Archive of UserLand's first discussion group, started October 5, 1998.

Windows apps on Linux: the real reason

Author:Jacob Levy
Posted:9/24/1999; 9:00:43 AM
Topic:Windows apps on Linux: the real reason
Msg #:11429
Prev/Next:11428 / 11430

For my druthers, if Microsoft invested in getting Windows apps to run smoothly on Linux, that would be a very smart move for Microsoft.

Consider that the OS is for them already a marginal profit source or even a loss leader, and the real money comes from selling Office and sundry "asteroid" applications revolving around that. This is becoming ever more true with the DOJ busting up the cartel-like deals that Microsoft allegedly struck with PC makers to get paid for a copy of an OS even if it wasn't installed. In any case the expressed intent is for the OS to strengthen the lock-in for developers (AKA developer loyalty to the "platform") and for the apps to strengthen the lock-in to their platform, so that they can sell future upgrades.

Now that people have platform alternatives (they don't have to pay for something they won't use) and now that there's a move towards lower-cost machines with price points that make $50 seem excessive for OSes, expect Linux to become a big player in the low-cost Internet Access Point Device space. How is Microsoft going to make any money there? They can't sell Windows in its various incarnations, because as-good or better is available for free, and their apps don't run on other OSes. All of those devices will run Linux or similar free OSes. Soo...

The solution is to make Office a web application that can be rented over the web and that can run smoothly on Linux or anything else Unix-flavored that comes along. This is potentially a huge new market for Microsoft, since industry experts predict that most of these devices are likely to be used by people who are new computer users. This seems to me to be just the logical conclusion to the sub-$1000 PC trend, and most of *those* machines are going to newbies, so the expectation seems reasonable. The point here is that these IAPDs are not going to replace your and my desktop anytime soon, and desktop computers still need OSes.


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