Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Microsoft

Microsoft: The Next Investigations 299

Posted by timothy
from the brother-can-you-spare-880m dept.
Runt-Abu writes: "Some of the UK's top companies (and some of the not-so-top as well but hey...) are questioning Microsoft's policy on pricing. In an open letter to the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry several of the top companies voiced concern at the cost of an extra £880m over a typical four-year investment cycle. No one from Microsoft has commented at this time, given the current state of affairs it's highly likely many companies will not upgrade or seek alternative cheaper solutions." Basically, a large trade group is asking the British Office of Fair Trading (akin to the FTC in the U.S.) to investigate Microsoft's price increases. And Gogl writes: "It appears the attorneys general of 6 more states have voiced concern over Microsoft, particularly regarding the upcoming release of Windows XP. Microsoft and their allies claim that AOL-Time Warner was behind this, which AOL of course denies," pointing also to this piece on Microsoft's changing licensing costs.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Microsoft: The Next Investigations

Comments Filter:
  • by GearheadX (414240) on Monday September 24, 2001 @10:04AM (#2340772)
    I can remember a time when buying Windows was a realtivly painless experience. Over the past several years though I've noticed a steady increase in the price of buying the dratted OS. A hundred bucks for the UPGRADE? Whatever their marketing department is smoking, I'd certainly like some; must be some pretty good stuff.
    • On the other hand, using Windows has never been particularly pain-free :)

    • Buying: Painless

      Installing: "You make a grown man cry"


      As far as cost, you gotta expect some increase in the number of $$, just accounting for inflation alone. I consider dropping $3.79 for a bag of potato chips (value of contents ~$0.10), when I once could buy for $1.09, not really all that long ago, as a matter of fact.


      FWIW, you get more junk in the box, don't you? Maybe you need a prize in the bottom of the box to take away some of the pain... Maybe a fuzzy Clippy...on second thought...no, I guess that wouldn't really work, would it? (and not just because they're retiring it)

    • by Eccles (932)
      Whatever their marketing department is smoking

      $100 bills, I think...
          • Whatever their marketing department is smoking
          $100 bills, I think...

        Uh, no, that's what they use to snort coke out of the ass cracks of the Bangkok ladyboys they keep busy fellating their bought politicians...

  • little late (Score:3, Funny)

    by gergi (220700) on Monday September 24, 2001 @10:04AM (#2340774)
    Bah, I've been questioning their pricing for years and I never got a Slashot cover story.
  • Microsoft met members of the IT directors' forum Elite and user groups Imis and Socitm - the local authority IT directors' organisation - on 17 September, and told them it would continue dialogue on the licensing issue.

    Neil Holloway, Microsoft's UK managing director, told IT directors he could make no changes to the new licensing proposals without specific permission from the company's US headquarters.

    Less than a week later, a letter sent to Elite, Imis and Socitm by Microsoft made it plain that the company would not contemplate any changes.

  • by Amphigory (2375) on Monday September 24, 2001 @10:07AM (#2340783) Homepage
    I've been running Windows XP RC2, and must admit I kind of like it. Since my needs these days (as a working pastor-in-training) run more towards word processing than development and web servers, it does what I need pretty well. However, I looked today at the license costs for it and I'm choking a bit. A single-user home *upgrade* is $99. Home full version is $199, and professional full is $299. None of these are designed for server use, but for individual users.

    More interestingly, they appear to be actually planning to enforce licensing through an enforced registration (i.e. if you don't register in 14 days, it won't work.) I've often said that few people would put up with Windows if they had to pay for it. The truth of the matter is that many people do not bother with legal licenses for their home software, so don't get too excited when told the product sucks. I wonder if the high costs and no-pirating-allowed will cost Microsoft the market?
    • by stubear (130454) on Monday September 24, 2001 @10:13AM (#2340809)
      Onec again...you do NOT have to register. You DO have to activate the product. Both are completely seperate processes but only activation is necessary and only requires the user to input the WPA code. No personal information is sent along with this code. You could even choose to register your software as a completely fictional character if you chose and Windows XP would work just fine.
    • unfortunatly it won't.

      at this point MS knows that they can attempt to kill off most of the pirating (yes, there are some copies that do not have to be registered). They have allowed it to go on long enough and have gotten a pretty nice niche (don't you think?)

      They know that people are going to want to run Windows software and they know that most of their previous products have pretty much sucked. Win2k and XP are actually decent (from what I have heard).

      I can't see people running XP over Win2k when they are both pretty stable.

      What do I know though?
      • Actually, my main computer just died running Win2k which I was borrowing from my bro' because he wasn't using it at the time. It doesn't even boot up, and from what I've found online, I'll have to do A LOT of work reinstalling CAB files and other crap to get it working again. I never had that kind of problem with Win98SE, so I'm going back to it (it also ran games better than win2k in my opinion which is why i still use windows at all). The latest Windows are too restrictive for my needs, but Linux (I use Mandrake) is nice and open, and free, and encourages using all kinds of different apps on it, not just a particular distro's software.

        I was waiting for Kapital to evolve a bit more for managing my finances, and for more games to become available for Linux, but now, I'm just gonna keep a Win98 partition around ONLY for the games. All my other important stuff is going onto a Linux run system from here on out...

        • I was waiting for Kapital to evolve a bit more for managing my finances, and for more games to become available for Linux, but now, I'm just gonna keep a Win98 partition around ONLY for the games. All my other important stuff is going onto a Linux run system from here on out...

          Kind of like how it went for me. I dual-booted for most of a year because of certain apps I'd gotten used to on Windows, notably mirc, until I accidently toasted the Windows partition on my laptop and would have had to go through some kind of strip search by Microsoft to get the thing installed again (auth number and CD not in same place). So at that point I just put in the effort to learn replacement applications and never looked back. I also kept Windows partitions on a couple of desktops, then after a couple of years I noticed I *never* used them so one day I just moved all the interesting files off and reformatted the partition as Ext2.

          Games. I used to play a lot but then I found myself actually doing some much interesting stuff with my computer that I didn't have time. Then recently I've found I've got more than enough first-string games on Linux to satisfy me if I ever do get back into it.

    • If I remember right, the Windows Authorization crap has already been cracked (could be wrong).

      However, Corporate edition does not need registration, only a serial. I can verify this, as I've tried it. Enter your serial, listen to the music during the configuration (yep...), and you're off. It does prompt you for registration, but it's not required, which makes sense for a "Corporate" environment.

      But who's to stop a home user from using a copy made from work? I certainly couldn't tell that this was meant for the office; even when I knew it was labeled Corporate.
      • It's been cracked, however MS is really snapping the whip on sites which have the code cracking program. Though I doubt even this action will be successful for very long; sone cracker out there is probably working on making the cracking code as javascript - if that happens, suddenly even google could be considered a "warez" stash.

        Though the corporate edition is probably going to be the edition that makes the rounds on the underground simply because it'll be easier than a code cracker.

      • I think part of the deal of getting the Corporate edition is that you have to prove to MS that you are keeping a close eye on those CD's.

        We have the Microsoft Campus Agreement, which is similar - you get the media and a serial, but you don't need to register. We can not dupe those CD's and they are kept under lock and key.

        Of course, I have a key and a CD burner :) but no interest!

        And the corporate edition has already made its way around Usenet.
    • The price hasn't gone up that much. Win2k has gone down in price since it's been out, and it's still almost as much as WinXP. The Win2k pro upgrade is $189 as opposed to the WinXP Pro upgrade at $199. Win ME was $89 upgrade (at Costco I believe. I've seen it for $99 elsewhere). Same with Win98. Inflation's gone up more than that!
    • Given the events of September 11, alot of companies are going to take a long hard look at how they do business.

      For example, because of all of the companies that had all their key people located in one place at the trade center, and the resulting loss of people and their knowledge, many businesses are probably looking more at how to decentralize to reduce the risk.

      There is also the now probable recession, just given the drop in business for the travel and entertainment industries. So many businesses are likely cutting back.

      How does this effect Microsoft? Many businesses have reasons, now more than ever, to NOT go through with the Microsoft upgrade program.

      And then, there will be the cost efficiency of Linux. Businesses will add up the costs, recognise that the FUD about reducing the cost of business with Microsoft is in fact a financial trap.

      Microsoft, if it is smart, may change their policy to extend or eliminate their deadline.

      The business enviromnent may have become the wrong time to do a major product launch.

      MS may well wind up stampeding customers into the hands of their opponents.

  • FYI (Score:2, Offtopic)

    by NMerriam (15122)

    Just for interest: the plural of "attorney general" is "attorneys general", not "attorney generals". The latter would be, I suppose, multiple military commanders with law degrees...
  • by Aceticon (140883) on Monday September 24, 2001 @10:15AM (#2340821)
    It's a new product. They can set whatever price (and price policy) they want.

    It's up to Microsoft's costumers to decide if it's more cost efficient to upgrade to Windows XP or take any other path (including not-upgrading and stop having support in some years time or start a migration process of some or all systems to other operating systems with different cost structures)

    As i see it a more expensive Windows just increases the number of situations in which it's cheaper to migrate/implement to/in another operating system and contract a System Administrator for that OS instead of a Windows System Admin.
    • by Masem (1171) on Monday September 24, 2001 @10:21AM (#2340857)
      With MS now legally declared as a monopoly, they no longer have the right to set whatever price they want for their product, because a monopoly suggests that there are no market forces in place that will cause a supply-demand-like effect to take place. (Again, it's not illegal to hold a monopoly, only to abuse it's position). It's expected that the next legal phase of the MS/DOJ will include looking at the licensing costs; if it is determined that at the current costs, MS is earning more than a reasonable profit per copy sold, someone's going to have hell to pay.
    • by baptiste (256004) <mike@@@baptiste...us> on Monday September 24, 2001 @10:22AM (#2340864) Homepage Journal
      It's a new product. They can set whatever price (and price policy) they want.

      True, but they also are bundling Office XP - pretty much requiring people to buy new Office licenses to even PARTICIPATE in the new OS license program - which is their right but as a monopoly, its an unfair practice. I mean seriously - how many of you out there think moving from Office 2K to Office XP is worth teh cost? Hell Office 97 to 2K wasn't much of an improvement. But to require Office purchases to participate in the OS volume license is borderlne criminal. This quote was most chilling:

      Several recounted similar stories about Microsoft pressuring them to upgrade Office versions more frequently.

      "They kept bringing up the BSA (Business Software Alliance) and insinuating about software audits," said one technology manager. "We got the message, all right: Upgrade to Office XP or else."

      Microsoft has finally decided to use their monopoly to try and boost earnings in a crashing economy and at some point they push too far and FORCE people to look elsewhere and possibly TRY to move to other platforms. It'll hurt them.

      For example, if you have Office licenses for ALL yoru PCs (many companies do) but realize that your coders don't really NEED Office - its just for browsing stuff sent from mgmt - you may start looking into alternatives, either StarOffice or even simple doc readers and then cut your licensing WAY back - this who fiasco will either vastly increase IT costs for companies (and thus costs to us the consumers) or will blow up in Microsofts face as companies finally throw up their hands and tell MS to GTH.

      • Where do people keep getting these ideas?
        Changing or adding another office suite wil not Vastly increase the cost of IT to companies... This would happen only if that companies IT staff are worthless or horribly under trained and mential amobea. And good IT/IS person can switch to using/supporting any software application within weeks of playing with it. (NOTE: roll out the new stuff to IT first.. then they'll know it before they need to support it.)

        It costs very little to change from one suite/os/program to another, and only those that are in the business of lying to stock holders or management in order to keep their jobs would say that is has a high cost or price tag.

        If you hire talented people to begin with, you dont have the problem of migration from one environment to another. (and you'd already have several Linux or BSD servers running already to keep costs down or to give your company extra operatability from retired equipment. (3 free webservers.. and we were denied any capitol spending ... when asked by corperate we said, "We are using a no-cost solution on retired hardware" the CTO is so pleased we are going present our solution to all IT departments next Jan (They dont know it's linux yet... hehehehe and the CTO doesnt care, he prefer's results above all else)
        • It costs very little to change from one suite/os/program to another, and only those that are in the business of lying to stock holders or management in order to keep their jobs would say that is has a high cost or price tag.

          Spoken like someone who has never rolled out a new application to the lusers in marketing.

          Time is worth something you know, and if the lusers are trying to figure out how to routine tasks with the new app, and calling the hell desk, they are not doing whatever it is that they are paid to do. Clearly there is a cost involved when you change the environment.
          • Let's see..

            Rolled out Win2K
            Rolled out Office 2K
            Rolled out completely new Sales Demographics system
            Rolled out new System for sending in orders..

            That's this year... No problems other than users whining.

            Rule#1 - dont let them whine. Tell them it's changed and there's nothing they are going to do about it, they can either learn it or not.

            Document, if you teach Fred in Sales how to open his email 3 times and on #4 you tell him that you'll get around to him later, when your boss comes bitching you say Hey, I showed him 3 times in formal training. I cant hand-hold everyone that's too lasy to learn. Throws the problem back at the Luser.

            In the time of 1 year I have marketing and sales people in 3 offices used to changes. (change constantly little things to justkeep them on their toes. answer hones questions but ignore the lazy bastards.

            It works great and has given me 2 Corperate Achievement awards this year.
        • how many of you out there think moving from Office 2K to Office XP is worth teh cost? Hell Office 97 to 2K wasn't much of an improvement

        I haven't even bothered paying $0 to upgrade my pirated copy of Office '97 to a pirated copy of Office 2K. I doubt if I'll bother paying $0 to upgrade to Office XP either. There's just no benefit for me.

        Morality question: I had a crisis of conscience over using a warez Office '97, and went to StarOffice for a while. Then I had to wipe my drive when it spat some sand. The only reason that I installed Office '97 on the clean machine was that I didn't have a backup of StarOffice, and it was marginally quicker to reach out and grab a burned warez Office '97 than to download StarOffice again.

        Work through the morality of that. Should I burn for using the warez Office '97 before switching to StarOffice? Does switching to StarOffice mitigate the crime? Is switching back worse than doing it in the first place? Does "apathy" count as a defence, considering that Microsoft have already lost the sale, i.e. there is no way that they are getting any money from me? Black, white, or shades of gray?

    • Price gouging like this is exactly why there has been any move to break up microsoft. Having a virtually complete monopoly of the OS market leaves customers vulnerable to the whimsacle price increases that Billy wants to have to make it to the 100 billion mark. Imagine what happens when they make you pay every year for a subscription fee: you'll be forced to pay whatever price they want to continue the subscription, or you will have no OS at all. And a lot of companies can't make a transition from Windows to MacOS or Linux within days, so companies would be forced to comply. If I had a windows box, I'd keep a version of 2000 around just for this reason.

      Businesses should have complete control over their prices. BUT, the ability for microsoft to control the markey and force customers to pay incredible prices is an example of why some type of legal action needs to be taken against Microsoft's anticompetitive practices and help protect consumers and businesses.

      F-bacher
    • [Microsoft] can set whatever price (and price policy) they want.

      Let's do a little thought experiment here. Suppose Microsoft comes out with a wonderful new OS -- Windows Server Unix eXtinguisher -- or known as Windows S.U.X. Suppose that to add value to it, Win-SUX comes bundled with OfficeSUX and a personal finance manager. Furthermore SUX Pro comes bundled with a IIIS 8.0 (Internet Information Infector Service). Along with that, it has an e-commerce application and a built in database server. The consumer version of SUX comes with a free 100 hours of service for MS-SUX-World-Online, and with 10 free SUX-box games. In addition to that, to add even more value, they include a full blown flexible accounting system called Great SUX Pains. [...plus any other category of software where anyone is still making money and has not yet been bought by MS.]

      Now, obviously, SUX is a very valuable software product. One box that does everything. It has a lot of additional value over previous generations such as XP. After all, it even includes Office SUX.

      Microsoft decides that they'll begin shipping SUX on Jan 1, 2002, and the prices will be as follows.

      • $399 -- Personal Edition Upgrade
      • $599 -- Personal Edition new license
      • $799 -- SUX Professional
      • $2999 -- SUX Server -- including 5 CALs!!!!!
      • $9999 -- SUX Advanced Server

      What do you think?

      After all, as you say, Microsoft can set whatever price (and price policy) they want.

      Oh, and btw, better upgrade now. Otherwise, you'll have to pay full price on next year's higher prices (because the software has more "value added"). In fact, prices will go up each year. And you better get on the upgrade treadmill today if you don't want to be smacked with full price again.

      Steve Monkeyboy was quoted as saying..."Our customers have told us that they like the new SUX-Assurance program. By participating in that program, it gives us assurance that our stock prices will continue to go up each quarter."


      It's up to Microsoft's costumers to decide if it's more cost efficient to upgrade to Windows XP or take any other path

      Maybe there isn't any other path to take. [This is commonly referred to as a "monopoly".]

      After you buy your new Dell, bundled with Win SUX and Office SUX, I'm sure MS will be happy for you to take any other path you want. [You did realize that SUX requires 512 MB of RAM didn't you?]
  • It's worth taking a look at the visitor's area of the TIF web site:

    http://www.tif.co.uk/

    It certainly has an impressive list of members, including certain UK government departments such as the Inland Revenue.
  • The Problem (Score:5, Interesting)

    by zpengo (99887) on Monday September 24, 2001 @10:15AM (#2340825) Homepage
    Part of the problem in all of this is that changing to a "subscription" service is a brilliant financial decision, and Microsoft isn't going to give up their tactics without a fight.

    People have been complaining about Microsoft for the past fifteen years or so. Unfortunately, Microsoft products have been of a reasonably good quality, and people like them, so pirating their software has gone on for just about that long as well.

    Piracy means that not only the original owner gets to use it, but also a few of his friends. Microsoft may think that's a bad thing, but all it has done is secure their place as *the* operating system, the office suite, the web server, etc., because so many people use it, even if they're not all paying customers. MS would not have its current market share if it were not for piracy.

    With these new tactics to extract money from citizens, the only thing they're going to accomplish is that Microsoft will no longer be in the hands of Joe Sixpack, who will then contemplate Linux, BSD, AtheOS, BeOS, or other operating systems that cost less than a few limbs.

    In addition, the percentage of the workforce with Microsoft experience will decline; It's easy enough to learn ASP or whatever when you can install it at home, but not so easy when you can't touch it.

    They're shooting themselves in the foot, and that's probably a good thing.

    • Big thing you forgot: Joe Sixpack doesn't choose what OS he runs. He is probably only dimly aware that there is one other choice (linux), and he is uneasy about the Penguin, because the people he knows who run linux are his console jockey friends who always succeed in making him feel inferior by fixing his computer from the DOS prompt, a creature which he is terrified of.

      Joe Sixpack got his computer with Windows pre-installed. That was the only option he had, because he bought his computer at Best Buy. Incidentally, he also has 6 months' worth of bills left on MSN service that he wants to get rid of so he can switch to cable modem service. He has seen Best Buy selling copies of Mandrake and Red Hat linux, but is uneasy about getting them - nobody told him that you don't have to uninstall Windows to try linux. He's never read that on the box, because the copies of linux are miles (4 aisles, at least!) away from the shoot-em-up games.

      So Joe Sixpack will still use XP. Microsoft will get Dell and Compaq and eMachines to package it with all new computers they make, because Microsoft can. Joe Sixpack will stick to Windows, because he is afraid of linux, and because he has never even heard of BSD, AtheOS, or BeOS. And frankly, none of them meet his needs, anyway - what home user wants an OS without ATAPI support, or a very hardcore Unix? Or an OS that is no longer even being made or supported? Nope, Windows is still the only option for the desktop, and if people go anywhere, they will go to Apple - which is why I evangelize Apple rather than Linux even though I am a linux nerd.
  • by ackthpt (218170) on Monday September 24, 2001 @10:16AM (#2340830) Homepage Journal
    Is fragmenting Windows over numerous releases. W95 here, W98 there, WME elsewhere, NT and 2000 other places.


    Irony: Remember when institutions bought into this myth, that with Microsoft they could standardize on one stable platform? The last laugh is thinking of all these institutions dropping huge $$$ (or £££) on upgrades (not just license fees, but the overhead to "upgrade" all workstations.


    I've seen some graphical representations of Windows penetration and W95 still holds a significant chunk. Expect XP to have slow penetration, particularly as institutions are doing a lot of belt tightening. If W95 or W98 works, leave it at that. We just upgraded our workstations from W95 to W98 (btw, I've got a bone to pick with anyone who says W98 is more stable than W95, it BSOD's as often at work as it does on my 2 year old laptop) and it'll be probably a decade before anyone around here sees XP.


    IMHO I wouldn't be buying MS stock based upon high anticipated sales of XP. Maybe base it on the acceptance of their XBox or something else.

    • Corporate IT won't be buying XP to put on old machines. They'll be stuck with it when they buy new machines to replace those old boxes, or if they buy new servers.

      I know plenty of MS people who buy new servers that have Win2k on them, but they wipe it and put NT 4 server on it, because they have a site license for that. There's nothing in the XP scheme that says you can't do that, so XP will have high sales numbers, but low use numbers.

      [Oh, and Win98 IS more stable, if you have SE and know how to tweak it. Windows always sucks when it's not properly configured.]
    • What XP effectively is doing .. is fragmenting Windows over numerous releases.

      Uh, no. Windows is *already* a fragmented platform. I know, I've had to write software that runs on "windows" and spent time debugging it on 98, Nt4 and Win2K.

      XP signals the end of the 95->98 codebase, and will eventually bring everyone onto the NT/2000 codebase.

      Believe me, this is a good thing (I've worked with my buggy programs on both. The NT platform is far more stable under condtions of stray pointers).

      Linux, BSD, Atheos and other open OS's taking over the world would would be a better thing, but that doesn't make XP a bad thing, fragmentation-wise.

    • Running W95 or W98 on workstations? This is a troll right? Nobody uses an OS without memory protection as a workstation do they? I'm no great fan of MS but W2K does satisfy some of the criteria to be called an OS - for example it manages memory and prevents applications writing over each other's memory. W95 and W98 provide little protection. In fact all applications share half of their address space. This makes W95/8 great for single applications like games playing. But you're not seriosuly trying to tell us you use these not-quite-OS's for workstations?

    • (btw, I've got a bone to pick with anyone who says W98 is more stable than W95, it BSOD's as often at work as it does on my 2 year old laptop)



      It always amazes me how when a new MS product comes out, all the beta testers swear on thier mothers grave it is better than the last version and we are finally rid of the BSOD. But then it hit the real users. Low and Behold, nothing has changed, WinME is worse than Win98SE and even Win2K sucks and needs rebooting every once in awhile. I have seen no indication it is going to be any different with XP. I will definitly not be falling for the Upgrade hype this time around, I have informed my Wife she will have to stick with Win2K, Office2K and VB6 on her main machine and Win98, Office97 and VB5 on her laptop. There will be no upgrade this year. As for me, I guess I will go download the 2.4.10 kernel and ruin my 127 day uptime.


      • WinME is worse than Win98SE and even Win2K sucks and needs rebooting every once in awhile

        I have had to reboot my Win2k laptop a few times lately because:

        1. A game locked up, setting the whole screen black, and i couldn't see task manager to select and kill it. What kills me is that it did reset the video just fine when I hit ctl-alt-del, then went back to black when task manager came up. I'll blame win2k for that.

        2. The backlight on my lcd screen went out, and I had to power it down for a few minutes. Obvious hardware problem.

        3. I changed the netmask on my network adaptor. Yes, that makes you reboot. Astonishing level of brain damage, I will blame windows for that.

        4. I installed a service pack that replaced among other things, kernel.dll. Hard to avoid a reboot there.

        Other than that, I've installed games, web servers, webserver extensions and patches, and oodles of miscellaneous language compilers. All I've noticed is that I keep having to kill runaway command.exe processes that seem to spawn whenever I run a cygwin shell, and occasionally stop the index server because it's grinding away while I'm doing other I/O intensive work. The uptime is astonishing even while I am beating the hell out of this machine as an administrator, I'm not a highly competent NT admin, and this machine isn't even certified by the manufacturer for win2k.

        (BTW, while I'm going on, I will air one gripe/question: how the hell do I get internet connection sharing to gate my dialup to the vmware host-only adaptor without 1) re-ip'ing the adaptor, and 2) not bombing with a cryptic error pertaining to the new adaptor ip already being in use when it wasn't even close? following the directions on vmware's site to the letter results in this error...)
      • I've seen some graphical representations of Windows penetration and W95 still holds a significant chunk

      Yup, and that's not necessarily bad for M$. My employer deploys brand new Win95 laptops and NT 4 desktops. My own desktop has a "Windows 2000 Professional" sticker on the side. It was bought that way and we binned the license and paid for an NT 4 license because we know all the issues, the box works as well as it has need to, and the costs of supporting different OSes is still (just) higher than the cost of buying two licenses and throwing one away.

  • by slim (1652) <john@hartn u p .net> on Monday September 24, 2001 @10:21AM (#2340860) Homepage
    I'm not a big MS fan, but frankly, they're operating in a free market, and it's their right to charge whatever they like. If you think it's too much, don't buy it.

    To any business that's become reliant on MS technology, and thinks these price hikes might cost them dearly, I'd say this: This is what Richard Stallman warned you about 20 years ago. If you rely on proprietary software, belonging to a third party, you're putting yourself in a position where that third party has you by the nuts.

    In future, leave yourself an escape route: at the very least make sure your business' IT is based on open protocols, and aim to use software which allows you to flit from support suppier to support supplier at will (at present OSS is the only kind of software I can think of which allows this).
    • To any business that's become reliant on MS technology, and thinks these price hikes might cost them dearly, I'd say this: This is what Richard Stallman warned you about 20 years ago. If you rely on proprietary software, belonging to a third party, you're putting yourself in a position where that third party has you by the nuts.

      This was hardly a flash of insight. 20 years ago IBM was near the end of it's anti-trust case, and it was clear that they used the control of their mainframe software to control their competitors and customers. If he had said it 40 years ago, then it would be perceptive.

    • Hell, the challenge is to NOT buy it. If you want a brand name computer, you're going to pay for the XP OEM license whether you weant it or not. That's what it means to be a monopoly - they can pressure (coerce) manufacturers into putting Windows on EVERY box.
      • Hell, the challenge is to NOT buy it.


        That's the truth. The last time I bought a Linux computer, with Linux pre-installed, I found out after I had received it that it came with a copy of Win98. At least it was a full version, so I may someday find a use for it. Somewhere.

        Perhaps.

      • Hell, the challenge is to NOT buy it. If you want a brand name computer, you're going to pay for the XP OEM license whether you weant it or not. That's what it means to be a monopoly - they can pressure (coerce) manufacturers into putting Windows on EVERY box.

        Pretty easy challenge: you can buy PCs with Linux preinstalled from both IBM and Compaq, among others. A couple of years ago that was not the case, and I can only assume that market forces drove these brand name computer manufacturers to provide Linux as an option. That's evidence of a free market economy working. If enough consumers started to demand it, I'm sure they'd start preinstalling a BSD, BeOS, etc. (not that I see that happening any time soon).

        NB: I'm a raving lefty; it actually pains me to be echoing post-Thatcher "the market will make everything right" dogma. But in this case, I think it's correct.
        • Pretty easy challenge: you can buy PCs with Linux preinstalled from both IBM and Compaq, among others.

          Yes, but since IBM and Compaq (and others) have to pay a license to m$ for every PC they sell, whether it has an m$ OS installed on it or not, you have paid for XP, even though you did not get the media or license.

          That's evidence of a free market economy working.

          Really? I would have thought the opposite. This looks like predatory monopoly behaviour to me. If the market were really free, and really working, would m$ be able to demand their pound of flesh on every sale, regardless of what was actually sold?
          • Yes, but since IBM and Compaq (and others) have to pay a license to m$ for every PC they sell, whether it has an m$ OS installed on it or not, you have paid for XP, even though you did not get the media or license.

            AFAIK that is no longer the case. There was a big fuss about it a couple of years ago and I was under the impression the law had put a stop to it. If I'm wrong, I concede the point to you.
  • Sun (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 24, 2001 @10:25AM (#2340880)
    If Sun's marketing department are on the ball, there'll be a pallet of StarOffice CD's arriving on their doorstep tomorrow morning.
  • Win XP kills ghost? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by baptiste (256004)
    I used to handle desktop support at a large company and dealt with the issue of rolling out new and replacement PCs. We used Symantec Ghost to blast our custom images onto machines so they arrived on a user's desk ready to go with all teh site licensed software, etc. It made deployments fairly easier and resulted in happier customers.

    With XP's new registration process - how is that going to work? Will you still be ABLE to ghost XP machines? WIll users have to handle the registration process on their own after the machine is delivered? God forbid they lose that license certifcate in the process. With previous versions of Windows you simply used Ghostwalker to update the settings and such. But this adds yet another step to an already tedious process.

    So does anyone who uses ghost to roll out systems have a plan or idea how they'll handle the onslaught of XP? Symantec has an article [symantec.com] that basically says XP is Beta (not anymore!) and they'll have more info after release (none I cqan find) They say they were able to use ghost and ghost walker to clone an XP machine - but again, cloning (ie backing up) a system is one thing, making corporate images you can toss onto new systems is something else entirely... It'll be too bad if Microsofts zeal for $$$ trashes a program that saved countless IT depts thousands of hours in deployment time.

  • by Ldir (411548) on Monday September 24, 2001 @10:50AM (#2340998)
    We're going through this at my company, and we are not happy. Our least expensive option for 5,000 seats is an Enterprise Agreement - $1.2M per year for three years. The "less expensive" Upgrade Advantage approach costs us more because we're still running Office 97. We have to buy upgrades to Office XP just to qualify for Upgrade Advantage.

    Opting out is not a realistic option. While we could remain on Office 97 & NT4/2000 internally forever, our business (as with most businesses) constantly interacts with hundreds of other businesses: partners, clients, and vendors. Unless we can get all of them to stand still on Office, sooner or later, we're going to hit compatibility problems when exchanging documents (and viruses, but that's a different feature). It's a hassle for the business, and it makes us look bad to partners and clients.

    Yes, I know that Office XP and Excel XP use file formats that are compatible with Office 97. I don't know that Office 2003 (or whatever it will be called) maintains this compatibility. The way the new MS pricing works, unless you can postpone upgrades for at least four years, it's cheaper to pay up today.

    For the same reason, Linux desktops and open source office software are not a realistic option. The business can't afford compatibility problems with third parties. It just isn't worth the risk.

    I wonder how expensive MS software has to be, and how onerous their terms have to become, before the MS apologists will acknowledge that MS is, in fact, a monopoly.

    • For the same reason, Linux desktops and open source office software are not a realistic option. The business can't afford compatibility problems with third parties. It just isn't worth the risk.

      Uhhh, what if the third parties got pissed at the expense of upgrading their software and opted for open source at the same time? No compatability issues then and everybody's happy! Maybe they're having the same compatability concerns that your company is and are feeling compelled to upgrade to preserve compatability with you! Talk to them! Maybe they might be inclined to postpone upgrading or chuck it altogether!
    • You should reconsider. I think that you are underestimating the costs. Remember that you don't have control over when they change their license terms, or what they change them to. You are accepting a system that allows for remote deactivation, so you may be coerced on short notice to upgrade to a new version at an increased price. Your contract may protect you for a limited period of time (but try to recover from when they "inadvertently" deactivate you). But when the time runs out, you will need to use their programs at their prices to access your data. Currently there are programs from other companies that can access the data in MS file formats, but various legal changes are making it less likely that this will continue to be possible. And one cannot predict how their "upgrades" will interact with other companies software. Except that they won't bother to test this before making the changes (unless they are planning to move into that area of the market).
  • The arrogance... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by rnturn (11092) on Monday September 24, 2001 @11:00AM (#2341039)

    ... of these guys is astounding:

    ``Bill Landefeld, Microsoft's vice president of worldwide licensing and pricing, defended the changes. "I think customers have choice. They had choice before, and they have choice going forward."''

    Does anyone else read this statement and think ``You customers have a choice: it's our way or the highway.''

    And moving up (with a bullet) in the ranking of my major pet peeves: Not answering the question and/or responding with seemingly randomly selected sentances as exemplified by:

    ``"We would certainly want to know more about" any veiled threats, said Landefeld, who said such sales tactics would not be condoned. "If that is happening, what people need to understand is that administering software is very difficult, especially for large, multinational companies."''

    I would like to know how the difficulty in managing software licenses in a company of any size has to do with Microsoft's sales channel threatening customers. Guess I'm just funny that way.

  • Go MS! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Ami Ganguli (921) on Monday September 24, 2001 @11:03AM (#2341052) Homepage

    I hope they keep raising prices. The more they try to squeeze revenue growth out of a mature market, the greater the opportunity for alternative operating systems.

    Think if the ketchup analogy that business types talk about. Heinz is the default ketchup brand. Why? Well they stick bunch of well known ingredients into a bottle, put a well known label on it, and sell it for a reasonable price. Sure other brands might be a little cheaper, but not by a whole lot, and Heinz gets to keep their market share even though they aren't doing anything particularly special. It works as long as they don't raise the price too high. If Heinz were, say, double the price of their nearest competitor then people would start to take notice and try the alternatives. Once they got to know some other brands Heinz would have a really hard time winning those customers back.

    Likewise with operating systems. For a lot of people nowadays an OS is an OS. You can argue that Linux or MacOS don't have the application base that Windows does, and you'd be right, but they both have enough for a good many people. Most people are just buying the brand and they'll keep doing that as long as MS doesn't screw them too badly.

    Unfortunately for MS, their shareholders expect them to magically produce growth rates in the double digits year after year. Employees expect it too, since that's how they make money from stock options. How do you make more money when your product is basically the same and the market is maturing? That's right, you squeeze your existing customer base. (Or you expand into video games and Online services, but that's tough when your competitors are Sony and AOL/Time Warner)

    • by Matts (1628)
      Think if the ketchup analogy that business types talk about. Heinz is the default ketchup brand. Why? Well they stick bunch of well known ingredients into a bottle, put a well known label on it, and sell it for a reasonable price. Sure other brands might be a little cheaper, but not by a whole lot, and Heinz gets to keep their market share even though they aren't doing anything particularly special. It works as long as they don't raise the price too high . If Heinz were, say, double the price of their nearest competitor then people would start to take notice and try the alternatives. Once they got to know some other brands Heinz would have a really hard time winning those customers back.

      Actually I disagree.

      Heinz ketchup tastes much better than XP CDs. And it's cheaper.
      • Think if the ketchup analogy that business types talk about. If Heinz were, say, double the price of their nearest competitor then people would start to take notice and try the alternatives

      This analogy holds only if:

      • Ketchup was highly volatile and had to be delivered direct to your door and stored in special 3rd party bottles, and all of the bottle manufacters only worked with Heinz to ensure compatability.
      • Heinz ketchup dissolved any food not fully compatible with it, and Heinz manufactured their own food and aggressively bought out any competing manufacturers, so you had change your entire diet and restock your fridge, freezer and cupboards if you switch brands.
      • Heinz ketchup came out of the bottle in a different (not better) way than other ketchups, and people have to be re-trained to use other ketchups.

      Oh, wait... now that I think about it, Heinz do actually use that last one as a selling point. Perhaps M$ could consider doing something similar: "Windows XP: not as good as Linux, but you won't have to use your brain." ;)

    • The problem with that is that in this case most sheeple don't know that another brand of ketchup, if you will, even exsists.
  • by 4of12 (97621) on Monday September 24, 2001 @11:05AM (#2341061) Homepage Journal

    I'm not the one in charge of purchasing the Enterprise License Agreements at MyCorporation, but I've read some articles in the Register and elsewhere that indicate that MS has a pricing policy that makes XP cheaper if it is purchased before a specific cut-off date that is looming rapidly. If you upgrade to XP later, subsequent Agreements will be more expensive.

    I get the impression, too, that most corporations have been trying all they can to standardize on Win2K and are not interested in hearing about this carrot and stick ploy on XP pricing.

    Of course, as time proceeds and our new users buy laptops with XPSP4 and Outlook 2004 that "works best with" XP and clunky with Win2K, our corporate IT support people will be coerced into a position where their wallets will have to crack open a bit wider to do that upgrade or suffer the wrath of users wondering why "we're behind the times".

    If it didn't hurt so much financially, it would be pretty funny. Now that MS has dominated the market, the only revenue growth opportunity left to them is to force their customer's to upgrade more frequently!

    • but I've read some articles in the Register and elsewhere that indicate that MS has a pricing policy that makes XP cheaper if it is purchased before a specific cut-off date that is looming rapidly. If you upgrade to XP later, subsequent Agreements will be more expensive.

      You are absolutely correct. The drop-dead date for signing up for their Open License program (which is effectively an annual subscription for software) is either October 1 or October 10. And my largest customer, number 2xx on the Fortune 500, is so far content to say, "drop dead." They're not moving.

      • The title of one of his co-authored novels (the other author was Geofrey Hoyle) was "October 10th Is Too Late".


        This proves the visionary status of the late Sir Hoyle. Mind you, since it was a disaster novel (he blew up the entire history of humanity at the end), I'm not sure Microsoft would appreciate the parallels. :)

  • by John Murdoch (102085) on Monday September 24, 2001 @11:07AM (#2341067) Homepage Journal

    I find it interesting that these companies even care. Windows XP offers a few bells and whistles--but it doesn't offer a lot more than Windows 2000. Sure--it offers support for joysticks and heavy-duty gaming. But that doesn't strike me as a compelling new feature causing a corporation to upgrade ("And, uh, this slide shows how we'll be able to use this new version to install Dirk Blasto Space Invader joysticks in all of our CSR workstations to handle irate callers...").

    It seems to me that Microsoft isn't just trying to shift the business model from a "purchase" to a "pay-for-use" model, as many have suggested. I think they're also trying to--or will end up being forced into--a business model similar to Intel's. When the next round of microprocessors appears the chips are sold at a premium price--and the product clears the market at that price. As Intel rachets up production it can profitably lower the price, clearing the market of demand at that lower level. The cycle keeps repeating--Intel (and other semiconductor manufacturers) have this down pat.

    Microsoft has done similar things in the past. Their Visual Studio 6.0 toolset is, by now, quite long in the tooth. They sold tons in the early days of the product, but sales are considerably lower--so Microsoft offers bundled books and tools, and offers lower prices to resellers, to sell product. In effect they're lowering the price to entice buyers into the market who aren't willing to pay the higher price.

    I think we're going to see the same thing with XP. Corporations are simply going to stand pat: why upgrade? All XP gives you is some easily-ignored bells and whistles, and the ability to use joysticks. In order to get corporations to upgrade Microsoft is going to have to make it worth the corporations while--which will almost certainly mean price decreases and less draconian license restrictions.

    My largest customer is number 2xx on the Fortune 500. They're just now rolling out Windows 2000 to desktops around the world--and they have shelved plans for even piloting XP. Microsoft wants them to upgrade--but can't make a compelling case for a whopping upgrade expense (plus the cost of actually installing the OS, labor, etc.) in a time of tightly-trimmed budgets and some layoffs. "Hey," said a friend and senior manager, "we just announced we're whacking 200 people. If we spend three million bucks installing XP we're going to have to whack another 40. Is the ability to use a joystick worth those peoples' jobs?"

    Last week I attended a seminar that included an impromptu lecture by a highly-regarded economist. One of the key changes in the economy over the past 20 years, as he sees it, is that manufacturers by and large have lost control of their pricing. You don't ship shirts to a department store and tell them what to charge--instead you get a purchase order from Wal-Mart telling you what they're willing to pay. And you deal. The major exception that this economist mentioned was pharmaceutical companies, because they're protected by patents on their products. If your doctor prescribes ButaGlutaMax, you can only get it from one place. An exception he did not mention was software--and I think Microsoft is about to learn this lesson. In a booming economy with a bazillion dot-coms buying PCs, Microsoft sold a lot of OSs. The boom is over, budgets are drying up all over the world, and Microsoft is trying to force through a price increase. I don't think they're going to be able to control their prices this time around.

      • I find it interesting that these companies even care

      The reason why my company cares is that we buy desktops with Win2K (soon to be WinXP) and then pay again to install NT 4. We resent having to pay twice. What we want is to buy bare boxen, or NT 4 boxen, but we're tied to Dell, and Dell ship Win2K boxen. We have to have warrantied homogenous hardware to minimise support costs, and it would cost us a fortune to switch to another provider, buy white boxen, or (god help us) switch to Another OS. Dell and Microsoft know this, and they know that they don't have to give us what we want, only what we will (barely) accept.

      Free market my auntie's hairy arse.

      • Unless they've changed, Microsoft has always taken the position that if you have a license to a new product you can install a downgraded product in it's place.

        We used to buy licenses to Office 97 and installed Office 4.0 for instance...
    • I think you are somewhat confusing the issue. Nobody, including Microsoft, disagrees that WinXP is not a major upgrade from Win2k in the corporate arena.

      Most companies aren't even on Win2k yet. They put a hold on plans to wait for WinXP to see what happened. Many companies are still using Win9x.

      Are you also arguing that WinXP is not a compelling upgrade from Win9x?

      I think you'll be surprised at the adoption rate of WinXP and Office XP. They're both high quality pieces of software.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Its really quite simple. A Windows client seat costs what, a max of $200? Fine.

    Your employee makes $10/ hr.

    Therefore your proposed free solution has to be good enough to retrain the employees in less than 20 hours.

    Cant do it? Then you are in the heap of solutions that were good, but not better.
  • Economic Analysis (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ProfDumb (67790) on Monday September 24, 2001 @11:26AM (#2341176)

    As an economist, it is pretty clear what is going on here. If a monopolist wants to maximize current profits, he will always price on an "elastic" portion of the demand curve. In looser language, you maximize profit by raising price until the point where you really are driving some substantial percentage of consumers away. (Why? Because at lower prices, price increases don't cost you much in terms of lost demand and they also reduce your costs.) You can prove a formal version of this mathematically.

    However, in the past MS was worried not just about current sales, but also about future sales. This is called "dynamic pricing". MS's attitude toward dynamic pricing is changing because: [i] they have close to 100% share already, [ii] the number of PCs in not increasing as fast (and so future market share is no longer much more attractive relative to current market share) and [iii] the threat of anti-trust regulation makes the future less certain.

    Thus, MS is turning to the question of how to squeeze out current profits. This involves driving some customers away in order to raise revenue and lower costs for existing customers.

    The opportunity for competitors (including Linux) is obvious. MS may be moving away from dynamic pricing too soon, if there really is a threat to its future market share.

      • In looser language, you maximize profit by raising price until the point where you really are driving some substantial percentage of consumers away

      Microsoft have used this argument themselves. They claim that their maximum profit point is (wait for it) $800 per box, and they only price the OS so "low" because they're such nice guys.

  • What a great reason to start writing good software. Software authors are about to be able to get back into the market as people start to look for replacements. Star Office and Word Perfect should be getting their next release polished up for the Christmas Season. It's going to be a good season.
  • by dpilot (134227) on Monday September 24, 2001 @11:37AM (#2341241) Homepage Journal
    There is now someone I can write to, with reasonable expectations of a good reading. I'm now in the loop instead of an interested mostly-spectator.

    Microsoft's situation is interesting, and perhaps a little sad. Their business model appears to have two cornerstones: Aggressive compound growth and fast, frequent shipment of incremental improvements focused on user perception. Besides that, they've until recently been a 'gentle monopoly' to the end user, not taking advantage their power to control prices.

    This model has served them well, up until recently. But they've effectively reached the limits of desktop revenue, owning monopolies on the OS and the office applications. They're trying to break into imbedded, server, and game console markets. So far their fast/incremental business model has not helped them get as far into the imbedded or server markets as they'd like, where 'next release' and eye candy simply don't cut it when base functionality is unreliable or insecure.

    With Win2k they've made great strides in reliability, but really they're only getting to the base function point. Prior to this, anyone but Microsoft would have been laughed out of the datacenter with most of what they sold.

    In imbedded, they've stuck by WinCE in their usual fashion, but I can't see Microsoft playing in any arena where there isn't enough of a display to show the Windows logo.

    In penetrating new markets to expand their revenue base, the XBox is probably the most important product they have. But Sony and Nintendo won't give up without a fight, and the timing of the recession is just plain bad for having the most expensive console on the market, no matter how capable.

    So with the desktop OS and office market saturated, server and imbedded markets stalled or slow, and not quite ready for console games, in order to continue the revenue curve that is so essential to their invincible appearance, Microsoft had little choice but to ramp up the license terms.

    They're between a rock and a hard place.
    • Microsoft's situation is interesting, and perhaps a little sad. Their business model appears to have two cornerstones: Aggressive compound growth and fast, frequent shipment of incremental improvements focused on user perception.

      Also they rely very much on their own share price. Wonder how they are doing right now.
      • "Microsoft's situation is interesting, and perhaps a little sad. Their business model appears to have two cornerstones: Aggressive compound growth and fast, frequent shipment of incremental improvements focused on user perception."

        Also they rely very much on their own share price. Wonder how they are doing right now.

        They're tanking, even more so than others. Compare to Sun or even Red Hat.

  • Now we're seeing Microsoft acting like a classic monopolist. Having achieved a monopoly, they're running up the price. Way up.

    This could be a win for Apple. Apple's hardware has always been more expensive than comparable PC hardware, but they bundle the OS. With the OS now priced at half the hardware cost, Macs may look like a viable option. Especially now that Apple finally has a protected-mode OS underneath.

  • attourney generals? (Score:2, Informative)

    by cjohnson (105586)
    Actually, not to be nitpicky, but the plural of attourney general is attourneys general. Much like the plural of court marshall is courts marshall, rather than court marshalls.

    (It makes sense. There's no army of generals, and John Ashcroft probably isn't General caliber. Rather, he is the 'general' attourney for the United States. We he and his friends from the states hang out, they are all attourneys, and all general. Thusly, they are attourneys general.)
  • I flexed my consumer muscle two years ago - I got RedHat certified for business purposes, and four months ago made a final switch from M$ to Mandrake 8.0.


    I converted all my stuff from Win2K/Office to Mandrake 8.0. It took about two months for the total conversion (let me tell you email from damnable Outlook was a pain) but now I'm 100% MS free. Only legacy thing which is a pain is Access. I might add that I purchased VMWare [vmware.com] to keep my stuff avail should I need it during the transition.


    I'm no longer concerned with licensing, software EULAs, piracy, inability to play particular music formats, or big brother bill. I don't care about service packs breaking my whole machine, web bugs, or spending ridiculous amounts of $$ to keep up with their silly software releases and $$ for software that should be included with the OS.


    My current machine will probably last me four years - much longer than if I stayed with the M$/Intel upgrade cycle.

    I now purchase software because I feel the development for it is worthwhile (i.e. vmware and mandrake), not because I'm in danger of violating commercial law.

    The only way to really stop M$ is to break their pattern of generating revenue. As a collective of consumers, we have this ability. It might take time, but history shows that all monopolies eventually fail. Should our government actually figure out a way to outlaw open source software, then perhaps it is time for me to change my place of residence. Until then, I urge you all to figure out a time and cohesive manner with which you can start refusing to give M$ the $$ they demand.


    &J

  • It all makes me Sick (Score:2, Interesting)

    by vtechpilot (468543)
    Ok, Warning, This is post is likely to be flamebait, I am likely to be a troll, and a karma whore, and if thats not enough I'm likely to use profanity. You have been warned.

    I have been using computers for more than half my life, Which is easy when you start when you are nine years old. I started with a TRS 80 running of all things Microsoft Basic. It was loads of fun and I liked it. Later for me it was DOS 4.11 on a 12mhz 286. It was loads of fun and I liked it. Everyone remember when microsoft was a pretty good company in New Mexico?

    But Windows... Oh the plauge across the land that which is Windows. Windows 3 wasn't so bad, Considering what it did it was advanced for its time, but I personnaly believed it was one of those things that was never ready for prime time. So why did business dive upon windows like buzzards on a fresh corpse? I don't want to hear that bullshit about it running (or even being compatible with) DOS programs. You don't even want to know how many windows programs break upon moving to a higher version number of windows. Notice how I didn't refer to it as upgrade. Upgrading implies moving forward or progress, but a new version of windows in neither of those. I digress the point here is that Windows 3 was no more compatiable with DOS, than Windows ME is with Windows 98. There are lots of programs written for windows 98 that absolutely refuse to run on windows ME. So backwards compatabilty is a sick joke, and the joke is on all of us. Just enough compatabilty for us to think it is real. Not quite enough to keep us from buying more windows.

    I personally am absolutely disgusted with Windows. I have been giving myself a mental beating over that fact that I have written windows programs. To continue supporting this monster is unthinkable. It makes me think of the analogy of primative peoples sacrificing virgins to a horrible demon.

    Once a week the villagers would leave a virgin sacrifice tied up outside the demon's cave to keep the demon happy. But what the villagers don't know is that if they stop sacrificing villagers the demon is to fat to go out and do anything about it.

    Now I am not saying that microsoft is to fat, but I am saying we don't have to keep feeding out dollars to the behemoth. Honestly what are they going to do if everyone decides that they aren't going to pay for this crap anymore? I personally have made this resolution. I will not give microsoft A single Red Penny of mine.

    I am in the process of a Microsoft Purge. While unpleasant at the moment it is an enima that the rest of the computing world could use. Everyone needs to stick a big bottle of penguin juice up their ass and flush all the microcrap away. I am converting all my ASF files to DivX with a hacked version of virtual dub, I am retireing all of my Open Source Visual Basic Projects (I have 4 of them, 3 of which are of a usable quality.) Since learning Pascal I have changed my Language of choice to Kylix (which is cool because the GPL is my license of choice) Oh, and if I hear any of that crap about "Free as in speach Compilers", Fuck off, Be happy I give my code away at all. Kylix is cool, I can develope Linux programs in a manner similar to that of Visual Basic, while contiuning to help the unfortunate souls who have yet to recive their bottles of penguin juice.

    Somehow I doubt I will ever give up Microsoft Completely. Thats Ok, though, I can dual boot. I have been doing so for a while. I can continue to use what versions of windows I have bought. I'll probably continue to load windows to play some games, but I will certainly buy no game that requires a version of windows I don't have. Hopefully by that time though Linux versions of games will be more that the dream it seems to be now. My point here is it is far more important to stop handing over your hard earned dollars/pounds/yen/rupees/ruples/franc/marks/euros for crap, than to quit using crap cold turkey.

    Oh my God using that analogy Windows is like Crack. Makes sense though, While using it you are too doped up to know you are paying something designed to keep you paying for it. Ooh look at the pretty logos!

    Maybe one day we will all wake up from this bad trip and find ourselves sitting at our terminals in 1973 and decide that thats a vision of the future we don't want. I can almost understand the retaliation against the Hippie movement when I compare it to windows. I could just see it, its the early 90's and all the wise old hackers are terrified because all those young hippie windows users are going unravel the fabic of society. Both the anti-hippies and the anti-windies were both right and wrong, Windows like, the free-love-sex-drugs-peace mentalaty of the 60's have had both positive effects (like promoting peace and computer literacy) and negative effects (like disco, and computer illiteracy.)

    I am getting tired of the Linux evangelists in the world who say "Don't like microsoft?, Use Linux!", Its not enough to just say use Linux. You are so preaching to the chior. Its easy to tell people who use Linux to use Linux. Its hard to go out into the world and teach the ignorant masses that there is a better way. If any one of you out there really wants people to stop using windows, then get out there and do something about it. Write Code, Don't try to tear down the applications barrier around windows. Instead, build a bigger applications barrier around linux. Build Good Freindly applications. Build a wall so high and strong that Bill's 120 Billion dollars could never be enough to bring it down. Host LUGNUT [Linux User Group New User Training for the unitiated] meetings. Advertise the LUGNUTs to the general public. Most newspapers list non-profit community events for free. Coordinate them with local civic centers, libraries, colleges and universities, Highschools, and Career advancement institutions. In your spare time at work implement open source versions of your companies systems if only to prove to the suits it can be done economically. Go out into the world and be a Open Source Missionary. Find the heathens and point them towards the light. If you can do none of these things, offer finiacial support to those who do. Send a few dollars in the way of those who run linux learning centers, or donate hardware to those who need it to teach open source. Send a few dollars to the guy who puts in 40 hours a week into Mozilla, or apache, or bind, or send flowers to Linus, and Alan Cox.

    I heave bled my heart out for you. Its all I can do. If you want this open source thing to work, you have to work for it. Nothing this good comes easily. You have to work for it.

    Moderators, be kind, I speak only the truth, and I seek only the truth.

  • No customers contacted by CNET News.com said they planned to evaluate alternative applications

    There's your answer on the price issue. Companies obviously feel the cost of changing (retraining, losing interoperability with others, etc) is still greater than the cost of paying Microsoft's monopoly prices (soon to be rents). I wonder just how expensive an OS or Office upgrade must get for them to consider a change as being cost effective? Microsoft will raise prices until they find this point (can't really blame them), and apparently they still have some wiggle room, even as high as their prices have become! Only a very small percentage have gotten pissed off enough to change.

    The amazing thing is that companies have switched software before (Visicalc -> 123 -> Excel, Harvard Graphics -> Freelance -> Powerpoint, WordStar -> WordPerfect -> Word, etc.) but this time they seem as stubborn as an ox and much more unwilling to change, perhaps because the number of users to retrain is so much higher than in the "old days".

    • The amazing thing is that companies have switched software before (Visicalc -> 123 -> Excel, Harvard Graphics -> Freelance -> Powerpoint, WordStar -> WordPerfect -> Word, etc.) but this time they seem as stubborn as an ox and much more unwilling to change, perhaps because the number of users to retrain is so much higher than in the "old days".

      The number of users is greater. The cluefullness of their users is lower and they've already been there, done that. Many clerical types would rather fight than switch, as the old cigarette commercial goes. I also have to wonder how much they'll pay. At the rate M$ is going, we may soon find out.
  • A lot of comments here complaining about how Win95 is a perfectly reasonable OS and why should anybody waste money on WinXP.

    Which seems kind of strange, as these are probably the same people complaining about how Win95 sucks, crashes a lot and requires daily reboots.

    But on another point. If you were running Linux would you be content with using kernel versions dating back from 1995? I don't remember what version that would have been, probably early 1.x, but anyway...

    One of the reasons I stopped using Linux was because I found it difficult at the time to keep up with all the upgrades needed. I'd find new software but in order to use it my kernel would have to be at some level, and to do that meant upgrading libraries and compilers and such.

    While I think one of the compelling things about Windows is the fact that even a 6 year old version of the OS(Win95) can still work with a lot of modern software. The reality is that it is quite painful to try to live solely in that past and the new software with new hardware does give some very compelling features that makes life nice.

    I don't maintain a constant upgrade cycle, only when I feel I want to. I have a PIII-850, 768 Megs of RAM and a 30 Gig drive. I run Win2k. I have Office XP. But I still only have Money 2000, having seen no reason to upgrade to either 2001 or 2002 versions.

    I don't know. I think a lot of people just like to bitch. Do whatever you feel you need to do, but don't try to convince myself... I can make my own decisions.
    • Re:Why upgrade? (Score:2, Informative)

      by praedor (218403)

      You do not HAVE to upgrade in linux. I do periodically, less often than I used. The only upgrades that should be considered important and a no-pass are security upgrades.


      On my home system, I am happy with a working kernel behind my firewall with which my radeon card works well on. I haven't upgraded for a number of kernel cycles because "if it ain't broke, don't fix it". I upgrade this or that for security reasons but that's about it. In any case, you can avoid the lib dependencies if you build your own kernel from source. It is not really difficult. Sure, it may SEEM intimidating the first time but once you do it a couple times (if you do it correctly, you are in no danger of screwing up your system or eliminating your current working kernel - and you can always go back to the working kernel at lilo...). Build it with what you have and it will work.


      Windoze, on the other hand, will provide a constant stream of bug-fix, security fixes well after they should have. It is too late to patch for nimba after all the 'doze boxen have been nailed. The damage is done and the next bug is being exploited.


      Also, with every single M$ package upgrade you do, you lose backwards compatiblity - for no good, valid reason whatsoever. There is NO reason to constantly dick with the word doc format except to FORCE users to upgrade (PAY$$$$). There is no point - you get the same functions that were working fine on the previous iterations plus a few dickwad things that NO ONE uses. But people get forced to upgrade because their colleagues did - or they bought a new broken system that has the latest version of microsnot crap on it and his/her apps are no longer compatible with yours which is merely the previous iteration. Now YOU feel compelled to upgrade ($$$$) so you can eliminate the problems of opening his/her documents broken with the latest gratuitous .doc alterations.


      Linux is FAR easier to deal with in this regard and you do not HAVE to upgrade this or that just because it is the newest version. That is M$-think. You need linux-think. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

  • How dumb is this? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ikekrull (59661) on Monday September 24, 2001 @06:20PM (#2343844) Homepage

    'We think M$ software is too expensive, but we're not prepared to bite the bullet and use an alternative or fund the devlopment of other solutions to our problem.'

    With 880 million pounds - almost a billion pounds, well over a billion $US, you could easily afford to pay for a team to write an OfficeXP to Office97 file format converter, even if it meant that team of people had to spend every waking hour for a month figuring it out.

    You might even have a few bucks left over, like, ohh, about 879.8 million pounds, absolute worst-case scenario.

    With a few of those millions, enough people could be hired to work on OpenOffice, StarOffice, KOffice or the GNOME Office suite to make it, if not a total replacement, at least a workable alternative to Office XP.

    This, essentially one-time, investment would save the next 4-year period's 1.2 billion pound bill, as M$ jacks the price up again, since nobody has bothered to get off their fat corporate ass and do something about it.

    Its like these companies have voluntarily beached themselves like whales and are letting a giant vulture (i.e. Microsoft) slowly eat their flesh while they slowly die of suffocation in the blistering sun.

Remember: use logout to logout.

Working...