Windows Woes

I wouldn’t want to be Steve Balmer, and not just because he is a raving lunatic.

The Windows infrastructure is showing more signs of fatigue than a Minneapolis bridge.  Though far from being at a critical failure point, the cumulative weaknesses are not being corrected, and the decay appears to be getting progressively worse.  Steve, try drinking for breakfast.  It will help with the pain and tone down your presentations.

Most interesting is that as an architecture, is Windows is losing developers.  The good and careful folks at Evans Data polled developers again this year and discovered that the number of coders targeting the Windows platform is down 12%, a drop steeper than even Balmer’s annual bonus will be.  Not surprisingly the share of Linux developers rose just slightly less than the same 12% in the same year.  Though Linux has only 1/2 of the developer base that Windows has, the shifting sands can be calculated without an Excel spreadsheet. 

Little wonder that a Microsoft spokesperson was unavailable for comment.  Maybe Balmer has something he can yell.

Part of the reason developers are shifting from Windows to Linux is because their corporate masters have made the command decision to go Open and go Linux.  Part of the reason is that the cost savings from Linux are measurable and real. Novel gave one example.  Granted, they have a vested political interest in deploying Linux everywhere, but they also saved nearly a million bucks a year by doing so, or more than 1% of their EBITDA.  That’s not chump change, and Windows customers everywhere are saving money in the server racks as well. 

The final sign of Window’s decline may well be that Microsoft is no longer in control of Windows’ destiny.  Microsoft has fought hard not to be victimized via virtualization, going as far as assuring that XP or Vista will not virtualize under Linux. The market did what the market always does, and found a way around the problem via either a purchased alternative (VMWare) or the slicker approach of inserting a hypervisor (Xen) under both Windows and Linux.  With these solutions, Windows no longer controls the box, and once that level of control vanishes, so does market dominance through the ability to lock-in the customer.

Steve, I highly recommend Jack Daniels with you morning OJ.  The headaches will soon fade.

Microsoft is being nibbled to death by a flock of Open Source ducks.  Their F.U.D. on Open Source savings is no longer believed, their developer base is eroding, and their control of the data center is sunk.  Microsoft will survive, and so might Steve Balmer … if he keeps his drinking and blood pressure under control.


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