Microsoft's biggest enemy now: Apple, Linux or itself?
CIO - In a meeting with financial analysts last week, Microsoft Corp. CEO Steve Ballmer laid out what he thinks are the biggest threats today to Windows on the client side. Surprisingly, Apple Inc. wasn't No. 1. It wasn't No. 2 or 3, either.
Referring to a pie chart at the meeting that gauged threats to Windows, Ballmer said that Windows itself, both licensed and pirated, were the top two threats to Microsoft in the client operating system space, followed by Linux, then Apple. Ballmer quipped: "Windows license, No. 1 market share. No. 2 market share goes to Windows pirated or unlicensed. That's a competitor that's tough to beat; they've got a good price and a heck of a product, but we're working on it."
Ballmer followed with a carefully worded mockery of Apple's "point or more" market share growth over the past year: "A point of market share on a number that's about 300 million [number of PCs shipped worldwide in 2008] is interesting. It's an interesting amount of market share, while not necessarily being as dramatic as people would think."
"No. 2 market share goes to Windows pirated or unlicensed. That's a competitor that's tough to beat; they've got a good price and a heck of a product." Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, quipping about how Microsoft has to compete with itself.
Though Linux's 0.8% OS market share hardly qualifies as a threat, Linux does compete with Microsoft in more areas than Apple, and it is much cheaper. "Cheap" takes on an appealing sound in an economic recession.
But is Ballmer truly wary of Linux? Is he just trying to disparage Apple as usual? It's hard to tell. Industry experts said the folks at Redmond will continue to face threats on all sides and even from within.
Linux Attacks on More Fronts
Matt Rosoff, an analyst at independent research firm Directions on Microsoft, mostly agreed with Ballmer about the threat pecking order, saying that Linux trumps Apple as a threat, but that Microsoft's biggest rival is itself.
"Macintosh computers are a threat in precisely one market -- upscale consumer PCs, a small part of the overall PC market," Rosoff said.
"Linux is a bigger threat because it competes in more areas such as server OSs, embedded systems and increasingly on client PCs with the rise of low-cost netbooks," he said.
But Microsoft's biggest threat to Windows growth, said Rosoff, is the idea that existing PCs with older versions of Windows are good enough. "Consumers and businesses may have no incentive to replace them until they break," he said.
- 15 Non-Certified IT Skills Growing in Demand
- How 19 Tech Titans Target Healthcare
- Twitter Suffering From Growing Pains (and Facebook Comparisons)
- Agile Comes to Data Integration
- Slideshow: 7 security mistakes people make with their mobile device
- iOS vs. Android: Which is more secure?
- 11 sure signs you've been hacked
- The Critical Role of Support in Your Enterprise Mobility Management Strategy Most business leaders underestimate the importance of tech support when they choose an EMM solution. Here's what to put on your checklist.
- Separating Work and Personal at the Platform Level: How BlackBerry Balance Works BlackBerry® Balance™ separates work from personal on the same mobile device, right at a platform level. Find out how it can work for...
- Protection for Every Enterprise: How BlackBerry Security Works Get an IT-level review of BlackBerry® Security, addressing data leakage protection, certified encryption, containerization and much more.
- Future Focus: What's Coming in Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) Find out why Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) solutions that are truly future-ready must be designed to enable Machine-to-Machine (M2M) capabilities and much more.
- Live Webcast On-demand webinar: "Mobility Mayhem: Balancing BYOD with Enterprise Security" Check out this on-demand webinar to hear Sophos senior security expert John Shier deep dive into how BYOD impacts your enterprise security strategy...
- Live Webcast Unmasking the Differences between Consumer and Enterprise File Sync & Share The consumerization of IT combined with the rapid pace of the modern mobile workplace is forcing enterprise IT teams to evaluate file sync...
- Live Webcast Workforce Mobilization for Improved Productivity A mobility research director from Aberdeen discusses reasons for extending legacy applications to mobile devices, and an integration strategist from Attachmate shows how...
- Getting Ready for BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10.2 Find out how BlackBerry® Enterprise Service 10 helps organizations address the full spectrum of EMM challenges, while balancing the needs of both the...
- Containerization Options: How to Choose the Best DLP Solution for Your Organization This webcast outlines a framework for making the right choice when it comes to containerization approaches, along with the pros and cons of... All Mobile/Wireless White Papers | Webcasts