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Microsoft The Almighty Buck

OSS Officially On Microsoft's Financial Radar Screen 639

seldo writes "More news from Microsoft's latest quarterly filing: according to eWeek, Microsoft says it may have to lower its prices in response to competition from open-source software. From the filing: "To the extent the open source model gains increasing market acceptance, sales of the company's products may decline, the company may have to reduce the prices it charges for its products, and revenues and operating margins may consequently decline". This is a fairly major revelation from Microsoft, and if it happens, it may be one of the biggest wins yet for open-source software: what do you know -- competition works!"
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OSS Officially On Microsoft's Financial Radar Screen

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  • by Oculus Habent ( 562837 ) <oculus DOT habent AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday February 04, 2003 @08:40AM (#5221975) Journal
    And lose its insane profit margin?!

  • by x0n ( 120596 ) <oising.iol@ie> on Tuesday February 04, 2003 @08:41AM (#5221981) Homepage Journal
    They're up to something. I reckon he's finally managed to license English (tm) and this is a cruel prank on the OSS community.

    - Oisin
  • by EvilDrew ( 523879 ) on Tuesday February 04, 2003 @08:48AM (#5222010) Homepage
    So this is why the Microsoft Home Of The Future has no bathroom. They can't afford it anymore. Sweet.
  • by FungiSpunk ( 628460 ) on Tuesday February 04, 2003 @08:54AM (#5222033)
    I love OSS, but just think...

    OSS wins and almost all the servers and desktops are OSS. Then the companies that "bought" into the OSS, get annoyed that Linus is not releasing the fixes quick enough. Forks start appearing left right and center and suddenly every company has its own sponsered Linux distro.

    Mr Gates waits patriently in the wings waiting for chaos to reach its peak before finally saying..."Well there is a reasonable, inexpensive option for your OS problems, you know?"....(thinks to himself "once more the wheel of fate turns in Bill's direction...mwhahahahaha!")
  • by cluge ( 114877 ) on Tuesday February 04, 2003 @08:59AM (#5222055) Homepage
    A translation for those not fiscally inclined.

    *large puffs of smoke appear, and a talking face begs you*

    "Gosh darn it! Open Source is digging into our revenue. Lord knows that Open Source will be the down fall of all things good, look whats happening to our profits! **Ignore present world wide economic conditions they have no bearing here** I mean, we weren't really price gouging before, we were just looking out for our stock holders. Now our profits are going to go down because we have to lower our already, really, really, really fair prices or else we won't keep market share. It's unfair competition! **Ignore present world wide economic conditions they have no bearing here**"

    ***second translation***
    "G*d d*mn this sucks, we have to compete now, we just can't buy Linus out. So much for our past competitive strategy"

  • by Xpilot ( 117961 ) on Tuesday February 04, 2003 @09:05AM (#5222084) Homepage
    stylish consistent GUI for a reasonable price?

    Stylish? Stylish? You mean the big, colorful plastic looking WinXP buttons? You call that stylish? To quote a reviewer on the web (I forget where from):

    The Windows XP interface looks like some kid ate a box of crayons and threw up on the screen.

    Is it stylish because Microsoft made it?
  • by tweek ( 18111 ) on Tuesday February 04, 2003 @09:14AM (#5222123) Homepage Journal
    I always called it "Fischer-Price My First Operating System" hehe
  • by clickety6 ( 141178 ) on Tuesday February 04, 2003 @09:19AM (#5222142)
    and so they no longer need to act like one!

    Or am I just getting cynical in my old age?

  • by hype7 ( 239530 ) <> on Tuesday February 04, 2003 @09:20AM (#5222146) Journal
    You gotta be kidding me! This reminds me of the old joke... a US Navy Carrier sees a big blip on the radar, and sends out of the radio:
    "This is the USS Big Ship to unidentified target, please change course." The response comes back:
    "That's a negative, Big Ship".
    "We are a Aircraft Carrier from the US Navy. Now please change course!"
    "That's a negative, Big Ship. We're a lighthouse"

    For chrissakes, OSS has got to be the biggest stack of rocks sitting on MS's radar that they've had in a long, long time.

    -- james
  • by msouth ( 10321 ) on Tuesday February 04, 2003 @09:31AM (#5222198) Homepage Journal
    I was sure that I read somewhere that the price of the software isn't an important factor in the total package, and thus the free-ness of Linux was irrelevant. Let's see, what company was it that was saying that over and over?
  • by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Tuesday February 04, 2003 @09:34AM (#5222215) Journal
    I don't like butterscotch, but I do like vanilla. You don't see friggin holy wars over pudding, though, do you?
    How can you not like butterscotch? HERETIC! Burn the HERETIC!
  • by Bazzargh ( 39195 ) on Tuesday February 04, 2003 @09:36AM (#5222226)
    Yeah, can't you write something more original like:

    1. ignore you,
    2. laugh at you,
    3. fight you,
    4. ... <-- possibly a beowulf cluster of ghandis
    5. Profit!

  • by Black Parrot ( 19622 ) on Tuesday February 04, 2003 @09:55AM (#5222351)

    > Here's my scenario: Microsoft reduce the price of windows by 60%. The 90% of linux users who use it only because they don't have to pay for it decide they may as well use windows. Sales of office increase

    Unless times have changed, the group of people you are describing run warez rather than Linux.

  • by Black Parrot ( 19622 ) on Tuesday February 04, 2003 @09:58AM (#5222366)

    > At my university ( there are posters everywhere that advertise MS products for 90% off of the 'estimated retail price'.

    "The first fix is fr^H^H 90% off this week, kid."

  • by LookSharp ( 3864 ) on Tuesday February 04, 2003 @10:23AM (#5222523)
    ...sales of the company's products may decline, the company may have to reduce the prices it charges for its products...

    Wow, if this sort of brave new thinking catches on, there might be cheaper compact discs from the RIAA and lower movie ticket prices from the MPAA!

    Microsoft really *DOES* innovate, after all! And to think, the previous "best practice" by other companies was raising prices by collusion and suing the dissentors!
  • by josh crawley ( 537561 ) on Tuesday February 04, 2003 @11:54AM (#5223072)
    ---1) Go read a history of UNIX / M.I.T / Stephen Levy's "Hackers" book. Then you'll understand people were giving away software long before they had any ideas before making money out of it. Selling software is a newer idea...

    What you talk about is the original Unix Way. If every program is a simple single minded program, and somebodt else would like to borrow a snippet of code, why not? And no, selling software is NOT a new idea. It's just another way to pay the programmers on code. And of course, if they open that code up, why buy their product (enter vicious circle)

    ---2) OSS/FSF/GPL exist purely to protect the rights of those who *choose* to distribute software freely to continue to do that, to allow them (and anyone else) the ability to use and modify that software and to ensure that nothing is hidden behind proprietary standards.

    I think you misunderstand standards documents. Standards can be wrote in plain language that describe how something happens. Code is just an implementation of that standard.

    ---3) Microsoft *sell* software. They are not innovaters, just damn good at repackaging the ideas of others and marketing it - or just buying the company that innovated it in the first place. They can, and have, used Open Source software ideas in their own products but, then, that's what it's designed for. (Yes, when you Windows people venture to the command line on your Windows boxes, whenever you "ping" something, you're using software that originated from the dirty, disgusting free software movement.)

    Oh fun. Yet another "I hate MS" person. Get this straight. They are a business. They are in the software business to make money. They arent in there to evangelize, bemoan, or any other religious war that MANY linux users get suckered into. Even the FreeBSD people are worse in that regard. Does "My shit does not smell" make sense to you?

    ---4) OSS does not give a damn about Microsoft "competition". OSS/Linux/FreeBSD users, who probably have experience with Windows, might hate Microsoft (yes, I'm one of them) because of their business methods, rubbish software or simply because it's "cool". But OSS was there long before Microsoft as a defence against predatory practices from UNIX vendors and will be there long after.

    There's plenty of reasons why you would use Linux, rather than Microsoft stuff that would not be "I hate MS" topic.

    First, Linux on the servers makes sense because MS has a bad tendancy to break stuff/leave servers unpatched.

    Secondly, Linux is coming up to common recognition. I'm just riding the wave so I'll have an edge on the new Linux users.

    Third, I cant afford a Legit copy of MS programming suite, so I use GCC. That pisses me off more than anything, cause I remember the days where MS gave away compiliers (Quick Basic) so you could do basic programming stuff. Now, you have to fork over 300$ to get a copy. With Linux, GCC is free, along with all the libs, and additional compilers. And I get multiple CPU compiles ;-) The compiler is probably the biggest reason for me to 'switch'. If I could develop Windows stuff (and see basic windows programming like seeing the source for notepad and calc), I'd probably wouldnt have went to Linux.

    ---5) Microsoft reducing the cost of their products / turning Windows into an operating system / sticking Gates' head on a pole outside 1 Microsoft Way might slow down the migration from Windows to OSS but it probably won't do anything whatsoever to those already using / developing OSS software.

    What? So you wanna stick Gates' head to a pole which will speed up Open source?

    --6) Microsoft cannot buy OSS because there's nothing tangible to own, they can't stamp on OSS because it's too widespread, they can just continue to spread FUD as they've always done. End of OSS lesson...

    !THUMP! What was that? Oh, just the dead horse getting beat.
  • by EvilTwinSkippy ( 112490 ) <[yoda] [at] []> on Tuesday February 04, 2003 @12:36PM (#5223438) Homepage Journal
    Well, they did remove Clippy by default.
  • by Xner ( 96363 ) on Tuesday February 04, 2003 @12:37PM (#5223454) Homepage
    You could probably say the same about Red Hat 1.

    No you couldn't. And do you know why? Because there has never been a Red Hat 1.0!
    If i remember correctly they started at 4.0 or something similar. Talk about version inflation, three full point ohs without doing as much as lifting a finger :-)

  • by Lucas Membrane ( 524640 ) on Tuesday February 04, 2003 @12:41PM (#5223495)
    Cutting costs by lowering quality is not an option.

Thus spake the master programmer: "When a program is being tested, it is too late to make design changes." -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"