CyberTech Rambler

August 16, 2011

Much ado about nothing

Filed under: Uncategorized — ctrambler @ 6:24 pm

Yes, so Microsoft changed its boilerplate statements in its SEC filing and the changes removing Linux from the list of named competition on the desktop scene, but is the reaction to it warranted?

Two of my favorite writers on Open Source, Brian Proffitt and Steve Vanghan-Nichols, decided there is a need to defend Linux on the desktop. Me? Don’t really think so.

First of all, look at the posting by Ed Bott about the changes in the statement. It looks like Microsoft decided to rewrite the boilerplate. The first paragraph can be read as victory over Linux, but As Brian Proffitt carefully point out, and as I believe that newly reworded first paragraph still referring to the desktop operating system market, the competition from Google on the desktop can be read as in the form of Chrome OS, which itself is a derivative of Linux. I believe Microsoft decided to throw away the generic term ‘Linux’ here and carefully select a real competitor that it can fight against, that competitor is unfortunately the same one that it had been fighting against already: Google. Moreover, that saved them the need to explain what Linux is. I still remember the ‘Linux is derived from Unix’ generated a lot of heated discussion when it made it to the SEC statement.

Is Linux still a competition to Microsoft? Simply because it was not mentioned explicitly does not mean it had gone away or is no longer a threat. In my view, Linux on desktop use has stabilized.  and perhaps this is the reason why Microsoft did not think it deserves a mention. Unlike Google or Apple which are making a lot of hot air (so far) that attract attention to them, Linux is the submarine that does not feature in most peoples’ radar. Like a submarine, a disruptive move can bring it back up to the surface as a significant force to content with. Chances of this happening, compared to Apple and Google’s PR backing, is not that high, unfortunately. I believe that is why Microsoft had chosen not to mention it.

The only person who should feel left out is Ubuntu for not making the cut to be mentioned by Microsoft on its new boilerplate statement, even though it is doing quite well.

If we are to make wave of Microsoft failing to mention Linux, then perhaps we should do the same for Mozilla and Opera, as they were also deleted from the statement.

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