ITWire picks apart a report from CCID, a Chinese research firm, suggesting that "Investments in informatization are becoming more cautious, the postponing and cancellations of system construction have led to a drop in Linux shipment[s]."
While no information is provided on Windows or Mac sales to provide a baseline (Is Linux growth slowing more than its competitors?), it's interesting to me that it's slowing at all. I would think that Linux adoption would grow in a downturn, at least in relatively new markets where Windows hasn't completely conditioned businesses and consumers to expect a Windows experience.
It's possible that the drop in Linux shipments stems from, China's dominant Linux distribution. Maybe the flight from Linux is a flight to safety?
It's more likely, however, that years of Chinese piracy have made entrenched Microsoft's Windows, making it hard for a Linux challenger to keep pace in a spiraling economy. Reuters reports that more and more copies of Windows in China are legitimately bought due to government decree.
Even so, I suspect that the economic downturn is rejuvenating Windows piracy again, to Linux's detriment.