We’ve tried to warn Microsoft that Google could disrupt their profitable line of office applications. And now we’d like to warn Microsoft that Linux could disrupt their operating system domination — sort of.
“Huh,” you say, reminding us that Microsoft (MSFT) still controls 95% of the market. We agree, for now, that Microsoft is in a prime position. But look to a future when people carry around mobile devices that act more like computers than today’s mobile phones. Will the software giant still be the de-facto operating system?
The Wall Street Journal’s CES Notebook Blog reports that both Intel (INTC) and Qualcomm (QCOM) are planning to use Linux, not Microsoft, for new pocket PC devices. Neither company has a problem with the quality of Microsoft’s product — it’s a matter of cost:
New hardware needs to sell for a couple hundred dollars, maximum, and may be built for well less than a hundred. The exact royalty Microsoft charges for software on such devices is not known, but Linux will likely be free, or at least very inexpensive.
The chipmakers aren’t alone in latching onto Linux for their mobile gadgets. Information Week has a short post on the “world’s smallest computer,” which also runs Linux. Motorola is pushing mobile Linux OSes on some of its latest phones. Palm is betting on a Linux-based OS to resurrect its Treos. And there’s this other company that has big plans for Linux, too — Google and its Android OS.
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