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Cheap hardware loves Linux, hurts Microsoft

Cheap hardware loves Linux, hurts Microsoft

Microsoft used to bury the cost of Windows in the $1,000-plus price of a new PC. But as personal computers take different and cheaper forms, Microsoft Windows is starting to look a heck of a lot more expensive...and expendable.

That's the argument ZDNet's Adrian Kingsley-Hughes makes, and it rings true. Microsoft's earnings have been slipping as the industry resets to Netbooks and other low-cost hardware, which is forcing Microsoft to cut its prices on Windows accordingly.

Microsoft may be "beating" Linux in Netbooks, but it's an ugly, Pyrrhic victory, as Kingsley-Hughes describes:

So, a weaker economy, combined with having to take a cut on how much it gets for every Windows license sold means that Microsoft is being forced to evolve. Problem is, this evolution at present consists of little more than looking under the sofa cushions for loose change that's fallen out of people's pockets, and lashings of wishful thinking.

The cash that Microsoft will get in from rentals of Windows and Office will, at best, be peanuts. And hoping that slates will be seen as "PC companions" rather than desktop replacements is the sort of thinking that requires whole handfuls of four-leaf clovers.

Linux, on the other hand, was made for a market just like this. When cost crowds out other considerations, consumers and businesses may well discover that they really don't need their menus and applications to run exactly like they did in the good old days of Windows XP.


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