5 years ago...No substitute for Windows in Compaq House

Compaq? That name rings a bell...
Written by silicon.com staff, Contributor

Compaq? That name rings a bell...

18.02.99: There is no commercially viable alternative to installing Windows on consumer PCs, a Compaq executive told the Microsoft antitrust trial yesterday.

Defence witness John Rose, a senior vice president at Compaq, told Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson that consumers demand Windows software and Compaq believes the Microsoft operating system (OS) is the best choice for desktops.

Unfortunately for Microsoft, Rose's support for Windows only helped to prove the prosecution's point. When asked directly if there is a viable alternative to Windows on consumer machines, Rose said there is not.

Judge Jackson also asked Rose if Compaq had considered other OS in the wake of a sharp price increase from Microsoft. He said it had not.

18.02.04: What a difference five years makes. For starters, the most obvious point to make is that Compaq is no longer around. In fact Microsoft's antitrust wrangling survived longer in to the 21st century than the Compaq brand.

But on the other hand there is still little being done to challenge Microsoft's desktop dominance, especially in the home user market.

However, at an enterprise level there are strides being made into the Seattle behemoth's market share. A number of high profile government switches have raised the profile of Linux as the Windows alternative - perhaps most notably the story of Munich Mayor Christian Ude, whose rejection of Windows saw Microsoft boss Steve Ballmer jump on the first plane to Germany to try to dissuade him.

Subsequently schemes in Paris and the UK have revealed a growing trend away from proprietary software on the desktop - at least along the corridors of power.

And it's a trend the EU is keen to encourage, drawing up guidelines for governments looking to make the switch to open source.

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