IDC: Linux spending set to boom by 21 percent in 2009

Matt Asay posts in his blog his analysis of IDC’s latest study on the corporate adoption of Linux. According to the report, the growth in the adoption of Linux and Linux-related software is set to outpace the growth in UNIX and UNIX-related software as well as Windows and Windows-related software in the coming years:

Matt’s other insights from the report:

  • Most of the deployments for Linux is for the free or non-paid/community-supported Linux OS distributions
  • Linux is set to outpace the larger market, with customer spending on Linux expected to grow year over year by 21 percent in 2009. The larger software market, meanwhile, will struggle to deliver 2 percent growth in 2009. And from 2008 to 2013, the Linux market is set to grow $12.3 billion to $35.5 billion, representing a 23.6 percent compound annual growth rate.
  • Even so, it is important to note that the size of Linux versus, for example, Windows, is telling: the Microsoft software ecosystem was $149 billion in 2008. IDC rightly points out that “even with a sub-10 percent growth rate through 2013, (the Microsoft ecosystem) will add $56 billion in spending.
  • Virtualization is expected to be a big driver of Linux. While cloud computing is also expected to drive Linux and open-source adoption, the real money is coming from increases in Linux adoption–from 13 percent to 18.6 percent–for more traditional workloads like ERP, database, etc. Most of this growth in traditional workloads is coming at Unix’s expense.
  • IDC finds that 53 percent of enterprises it has surveyed are planning to increase adoption of Linux on the server and 48 percent expect to increase adoption of Linux on the client (desktop, laptop, etc.) “as a direct result of the economic climate.”
  • Perhaps not surprisingly, while Microsoft has been attempting to make Windows an inviting platform for open-source vendors, IDC expects no movement from Microsoft to make its software available on Linux. This is war, and Microsoft for all its talk about interoperability, apparently sees interoperability as a one-way street on which other vendors interoperate with it, on its terms, to its advantage.

Its a good time for companies to start thinking about moving to Linux, and applications on Linux such as messaging, virtualization, security and enterprise business software. The economic conditions today certainly provide an incentive for many to do so.

While Linux already has some headway in the server market, it remains to be seen if this growing interest in Linux will result in greater share in other markets such as client devices. While the desktop PC and laptop market is already largely dominated by Microsoft and contested really only by Apple, the really interesting thing to look out for in my opinion is the brewing battle for Linux to have a place in new devices such as Netbooks and Mobile phones.


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