Linux vs Windows

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Case Details:

Case Code : BSTA067
Case Length : 12 Pages
Period : 1990 - 2003
Organization : Microsoft
Pub Date : 2003
Teaching Note :Not Available
Countries : Global
Industry : Information Technology (IT)

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

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In early 2003, Microsoft Chairman, William H. Gates (Gates) thought about the competition that his best selling Windows operating system faced from a new breed of software, Linux.

Though not owned by any company, a powerful movement was championing Linux led by a group of open-source programming volunteers scattered around the globe and hooked up via the Internet.

The software was flexible enough to run on hardware ranging from an IBM supercomputer to a Motorola cell phone. Both developers and users were figuring out how to take complete advantage of Linux.

The successful evolution of Linux into a popular operating system had looked improbable when it was first launched. There were a large number of seemingly uncoordinated independent software developers with no profit motive. Thousands of such people spent countless hours for no pay and charged no fees for their work. They enriched their work through constant feedback, trial and error, and sharing what they had learned and built.

But by early 2003, it was clear that Linux was rapidly gaining popularity. Under the circumstances, the software seemed to pose the biggest threat to Microsoft since the Netscape browser in 1995...

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