Dana Blankenhorn’s post on why Linux appears to be disappearing from Netbooks starts the next round on the internet on about Microsoft killing Linux on Netbooks.
In a sense, nothing new here, i.e., a big company using its market muscle to try to stop a smaller rival. We are all expecting it.
That of course bring back memory of DoJ’s antitrust case against Microsoft. However, I think this time there is a small, but significant difference: Manufacturers appear to be willing to spill the beans, if you asked the right question, like Blankenhorn did. Previously, they “suffer” in silence.
It will probably take another anti-trust suit to tell us whether this is happening. If we follow the anti-trust convention, it would had been too late, as the damage is already done. That is why it is interesting to see how the European Commission is changing the anti-trust game from remedying the damage to preventing the abuse in the first place. It is going to be difficult, but lets see whether this will lead the way in a change in anti-trust cases.
Most interesting, and perhaps the silver lining, is the fact that even if we accepted that Microsoft had been strong-arming manufacturers, it still had not stopped them from experimenting with non-Microsoft operating system. This fact, to me, has been the objective for this round of Windows vs the world. I think to ask that Linux be accepted by the joe public today is too much to ask. What this round has to do is to raise awareness that there are alternatives, and the alternatives are viable.
If the rumour that Windows 7 Netbook edition is going to cost much more than Windows XP is true, manufacturer will probably want to maintain the capability of taking potshots at Microsoft if only to keep the price they pay for Netbook down.
As Blankenhorn’s post shows, even computer manufacturers are clear that the attack on the Netbook market comes not only from scaling down laptops, but also smartphones beefing up. Everyone, including Microsoft, is aware that we live in interesting time.