Ubuntu Users: Focused On the Wrong Market?Ubuntu Users: Focused On the Wrong Market?
Sometimes I don't see eye to eye with the Ubuntu user community. For instance, I think Ubuntu Server Edition should be Canonical's top priority for 2009. But only 8 percent of WorksWithU's readers agree with me, according to a recent online poll we ran. Here's why I'm right and 92 percent of WorksWithU's readers are wrong. Consider the following scenario:
February 12, 2009
Sometimes I don’t see eye to eye with the Ubuntu user community. For instance, I think Ubuntu Server Edition should be Canonical’s top priority for 2009. But only 8 percent of WorksWithU’s readers agree with me, according to a recent online poll we ran. Here’s why I’m right and 92 percent of WorksWithU’s readers are wrong.
Consider the following scenario:
What if Microsoft had never moved beyond the desktop in the 1990s? What if the software giant never built Windows NT Server, SQL Server, Exchange Server and all of the other Microsoft server applications?
Fact is: Starting in the mid-1990s, Microsoft’s server efforts made the company far more profitable — and far more strategic to businesses and enterprises, and the Windows Server applications suite tightened Microsoft’s grip on business customers.
Changing Software Rules
Fast forward to the present day and desktops are becoming LESS strategic. Netbooks, PCs and mobile devices are commodity products that plug into the Internet and virtualized data centers. We spend all of our time living in Web browsers rather than desktop operating systems.
Yes, there’s still money in desktop and mobile software — especially as smart phones and netbooks proliferate. But if Canonical — and the Ubuntu community — really want to succeed, the road to long-term success and profits begins on the server.
Canonical has been working overtime to attract more ISVs (independent software vendors) and hardware makers to Ubuntu Server Edition. The company is making progress. But stay tuned: More progress is coming soon…
… in the meantime, I continue to disagree with our latest WorksWithU reader poll. We asked: What should Canonical’s top priority be for 2009? Readers responded as follows:
41 percent: Polishing Jaunty Jackalope (Ubuntu 9.04) for April launch
27 percent: More consumer and business PC preloads
16 percent: More notebook and netbook preloads
8 percent: More server hardware and ISV relationships
8 percent: Recruiting and training VARs, integrators and consultants
Of course, Ubuntu polls will tend to favor desktop outcomes and desktop priorities — since the vast majority of Ubuntu users focus on the desktop.
But I still maintain: Canonical’s top priority should be server and ISV relationships, followed closely by VAR and channel partner relationships. Those are the key audiences that will make Canonical a viable business for the long haul. Again, stay tuned.
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