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Has Linus Torvalds won the long battle with Microsoft?

Microsoft has two cash cows – Windows and Office suite. These two applications have made Microsoft the monopoly in the computing world with almost 80-90% people using these two applications on their desktop computers.

However the core Microsoft market is shrinking. Less and less people are now buying PCs as most of their computing needs can be fulfilled by tablets or smartphones. In fact an average person never needed a full fleged PC in the first place. A majority of population uses less than 5% of the computing power that modern PCs pack. People mostly use a browser to check websites, stay in touch with friends and families, may need a text editor to write documents, might also need applications to play music or watch movies. That’s it. Their only option, before Android or iOS happened, was to buy an expensive and bulky PC or laptop.

Not anymore.

They can do almost everything (and actually even more) on tablets and smartphones, and unlike the desktop or laptop they can carry these extremely portable devices anywhere they go.

The arrival of tablets and smartphones have made the desktop irrelevant for a majority of users. Android powerd devices have beaten the shipment of Windows PCs. Microsoft and its core business partners including Dell, HP, Lenovo, Intel and AMD failed to see this coming (Intel did see it but their close ties with Microsoft blurred their vision). All these companies, blurred by Microsoft’s own blurry vision of a mobile future, are today struggling in the market – standing at the brink of extinction as they failed to let go of past and embrace the future. Microsoft’s touch was so cancerous that it turned once market leader Nokia into a tiny Finnish company making hardware for Windows phones – like some unknown Chinese ODM.

Android brought a new breed of companies to the market turning Samsung, HTC, LG and ASUS into the market leaders of the post-PC era.

Today Android is the (ethically, morally and technically better) Windows of the modern world. And Android runs on the Linux kernel –  one kernel to rule them all.

The father of Linux, Linus Torvalds, once said (as quoted by ThinkExist), “If Microsoft ever does applications for Linux it means I’ve won.”

Microsoft yesterday released one of its cash cows, Microsoft Office, for Android. Since Microsoft has a very vague idea of what users want and is suffering from vendor lock-in, the apps is just an Android front end of Office 365 and is accessible only by the paid users. There are already quite a lot of office suites available on Android, including Office Pro, QuickOffice and KingSoft so Microsoft will have to struggle there with these established players.

Still it’s a Microsoft core application coming to Linux.

So, it looks like Linus has won.


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Source: Jan Wildeboer

Swapnil Bhartiya

A free software fund-a-mental-ist and Charles Bukowski fan, Swapnil also writes fiction and tries to find cracks in the paper armours of proprietary companies. Swapnil has been covering Linux and Free Software/Open Source since 2005.