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Here's a question for you?  Are Microsoft losing market share to the world of open source? 

Recently there has been a lot of work being done with the Linux operating systems to port it over to Mobile devices.  MontaVista creators of Mobilinux and the open source linux os used by Nokia provided by Maemo.org are getting a serious hold on this market area now. 

An article from The Feature really does manage to sum this up well.  It's funny, they have done the analysis of the market that I was part way through doing.  A colleague of mine was jumping up and down saying look, look Nokia are providing a full Linux OS on a PDA!!!! Then I had a conversation with someone else about it all and they were saying about a number of companies moving away from the MS mobile OS because of the security risks.  So it all made me wonder quite a bit about this. 

My general train of though on this one is that Microsoft don't seem to have managed to penetrate the market well enough to become established as the main stream, with the mobile phone providers dictating the OS that they require.  Unfortunately the MS OS doesn't seem to fit the requirements as well as Linux and a number of operating systems. 

I was quite excited when I heard that you could use the complete Mono libraries and use C# to develop for the Nokia PDA... it certainly does show the potential of using the small footprint Linux system instead of a Microsoft one. 

Microsoft have also not done themselves any favours by not bearing in mind the size of the ROM in older mobile phones so that all phones can be upgraded to the new OS.  They have lost a huge potential market here and it is such a shame.  I just hope that they realise what they are missing out on otherwise they could find themselves cut out of the market. 

Would that be a bad thing?

Posted on Tuesday, June 21, 2005 2:28 PM | Back to top


Comments on this post: Are Microsoft losing their Mobile Market to Linux and Open Source?

# re: Are Microsoft losing their Mobile Market to Linux and Open Source?
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With regards to mobile phones, to some extent MS had an uphill struggle from the start as the big phone manufacturers all had a stake in Symbian, which offered them a pretty flexible base on which to build distinctive interfaces for each of their smartphones. Alternatively MS were seeking to control the OS much more, resulting in events like the much publicised falling out with Sendo.

I find the choice of OS for the Nokia PDA quite interesting though, considering that they effectively took control of Symbian, and that the platform started life on Psion PDA's, and even developped some PDA style reference platforms.
Left by Richard on Jun 22, 2005 11:08 PM

# re: Are Microsoft losing their Mobile Market to Linux and Open Source?
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I don't think there's much chance for Linux actually. The costs for an OEM to adopt Linux are pretty high in terms of retraining and customisation. Recall that few OEMs bother to do any customisation of Windows CE - most of them simply pick one of the configurations from the wizard, add the BSP for the processor, use the processor manufacturer's reference hardware, and they're pretty much done.

The Windows CE licence currently costs $16 per device for the Professional licence and $3 per device for the Core licence (these prices are Estimated Retail Prices and volume discounts are typically available). Ruggedised enterprise devices cost thousands of dollars. We don't know how much Windows Mobile licences cost, that information is not published. I reckon these costs would be easily dwarfed by the additional development costs of Linux-based handhelds.

Remember the Sharp Zaurus? Nope, me neither :-)
Left by Mike Dimmick on Jun 23, 2005 3:34 PM

# re: Are Microsoft losing their Mobile Market to Linux and Open Source?
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Hi Sarah,

If you are interested in *trying* <cough> Mobile 5 then you might want to check some of the P2P Sharing locations/Files? Although I haven't found one, it would appear that some of the content on the MoDaCo forums are discussing how to get around the IMEI lock that is on the Mobile 5 Beta ROM's.

Have Fun?
Left by WallabyFan (Dave) on Jun 24, 2005 2:28 PM

# re: Are Microsoft losing their Mobile Market to Linux and Open Source?
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I may just take a peak ;)
Left by Sarah on Jun 26, 2005 1:56 PM

# re: Are Microsoft losing their Mobile Market to Linux and Open Source?
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Potentially. I'm about to finally abandon Palm OS for Windows CE/Mobile iPaq, but then Nokia have come along with a very tempting device. The fact that it runs Linux is a bonus because it means that I can potentially dive in straight away and start writing apps for it straight away, at next to no cost. I understand it's based on Debian, and if that's the case it should be stable right from the start, and in theory there should already be a vast array of applications available for it. Whether Nokia will publicly state this I don't know, but you just know the geek community has already picked this up :) I'd also stick my neck out and say that Nokia's going after the Blackberry market - does Microsoft have aspirations here too ? If so they'll have to be quick(er) !

So, if I go ahead and buy the iPaq then my ability to develop will be reduced on grounds of cost, plus I'm probably going to have to invest in a separate machine that runs XP (?) to host the development environment.

I don't know how many developers there are in my situation (I.e. broke, but able to code), but Open Source will start to look very tempting indeed ! As the Nokia device is obviously priced to sell, then unless Microsoft can come up with something really special, then yes, I believe they'll lose market share.
Left by peterg on Jun 30, 2005 12:50 PM

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