Saturday, March 31, 2007


It happens outside the US first

Techrepublic mentioned a Yankee Group "survey of IT executives shows that 23% respondents intend to migrate off of [MSFT] Exchange to Linux-based mail servers in the next 12-18 months. Of the respondents, 65% of them currently run Exchange." The writer was skeptical.

If the survey was biased towards "Exchange shops" in the USA, I don't buy it either. Some of the respondents are just using the survey to register their displeasure with MSFT. (Was the survey conducted in English only? Was it only offered to readers of an English-only Web site or magazine?) If the survey was worldwide and conducted in many languages, it's plausible. Over that time period, MSFT customers are being told to replace their investment in the "32-bit Exchange" with a new "64-bit Exchange" that runs on a new operating system distribution that's meeting a lot of market resistance, especially outside the US.

More than half the people with Internet access live outside the US. That's where the Internet is growing the fastest, too. Across Latin America and Asia and in the European Union countries, alternatives to MSFT are being adopted much faster than they are in the US. It's part of our technological decline relative to the rest of the world.

As software technology goes, MSFT is kind of a backwater. That's a consequence of its corporate philosophy of never inventing anything. Invention is risky. The market rejects some inventions. Truly new ideas don't do anything to reinforce the monopoly. MSFT is the technological incumbent. It makes more sense for the incumbent to wait for others to prove new ideas in the marketplace. Once they're tested, MSFT can imitate them or buy them.

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