Why Linux is not Mainstream

MorningStar has a good description of switching costs:

Switching costs are those one-time inconveniences or expenses a customer incurs in order to switch over from one product to another, and they can make for a very powerful moat. Companies that make it tough for customers to switch to a competitor are in a position to increase prices year after year to deliver hefty profits. Companies aim to create high switching costs in order to “lock in” customers. The more customers are locked in, the more likely a company can pass along added costs to them without risking customer loss to a competitor.

Switching costs is largely a factor why we are not seeing mainstream usage of Linux. Here are the other reasons:

For individual/business customers (demand side)

1. Non-awareness of Linux, steep learning curve

2. No time to explore (personal or otherwise)

3. Windows inertia

4. Network effects is to demand side what Economies of scale is to supply side

5. Put your 5 cents in comments…

For competitors (supply side)

1. Marketing, Usability/ User Experience testing, Ecosystem

2. Barriers to entry is to vendors what switching costs is to end customers

3. Economies of scale

4. Intangible assets (patents, etc.)

5. Put your 5 cents in comments…


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