Microsoft is pushing users and vendors to Macs and Linux

Microsoft is pushing users and vendors to Macs and Linux

Summary: Microsoft is insisting that users and vendors do things its way with Windows 8 and some of them aren't going to take it anymore.

Windows 8: No.
Most users, and vendors, don't want Windows 8.

What is Microsoft thinking? First, the company decided that it was going to compete with its own partners of decades in the growing tablet market with its Surface tablet. Then, it decided that it's going to force feed Windows 8 users its “Metro” interface. Can they really be surprised when their partners and customers start to turn their back on them?

Microsoft has always been a “my way or the highway” kind of company and it worked... when they have a lock on the desktop. That was in the 90s and 00s, it's the twenty-teens now and the desktop is no longer the center of the computing universe. Now, we use tablets and smartphones as well and we do much, sometimes most, of our “desktop” work on Web sites and with cloud-based applications.

I know it, you know it, and now Acer is reminding Microsoft that they know it as well. Acer CEO JT Wang said that Microsoft competing with its partners  “will create a huge negative impact for the [computer hardware] ecosystem  and other brands may take a negative reaction. It is not something you are good at so please think twice." Acer's global PC operation chief Campbell Kan added Acer was debating whether to "find other alternatives" to Windows.

Microsoft won't think twice. The company knows, and plans, on competing with its one time partners. You can think Acer saying it may walk away from Microsoft is laughable, but there's nothing funny about it.

Think about it. If your supplier told you and the world that they were going to compete with you in the hottest part of the market, tablets, could you afford to keep working with them? In a business where the main product, PCs, have razor-thin margins? I don't think so.

For PC vendors like Acer there's only one viable alternative: Linux. Dell has shown that both Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Ubuntu can sell.

The vendors, however, aren't just limited to a traditional Linux desktop. Cloud-based Linux systems, such as Peppermint and Google's Chrome OS are also viable alternatives. In addition, Google is showing signs of releasing a version of Android that would work well as a desktop operating system.

For users, there's also always Apple's Macs.  Even with their high price tags, Macs keep getting more popular and its latest operating system, Mountain Lion, unlike Windows 8 is being greeted with joy by most of its users.

The same can't be said for Windows 8. In a TechRepublic survey only 349 out of 1,888 IT pros said that their companies planned to upgrade to Windows 8. 884 said their business had no such plans while 655 were undecided.

Among other things they didn't like about Windows 8 were: the lack of a start menu; the need for massive training to get people used to the new “Metro” interface; and the fact that the corporate desktop seems to be an afterthought. And, that was before we found out that Microsoft is, by design, going to make it harder to provide a start menu or avoid the desktop-unfriendly Metro!

It's clear now that Windows 8 is not an operating system that Microsoft's partners or its long-time users can love. Isn't it time to give an alternative a try? I think so.  

Related Stories:

Microsoft's Surface strategy may force us to find another platform, says Acer

Microsoft said to block ability to boot straight to desktop in Windows 8

Five ways to skip Windows 8

Microsoft poisons its partners

Does the Surface spat open the door for Linux?

Acer CEO's 'think twice' Surface warning to Microsoft laughable

Has Microsoft opened the door to the Linux desktop?

Topics: Windows, Android, Apple, Hardware, Laptops, Linux, Operating Systems, Tablets, PCs

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • I think not

    Cause the alternative sucks. Mr. iCan'tGetoffmykneesforSteve and iWilldoanythingforGoogle
    • Really!!

      I thought your were an adult, I was wrong.
    • RE: I think not

      As opposed to Mr. iEnjoyBeingShaftedByBill? :-P
      • The shaft?

        Hmm.. Now when I heard my buddy's $6,000 Mac and all his peripherals and software needed "upgrading" because his O.S. upgrade took them all down, that was the definition of "the shaft." But no, you're right. Paying $40 for an upgrade and being compatible all the way back to 2003 is "the shaft."

        Or how about trying to bring a 5 year old laptop back to life? I thought having software you monkey with for hours trying to get the stupid WiFi connection in Linux was "the shaft." But no, paying $40 for an upgrade and being 100% compatible is "the shaft."

        Man, I'm so onboard with the rest of you monkeys, it's not even funny. "The Shaft" redefined as "it just continues to work."

        As for this flame-bait article, no. NOOOOO... I don't think the companies and governments are going to switch infrastructures because W8 gets released. They'll continue to do what they always do. Stick to the previous O.S. for 5 years and re-evaluate. We just got W7 after being on XP for the past "who knows" how many years.

        As for users, um... Linux - stuff like Netflix and Office and modern gaming doesn't work, so I don't think you'll be migrating them anytime soon. um... Apple? Yeah, because I like as a user having to pay the Apple tax everytime they do an upgrade to all my equipment and software, yet still have a 5% penetration on the gaming industry. I also like having the #1 least secure operating system on the planet (but I feel confident that Apple will assure me it's "all ok" - well, at least until the press forces their hand).

        No, I don't need to prove it to you by providing links. Do your own homework - LMGTFY is for people who can't look stuff up on their own. If you're too lazy or too brainwashed, then I'm sure as heck not going to convince you.

        So yeah... we're migrating in droves. Let me tell you what...
        • Been on Windows Since 3.1 and Old DOS Pro

          I just switched to Apple and not looking back. I went to Ubuntu on an old laptop and then they came with the Unity interface. Nope not taking that either; switched to Linux Mint. I love my new Apple, and will keep Mint on my old laptop. I will not be bullied into adopting an interface I do not like. I am not incapable of making a shift to a new product and way of doing things. I used to bash Apple, but OSX is Linux and it is nice to go to bed and not worry about viruses from Office or Explorer.
          Bobby Edge
        • thoilness, Windows Surface Retard

          is the perfect machine for you!
    • Nah. This is just to counter other articles people have been writing

      in which Linux has been pushing users to Windows and Macs for years.
      William Farrel
      • Plus 1

        OK, I usually don't rate, but that is about as accurate a comment as I've ever seen.
        • Really?

          Then why are Linux servers pretty much running the Web, and why are Android phone so popular? Better get your head around what Linux is and does.
          • Because as a simple, basic, single use system

            Linux is perfect for web servers.

            As for Android, is it popular, or just what comes on the cheap and free phones that the vast majority of people get?
            William Farrel
          • Android is popular - but that's irrelevant.

            Android runs ON Linux. It isn't Linux itself. It could have been run on Windows (see Ximian's port of Android to .Net). So, it's not popular because it's Linux - it's popular because you never see Linux.

            As for servers, the discussion is about client systems. So that's also irrelevant. Linux as servers are popular because they're free. But no one actually uses it directly - they run a service like Apache and then only touch it again for updates or when there's a problem.
            The Werewolf!
          • So isn't that just a difference in use?

            I wouldn't need a Windows server just to run a web site, but I would want to run a Windows server for the active directory and other client features it offers.

            I think the analogy would be that for running out to get gas for the lawn mower, I would take the station wagon, not the BMW. The BMW I would use for most everything else.

            Different cars, different uses.
            NoMore MicrosoftEver
          • Is windows a BMW in this analogy?

            It it is - ROLF at that. And days of running windows servers for AD are over too - Samba 4 can do AD.
            So, your analogy is not even close.
          • Samba 4 can do AD?

            more of a light impersonation of AD.

            And sales of Windows server show that people do buy them for AD, not Linux servers running the watered down version of it in Samba.
            William Farrel
          • AD in Samba

            With every release Samba is getting closer and closer to being a full drop-in replacement for AD on Windows so it is only a matter of time before its quite there. Samba can already replace a primary domain controller as well as backup DC's pretty darn seamlessly and Windows clients don't know they are actually talking to a Linux box when connected to a Samba DC.
          • Ubuntu Fedora

            And the rest run ON Linux. They aren't Linux any more than Android. GTK and for that matter the Gnome desktop can be run on Windows. In other words your argument makes zero sense.

            The differencw here is that Android Linux is put on store shelves and advertised. No need to do your own install.

            And as for Linux servers yes they are free AND real servers. Nobody seriously considers Windows servers unless its for Exchange or if its in a .net shop in which case most of the folks there don't know any better.
          • You're opinion is irrelevant.

            Bringing up how a system has a long standing history of stability and performance in two major computing areas is irrelevant now? Not sure I agree. Also it's pretty obvious that you've never been responsible for an actual production server if you think the only reason is cost, MS Server starts at $1000 which is a fraction of what I've paid for server hardware and much less than what I've paid for VMware licenses. And how is running a service like Apache serving thousands of connections "only touch(ing) it again for updates"? One of the primary reasons is stability, ever run a Windows server straight for 2 years and managed to keep it up to date? I haven't, but I have for a Linux server.

            Windows sucks and I hope SJVN proves to be correct with the opinions he has in articles like this.
          • WRONG, from start to end

            Android runs ON Linux???
            - let's make it simple: Android is Linux, Linux is Android, Kindle is Android, Nook is Android, Ubuntu is Linux, and is all one extended family, including Linux on routers to supercomputers.

            So, it's not popular because it's Linux - it's popular because you never see Linux
            - How do you know? do you have a popular-o-meter, to get that kind of granular data? Anyhow the point is irrelevant, is not a popularity contest.

            Linux as servers are popular because they're free. But no one actually uses it directly
            Sorry to burst your bubble but your nobody include the biggest corporations driving the internet era! And yes you uses it directly, I uses it directly, all day long I google this or that, and every time I'm using the most advanced and powerful internet platform, all Linux based.

            The reality is Google outmaneuvered and outsmarted Microsoft, long time ago. Same as Apple/S. Jobs. I know this is hard to swallow, is not easy to be in the losing team.
          • simple, basic, single use system?

            You do know VmWare ESX and ESXi servers are linux, right? How VM host can be called "simple, basic, single use system" when it runs everything?
          • ESX is not Linux

            Not even close - ESX has a Service Console that is based on a minimal Kernel but the hypervisor is its own OS and doesnt have any linux code. The service console is simply used to issue commands to the Hypervisor... So to say ESX is a Linux server is completely wrong.