Microsoft leaves the door open for the competition.

Bill, does it really take 5 years to make your Windows product secure? Has the slip in launch dates been directly related to the effort to make Longhorn secure?

I am sure that Apple, IBM, HP and RedHat are not going to pass up this opportunity to take a slice of market share. But how are they going to do it? Where is the key to the market? What segment should they target?

Apple have a good, but expensive, alternative to Windows already doing reasonably well. IBM's drive to integrate everything should put them in a good position to move into the desktop (presumably with Java applications). RedHat have a very well packaged Linux distribution that gets better on a daily basis.

It used to be that the home market was made up of souped up games machines, until people realised that they could afford to get the equivalent of their office machines. Now the tables are a bit turned, the home market tends to lead the office market on the operating systems, whereas the office market leads the home market on hardware. For example, my office machine is 10x faster than my home machine, my office operating system is 10x older than my home operating system.

XP is 3 years old next month, and I have to say that in my experience its adoption into the office environment has been cautiously done. I don't think there is a sysadmin out there who has not been challenged by the TCO question of switching to a Linux alternative.

Maybe the delay of Longhorn will allow XP to cement itself properly, by giving Windows sysadmins a chance to improve systems without changing them every 2 years. Or it might give them time to test out alternative solutions. Whatever the situation, the door has been left open for a short time, see who makes the most of it.

Also watch out for Google, they might not have any plans in this area but there is something going on behind the scenes at the moment (they keep hiring top Java people). It might be that they enter the platform market with integrated desktop applications.

Technology News Article | Reuters.com

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