Linux won’t beat Microsoft. At the moment
Cambridge (USA) – Ramon Casadesus Masanell and Pankaj Ghemawat, two economists from Harvard Business School, have tried to find an answer to a question that has always aroused mixed feelings among professionals: who will be the winner among Microsoft, number one on the market of operating systems, and the Linux alternative, backed by a global community of open source developers? The answer – they say – is simple: Microsoft is destined to win, even if a complicated one could be born duopoly Windows-Linux.
The research, published in June, is well summarized in an extensive interview that appeared on the website of the prestigious US university. The two scholars have created an econometric model to understand the fate of the ICT market. In which Windows shares the market with Linux, which is booming but would be limited by minimal learning effort required for new users. “We had to simplify the data we have, otherwise no conclusions would have been possible,” said Casadesus Masanell, “but the result is clear: Windows will never be ousted from its throne and will long remain the undisputed leader among operating systems. “.
With the release of Windows Vista no longer far away, touted as an operating system that requires minimal user effort, Microsoft will be able to further consolidate its dominant position, especially in the desktop sector. This is because, argue the two academics, “Microsoft always starts with the advantage of having its operating system already installed and running on the machines, eliminating the need for effort on the part of users”. As long as Microsoft is able to maintain this condition, Linux will always have second place in the competition between operating systems.
The advantages of open source software, according to experts, are however enormous: starting from the security and frequency of updates. This particularity makes open software “particularly valuable for government institutions and, more generally, for a discourse of social welfare”, said Casadesus Masanell: “Linux costs nothing and we assume that the maintenance costs of the system are identical to those of Windows “.
The researchers also found that the phenomenon of hacking seems to greatly favor the spread of proprietary software: in countries where piracy is more widespread, the two economists have found very high levels of Windows penetration. Fate therefore seems to favor Microsoft, at least for now, but there are many companies, say Harvard scientists, who are supporting Linux in an attempt to undermine Microsoft from their position. The last word, therefore, has not yet been spoken.