Why are there no OS competitor to Windows?

The recent launch of Surface tablets by Microsoft is expected to change the PC hardware market dynamics. Acer has already echoed their take on this issue.
The long term impact of this might be for both software and hardware though. Microsoft’s move is a bold one no doubt. For decades, they have been in the OS and software business, content with selling their products to hardware manufacturers like dell,HP,  Toshiba and the likes.They have realized at the right time that these PC manufacturers are not showing enough growth lately and Microsoft needs a radical shift in its strategy to survive. Windows 8 is a step in that direction and is getting lot of publicity for its “radical” changes.

What I do not understand is why there are no “real” competitors to MS-Windows ?? Agreed that Windows has been a very strong player in the PC market and owns a majority stake in the market. For PC manufacturers though, that should have been a thing to worry for! They have a clear dependency on Microsoft here. They have had this dependency for years. Untill now, they were all making good money and just passing on the cost burden of Windows onto users. Now, suddenly they realize that Microsoft can go its own way also. Acer’s response indicates they do not have an alternative. It shows their frustration.

Linux never lived up to its hype on becoming the next windows. It is still too geeky to setup and is not targeted at home users. And corporate adoption has been slow. Very slow infact.

In portable/mobile OS market, there are a few options atleast : iOS, Android, Symbian etc. But in the PC world, Windows has been the dominating player. This should change. There is a clear opportunity for a new OS to make its mark here.

I guess changing this also requires strong will and risk taking from the hardware manufacturers also. Unless they are strongly interested in this, a new OS standard cannot be pushed in the market.

I hope someone comes up with an alternative soon. The PC world is shrinking, but because of its scale, it will take years before it folds completely.

I know its just wishful thinking, but with Apple focusing more and more on portables, will it consider licensing its OS X now ?? It should !!

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