Linux Will Never Displace Windows of its Leadership Position

Can the Open Source Software (OSS) movement defeat or cripple Microsoft in the marketplace? is a question doing the rounds. With little academic attention focused on the question, Harvard Business School professors Pankaj Ghemawat and Ramon Casadesus-Masanell decided to dive in. Most research to date into the OSS movement has focused on the organisation and management issues surrounding OSS. Ghemawat and Casadesus-Masanell chose to explore the fundamental competitive dynamics question in their study, 'Will OSS ever displace traditional software from its market leadership position?'

"We believe that there is still a great deal of confusion and puzzlement on how this competitive battle will develop," say the authors of the academic paper Dynamic Mixed Duopoly: A Model Motivated by Linux vs. Windows. Ultimately, the authors believe, neither side is likely to be forced from the battlefield—Microsoft has too much market share and OSS offers too many benefits for users. But there are strategies each can use successfully against the other.

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