Volume 5, Number 10 -- March 11, 2008

Linux Market to Triple by 2012

Published: March 11, 2008

by Timothy Prickett Morgan

Analyst firm Research and Markets has just put out a project on Linux-based server and client hardware sales, and is projecting that the market will more than triple between 2007 and 2012.

A market for a platform is not the same as an ecosystem for it, which is much larger in that it includes the cost of people and third-party software and services for the code that runs atop the platform. So the R&M Linux market numbers might seem a little small. In any event, the consultancy pegged the Linux product and services market for Linux running on servers and clients (but not embedded systems) at $2.4 billion in 2007. (This obviously does not include the value of the PCs and servers that the Linux was running on, since Linux servers are selling at around $2 billion a quarter right now, according to IDC.) The analysts at R&M are predicting that the market for Linux-related software and services will grow by 38 percent to $3.3 billion in 2008, but that growth is slowing, and by 2012 the annual growth rate will be only 17 percent. That said, by 2012 global sales of Linux-related software and services on servers and PCs will reach $7.7 billion.

R&M says that the server market drives most Linux product and services sales, accounting for 83 percent of the revenue in 2007, and reckons that by 2012, servers will still comprise 81 percent of sales. That means that Linux will gain traction on the desktop, but not by any appreciable difference versus the traction of Linux on servers. Given the vastness of the PC market worldwide and the desire for inexpensive, open source software in the emerging markets, you might expect Linux to do better on the desktop. This is something that the Linux community has been hoping for--and working toward--for the better part of a decade. Given the improvements in Linux, and the expected ones in the coming years particularly for the desktop experience, I think that $1.5 billion in Linux-related software and services sales in 2012 is a bit low.

According to R&M, services continue to be the main way to make money in the Linux space, which is obviously necessary given the open source nature of Linux distributions. Services accounted for $1.85 billion of the $2.4 billion pie in 2007, or 77 percent of the pie, and services will grow to account for $6.24 billion in sales by 2012, or 81 percent of the pie.


How the Server Ecosystems Stack Up

Linux Platform Ecosystem to Grow to $36 Billion by 2008

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Editor: Timothy Prickett Morgan
Contributing Editors: Dan Burger, Joe Hertvik, Kevin Vandever,
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