updated 06:25 pm EDT, Thu August 11, 2011
Microsoft at SEC says Linux now a non-factor
Microsoft in the SEC filing for its annual report has removed Linux as a competitor on the desktop. While discussing what it has to compete with in operating systems, the Windows developer has scratched out Linux altogether and has relegated it to a factor only in niches like embedded and servers. Only Apple and Google are left in the category, Wes Miller noted in finding the difference.
The difference reflects reduced expectations for Linux itself. After a brief blip from the earliest netbooks, Linux has returned to niche status and currently doesn't crack one percent of desktop share. Google is very new to desktops and only poses a threat through Chrome OS and a handful of Android-based smartbooks (mobile OS netbooks), but its profile as a company and teamwork with large PC builders like Acer and Samsung may give it an edge.
Linux is an option through Dell, HP, and others but is often deliberately relegated to a handful of non-standard models that most won't see. Canonical's Ubuntu is to date the only major distribution on more mainstream-oriented PCs where Red Hat, SuSE and other releases usually stay in the enterprise.
Apple in the meantime has been continuing to grow and, in Gartner's own predictions, should reach 4.5 percent of the world market with a rise to more than five percent in the next few years.