This is a fairly silly article from The Nation written by a Linux zealot – and my, they do get overwrought about Microsoft. But I think it’s generally right about the upcoming Christmas season in the hardware industry:

“The most important are Microsoft’s erstwhile enemies, the hardware manufacturers-Intel, HP, Compaq and the rest of the PC-makers, who, although still determined to drive down the share of any new PC’s price paid to Microsoft, are very temporarily in its corner. They are all, without exception, in very serious trouble. In the United States, PCs are sold to corporations or to consumers, at Christmastime. But US business has all the computers it needs, and more. Last Christmas was a disaster for the hardware makers, and with layoffs up, recession looming and Americans’ credit card debt at an all-time high, this one looks just as bad. Desktop PCs are already selling at fire-sale prices, and if this winter’s products don’t move, some Very Big People will fail. The announcement that HP will use “$25 billion” of grossly overpriced HP stock to buy an almost worthless Compaq will save Carly Fiorina’s job for a while (a religious doctrine of US capitalism says you can’t fire a CEO-even one who has missed three consecutive quarters of earnings projections-while she’s in the middle of this big a deal), but although the merged company will probably soon fire twice the 15,000 workers it has already said will go, no one but Bill Gates can save HP/Compaq and the others.”

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