Chris Lau
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Chris Lau in Value Stocks,

​Might Linux Might Overtake Microsoft’s Desktop?

If Torvalds, the Linux inventor, has his way, Linux would overtake Microsoft (MSFT) as the dominant operating system used in desktops.

He said:

Linux, which is now 25 years old, has done well on the network and on mobiles, but has not ever become a serious threat to Windows. For many years some bright spark declares that this year will be the year of Linux on the desk-top but it never arrived. Lately such calls have been fewer, ironically as more PC's use Linux for gaming. Speaking from the Embedded Linux Conference, Torvalds said that Linux had not been a failure on the desktop. “The desktop hasn't really taken over the world like Linux has in many other areas, but just looking at my own use, my desktop looks so much better than I ever could have imagined,” he told the throngs.

Microsoft is taking an open source approach in improving the market uptake for Windows 10, the OS successor for Windows 7, 8, and XP. Upgrading to Windows 10 is free, but only for a year.

Microsoft’s problem is two-fold: first, it must maintain its dominance in the desktop. Second, it needs market share in the device market. The Surface is a good build, but Android and Apple have just too much market share for tablets and phones. Windows Phone does not even have a single digit percentage in market share.

On the desktop front, Microsoft may count on graphics cards makers like AMD and NVIDIA not giving 100% support on Linux. That means gaming computers will rely first on Windows, then Linux. In a world where tablets are replacing PCs, this should at least keep Microsoft’s profitability on desktops sustainable.