Accurate market share statistics and The $60 Billion dollar question

Posted by Scott_Ruecker on Apr 26, 2008 9:31 AM EDT
LXer Linux News; By Scott Ruecker (Phoenix, U.S.)
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LXer Feature: 26-Apr-2008

Earlier this week an article concerning Vista and market share and one about how Open Source Software has cost the IT Industry $60 Billion dollars over the last five years or so hit the newswire. Needless to say this generated some conversations about their validity. I got to wondering if there have ever been accurate market share statistics for Linux or any operating system for that matter and to ask myself the $60 Billion dollar question.

Earlier this week an article concerning Vista and market share and one about how Open Source Software has cost the IT Industry $60 Billion dollars over the last five years or so hit the newswire. Needless to say this generated some conversations about their validity. I got to wondering if there have ever been accurate market share statistics for Linux or any operating system for that matter and to ask myself the $60 Billion dollar question.

This article draws heavily upon conversations here on LXer about the Should You Give Linux A Chance? and the Open Source Software Is Costing Vendors $60 Billion? articles.

First is this whole 98% market share that Windows has. In the last ten years I don't think that assertion has changed; its been right around 98% the whole time. Just where did this estimate come from? Like the chicken and the egg, we will probably never know. One of our readers wrote "The argument from marketshare has always struck me as a form of special pleading for Microsoft. As in the whole thing isn't testable. There's no way to reverse a given situation and see what results." I agree, just how and when did this 98% get there? And what about e-mail clients? You mean to tell me that Outlook/Outlook Express have a 98% market share? I don't even have to look anything up to know that is not true.

And what about dual-booting machines? I have an HP laptop that came with XP on it and I have since dual-booted it with SuSE, Red Hat (Fedora) along with running Knoppix and DSL live for weeks on end. As of recently, I have fallen in love with PCLinuxOS and have been using on it for almost six months now. I have my main desktop that has XP on it that has had too many different flavors of Linux to count that I have been dual booting Debian on for some time now, my friend jimf helped me with that. I have recently bought a Compaq desktop that has Vista Home Premium on it, for now. I have the two desktops hooked up via a KVM switch. So I actually have more Windows machines that Linux machines running right now. Does that make me? 60% Windows, 40% Linux? Does that mean I am tainted? That just sounds bad doesn't it?

So is any computer that has ever had any Windows installed on it counted in that market share? And what about Apple? One study says that they had 14% of retail sales in Feb 2008, and another says that they have a 6.6% market share for the first quarter of the year in another study. So which is one is true? What about Linux, all the different flavors of Unix and the Apache web server? Are their usage statistics to be believed or are they all sharing pieces of that left over 2%? Apache alone has roughly a 70% share of the web server market and I am not even going to waste time looking for statistics on Unix and Linux to help refute the 98% statistic.

Now on to this lost $60 Billion dollars. According to Jim Johnson, CEO of the Standish Group International "Open Source software is raising havoc throughout the software market. It is the ultimate in disruptive technology, and while to it is only 6% of estimated trillion dollars IT budgeted annually, it represents a real loss of $60 billion in annual revenues to software companies" The ultimate disruptive technology? Just how was this opinion reached? What factors went into it being described as "disruptive technology" and how did it cost the IT industry $60 Billion dollars? Where did the money go and to whom? That is more than one question isn't it, sorry about that.

One of our Editors, Carla Schroder mentioned that the headline could just as easily be "Consumers and businesses save $60 billion, and have money to spend on useful things, instead of predatory overpriced software licenses" and a reader wrote it could be titled "Innovative corporations have saved over $60B by switching to Open Source". Because if we're going to spin it, we might as well spin it our way right? Who's to say that the huge markup in sales price by Microsoft hasn't resulted in many of Microsoft's customers having to get by posting smaller than usual profits. Wouldn't that cost the IT industry money? A ton of money is my bet.

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Subject Topic Starter Replies Views Last Post
Innovation driver purplewizard 9 1,610 Apr 28, 2008 10:14 AM
yes a ton of money tharik 2 1,446 Apr 28, 2008 7:38 AM

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