Microsoft’s not dying anytime *soon*… but maybe eventually

The “VAR Guy” points out some interesting facts about how much money Microsoft makes, and points out that they are not going to be killed by open source companies anytime soon.

I’m actually surprised at how close behind them IBM is. I wouldn’t have guessed that the two were almost neck-and-neck. So it is a little more realistic to hope that through its use of open source technologies, IBM will surpass Microsoft.

Already Microsoft has really very little to offer. With great effort, the world is breaking free of the Windows strangle-hold. Office is gradually becoming less and less necessary for more and more people. Eventually, it is realistic to hope, more and more governments and corporations will give it up. (I’ve already decided to break out of the Office upgrade cycle, because Apple’s iWork suite is SO much nicer, and for those time when I need Office, I’ve got the older version. If I used Linux more often, it would depend on the viability of OpenOffice, which seems to be doing very well in its progress.) So they are making money on essentially legacy software, with bells and whistles added (and an occasionally useful feature) to continue to sell the same thing over.

Meanwhile Linux is catching up to Windows on the desktop, and has long since surpassed it on the server as far as capabilities. OS X is light years ahead of Windows everywhere, and if you’re running OS X you can always run Windows occasionally under virtualization. And there’s no reason to buy a new version of Windows, just run the old one you’ve had for a decade. Not much has changed.

So the only reason they’re making so much money is that so much of the (western) world hasn’t woken up to the fact that they DON’T NEED MICROSOFT. MICROSOFT OFFERS THEM VERY LITTLE. (I say “western” world, because all my friends from India and former Soviet countries tell me that NO ONE uses legitimately licensed copies of Windows or much of anything in those countries. I believe I’ve heard the same about China.)

As open source gets a bigger grip in countries where the cost of Windows could feed a family for a month or a year, they may not lose money, but they’ll lose the network effect, and this will only continue to erode their monopoly. So while no open source fish is going to swallow the Microsoft shark any time soon, a school of them might grow and keep reducing the shark’s food source until it eventually starves.

If Microsoft ever does anything useful to serve its customers, instead of to serve itself at their expense, they could turn this trend around. They have a lot of money, and the public is largely gullible enough to trust them again, so there’s a good chance they can reverse this trend. As I’m not one of the trusting ones, I personally hope they die a painful death and all their investors lose everything. Harsh? Not any more than hoping a criminal is thrown in jail or a murderer gets the electric chair. Is that cruel? No, it will be good for them. When punishment is deserved, it can bring about a change of heart. I only want what is in their best interests—it just happens to be in the world’s best interests too.

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One Comment on “Microsoft’s not dying anytime *soon*… but maybe eventually”


  1. […] unknown wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptThe “VAR Guy” points out some interesting facts about how much money Microsoft makes, and points out that they are not going to be killed by open source companies anytime soon. I’m actually surprised at how close behind them IBM is. I wouldn’t have guessed that the two were almost neck-and-neck. So it is a little more realistic to hope that through its use of open source technologies, IBM will surpass Microsoft. Already Microsoft has really very little to offer. With great effort, the world is breaking free of the Windows strangle-hold. Office is gradually becoming less and less necessary for more and more people. Eventually, it is realistic to hope, more and more governments and corporations will give it up. (I’ve already decided to break out of the Office upgrade cycle, because Apple’s iWork suite is SO much nicer, and for those time when I […] […]


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