Microsoft vs. Open Source: Who Will Win?
Want to get a heated debate going among technologists? Ask them this question: Can the open source software movement defeat (or severely cripple) Microsoft in the marketplace?
With little academic attention focused on this 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 organization and management issues surrounding OSS. Ghemawat and Casadesus-Masanell chose to explore the fundamental competitive dynamics question: 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, which has just been accepted for publication in a special issue of Management Science.
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, as they detail in this e-mail interview.