Lots of commentary is coming forth about Microsoft's changes to its Live Search Cashback program where the software giant, essentially, is promising to make payments to those who find certain products through Live Search and then buy them. It's a nifty way to try and pick up share from Google. But by placing so much emphasis on search of late (including it's failed effort to buy Yahoo), is it finally risking the edge it has long held with Vista?
Sure looks like it from here.
Vista was roundly criticized when it was launched and, while some improvements were made with its first service pack and the industry's decision to support it with more and better hardware, it's won much less mind share than previous Windows versions like XP. Enter Ubuntu, the free desktop distribution of Linux.
Developers of Ubuntu have been working day and night, around the globe, to make the free OS powerful but easy to use. They've kept it free. And with the most recent release, Ubuntu 8.10, developers haven't just closed the gap with Vista, they've surpassed it in critical areas including performance and ease of use.
(For a side-by-side look at how Ubuntu 8.10 outflanks Vista, you can take a look at this.)
With news yesterday that the U.S. is formally in a recession, and with broad economic strife around the world, the fact that Ubuntu doesn't cost anything to download, is easy to install, maintains higher performance numbers than Vista and is easy enough for kids to use could start to make a dent in Microsoft's desktop OS business in the PC space.
If that happens, even making Vista available for discounts on its Live Search Cashback site may not be enough to keep Ubuntu, and Linux, from getting beachhead.
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