Microsoft will remain the most widely used and accepted operating system despite the rising popularity of Linux and strong Apple sales, according to a report by analyst IDC.
While Linux forums across the Internet extol the virtues of the open source operating system and sales continue to increase accordingly, Al Gillen, research manager at IDC's Worldwide System Software, said Linux had not really made an impact on Microsoft sales.
"Undoubtedly there is a lot of excitement surrounding Linux, but so far this technology has failed to ignite a broad revolution against the Microsoft-dominated desktop world," Gillen said.
"Revenues from sales of Linux remain a single droplet compared with the sea of cash that the Windows client operating environment (COE) products generate."IDC predicts Windows products account for around 87 per cent of revenues in the COE. In four years, NT Workstation and Windows 2000 Professional revenues will make up 85 per cent of the market, with residual Windows products absorbing much of the remainder.
Gillen predicts Linux sales will continue to grow, but that its overall market impact would be negligible.
COE revenues from open source operating systems will increase from $US36.9 million in 1999 to $93.3 million in 2004.
Apple has just announced a net profit of $200 million for the third quarter and revenues of $1.825 billion, up 17 per cent from the same time last year.
But Gillen said the company would probably not be able to make up lost sales from previous years.
"Apple is regaining the confidence of traditional users in the graphic arts and design industries," he said. "The iMac family helped stop the company's years of declining to flat growth in 1999, but Apple probably won't be able to make up all the ground it lost in the past decade.