Linux usage statistics up to 2008
The thoughts expressed were that:
1. That the requirements for Vista are very different than for XP (relative to current hardware)
2. That the OS market is very different from when XP launched with lots of ?early adopter? negative sentiment
3. More mature OS alternatives for the desktop in the free segment
I feel that there's some justification required, but I also intend on explaining how little the market could change (realistically) if more users moved away from Vista. Anyway, first things first.
1. The requirements for Vista...
True enough the requirements for Vista are very different than for XP but not only is the difference probably less than people imagine, Vista compliant hardware is much cheaper (comparatively speaking) to the equivalents in the days of XP. So the requirements may be quite high but a Vista-ready machine is rather affordable at the moment. It may have escaped some people's attention that vendors like PCWorld are offering laptops with a "free Vista upgrade" now. Remember, the majority of the operating system market isn't "techie" types who have this distaste for Vista but more average users who will purchase a ready-built machine loaded with Vista-Home-basic and use it. Vista isn't *that* demanding anyway, not for core usage anyway. Sure it's a hog with all the knobs and whistles attached but at it's most basic it's not unfeasibly demanding.
2. Negative sentiment
Again, the taste of Vista may be foul in the mouths of those of us within the techie blogosphere but the majority of the world will use it because it came with their machine. True the uptake of MS' latest offering amongst techie types may be rather slow but that will make little impact in the larger world. Businesses will eventually adopt it as will the majority of home users - you can put that down to any number of things but it IS factual.
3. More mature O/S alternatives
As the previous two points stated really - the war is already won for MS because Vista will be sold with thousands upon thousands of ready-built machines. But I put more thought into this notion and continued my graphing - see the next section.
But, what IF Vista lost some market share
What if it did? How much could be realistically lost and what impact would it make? Well I continued the graphing trend of the previous articles on this topic:
Say Vista lost a staggering 0.5% of Windows converters to the world of Linux at launch which then grew by 0.1% each month after release? This is a massive number to be lost and would never happen realistically but I'm using "exciting" numbers to make a point. IF Vista lost 0.5% at launch and an increased 0.1% each month there-after what would happen?
As can be seen in the projection above, even with an impressively high Linux conversion rate the trend remains unaltered (Linux2 and Vista2 are those with the new projections, Linux and Vista are based on the original data). So as you can see, an incremental loss of customers to Linux is doing the Vista stake very little harm indeed dropping only 2.8% below the original prediction after 2 years. Linux however grows to 7.18% by the same date as opposed to the original 4.38% prediction.
Note, these statistics are based on exaggerated estimates to prove a point that no matter how 'mature' the operating system market has become - Microsoft still wins. People aren't ready for Linux and it's not quite ready for them yet (but it's very close) so we're not going to see 0.5% of the market shift from Microsoft when Vista is launched - BUT even if we did, it wouldn't really make a dent. As you can guess from the above graph - how long is it going to take for Linux to overtake Windows at this rate? Even with the unrealistic projection it's years away.
So, to conclude the thoughts that Loki started - I had indeed taken this sort of thing into account when I made the original forecast but however debateable the grasp Linux has on the operating system market it's still (unfortunately) insignificant in the greater scheme of things. Vista WILL still make it's 40% in two years, whether it makes 35% or 45%, it will be about that. Linux will be around the 5% mark (at the close of 2008) if current trends hold up. This forecast is based on 6 years of trends - us "techie" types aren't anywhere near the majority of the market and as long as Vista is sold OEM it will dominate.
Related reading specific to this article:
Apple outperforms Linux - from the same study
The original article on the Vista forecast
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