The future is... Linux televisions

Summary:Opera board member John Patrick explains why Microsoft's domination of the browser market won't last forever and how Linux will continue to evolve

But Microsoft has a way of taking control of markets. Why do you say they can't dominate the mobile-browser market?

When you look back, before Windows there was DOS and there are a lot of books written about what they did and whether it was right or not, but you can explain how we got to where we are. In the pervasive market it is quite a different story, because this market is not growing from a point where Microsoft already dominates.

It is still a very small market and Opera is a very big player. They are growing very nicely and [have] just announced that they are going public. This space is not like Linux moving into the desktop market and trying to compete -- which it is beginning to do and make progress -- but it is an uphill battle.

Microsoft is a very powerful company that has a lot of resources, a lot of very smart people and they have also done a lot of good things; so it would be foolhardy to suggest that they will not continue to be important, but that doesn’t mean that they will be dominant.

Clearly they are dominant in some markets today, but if you had said five years go that Linux would be operating in the heart of major financial institutions around the world and the leaders of China, Germany and Brazil would suggest that their people use Linux on the desktop, people may not have believed you.

So when there are billions of devices with Web access, how will this affect privacy?

Privacy will continue to be an area needing a lot of focus both from the user side and from vendors. It has to go very deep into the infrastructure and is not just a matter of a feature in the browser; it is a matter of the middleware that operates in the telephone companies, banks and insurance companies of the world.

Most organisations today have a privacy policy but when you ask them how they enforce it, it is quite a different question. That is going to become much more important with the pervasive computing devices spreading like they are.

These are solvable problems but they are not going to be solved by one company and one place controlling everything. That is not the way to solve a pervasive set of issues. In my opinion, the only way to address this is to have a competitive market where you have multiple vendors competing for features and function, privacy and security capabilities and an active community around those alternatives -- it has to be decentralised.

Topics: Networking


Munir first became involved with online publishing in 1998 when he joined ZDNet UK and later moved into print publishing as Chief Reporter for IT Week, part of ZDNet UK, a weekly trade newspaper targeted at Enterprise IT managers. He later moved back into online publishing as Senior News Reporter for ZDNet UK.Munir was recognised as Austr... Full Bio

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