11.09.09

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Reader’s Article: ARMageddon, Judgment Day for Non-Free Software.

Posted in Finance, GNU/Linux, Hardware, OLPC, Windows at 11:19 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Supernova

Summary: One person’s thoughts about the change dynamics which can help GNU/Linux

Brooke Crothers sees the Windows ARMageddon coming next year. He recognizes Microsoft’s inability or refusal to run on ARM and other mobile platforms as a detriment to Microsoft, not ARM. He also thinks that Intel is having a hard time competing without Microsoft desktop monopoly help and that the mobile revolution is undermining the once “outrageously successful” Wintel combination. While he understands that competition can squeeze Windows out of the market, he does not consider the global consequences of Microsoft’s criminal collusion to prop their margins up.

Windows Mobile is losing the last vestiges of its mojo–if it really had any to begin with–as the Droid and other phones based on the Android 2.0 operating system push the buzz meter needle into the red zone.. .. [many think that] Windows Mobile has now been relegated resolutely to has-been status. [Many quotes and a market survey showing Windows Mobile at less than 4% of the world market follow.]

Intel is chasing a fast-moving target. TI, and all the other ARM-based chip suppliers cited above, are slated to bring out dual-core designs that can hit speeds as high as 2GHz (think next-generation tablets and media pads).

Droid may not be the iPhone killer but rather the Windows Mobile slayer. Microsoft, of course, will always have the unassailable PC franchise. But, wait, isn’t Android coming to Netbooks next year? Maybe the real battle royal for Microsoft is yet to come.

Windows profits are already down by 50% but it’s going to get worse as margins collapse. TI and other companies have little to lose as the price of laptops and desktops falls to $100 because they were excluded from the high margin market by Wintel long ago. Today, their chips make picture frames and other gadgets that could be PDAs and tablet PCs with a small change in software and a touch screen. Because those computers can do everything users want, they will have little need for boxy desktops with Microsoft Windows. Windows won’t survive the transition as is because non free software can not survive in a world of computers that are cheap and just work. Their ecosystem requires periodic “refresh cycles,” planned obsolescence of high margin equipment and minimally modified software. Only the cooperative efforts of free software developers have a chance of providing complex and high quality software at PDA or calculator price points. A market move to free software on commodity hardware is long overdue and everyone but Microsoft and Intel will benefit.

“Instead of helping they conspired to destroy the OLPC project and foist intellectual monopoly treaties on everyone.”Collusion between Microsoft, Intel and others to thwart competition is really a story of global injustice. The rest of the world has much to gain from cheap computing, especially people in the developing world who have been unable to afford libraries, journals and other information vital to industry and the arts. Companies like Intel and Microsoft, that have brain drained the rest of the world for decades, know better than others what kind of talent is lost to knowledge barriers. Instead of helping they conspired to destroy the OLPC project and foist intellectual monopoly treaties on everyone. This preserved their margins for about five years but it delayed the era of universal access to knowledge and global sharing. Developed world money now wasted on refresh cycles should go to remaining competitive and the specific tasks that people want their computers to do. People in the developed world should also demand the freedom to share. Proper history will censor short sighted and greedy efforts to dominate a crucial part of cultural infrastructure and culture itself.

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