Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Linux big in China... but what about Microsoft.

Linux Desktop is set to take off, according to Novell's Ron Hovsepian. "Hovsepian believes that Novell's software--he pointed to his company's own forthcoming Suse Linux Desktop 10--has matured enough that three markets will be interested.

First are large corporate users with employees who don't need full-featured PCs but rather just basic software such as a Web browser. Second are small business owners who see the savings from Windows license fees going straight to their own wallets. Third are residents of Brazil, Russia, India and China--the so-called BRIC countries--who are price-sensitive and who haven't already made a big investment in Windows, he said. China in particular is interesting because of pressure to curtail Windows piracy, Hovsepian said. "

However, just today, Chinese President Hu Jintao met with Bill Gates and company and toured the Redmond facilities. Microsoft announced deals that will ensure its Windows operating system will be featured in millions of PCs sold in the world's largest country. Microsoft and Lenovo announced a $1.2 billion dollar deal that will allow Lenovo to ship computers in China with MS Windows.

So does this mean that this deal will slow the growth of Linux as a desktop operating system? Perhaps, but with the Anti-Piracy policies in place and enforced by the Government, there is room for Microsoft and Linux. Even with Microsoft's huge discounted OS on Lenovo, there are still hundreds of other PC clones in China and Taiwan, not to mention other parts of Asia. Linux as a desktop is still a legitimate alternative with lower cost.

I think another issue is that Microsoft is opening itself up once again to negative publicity and image issues. Microsoft will continue to be the big bully. Hey... they are the monopoly. But I believe Linux, and Novell SUSE Linux in particular, have made huge strides with SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop (SLED) 10. Now it remains to be seen if Novell can get revenue from Linux. But a huge part of the battle is penetration. It's going to be interesting how this plays out.

No comments: