Rich Karlgaard at Forbes gives talks about major trends he sees as Publisher and columnist at Forbes magazine. Recently, he has been talking about the Cheap Revolution – the fact that training and educationally developed countries such as China, Eastern Europe, India and others are able to tie onto the tail end of Moores Law – the availability of exceedingly cheap servers, software, and whole communications infrastructures including the web and link this with their own very cheap cost of labor/cost of living economies. The result is the Cheap Revolution. These educationally replete “Under-developed” countries can leapfrog and challenge the developed countries of Europe and North America in their home markets for delivering services like engineering design, software development, medical diagnostics and other hightech/high return sectors while also offering an ever widening array of cheap but feature competitive goods to Wal-Martized consumers world-wide hooked on the phonics of ever dropping prices.
Now why is this important in regards to Longhorn? Because as InfoWorld points out here, Longhorn is short on features and sizzle; but rather will be devoted to 2 major tasks:
1)getting users to upgrade from the more Windows 2000+Windows 98+Windows ME+Windows XX.x systems than there are Windows XP systems =ALL of THIS =>to Longhorn;
2)delivering on the security, availability and reliability that has eluded Windows since the days of OS/2 which had them in abundance.
Now despite the Disinformation campaigns by Microsoft, “Get the Flax”, Googles use of Linux on ultra-cheap servers is cited by Rich Karlgaard as the disruptive technology that permits it to compete at a decided cost of operations advantage against MSN(windows powered), Yahoo(BSD powered) , and eBay(Windows powered). This allows Google to put pressure on competitors with service offerings that are immediately tipping-point compelling. Googles Gmail is an example – it forced all the other eMail providers to up their storage ante by an order of magnitude. My service, Bell Sympatico, is still in the ante-diluvian 3 MB eMail space so I am transferring nearly all my business to Google and Gmail.
That is the sort of competitive advantage Linux savvy is going to confer on educationally astute Under-developed countries over the high priced spreads that are Windows and Apple Mac OS (whileSolaris has just moved to Open, Free, and LowCost). In effect, Open Source is doing unto Microsoft what Microsoft did to Netscape – cutting of the cash-cow oxygen and compelling it to change its pricing/delivery of goods and services model. But Redmond is not budging only offering to “Get Us the Flaps”.
Now Window-philes will say “where is the evidence that the under-developeds are going Linux and developing competitive technologies that beat the West?”. Well funny one should ask – Infoworld has another interesting article on how Turbo Linux has just gone profitable based on its penetration of China, Japan and Indian markets. And if anybody is doubtful about competitive advantage; look at the recent spate of outsourcings of not just software but broad technical jobs to India, China, Eastern Europe, etc. Or better still look at the it individually – see if you can offer the same set of experience, training, services and costs that are available at say Freelance.com or Codelance.com.
In sum, there is a Long Range Danger in Longhorn – that it just will not deliver enough price performance and stability to offset the large conversion costs let alone staying competitive with the Linux-powered tigers from the educationally astute Under-developed regions and countries. Simply put, the Cheap Revolution is Linux not Windows powered.