A commenter a few posts back assertsthat I, Beth Lynn Eicher, give the Free and Open Source community a bad name because I said that Microsoft executes Fear-Uncertainty-Doubt. I could site example by example of where Microsoft spends their time, money, and energy saying bad things about Linux. That’s not what this post is about. Even if I were to make whatwillweuse.com a discussion on deli products instead of the decline of Microsoft, other bloggers would be out there telling that story. Why in the world have I committed to writing about the decline of Microsoft until June 30, 2011? Well, I made a personal bet with my friend Nick that Microsoft would no longer have majority market share by that date. When I started blogging about the subject in June 2009, I had intended it to be a way for Nick and I to keep tabs on our bet to make it more interesting. I expected maybe a dozen or so mutual friends would get a chuckle out of it. Never would I expect that there would be over 17,500 spectators to the discussion six months later. Agree or disagree, people care about the prediction that there could be a world in the not to distant future with significantly less Microsoft software.
Sure, it would have been nice to be better known for my work with the Ohio LinuxFest and other FOSS volunteer work that I have done for the past ten years. Those who read this blog consistently know I do use this blog to resolve conflict within FOSS. The debate on if and when Microsoft will fall is something that people want to read, regardless as to who is saying it. If that makes me an anti-Microsoft FUDer, then so be it, but by far I am not alone. The shoe fits. I wear it and advise Microsoft to do the same.
I am not the first to predict Microsoft’s demise with Linux to the better. Heck, I am not even the first to predict a dramatic drop in a 24 month period. Be sure to put Newsweek and Techblorge on your list of people who are calling doom for the software giant. What makes my prediction unique, is I allow you, the spectators of this $20 bet, participate in the discussion of what will we use on June 30, 2011. Now that is community.
Early on, Nick gave me several opportunities to back out. I declined because I was really liking what I was hearing out of Microsoft. I noticed them taking the time to fight Linux, which makes me wonder why they would do that if they did not perceive a potential for loss of market share. Moreover, for every moment that Microsoft fights with FUD, it brings Linux closer to winning. How does that work? Microsoft can not keep up with both open source and Apple.
The harder they fight the less resources they have to go into product. Customers are running away from Microsoft products. Everyday I see people dumping Windows for Linux or MacOSX. Even former Microsoft apologist, Don Dodge, has gone Google. From what I can see, Microsoft is shrinking. It would be to Microsoft’s benefit to get out of the FUD business and focus on selling out of Windows 7. That way it could be an example of a successful American company like Red Hat instead of General Motors.
So, please keep dishing the FUD, Microsoft. Meanwhile, consider the following…