[Linux-aus] Nomination for Ordinary Committee Members

Brent Wallis brent.wallis at gmail.com
Fri Jan 6 08:50:03 UTC 2006


On 1/6/06, James Purser <purserj at k-sit.com> wrote:
> I'd hazard to say that Microsoft's dominance today can be more
> attributed to inertia and ignorance that clever marketing. Sure
> marketing plays a part but as the saying goes "Nobody ever got fired for
> buying Microsoft".
> All valid points....but
If I may, it is worth pointing out some economic realities (for the sake of
cheering up those who are dissapponted with the current state of play (a
state I suffer periodically as well..... :-)) :

- There is no precedent in human history where a single entity has been able
to monopolise something indefinitely without doing something to "engineer"
the situation in that entities favour.

- This "engineering" comes at a cost....it could be marketing
related....right down to "dirty" deals done on the side....it could be
restrictive product distribution....or the artificial monopoly that patents
create.......it doesn;t really matter what the nature of the market
engineering takes, all one needs to understand is that it costs

- The cost of this engineering becomes greater when the market involved is
considered "emerging"....a useful metaphor is stretching a rubber band of
fixed length. The more you stretch (eg the more you try and engineer a
monopoly) the more energy it requires to keep the thing stretched (ie the
more you try and prop up a monopoly the more money it takes to do so.)

When considering MS and their position in the "emerging" market of personal
computing there is clear evidence that their 95% monopoly is already
"stretched" to it's limit no matter how much money and FUD they throw at it:

- Their share price has stagnated for 5 years!

- Their share price would have been at least 20% lower today if they had not
started issuing dividends.

- They missed an entire cycle of releases for a new desktop offering.

- The latest critical WMF security issue was first patched by a lone (albeit
extremly knowledgable and skilled ) individual almost a week before their
"machine" could get one out. This in itslf should be ringing very loud
alarms bells on Wall Street... an individual performed far better than a
multi billion dollar business on that businesses own products! Imagine the
incredulity if  Holden  recalled a bunch of Fords and fixed a safety issue
for them..... this is not good for MS at all and seems to indicate that
their development and maintenance model is struggling to match the outcomes
of the Open Source model.

- Their business model is locked into the FAT PC  for without that they
would lose another important piece that assists ther monopoly...lockin.
Their business model prevents them from doing things like creating a live CD
version of Windows.....or selling Office for Linux.... or any numer of other
things that Open Source Freedom not only allows but facilitates and
encourages. Lockin comes at a price for MS as well, it restricts their
ability to "change", an important fundamental if a business is going to
survive in the long term.

The bottom line is that market is stacked up against MS and their "rubber
band" is forever hungry for dollars....they can;t stretch the rubber band
any more because it has a fixed length. Their ability/capacity to change is
hampered by their own business model. All their dollars are doing is
maintaining the status quo.....It can;t continue without something
breaking... nothing is forever.

Personally, I feel that the release of Vista this year will provide more
opportunity than anyone realises. Vista for MS is critical for their ongoing
monopoly. If it fails in some small way....(like a security exploit released
in the first few months of distribution which would make the Trusted
computing thing a joke) I reckon they will have real trouble.

I think the only downside we face is that market forces in this situation
are "slow" and sometimes it looks like nothing is happening....but for all
of you who have worked on and/or used/deployed Linux in the last 10 years...
ponder where we are now when compared to 1995...

If you don;t feel warm and fuzzy after doing that I would hazzard a guess
that you are probably not of this earth... :-)

I don;t know of any other collaborative and complex human endeavour that as
come so far in such a short time!

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