Report: Windows alternatives sought as confidence drops

Now is the time for Apple Computer Inc. to go after Windows users full force, it seems. Though Windows desktop operating systems will remain the dominant client desktop standard "for the foreseeable future," you shouldn't count Mac OS X and Linux out, concludes anew report, "The Desktop OS: Are There Real Alternatives to Microsoft?," from the Yankee Group, a company that specializes in technology research and consulting.

The study finds that interest in alternatives to Microsoft Corp.'s client operating system is at the highest level in over a decade. The Mac "has found a comfortable and committed niche among enterprise customers with sophisticated graphics and production departments" while Linux has gained a groundswell of support in the last three to four years due to its appeal as the "un-Windows" solution, according to Yankee Group senior analyst and Report author Laura DiDio.

"Corporate user resentment and dissatisfaction with Microsoft and some of its practices are at an all-time high," DiDio said. "This cumulative dissatisfaction will not necessarily translate into corporate defections to rival operating systems. But it does open the door a crack and raises the possibility that Linux and Macintosh OS X can gain new footholds in an overwhelmingly Windows world."

Then there are issues ranging from Microsoft's "perceived monopolistic practices, hyperbolic marketing, ongoing security woes, and habitually slipping ship dates of major new product releases as well as confusion surrounding the overall .NET strategy, the Yankee Group said. The result has "undermined corporate customer confidence." In fact, a recent joint survey of 1,500 corporations by Sunbelt Software and the Yankee Group found that nearly 40 percent of the respondents were so outraged by Microsoft's new licensing scheme that they are actively seeking alternative products.

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