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Microsoft’s Doom: Open Source

John Stith
Staff Writer
Published: 2005-05-09

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Microsoft may be in trouble. Right now, Windows dominates the PC market and it has for a while but Linux has developed its following that following may grow if the British government has its way.

Open source is becoming quite popular because it doesn't cost the user money to get at it and use it. You could download Linux for free. You can download OpenOffice for free. Microsoft may be in for a spot of trouble because the free stuff is getting better.

Microsoft is the top dog and many are looking to knock them off the execs at Microsoft have done an extraordinary job at making themselves indispensable to the world, at least for the moment. When they jumped on with MS-DOS many years ago, the found a niche and they dug in. Then they saw the icon-based operating system that Apple was using and built Windows with it. Now, Bill Gates is the richest man on the planet thanks to some business savvy and making Windows indispensable to planet earth.

But with any great business empire, you tend to tick a lot of people off along the way and they have. Then, when Microsoft should've been cracked open, a judge who couldn't keep his mouth shut gave them grounds to get their monopoly ruling against them to be overturned and it was.

Microsoft makes a ton of money right now because they charge exorbitant prices for all their products. Your average user must cough up some bucks to go buy a new version of Windows or Office, let alone all the other software they offer. It's there right to charge whatever they want for their products. But open source is slowly creeping up on them. If the British government determines that getting Linux for free or even a fraction of the cost of Windows, there could be problems. That's a lot of licensing fees when you figure all the primary and secondary education students in merry old England.

Then there's the Open Office suite Sun Microsystems is working on with a little help from its friends. The new beta is out and it's sharp. Reviews on it look good I must say and I'm getting itchy to try it myself. To be honest, MSOffice is good stuff but in my checkbook, free is ALWAYS better $300 or $400. The only way to beat Microsoft is to produce products as good or nearly as good and give them away. I guess we'll see how it works.

The folks over at Mozilla just hit 50 million downloads with Firefox and are up to more than 8% of the marketshare vs. almost 90% with Internet Explorer from Microsoft. They're moving up in the world too and once again, the product is free.

Longhorn is slated to come out next year and it offers a lot of new features including the much anticipated 64 bit feature but, traditionally with Microsoft, they're "finished" version looks more like a beta and by the time they get it debugged and all the patches out, then it's time for a new Windows.

We shall see what the new Microsoft has in store and if Longhorn can compete with the mystic power of the Open Source.




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About the Author:
John Stith is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.

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