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Linux is Doomed, Thanks to Microsoft

November 26, 2005

e Linux community was left stunned when Windows Server software outsold Linux in the server market. Gartner, Inc. recently reported that sales of Windows systems accounted for nearly 37 percent of all server revenue in the last quarter while Linux accounted for 31.7 percent. Windows has a 5+ percent lead over Linux, which should be the cause for celebration at Microsoft.

Is this the downfall or, as they say, the beginning of the end of Linux? Most definitely not. Before the folks at Redmond rejoice too much, there are some things they need to consider.

First, the study says that Windows based Servers accounted for 37 percent in revenue. Now traditionally, Windows based systems are more expensive than Linux based systems, so even if vendors sold lesser number of Windows systems, the price difference could ensure that Windows sales revenue was higher. This implies that, in terms of pure numbers, Linux could very well have outsold Windows.

The research unfortunately only refers to the sales revenue rather than overall profits and market share. Like the Xbox, Microsoft could be under selling the product just to hold on to its market share, and with such deep pockets, I wouldn’t expect it to do anything less.

Another thing this research proves is that despite the affordable deployment cost with Linux systems, and perhaps even security advantages, a lot of buyers are still opting for Windows based systems, which means that Linux promoters need to buckle up and do some…well… promoting. Then again, I don’t think I can lay all the blame on Linux promoters. Microsoft has marketed itself so well with seamless integration and things that matter most in a structured IT environment that Linux simply has a troubling time convincing customers to choose an uncertain and alien solution, at least when compared to Microsoft’s offering.

The most important reason that Windows based servers are doing so well could be that programmers find it extremely easy to work on .Net and other related technologies (seamless integration). Plus, you have hassle free and rapid support from Microsoft, which is a comforting feature for corporate customers. When Windows Live comes in, we will see further integration between the server and online technical support areas, thereby making the troubleshooting process easier for in-house administrators and reducing overhead costs for the company.

How long can Windows maintain its lead remains a mystery, but one thing is certain, if the Linux community (enterprise) thought of Microsoft as a tough competitor up until this point, wait till it unleashes its upcoming technologies, and they will face even tougher competition from the world’s largest software maker.

Recent rumors claimed that Microsoft wanted to giveaway its OS for free by integrating advertisements in the OS itself. If that happens (provided the method is secure enough), I don’t know what the figures would be in terms of revenue, but Windows will most definitely “outsell” Linux in sheer numbers and that could perhaps be touted as the beginning of the end of Linux.

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