Microsoft disregards Linux as threat. Big mistake.

Desktop threat minimized, deftly ignoring mobile disaster aka Windows Phone 7

It seems Matt Rosoff is having a little bit of snark over Microsoft apparently disregarding Linux as a threat to its desktop business.

The schadenfreude stems from a tweet from Wes Miller, Research VP at Directions on Microsoft, which points out that Microsoft's boilerplate from its last two annual SEC filings has some interesting revisions, as seen here.


Predictably, Rosoff pours salt on the wound by off-handedly cackling about Jim Zemlin's comments earlier this year that taking on Microsoft would be like "kicking a puppy."

[How Linux mastered Wall Street and Will Linux miss its big desktop shot?]

To be fair, Rosoff did a little digging in the same SEC filings and discovered that Linux was still present in the documents, most notably as competition in the server and embedded spaces.

First off, let's be clear: in the passage Miller and Rosoff gleefully cite, Google is still mentioned as competition on the desktop. Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't Google's desktop offering ChromeOS actually Linux?

Why yes, yes it is.

So, while Microsoft seems to be sweeping the Linux problem under the rug, anyone with half a brain can see that Linux is still a threat here, if not in actual name.

I would be dishonest if I were to suggest that at this time ChromeOS has significant market share against Windows. Frankly, no operating system does. But Linux is still in Microsoft's radar, never fear.

And I wonder what Microsoft's mobile section of its SEC filings will say in the face of yesterday's news that Windows Phone 7 2Q sales are so bad they've slipped below that of Samsung's in-house platform Bada? Bada, ladies and gentlemen, Bada is selling better at 1.9 percent than Windows Phone 7's 1.6 percent, with Android sitting on top for the same quarter at 43.4 percent.

Gee, that's awfully bad news, considering that "IBM engineer Mark Dean, who was on the team that built the first IBM PC, says the PC era is basically over." I would point these stories out to Rosoff, but it seems he actually wrote the stories to which I just linked.

Let me see if I have got this straight: Linux, according to Microsoft, has lost on the desktop, even though one of its cited competitors uses Linux. Meanwhile, a lot of smart people (besides just Dean) are pointing at mobile (tablets and smartphones) as the Next Platform, and right now Windows' mobile offering can't get mobile traction to save its life, while a Linux-based OS is kicking butt and taking names on smartphones and isn't doing too bad on tablets.

Boy, I'm so glad Rosoff is here to point such things out to me. Otherwise I might actually be worried.

Read more of Brian Proffitt's Open for Discussion blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Follow Brian on Twitter at @TheTechScribe. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.

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