Linux guru: Microsoft an “also-ran” in mobile market
Microsoft has fallen by the wayside in the mobile market, leaving Linux the main challenger to Apple, according to one open-source leader.
Linux Foundation executive director Jim Zemlin said that Linux-based OSes such as Google Android, Intel’s Meego and HP’s newly-bought Palm webOS are the main challengers to Apple, according to Business Week.
While Microsoft has been relegated to an also-ran in mobile computing, Linux has emerged as the main challenger to Apple
“While Microsoft has been relegated to an also-ran in mobile computing, Linux has emerged as the main challenger to Apple,” he wrote.
Does Linux really have a chance against Apple? Zemlin admitted that Apple had set a “high bar”, but said Linux has experience of beating an “entrenched market leader.”
“There was an Apple of the business computing market not so long ago,” Zemlin said. “Sun Microsystems’ high-end servers made the company a darling of information technology departments, internet startups, and Wall Street investors in the late ’90s and 2000. Linux was the underdog. A decade later, Sun no longer exists and Linux and Windows rule the data centre.”
But Linux developers need to polish their mobile operating systems to take on “the magic of Apple,” Zemlin said, calling on them to improve user experience by boosting boot times and graphics performance.
“It’s important that open-source products add more value for users than simply being free. Open-source software also needs to be fabulous,” he said.
Because improving user experience can be a costly endeavour, Zemlin suggested that Linux systems share development costs. “Open-source, free software enables lower research and development costs and faster time to market,” he said. “When one company solves a technical hurdle, all companies can benefit, yet still differentiate themselves through their applications. Apple doesn’t provide that flexibility.”