History, Mission, Growth
The beginnings of Microsoft started when Bill Gates and Paul Allen formed a partnership to produce the programming language, BASIC. The rest is history. In 1976, the two formed a partnership and registered the trade name “Microsoft”. As most of us know, Microsoft has become the largest and most well known name associated with software and computers in general. The Windows operating system (OS) is the most used operating system in the world.
In 1991, the “grassroots” OS named Linux was created by a student in Finland. His name is Linus Torvalds and his motivation behind creating this software came from the lack of hardware support with the current operating ...view middle of the document...
Linux was becoming a powerful, efficient, and best of all, free operating system for many users.
The external environment for Linux is huge. Only one word needs to be mentioned in terms of competition – Microsoft. It is hard to even compare Linux with “the giant” of the computer industry. Linux is a free “open-source” OS that is not directly linked to any “for-profit” company. However, Linux is still a contender in the OS software industry because of outside companies that attempt to capitalize on the free software. Companies such as Red Hat Software take Linux and bundle it with other software applications that are compatible with the Linux OS. This is appealing to consumers because the software bundle includes applications such as a graphical user interface or (GUI), which allows Linux to display a desktop much like how Windows has a desktop from where you can control all your programs. Red Hat and other similar companies, in turn, provide legitimacy to Linux because users can turn to Red Hat for support services and questions regarding the OS.
With that said, at this point, Linux only realistically contends with Microsoft in the server market segment of the software industry. This market segment is a viable opportunity to expand on because Linux provides substantial benefits over Windows NT/2000 (the server version of Windows). Linux can be called a “bare bones” or “no fluff” OS that only gives the user what they need to fully exploit the power of their hardware. In a server environment, this is a favorable type of software because less “fluff” means more power for a server, and consequentially, less downtime. Linux has actually shown to be more efficient than Windows NT/2000 in benchmark studies.
In regards to the strengths of Linux in the market, let’s start with the obvious – price. Linux is a free operating system that is powerful and efficient. Many start-up companies that are strapped for cash utilize this benefit if running a server. Also, Linux gives an organization or user the ability to use older hardware also whereas Windows is usually incompatible with obsolete hardware. The fact that it is open-source software means that companies that have the technological know-how can optimize the OS for their specific applications.
On the other hand, the weaknesses are many. First of all, the software lacks a real “corporate” home. The implementation of all updates to the OS is done by Linus Torvalds and a small team. Without a corporate structure, there is no solid foundation for strategic goals, missions, and objectives. Also, financing is almost non-existent. Unless a more organized structure is put into place for this product, I don’t see it being able to compete with Microsoft long-term. In addition, switching costs are probably the main reason why most companies choose to stay with Microsoft over switching to Linux. Microsoft...