Thursday, June 03, 2004

Why did Hailstorm fail?

This article in the Seattle Weekly talks about how Microsoft's may be doomed. The main culprit is open source software, which is targeting both Windows (via Linux) and Office (via OpenOffice et al). This we've heard before. And despite Billg's (and Sun's) claims, it is very unlikely that hardware will be priced at marginal/near-zero cost while software commands the monopoly rents Windows and Office enjoys today -- it's more likely that both will be commoditized and whatever rent remains in this market will go to either specialized service providers, or consumers. This isn't neccessarily bad, but it's quite different from the winner-take-all markets we've seen in enterprise software.

The article ends on a strange note where the author laments that Windows, for all its success, does not seem to command the same devotion that Linus or Mac OS X does. He attributes this to a certain soullessness at Redmond, but I think it is more reasonable to attribute it to the fact that most people don't care about computers, and since most people use Windows, most people do not care about Windows. Only the most loyal, fanatical user has a Mac or Linux box (if they cared less, they would pick Windows for the price and convenience), so they get a loyal and fanatical base.

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