How Safe Is the Windows Monopoly?

With his inexpensive, quality products and an advertising budget that rivals McDonald's and Budweiser, Michael Dell has done more to promote and maintain the Windows monopoly outside of Mssrs. Gates and Ballmer themselves. So when Mr. Dell recently voiced an interest in selling the Mac OS on top of Dell hardware, my ears perked up. Apple blew its earlier clone efforts big time and has settled for single-digit market share ever since. But those old cloners were tiny outfits, not near the mass of Dell, so this could be a whole new ball game.

Windows Servers Under Pressure
Servers are where Microsoft has yet to establish a monopoly, and if the open sourcers have their way, never will. One major competitor is the LAMP stack, a complete OS, application and scripting environment including Apache, MySQL and Linux, and Perl, Python and PHP for programming. The stack has been stable for a while, only now it’s getting more backers, with Novell and Covalent among the many now pledging their undying support.

Punishing Pirates
Microsoft last week announced lawsuits against four companies involved in widespread piracy of Microsoft software. The company crowed about how these actions are good for resellers and consumers—and you know, it's right. This software is often sold as legit, leaving consumers holding the bag when things inevitably (it's still Windows) go wrong. And partners have a tough time competing against resellers whose software cost is that of a blank CD.

 

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The Belly of the Beast
Earlier this year Microsoft quietly invited a bunch of relatively friendly hackers to campus and let them have at it. As expected, it wasn't long before the hackers made real progress. In attendance was Jim Allchin, the man who more than any other is responsible for buttoning up Windows. The hackers broke in left and right—all before red-faced Microsoft engineers. It went so well that Microsoft promises to have the hackers back!

Is IT Still Cool?
MSNBC, one of my favorite sites, recently reported that college students are not terribly turned on by IT, and roll their eyes at programming in particular. Maybe these students just see the writing on the wall, as the Gartner Group predicts that developer jobs will fall 30 percent by the end of the decade.

There is actually a huge upside, as technology jobs are expected to morph into more of a business role. That really is the promise of IT: Using technology to solve business problems and achieve business goals. And we're going to get to that—as soon as we get rid of hackers, spam, viruses, spyware and unstable software.

About the Author

Doug Barney is editor in chief of Redmond magazine and the VP, editorial director of Redmond Media Group.

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