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.....Bangla Innovation through Open Source
 
  OPEN SOURCE ADVOCACY
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.... International Examples :: China :: >

Monday, October 20, 2003
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:: China ::

Linux takes on MS in China

Tuesday, 8 January, 2002, 21:15 GMT
------------------------------------------------

Microsoft could have a fight on its hands for control of the software
market in
China as it emerges that arch-rival Linux is experiencing unexpected
growth in
the region.


Linux offers people the ability to do what they want at a price they
can pay

Dan Kusnetzky, IDC
Open-source Linux operating systems have long battled with software
giant
Microsoft for a greater share of the software market.

Now, it seems it is making headway in the important emerging market of
China.

Although figures for 2001 are not yet released, technology analyst IDC
claims
Linux systems have made surprising headway in the communist state in
both server
software - a traditional growth market for Linux - and in the desktop
market
which has been much more difficult for open-source systems like Linux
to break
into in the past.

Desire to control

One of the reasons for its success in China could be down to its
ability to be
controlled says vice president of software systems at IDC, Dan
Kusnetzky.

"Open source gives a level of control that proprietary software from
the likes
of Microsoft and HP do not give," explains Kusnetzsky. "It may be that
the
authorities want to keep a check on who is using computers and firms
like HP
might take a dim view of what the Chinese Government wants to do," he
adds.

An uneasy relationship between the Chinese Government and Western
multi-nationals is also cited by analyst firm Gartner Group as the
reason why a
recent Microsoft bid to provide software to the Beijing regime was
rejected.

Out of seven software contracts, six went to Chinese vendors.

"The key factor in its decision has been the Chinese's support of
indigenous
vendors such as the Chinese Academy of Science's development support of
Red Flag
Linux OS," says Gartner analyst Louisa Lui.

Another reason that China may be looking favourably on Linux is because
it wants
to build up its own IT infrastructure, says IDC's Kusnetzsky.

"China is very interested in building its own software industry and
open source
can be viewed by their operators and adapted without having to do the
whole
design from scratch," he points out.

Price pressure

The third factor in the rise in popularity for Linux is simple: price.
By
showing its patronage of systems like Linux, the Chinese Government
puts itself
in a better negotiating position with the big boys such as Microsoft,
believes
Kusnetzsky.

He also thinks it could force a global price rethink for the software
giant.

"Microsoft will respond to competitive pressures. China is just one
example of
forces operating worldwide, he says. In other places like South
America, Linux
offers people the ability to do what they want at a price they can
pay."

The impact of Linux on the world software market should not be
over-stated, however.

According to IDC's figures for 2000, Microsoft still controlled 94% of
the
desktop software market and while Linux is expected to overtake the
number two -
Apple Mac OS - by 2003, it would still control less than 4% of the
market.

In server software, it fares a little better and is expected to control
around
30% of the market by 2003, according to IDC.
Last updated: 3:31 AM
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