Some Linux vendors talk about the opportunities presented by the release (finally) of Microsoft Vista. While others talk, HP developed a game plan and is scoring points. HP is now touting its success in the Linux desktop market, and Dell — reading the writing in the IDC stats and on its blog — is trying to catch a bit of HP’s action. If both do well, this could be a less-than-lovely year for Microsoft.
Last spring, Christine Martino — vice president of HP’s Open Source and Linux Organization — told me:
“We consider the desktop an important emerging Linux opportunity worldwide.”
The following fall HP exec Paul Miller said:
“Changes coming in Microsoft Vista and Office 2007 will force corporations to either buy new desktops or find some other way to extend the lifecycle of desktops.”
What’s different today than when Microsoft announced other new desktop operating systems is that there are viable business-ready alternatives: preloaded Linux desktops from major PC vendors and rock solid operating systems and application suites or desktop virtualization.
There’s time for Microsoft shops to decide on an alternative, too, says blogger Lynn Linse on the Lynn Verse Computer (LVC) blog:
“…most organizations with more than 100 (or perhaps more than a dozen?) computers will just ‘ghost’ any new Vista-licensed computers back to Windows XP (or even 2000) for at least a year.”
During this potential “year of the Linux desktop”,HP and Dell and OpenOffice (as fostered by Novell) will have to deliver the enterprise-seductive goods. Also, says Linse, the Linux/open source community has this year to get it act together on application package management.
If HP continues to deliver on its game plan and other Linux players follow suit, then Microsoft may find that its Vista isn’t as clear and sunny as expected