To go where Microsoft

By Eric Lundquist  |  Posted 2005-03-28 Print this article Print

cant go"> A new graphical theme, music and photo managers, upgraded click-and-run program download technology, built-in virtual private networking, and a built-in wallet for storing encrypted passwords are on Robertsons list.

"The key to competing with Microsoft is to go where they cant go," Robertson explained over a burger at a W hotel in Manhattan.
In the desktop arena, Linspire has the advantage of not being burdened, as Microsoft is, by requirements to be compatible with old applications.

Robertson claims that at least one major PC manufacturer in the United States will adopt Linux on the desktop before years end. He also claims two major customers in the telecom industry will deploy Linux on the desktop, but he wouldnt name them for fear that Microsoft would try to scoop them away.

Click here to read more about Linspire releasing the latest version of its desktop Linux operating system. If the history of Windows is any indication of the future, then the biggest competitor to Longhorn will be Microsoft customers who dont want to upgrade from existing operating systems. Faced with a group of corporate customers who are unwilling to upgrade, Microsoft can force the issue by ending support; however, this time around, Microsoft would run the risk that customers would consider non-Windows alternatives. And while 3-D interfaces and new graphic-rendering capabilities, as are in Longhorn, are compelling, those features wont be sufficient to sway corporate customers.

Corporate customers will make their next desktop operating system decision based on three factors, each beginning with the letter S. The first deciding factor will be security. The current state of patches, spyware and virus attacks will not be tolerated in the next operating system upgrade cycle, period. The second factor will be search. Corporate productivity begins with being able to easily find information. The faster and more precisely the information can be retrieved, the better a job can be done. The expectations for corporate search are quickly rising. The third factor is simplicity. The days of maintaining many operating systems and applications are coming to a close in the face of robust browsers, corporate application integration and limited resources. Corporate customers wont necessarily be choosing either corporate Windows or corporate Linux on the desktop. Instead, theyll be choosing which desktop operating system best fulfills the three Ss of corporate computing.

Editor in Chief Eric Lundquist can be reached at Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news in desktop and notebook computing.

Since 1996, Eric Lundquist has been Editor in Chief of eWEEK, which includes domestic, international and online editions. As eWEEK's EIC, Lundquist oversees a staff of nearly 40 editors, reporters and Labs analysts covering product, services and companies in the high-technology community. He is a frequent speaker at industry gatherings and user events and sits on numerous advisory boards. Eric writes the popular weekly column, 'Up Front,' and he is a confidant of eWEEK's Spencer F. Katt gossip columnist.

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