Microsoft has been forced by Linux's popularity on UMPCs (Ultra Mobile PCs) to extend the life of Windows XP Home. My only question: How long will it take before Microsoft buys a clue and gives XP Pro a new lease on life as well?
The boys from Redmond seem to be in denial. Let me go over the fundamentals for them. 1) Vista is a flop; 2) People want comparatively low-powered, inexpensive computers; 3) Linux runs greats on these PCs; 4) Nothing Microsoft has, except for XP, will run on these PCs; and 5) Microsoft seems to think that only consumers will want these tiny laptops.
Business users are going to eat these PCs up. Intel estimates that 37% of its Atom-powered UMPCs will have Mobile WiMax on them. I can see businesses snatching these up as fast as they come out.
And, you know what? Every business is going to buy their systems, whether its from Asus, Acer, Dell or HP, will be running Linux.
Why? Because XP Home is useless on any kind of business network. Oh, there are ways to get XP Home on a serious domain or AD (Active Directory) network, but they break the network's security.
Desktop Linux, on the other hand, can fit right on any business network, no matter whether it's Unix and LDAP (Lightweight Directory Access Protocol) or Windows and domain or AD based.
Ironic isn't it? Linux-powered UMPCs will actually work better on Windows networks than Microsoft's offering. Like it or not, Microsoft is going to have to either give up on the small form factor laptop or extend XP Pro's lifespan as well.
I see Microsoft as being on the horns of dilemma. They can certainly keep selling XP. They'd just much rather be selling Vista. And, lately, it seems pretty clear to me they'd like to sweep Vista under the rug and replace it with Windows Seven. There's only one little problem for Microsoft. Seven, like Vista, appears to be another fat operating system. It's not going to fit on UMPCs.
Desktop Linux is the right operating system at the right time. Microsoft will be forced to go backwards. The next few years will see Windows rocked on the low-end by Linux and on the high-end by Macs.
Unbelievable? Join me as we go through the years together and watch it happen.
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