Tag Archives: windows

The iPad’s Disruption Of The Windows PC Market

Windows PC vs iPad
Chart via Horace Dediu

Now we can actually confirm that the day the iPad was introduced, Personal Computing changed forever.

Two years earlier, 2008 was the year of the netbook. Analysts would doubt whether Steve Jobs was right to dismiss netbooks when he insisted Apple would never launch one.

And once a gain his genius was spot on. In 2010 the iPad created a new category that made netbooks completely irrelevant. The rise of the netbook signaled a need for light computers with long battery duration and just powerful enough for everyday use. Now we know the answer was not going to be just a smaller PC.

The inevitable growth of broadband pipes and services in the cloud are a perfect fit for tablets, phablets and smartphones to become a more and more frequent replacement of laptops in our daily life. In emerging markets the leapfrog to wireless broadband and mobile computing is a reality. It will only accelerate the trend the chart shows.

Microsoft has a big problem with mobile and tablets. Windows 8 is a compromise to address tablets and desktops, but it is not working neither of them. Microsoft faces disruption in the personal computing space they used to dominate. Compromises have never worked well in face of disruption.

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Eee PC: Linux or XP?

Jim was decided to buy a netbook. One friend recommended him the Asus Eee PC. Jim does not know much about computers, but his brother-in-law Greg is one of these geeks that knows everything about the latest toys.

Jim: Which Eee should I buy? Linux or XP?

Greg: First, among the Eee models, I would recommend you go for the Eee PC 901, with a solid-state disk (SSD). You have less storage than with a hard-drive but the SSD is lighter, faster and has no mechanical parts, so it is shock-proven. The Linux version brings 20GB (split into 4GB+16GB) SSD and the Windows XP version 12GB (4GB+8GB) at the same price. In both cases the 4GB drive is faster and stores the OS. The second drive, although double the size in the Linux version, should not be a key deciding factor. If 8GB is not enough you can add a 16GB SD card today, and next year 32GB SD cards will be available. So in the long run the storage is not the key factor in the decision. The key is, what do you want to do with your Eee PC?

Jim: Well, I guess typical stuff: email, web browsing, deal with documents, communicate with Skype…

Greg: For that both Linux and XP will do. Both have a browser, both come with OpenOffice and access to Google Docs and Skype. Anything more sophisticated you want to do?

Jim: Let me think… well… yes, multimedia. I want to see pictures, music and video.

Greg: For video, download VLC player.  It plays any format in the world, including YouTube flash. You can download it free and install it easily in XP or in the Xandros Linux distribution that comes with the Eee. Just be aware that if you want to add a VLC icon to Xandros you will need to edit a few configuration files.

Jim: What about adding an USB TV Tuner? I think that would be cool to watch TV while on the go…

Greg: Most tuners come only with Windows drivers, but you can make Windows drivers run on Linux with ndiswrapper. You might need to recompile the Kernel, but it should work.

Jim: One more thing, I want to access my desktop PC from the netbook to watch all movies stored in its 500GB hard-drive. You know, I want to use the desktop PC as a server.

Greg: That is easy with XP. With Linux you just need a program called Samba. It is then straight forward, but just note that if your server/desktop is Vista, there are some flaws in Vista implementation of Samba protocol and you will need some workaround to connect from Linux.

Jim:  I almost forgot, but being so portable I want to connect to the 3G wireless network using my Nokia phone as a modem connected via bluetooth.

Greg: I do not think Nokia will provide you their phone suite in other than Windows, but if you investigate in Linux forums there might be a way to do it.

Jim: And what about the access to my company VPN. I currently access from XP, will that work in Linux?

Greg: With a little investigation you might find the way … hopefully.

Jim: Mm, Greg, all these things about editing config files, installing ndiswrapper, and all the investigations to connect to Vista, to a phone built-in 3G modem and to the VPN… are not a bit too much for someone like me who does not have a clue about Linux or any Unix?

Greg: Look Jim,  if you want to learn Linux, and you want to use your computer for Internet in Wifi hotspots, go for the Linux/Xandros version. If you must connect to your company VPN, use 3G through your phone, connect easily to Vista computers and add TV tuners and other USB toys, go for Windows XP. It is not so cool as Linux, but you are more likely to get sophisticated things working without spending hours in Linux forums getting deep into it.

Jim: But Greg… weren’t you a fanatic of Linux?

Greg: And I am Jim. Linux is great for servers, for embedded systems and soon for mobile handsets. But today we still live in a Windows world for the desktop. Pragmatics still choose Windows. If you want to be part of those changing the wold to make the desktop free from Windows, go and buy the Linux netbook and enjoy making it work and helping others get a free OS.

And by the way, if anybody has a hint on how to easily fix these issues for Xandros, please post a comment below and share your experience.

Is Chrome Enough to Kill Windows?

Megabytes and megabytes of commentaries after its launch are setting yet one more record on top of Chrome’s top speed marks of one percent market share in one day, and fastest ever browser.

Most analysis agree that Chrome is aiming at Windows, and not to Internet Explorer. Together with Gears, Chrome’s performance is a huge step forward in making the browser the platform where applications run, making the OS less relevant than ever. For developers, applications can be made independent of the OS, saving programmers from the hassle of porting to different OS platforms. For users, it brings the freedom to choose any OS as long as it has a browser, without fearing applications will not run if they do not choose Windows.

And applications keep moving to the cloud . Although I still use Vista for my home desktop PC, I already trashed Outlook and Thunderbird, replacing them with Gmail superior and convenient web interface. I currently use more Google Docs than OpenOffice to work with documents and spreadsheets. I am considering to get a netbook and my choice might well be Linux.

Still, many heavy applications, specially those media intensive as video/photo editing or high resolution games, will take a while to run on a browser, much less online from the cloud. So we can not discard the OS too quickly either. Windows still commands more than 90% market share, despite slowly eroding. If Google really wants to kill Windows, it will need to do more than Chrome, and a Google-supported Linux distro would really hurt in Redmond.

Mac and iPhone also popular in Enterprises

Apple success in the consumer market, with Macs winning market share positioned as high-end stylish computers and iPhones revolutionizing mobile phones, might extend to enterprises too. BusinessWeek reports in detail about this trend in The Mac in the Gray Flannel Suit.

Mac’s move to Intel CPUs is paying back. Apart for the cost decrease, it enables Mac computers to run Windows. Better yet with virtualization supported by Macs, switching between Windows and Mac OS on the same computer is a matter of a click. This is like a “safety net” for companies scared to entirely break with Microsoft. With Windows support, and more and more enterprise applications running on the web (or as SaaS), Macs are beginning to be seen as an option for companies, that is also very well received by employees.

iPhone email capabilities are also appealing business users as an alternative to RIM’s Blackberry, with the advantage that they can use iPhones for both work and entertainment. A NY Times article this week analyzes the threat that Apple supposes to RIM.

Although in terms of market share in enterprise, Apple penetration in computers and mobile email is still very small compared to Microsoft and RIM, the power of Apple’s brand and their iconic, trend-setting products are not to be disregarded.

Vista sucks. Ubuntu or Mac OS X?

Just google “Vista sucks” and you get 2.5 million results. It is now unanimous: Vista is slow, unstable and annoying. Apart from my Commodore 64 and the OS/2 Warp of my days in IBM I have always used Windows: 3.11, 95, 98, 2000, XP and now Vista. So if I divorce now from Microsoft, where can I go? and will I be able to survive without Windows?

For consumers that use the computer for Internet browsing, email, watching movies, listening to music (and Sync iPod), video-conference with the family, store and slide-show pictures, and produce video clips of the kids, is there a reason not to switch to Mac? A Mac can do all that, and probably far better than Windows. On top of that, a Mac is stylish. Whether an iMac or Mac mini in the living room, or a Macbook at Starbucks, you will be the envy of your friends (specially of those do not dare to get free from Windows).

Ubuntu is the other option. Open Source. You belong to a community with a cause: freedom and putting innovation at the service of the society. Let others build on top of what you have done. If you are a developer, master Unix, and love the share philosophy, there is no other option than Linux. Less fashion than Mac, but higher ideals. If you are not a geek but can not afford a Mac,  probably you can survive with Ubuntu for a basic use: Web, email, movies, music and pictures. For a more advanced use, you will need some Unix training first. Matt Assay’s post, Ubuntu, it’s time now, might convince you though.