Linux Foundation: We'd love to work with Microsoft

In an interview, Jim Zemlin, the Linux Foundation's executive director, talks about desire to interoperate and discusses the desktop outlook for Linux

InfoWorld: Linux has established itself on the server. What progress is being made with Linux on the desktop?

Zemlin: It's an interesting year for Linux on the desktop. We are starting to see some of the major levers of platform adoption for desktop computing be pulled more dramatically this year than they ever have. If you think about what makes a desktop platform successful, the fact that Windows comes pre-installed on most computers when they're purchased on the marketplace obviously [is a] big advantage. And you're starting to see companies do the same with Linux. You're starting to see companies like Asus and their Eee PC. It's a small subnotebook that costs, I think, less than US$400. It comes pre-installed with the Linux platform, and it really enables them to target a whole new demographic that they've never been able to effectively sell into before, you know, in Asia, women over 30, or people who could never afford a US$600 to US$1,000 PC. And you're seeing those offerings now being replicated from Everex with their CloudBook product. Lenovo is now shipping Linux on its X series line of products. You're starting to see for the first time...Dell announced last year that they are shipping pre-installed Ubuntu Linux specifically, on their notebooks.

So you're starting to see OEMs pre-ship Linux for the first time, which is interesting, but if you look kind of underneath that, the more interesting picture is -- why are they doing that? What is compelling them? Is it because Linux is more functional than it's ever been? The answer there is yes, it is more functional. But that functionality combined with the economics of the situation, where if you think about the bill of materials for a PC, [if] you've got Microsoft in there, I think the OEM [cost] is somewhere between US$50 to US$75 to license Windows. On a US$300-400 PC you're talking 30-40 per cent of the price of the computer, which is a significant amount of money. So not only is it one of the largest components of the actual PC, but it's the highest margin component, right? If you look at the stock market, you can see Microsoft has about a 30 per cent net profit. You've got Intel making like 15 per cent profit margins. Then you've got Dell at like 5 per cent. And so when companies like Dell or Asus or Lenovo or all these companies look at those profit margins, they say, "Why wouldn't I just create my own operating system and ship it with the device? I'm therefore higher up the food chain with a higher margin product on a lower priced PC that I can use to penetrate larger markets."

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Paul Krill

Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Armand Abogado

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?