Listening to NPR yesterday, Steve Inskeep has been interviewing the heads of the various U.S. automakers at the Detroit Auto Show. He seems to be seeking to understand their perspective on the industry, whether they are going to survive, what their problems are, and what is coming in the future.
One of the comments by Bob Lutz, Vice Chairman of General Motors, was that momentum defines the market success of the auto industry. 20 years ago, despite horrible cars, the domestic makers continued to have strong market share - the result of momentum. Nowadays, they are struggling, despite making what reviewers have said are some of the best cars on the road for the money. It is increasingly rare to find someone that wants to purchase a Big 3 sedan unless out of patriotism. (trucks might be another story).
In reading the Slashdot story and comments on software in Education, it seems that software, particularly Operating Systems, fall into the same cycle, that momentum defines a market. In the case of school systems, the momentum established in the 90s keeps the market share of Microsoft strong. In the case of businesses, the momentum of users familiarity with Microsoft Office keeps that market going as well.
So what is required to break the current software momentum so that Open Source or our favorite software gets a chance? Are there lessons to be learned from the Japanese/Korean automakers in breaking the Big3 momentum?