According to marketshare.hitslink.com, a site that collects internet market statistics which can then be used to study internet trends, Linux for the first time passed 1% of desktop operating systems in the month of April 2009!
What does this mean? Well obviously it means that more and more people are beginning to use Linux as a desktop OS. And that means that the quality of Linux as desktop OS has improved enough for one out of every hundred computers to be running it. Does it mean that this is the year of Linux on desktop? Or that Microsoft is finally crumbling? I think not.
Geeky celebrations aside, this is what I think should be taken away from this. Everybody knows that the whole world is going through an economic crisis. And according to a report on www.bloomberg.com, a financial news site, PC sales are predicted to drop by 12% to 257 million units in 2009 as compared to 2008. So:
- Manufacturers will be battling each other fiercely for a sizable piece of the smaller 257 million pie,
- People are looking to spend less on computers at least until the economic times change,
- 1% of 257 million is still a whole lot of computers and money... especially when the pie is smaller.
- As the growing segment of the market, Linux users are a group manufacturers should be targeting.
Now, Linux has been for the most part a fringe user base and still remains so for the time being. And as a Linux user since 2004, one inconvenience I have experienced is the sub par support for hardware compared to the likes of Microsoft. This usually means carefully selecting hardware that I will purchase and choosing the said hardware solely for its support for my OS of choice. This includes motherboards, graphic cards, wireless cards, TV capture cards, digital cameras, portable MP3 players, mobile phones, PDAs, and the list goes on. Moreover, us Linux users are usually the techie types that love all these kinds of gadgets and products and hence would more likely splash a few bucks on some new hardware this year.
Here we have this growing user base that love tech products, we're all going through rough economic times where consumers want to spend sparingly and manufacturers want to win over every possible customer... Common sense would dictate that it would be a perfectly sound business strategy to provide solid support for products on Linux. And with Linux being free, the price of a PC preinstalled with Linux and all hardware working perfectly will surely win over at least 1 in a 100 customers. Hardware support for money? What do you say? Come on, show us some love!