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Microsoft's monopoly is over: analyst


Mahesh Sharma

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer faces tough competition also from cloud computing.

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer faces tough competition also from cloud computing. Photo: Lucas Jackson/Reuters

Australian business have not yet committed to embracing the new Windows 8, but federal government agencies will be encouraged to develop applications for the new operating system from today despite predictions that Microsoft's corporate monopoly is over.

Current policy determined by the Australian Government Information Management Office (AGIMO)  states only the current and one immediate previous version of any operating system are to be used for the development of new applications from the day a new version is released. 

Australian corporate users are not likely to rush in despite the hype.

Australian corporate users are not likely to rush in despite the hype. Photo: Timothy A Clary

"The COE policy is a policy driving convergence. It is aimed at the next standard operating environment (SOE) an agency is developing. From the date of release of Windows 8, the requirement, for new SOE development, would be for Windows 8 or Windows 7. Developments already under way are not required to be changed," an AGIMO spokesperson said Friday. 

According to Telsyte analyst Rodney Gedda, predicting the success of the new operating system among corporate and government organisations was difficult because Microsoft is not only battling Apple and Google, but also cloud computing.

Some of the biggest users of Microsoft software in Australia, Qantas and the Commonwealth Bank, said Windows 8 was under evaluation, but no commitment had yet been made to adopt the new operating system for new applications, desktops, laptops or tablet devices. 

Gedda said the ability for software developers to deliver their applications over the internet, meant users no longer relied on using the Microsoft operating system to access the tools for their jobs so Microsoft could no longer rely on its monopoly grip over businesses' technology needs. "Even though the PC market's not dead Microsoft now faces the biggest competition it has ever faced (...) in the way that people are using computers."

"Microsoft built its fortunes during the paradigm of PCs and servers but it has fallen behind as this has shifted to mobile-tablet computing.Therefore Microsoft has to muscle in, and it can't just continue rely on PCs."

One of Australia's leading technology users, the Commonwealth Bank is not rushing in.

"As a technology leader, the Commonwealth Bank is always looking at what are the best technology solutions for our people, our business and our shareholders," a spokesperson said.

"We are largely a 'Microsoft shop', so it clearly makes sense that we are assessing possible future solutions for our desktop fleet and this includes evaluating Windows 8.

"Qantas, which has outsourced 95 per cent of its technology operations, has also not made a decision at this stage. We are aware of the opportunities presented by the Windows 8 operating system, and we are examining our options," a spokesperson said.

AGIMO noted the use of Microsoft software was not mandatory among government agencies. 

Telsyte's Gedda said Microsoft had one big card up its sleeve: relationships.

"One of the biggest opportunities is the channels and the relationship it has with big OEMs. They will be producing new PCs and laptops that come pre-loaded with Windows 8, as well as mobile devices.

"It's a pretty big drawcard for Microsoft. It has been since the dawn of the PC era and I expect that to continue. It might be trickier but it also has the opportunity to market Windows 8 in a way that's not possible for its competitors."

He expects that there will be a broad take-up of Windows 8 - especially as Microsoft discontinues support for Windows XP in 2014 - and that businesses will always have a need for the PC, even though this is declining.Microsoft itself will have to become more competitive in a rapidly evolving industry and only time will tell if it can extend its dominance.

"Microsoft has a lot of channels to market and is giving people a better opportunity to upgrade. However, businesses have a lot more opportunities these days to use a diverse range of products and ecosystems."

"One thing is certain: the Microsoft monopoly is over."


  • "Telsyte's Gedda said Microsoft had one big card up its sleeve: relationships."

    It's got one big card up itself - legacyware. The world might be moving to a different structure (cloud, web, etc) but it's not there yet. Anywhere is there are legacy applications for Windows then windows will remain even if those applications are not used by people or just rarely used.

    Date and time
    October 26, 2012, 5:56PM
    • "One thing is certain: the Microsoft monopoly is over."

      It's like saying the horse has bolted before the gates are open. Riduclous negative reactionary headeline piece.

      Ive been using Windows 8 preview on a W7 slate. Love going to meetings and being able to access the corporate network easily. With the IPAD i had to sync or email documents to myself.

      Productivity is back, Baby!

      Date and time
      October 26, 2012, 6:48PM
      • Crazy article. For one thing Microsoft never had a monopoly over any software, especially corporate systems. Why would a journalist ask the big corps whether they will upgrade so soon after the launch of the new operating system? No corporation is stupid enough to immediately upgrade without weeks of testing, planning and change management. Especially if they have to upgrade other applications that are now incompatible.

        I think old Rodney needs to take a hard look at the future before saying that there will be a broad take up of W8 - I work for a major corp and we are still running XP, we might go to W9 or Linux or Android instead. Our main systems are UNIX based so they'll stay the same. And as for the comment that the PC will always be needed - I do a lot of my work on mobile devices now. Tablets may hit the future of PCs hard - only time will tell.

        Date and time
        October 26, 2012, 6:49PM
        • High sensationalist article. Cloud computing, Apple and Google have been around for quite a while and yet MS Windows still run on the majority of computers world wide, +90% per-cent in fact. But I guess you’re only technically a monopoly if you’re 100% aren’t you.
          As for Qantas and CommBank, they don’t operate like you’re average consumer you know. The technical staff at CommBank don’t all go line up in front of Harvey Norman’s to purchase the latest copy of Windows to install across their entire business the next day...but yet this article makes it sound like they do/should. Pleeeease…of course they aren’t going to commit to anything yet. Historically, companies typically wait until at least the first service pack has come out 12-18 months later.
          Let’s have some proper, level-headed reporting please.

          Date and time
          October 26, 2012, 7:09PM
          • So who is filling in? Please tell me its Apple. This much negativity about MS is just laughable. On a different note i went in to JB this morning here in Darwin and was quiet amazed to see people checking out Windows laptops and most of the laptops were in upgrade mode.

            Date and time
            October 26, 2012, 7:52PM
            • Windows 8???

              Many major Australian Corps (and I mean asx top 20) are still on XP, let alone windows 7. I can just see them buying us touchscreens so we can take advantage of Windows 8.... Right.

              The last thing a big corp wants to do is jump to the newest buggiest OS.

              London and Sydney
              Date and time
              October 26, 2012, 8:07PM
              • Went from one of Australia's biggest banks to Australia's biggest insurers. Both running XP and IE6. I don't even have tabbed browsing for God's sake...

                Date and time
                October 29, 2012, 9:46AM
            • Mahesh do the businesses have alternative? MacOS ????. Have you actually used Win8?. This is what I thought as well when I installed Beta Windows 8 that this is not a good OS. But when I managed to get the full version I loved it and we are testing at this stage and hopefully rolling out in January across 500 desktops and laptops. Win8 is probably same what windows 95 was. This is a change embrace it or...use ...??????

              Date and time
              October 26, 2012, 8:45PM
              • The monopoly may be over, but Windows 8 should be a competitive product. I will certainly buy a Surface before I buy an iPad, although I will wait for the full Windows 8 version.

                Date and time
                October 26, 2012, 8:50PM
                • I remember reading stories like this in the eighties, when Microsoft's monopoly was over.

                  I'm no journalist so don't let me undermine your conviction Mahesh, you've done a good job.

                  The press struggle to grasp, in fact maybe all of us struggle to grasp, what is the battle ground?

                  One problem is, it doesn't matter where your app comes from, it's how you manage your environment. If managing your environment is not an issue, and your situation is such that legalities are meaningless then just throw down some open wifi AP's and get on with business. Or would it be more reasonable to assume that corporations want a little more control than that, and in fact, they are compelled to do so to comply with many regulatory obligations. Why don't you talk about how Apple are introducing servers that allow corporations to better run their businesses and simplify compliance issues, servers that integrate with the massive amounts iPads sold?

                  Pick an angle. It doesn't really matter which way you cut it, when people are at work, unfortunately they are there to work. We would all like work to be more like using a tablet or one of those fancy screens from Minority Report, and maybe someday it will be, but for most businesses it's about proposing something, producing something and billing for something and complying to some rules.

                  The people that run businesses have very defined goals, reduce costs, expand revenue.

                  So in regards to business I would say that many will probably hold off on Windows 8 and increase their Windows 7 deployment at the desktop. No threat from Google, no threat from Apple. Except for some chattering around the edge because marketing people like to be different and some execs want to impress their kids and friends.

                  Date and time
                  October 27, 2012, 1:30AM

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