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A Post-Windows World

Fortune Magazine’s Big Tech blog predicts the coming decline of Windows in “PC makers move closer to a post-Windows world“:

“In January, Hewlett-Packard will introduce a glossy black mini-laptop at retail for a mere $379. When it does, it will become the first major computer maker this decade (besides Apple, of course) to push a non-Windows PC in stores… This Linux-based version of the HP Mini 1000 will not slay Microsoft Windows. But it will add to a growing sense that the iconic operating system’s best days are behind it.”

Author Jon Fortt credits the “Windows Vista flop,” Apple’s enormous growth, competitors in the smartphone market and mini-laptops (“netbooks”) for breaking open major cracks in the Microsoft fortress. Specifically regarding netbooks, Fortt writes, “more than 35% of today’s mini-laptops run a non-Windows operating system,” which means this new fast-growing market segment will probably never come under the thumb of Microsoft. HP sees it as an opportunity to develop its own brand, instead of just the brands of others that make processors and operating systems, putting them in a better longterm position in the market.

“This is the part of the Windows Vista backlash that really matters,” said IDC analyst Richard Shim, who had recently seen HP’s Linux mini-laptop.”

A newly competitive marketplace for operating systems will bring out much more rapid innovation (look to the smartphone industry for a precedent), lower prices and more opportunity for new startups and existing companies to grow. I expect it also to boost open source, as a great way to quickly implement new products and services.

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