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With Ashar and Vineet

Microsoft is considering making its operating system (OS) business open source. Microsoft started it operations in 1975 and had become formidable in desktop computers operating system market between late 90’s and the first decade of 21st century. During that time it captured more than 80% market share of operating systems. Microsoft is one of the companies which has fought maximum number of patent infringement cases over last two decades. Microsoft’s last five years strategy also suggests that this move could have been decided in 201I when it started allocating its resources of OS business to other lucrative business propositions.

The plan of Microsoft is motivated on various factors, including but not limited to – reducing popularity of the OS amongst the partner companies such as Dell, Lenovo and HP reducing market share of Microsoft in OS worldwide, reduction in profits from OS businesses due to huge investments in patent infringement cases and availability of other more lucrative businesses opportunities.

Over the years Dell, Lenovo, HP and others have started providing different options to purchasers. This has caused huge dent in the market penetration of Microsoft. With the advent of Cloud Computing in late 2000’s, it was evident that there are going to be large scale changes in the OS and OS businesses worldwide. The shift started with the Google’s OS Chrome and other electronic devices such as mobiles, iPad and Kindle. In late 2000’s many mobiles and other devices started replacing Desktop and laptop for day today office and personal applications. Internet on the move and office applications on mobiles created tough competition for Microsoft. The smaller competition from Linux based Open Sources was another trouble for Microsoft. Different flavor of Linux and Android based OS has already taken substantial lead in different parts of the world.

Microsoft has fought many patent infringement cases in past each causing almost 300 million dollars to the profits of Microsoft. The numbers grew slowly from none in 1997 to more than 40 in ten year and this growth of number of patent infringement cases continued resulting in expenditure of over 12 billion in late 2000’s. This statistics forced Microsoft to look back at its strategy which eventually happened in 201I, now slowly Microsoft is moving away from the USPTO and other patent offices for few of its software products.

Analysts suggest that this move of Microsoft will cause immense turmoil not only in IT industry but also in software patent (IP protection) industry. Other IT companies producing identical software would not be able to protect their IP eventually they may also follow the suit and the domino effect will eat up the software patent industry.

Microsoft has already redeployed its resources towards development of other products. It is also considering development of more entertainment based product under the leadership of new CEO Donald Murphy, who largely has been involved with games and other entertainment based products for a long time of his career. Additionally, the money not pumped in the patent infringement cases would be used to sustain its open source development and the Bill & Melinda Gates foundations.

*WELL THIS WAS A 1st APRIL BLOG… Do not take it to your heart. Some numbers are facts as per 2005-10 however this blog is a work of fiction. The year 201I is no year as such. 201 is number whereas last digit is ‘capital-i’. Name of the CEO ‘Donald Murphy’ is also a work of fiction – Donald from Disney’s character Donald (relating to Games and Entertainment) and Murphy (character from Happy Feet – movie on Penguins. Penguins which is related to Linux).

What if this becomes a reality?