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On24: Impact of a Microsoft breakup on Embedded Linux?

Apr 29, 2000 — by Rick Lehrbaum — from the LinuxDevices Archive — views

Bob Nixon, of On24's TalkOnStocks, interviewed founder Rick Lehrbaum immediately following the announcement by the Justice Department of their decision to ask for a breakup of Microsoft . . .

BN: Is Linux a viable competition to Microsoft's OS?

RL: First of all, I'd really like to point out that probably 95% of all computers DON'T run Microsoft operatings systems. Microsoft may have a monopoly on the desktop, but they don't have a monopoly in the embedded market. The server market is a market that Linux has been penetrating very rapidly — [Linux] is the fast growing OS in the server market. And the other market, besides desktop and server, is embedded. Embedded is absolutely huge. Billions of microprocessors are shipped into the embedded market every year.

BN: Would breaking up Microsoft have any effect on [Windows] being the OS of choice [on the desktop]?

RL: Absolutely! But what I also want to point out is that there's already a large space in which Microsoft is NOT the strongest player. Now, Microsoft is going to have a lot of competition. There's a lot of things you can do with Linux that you can't do with Windows. [With] applications that are now unhooked from Windows, that are free to support the Linux market, I think we're going to see the beginning of a really thriving Linux market on the desktop as well [as in the server and embedded markets]. [The desktop arena is] a market that so far has eluded Linux … this is going to bring about some real choice in the operating system market for the desktop.

BN: Linux has made tremendous strides in the last year, not only in embedded but also on the desktop. You've written an article entitled “Linux and Microsoft Square off over Devices”, you claim that Linux has every chance to defeat Windows on a whole number of fronts.

RL: Absolutely! And, again, I think the area at the moment where Linux has the greatest possibility, is the area that's not end user applications that are very familiar to a large number of people. I think you have a learning curve issue there, you have an entrenched situation where companies want to continue using the software they have, they don't want to retrain their employees. We do have an interesting situation now… where we would hope to see the application side of “the new Microsoft” … offering their application software for Linux. And that'll make a big difference. Linux absolutely is a superior operating system to Windows.

See interview

Linux and Windows square off over devices

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