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Thursday, March 08, 2007

ZDNet Identifies Microsoft's Distribution Failure with $100 laptop Project

At the beginning of the year I saw a version of the $100 laptop on display at CES.  From a distance the laptop looked rather cheap and almost like a toy.  However when I took the laptop for a spin, I quickly realized that despite its toys like look it was definitely a usable machine. 

The laptop comes loaded with Linux for its operating system and several other open source and free programs.

ZDNet today called out the failure of Microsoft to get on the bandwagon with hundred dollar laptop project.  The problem for Microsoft is that if the $100 laptop project succeeds, children all over the world will learn how to use laptops computers that run on Linux.  They won't learn how to use Windows they won't learn how to use it the new Vista operating system.

This is going to prove to be a troubling problem for Microsoft.  Microsoft earned its market dominance by pushing out its operating system on cheap IBM computers and the 80s.  Now Lenexa's going to be pushed to every child around the world, and those children will learn how to use computers with extremely cheap and often times free software.  Those same children will likely grow up to be business users that don't need to pay for $500 for an operating system and another for $500 for office products and several thousand dollars per server products.  That spells for to slow growth for Microsoft in the years to come.