Saturday, April 5, 2014

Linux has just passed the tipping point.

It was funny to watch MS try to fight the Linux Hydra. For every head they chopped off, 3 more heads popped out. But right now it is all over but the crying. Linux has won on servers, on low end netbooks, on phones, on embedded devices, and on all the new low end micro controllers that are currently taking over the desktop.  Every attempt by Windows to enter new markets has failed, with their foray into gaming costing them much more than they made from gamers. (

MS clusters on have 2 out of the top 500 super computers ( Most cloud systems run Linux with about 80% of web/cloud service traffic on the Internet run on Linux. One service, Netflix on Linux, take up about 1/3 of all Internet traffic alone (  Every time you use Google, you are using one of the largest Linux clusters in the world with 25% of daily traffic ( 

MS was forced to keep XP alive for 5 years longer than they had planned to fight off Linux on netbooks. And even this didn't work because there are chrome books from many vendors that do not run Windows and many people are very happy with these small, low cost, full featured netbooks.

MS lost the mobile/embedded market before they even got started, with all the flavors of Android overwhelming even the former market leader iPhone like an avalanche. You can't compete against 100 low cost competitors each advancing some aspect of Android and having to share that with everyone else. The only way to compete is to join.  Zune was a horrible loss (,28804,1898610_1898625_1898633,00.html).

Android and other flavors of Linux run on most embedded devices, because of the low cost, ease of porting to new micro controllers, and full features. If your TV can play videos, it is probably running some flavor of Linux. If you have a stand alone media player, it is probably running Linux (

Now single board computer like the Beaglebone Black and Raspberry Pi cost less than $50; to put a MS OS on those boards would more than triple the cost, and quite frankly these boards are just about more computer than the average person actually needs. With Moore's law every 2 years these kind of boards will only get faster and cheaper. Many routers even run Linux.

In 20 years you will be able to buy a $5 computer that is as powerful as the average desktop machine today. Is MS Windows still going to cost $100 then? I'm going to guess that to stay relevant and competitive MS will have to be priced at about 50 cents per machine at that point. Can they stay in business at that price point?

The Steam Box running Linux is going to do to gaming what Android did to the mobile phone market ( Even I am planning on buying one. Goodbye PS4 and Xbox one. You can already emulate most games older than about 5 years old on the Raspberry Pi.

The only place that Windows still has a major market share is on the desktop, and only because they were convicted of illegally using monopoly powers to maintain that share. They are currently trying to convert 500 million XP users, an OS that came out in 2001 over to Windows 8.  In fact, the 40% of desktops in both corporate and home are still running XP.  (

I don't believe that the conversion rate is going to be very high. I foresee at least half of these users upgrading their machines to running Linux, instead of having to buy a new machine to run the latest version of windows.  The only thing keeping Microsoft afloat right now is the little bit it is making from Windows 8, which is their least popular operating system they have ever released (  

So all in all, Microsoft is pretty much running on empty right now.  Only the billions they have in the bank are keeping them rolling along, but that is going to run out in just a few more years.

Goodbye Microsoft.

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