <[eligottlieb] [at] [gmail.com]> on Wednesday August 05, 2009 @09:33AM (#28957267) Homepage Journal

    When I bought a netbook for traveling this summer, Dell sold me one with Ubuntu 8.04 pre-loaded on it.

  • by DragonWriter (970822) on Wednesday August 05, 2009 @11:10AM (#28958875)

    It matters because as long as GNU/Linux isn't standardised, and can subtly change behaviour between releases, you don't have a stable platform to target.

    Sure, but the absence of UNIX-certified Linux isn't the same as Linux not having a stable standard that can be targetted. It just means that the standard isn't the Unix standard: the standard for Linux is the Linux Standard Base (LSB). While the LSB does have newer releases, newer versions support all earlier versions, so any version of the LSB targetted is a stable target.

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