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It is not clear that Microsoft can do anything to stop the open-source encroachment onto the desktop. Many of Microsoft’s PC products are now mature. Few users need any additional functionality, and Office exhibits very slow technical progress.
Equally important, Microsoft has grown heavily dependent upon high prices and forced upgrades for its revenue growth and profitability. But many groups simply cannot afford Microsoft’s prices: Students, poor people, educational institutions and the majority of the developing world.
Microsoft’s products now represent a significant fraction of the total cost of a new desktop personal computer.
Not only is Linux free or cheap, but because it is smaller than Windows and runs on many more devices, it can run on every inexpensive hardware.
Sensing a power shift, multinational companies and government bodies such as the European Union are beginning to insists that Microsoft provide open interfaces – that is, public descriptions of its software that let other programs interoperate with it.
Five years ago
Geopolitical paranoia, however is not the principal reason for the success of open-source. The most commonly cited explanation is that evolutionary, decentralised, voluntary efforts can yield better results than those ordered by hierarchical management.
-how open-source grew-