I just read an article called: Life after Windows: What happens to tech if Microsoft dies?" The article made me think of what it really would be like without Microsoft. I didn't like it. We need Microsoft over there competing with us. No matter what happens to the economy, to the PC hardware format or to the demographic of the common computer user; Microsoft and Linux will never be "best buddies." And I know that "Linux" includes the major commercial Linux players: Novell, Red Hat and Canonical. I know that Novell and Red Hat have both crossed enemy lines with agreements but to think that the two camps will ever kiss, makeup and live happily ever after is pure fantasy. Frankly, I like it that way.
Competition creates a good business atmosphere for the consumer and for the competitors. Though Microsoft has been blessed with the "monopoly" label, it really is not a monopoly. As long as Apple and the Linux commercial companies exist, it is not a monopoly. To go further, as long as any alternative to Windows and its products exist, it is not a monopoly.
We feel like it's a monopoly because Microsoft does dominate the desktop and office suite software markets. Their products, ads and faces seem to be everywhere but a ubiquitous presence doesn't make it a monopoly. It makes it a tough competitor.
I want Microsoft to remain on the other side of the fence. I want them to stay a competitor. I want them to be tough. I want them to, in fact, stay number one.
Radical view, huh?
Here's why I say that. If Microsoft remains number one in the market, the Linux community remains supercharged and motivated to be better. It also makes Microsoft look over their shoulders to see how close we are behind them. Competition like this breeds innovation. We want to be number one so we create the best operating system and applications. They want to remain number one so they do the same. It's a good mechanism for progress.
If you've ever played the game, "King of the Hill" as a child, you know that when you're on top, everyone tries to take you down. The person on top uses all his energy to stay on top. A lot of wasted resources go into staying on top. You always have to watch all sides and remain vigilant.
No one tries to take down the person in the number two spot. Nope. They're all after number one. When number one changes, they're all after the new one. Number two is a good place to be. Competitive, innovative and non-destructive.
I believe in keeping the pressure on the number one competitor but that spot is precarious at best. Microsoft and the Linux companies should remain in their current healthy competitive relationship because too many handshakes could spell the end of innovation for both sides.
Sorry, Microsoft, I like being your closest competitor not your drinking buddy. I like nipping at your heels. I enjoy taunting you and prodding you to react with better products. I like it when the Linux community reacts to your products and create competitive ones. It's good for us and it's good for you.
Let's agree to stand on opposite sides of the street and throw rocks at each other. By dodging them, we both become better and the consumer is the real winner. We'll continue to give you a good fight but don't be surprised when we don't smile at you from across the ring or wink when you do something right. We won't. We prefer you at arm's length.
What do you think? Do you think that competition is good for the market?