Ubuntu & Chrome – Dual Attack on Microsoft?

-Akshay Ranganath

Today, I was just going through some of the popular news items on Digg and found some interesting articles.

Microsoft which has been the leader in desktop OS and the browser market (despite alternatives) is now suddenly in the midst of a dual modal attack. Until now, the competition to MS was more ideological – GNU movement that defined what is *free* but failed to provide any alternative that anyone could use.

However, with Google Chrome and Ubuntu OS, the stranglehold of MS is reducing – or so says most of the sites. Here’s some interesting facts that I found:

Ubuntu

An article in NYTimes talks about Mark Shuttleworth, the founder of Canonical, the maker of the Ubuntu OS. Citing on its usage, philosophy and business model, the article says:

More than 10 million people are estimated to run Ubuntu today, and they represent a threat to Microsoft’s hegemony in developed countries and perhaps even more so in those regions catching up to the technology revolution.

The technology research firm IDC estimates that 11 percent of American businesses have systems based on Ubuntu. That said, many of the largest Ubuntu customers have cropped up in Europe, where Microsoft’s dominance has endured intense regulatory and political scrutiny.

Canonical also receives revenue from companies like Dell that ship computers with Ubuntu and work with it on software engineering projects like adding Linux-based features to laptops. All told, Canonical’s annual revenue is creeping toward $30 million, Mr. Shuttleworth said. That figure won’t worry Microsoft.

But Mr. Shuttleworth contends that $30 million a year is self-sustaining revenue, just what he needs to finance regular Ubuntu updates. And a free operating system that pays for itself, he says, could change how people view and use the software they touch everyday.

The company’s model centers on outpacing Microsoft on both price and features aimed at new markets.

Google Chrome
In a separate article on the blazingly fast development cycles of Google Chrome, an article in InternetNews.com says, “Google first released Chrome in September of 2008 and has issued 18 releases spanning both its dev and stable channels.”

To top it, Google has quickly upgraded the WebKT toolkit used in rendering by the browser. But, a more serious dent to Microsoft is the creation of a Google HTTP Stack. This HTTP stack totally bypasses the Windows based WinHTTP rendering the browser mode cross-platform. Google is slowly making the browser more and more independent of the underlying platform..

Compare this with a single note on what Microsoft has been doing lately (from NYTimes ):

Microsoft had an estimated 10,000 people working on Vista, its newest desktop operating system, for five years. The result of this multibillion-dollar investment has been a product late to market and widely panned.

References

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/11/business/11ubuntu.html

http://www.internetnews.com/dev-news/article.php/3795366/Latest+Chrome+a+Step+Closer+to+Linux+Mac.htm

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Author: akshayrangananth

CDN Specialist, Web performance evangelist, and SEO tinkerer.

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