Linux Director: Battling Microsoft is "Like Kicking a Puppy"

Paul Lilly

Depending on which market research firm you believe is the most accurate, Microsoft's total usage share for all versions of Windows ranges from about 84 percent to more than 91 percent. Microsoft is the largest software company on the planet with a market capitalization of over $220 billion, which is more than the GDP of Egypt and dozens of other countries. None of that means anything to Jim Zemlin, Executive Director of the Linux Foundation.

"I think we just don't care that much [about Microsoft] anymore," Zemlin said. "They used to be our big rival, but now it's kind of like kicking a puppy."

Zemlin's stance isn't based on Microsoft's dominance on the home desktop, but in almost every other market, and especially server-side computing and mobile, he says.

"I think that on the 20th anniversary, it's worth reflecting back on where we came from," Zemlin said in an an interview with Network World. He points out that Linux had a "humble start as a project for a college student in Helsinki, to something today that runs 70 percent of global equity trading, something that powers, really, the majority of Internet traffic, whether it's Facebook, Google, or Amazon."

Look around and you'll find Linux everywhere, both online and offline. A whole host of CE devices run Linux, from TVs to smartphones, to tablets and eBook readers like the Kindle. The big exception is desktops, where Windows still dominates. But does it matter?

"Today people use smartphones more, in many ways, than they may use their traditional PCs," Zemlin said. "In that case, Linux really does have dominant market share through things like Android or other versions of Linux that are out there in the mobile space."

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