Yesterday, I wrote about the difficulty already inherent in getting Linux to the masses. It doesn’t help when Microsoft continues to work out deals with hardware manufacturers to increase the number of computers preloaded with Windows, rather than sell the computers “naked” (without an operating system). Of course, Microsoft is using financial incentives to encourage companies to load their computers with the Windows operating system, which is something Linux cannot do.
Microsoft does this in the name of stopping piracy, claiming people buy computers naked, then install illegitimate copies of Windows. This certainly has truth to it. However, a similar agreement made with Founder Technology, one of China’s largest PC manufacturer, in 2006 increased the sales of computers preloaded with Windows from 30% in 2005 to 50% in 2007. This increase, which is certainly going to continue with the new agreement, both encourages dependency on Microsoft’s products and discourages the use of alternative operating systems, like Linux. It is certainly also true that this is a trend Microsoft likes seeing, and wants to encourage.
Of course, these computers will come preloaded with Microsoft’s new line of Windows Live software, which is Microsoft’s version of popular services like Flickr, Google Calendar, Blogger, and Facebook, among others. No doubt, this will help Windows Live gain market share, another trend that Microsoft would like to see.
I can’t blame Microsoft for their strategies, it makes good economic sense. If it were possible for Linux to use these same strategies, I’d certainly encourage it. However, these trends are yet another difficulty for Linux to overcome if it is to be a real contender for desktop market share.
It is nearly impossible to purchase a computer, in this country, that doesn’t have Windows or OSX pre-installed. It looks like this might become a continuing world-wide trend.