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Microsoft

Will Microsoft Subsidize WinXP For Lindows Buyers? 644

kinema writes "Ars Technica has an interesting little article about Microsoft's alleged "dumping" of Windows XP. It seems that Microsoft is selling XP through TigerDirect for only US$50 to customers who have purchased a Lindows computer." Note that Tiger says nothing like this on their site (No, you can't buy WinXP for $50 there); Lindows CEO Michael Robertson says (in the linked column) that "Microsoft's latest offers to TigerDirect are extremely lucrative and I wouldn't be surprised if they ultimately cave to Microsoft's pocketbook." PR ploy or reality, you decide.
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Will Microsoft Subsidize WinXP For Lindows Buyers?

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  • Why (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Cackmobile ( 182667 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2003 @07:08AM (#6159590) Journal
    If you had bought a Lindows system, why would you wanna buy XP. You've obviously made a choice not to buy windows.
    • Re:Why (Score:5, Insightful)

      by twstdr00t ( 78288 ) <bryanb@@@bsideinternet...com> on Tuesday June 10, 2003 @07:10AM (#6159600) Homepage
      Because if the decision was based mostly on price, $50 looks a lot better then $200.
      • Re:Why (Score:3, Insightful)

        by ctve ( 635102 )
        Is it really as much as that?

        In the UK, I've seen Windows XP Home (OEM) licenses for sale for about $99.

        PS Not disputing your general view that people are buying Lindows on price rather that security/philosophy basis.

        • Re:Why (Score:4, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 10, 2003 @07:42AM (#6159772)
          If you buy one, expect to be serving time in custody (under section 15 of the Theft Act 1968 for obtaining products by deception, if nothing else). (That is unless you intend to build computers and install this copy onto such a machine.)

          The correct price for XP Home is over GBP 160 (at dabs.com, GBP 163.32 excluding carriage)! For our European friends, that's EUR 231.13, and for any Americans among us it is a bargain at just USD 270.39.

          It's not really surprising that people are lookin elsewhere when faced with these prices, product activation and loss of features (such as a watering down of the command line).
          • Re:Why (Score:5, Informative)

            by joebp ( 528430 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2003 @08:00AM (#6159872) Homepage
            That's the non-OEM versions. The OEM versions are around £65 inc VAT or £106 inc VAT for XP Pro. £65 is around $99.
            • Re:Why (Score:3, Insightful)

              by Surak ( 18578 ) *
              Exactly. Non-OEM version. Unless you're building machines for re-sale, you are NOT entitled to buy the OEM version of the software. You have obtained your software through fraudulent means, and are in violation of the Microsoft EULA, and probably several other laws, as the AC mentioned above, the Theft Act of 1968 in the U.K.

              • Re:Why (Score:5, Informative)

                by 1u3hr ( 530656 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2003 @08:41AM (#6160213)
                ...in violation of the Microsoft EULA, and probably several other laws

                A EULA is not a law. Legislatures make laws, not companies.

                • Re:Why (Score:4, Insightful)

                  by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 10, 2003 @09:14AM (#6160497)
                  Legislatures make laws, not companies.

                  You appear to have only studied the theoretical workings of government. In "practical" application in modern times, businesses not only make laws, the install governments and control the judicial process.

                • Re:Why (Score:3, Interesting)

                  >> Legislatures make laws, not companies.

                  Yeah. This is true. But with big companies lobbying (and owning) congress the way they do, this might not be true for long...

                  RIAA, MPAA ???

                • Re:Why (Score:5, Interesting)

                  by dissy ( 172727 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2003 @12:43PM (#6162677)
                  > A EULA is not a law.

                  Granted

                  > Legislatures make laws, not companies

                  But wha!? Where have you been living the past 10 years??

                  Look at all the laws bought by companys...

                  Copyright, DMCA, all drug laws, any law that involves the internet (generally having the word 'cyber' in it) that is obviously different from its real world counter-part law, any/all deregulation laws... The list goes on and on.

                  Then on top of it, there are three types of lawsuits all handled differently.
                  Person vs person. Company vs person. and Company vs company.
                  They are all handled Very differently in reality.
                  Person vs person = Generally this is the only way our legal system works as it was intended.
                  Company vs Company = whichever has the largest legal team wins.
                  Company vs person = company always wins.

                  You dont think this wasnt encouraged and backed by companys to keep this aragement?

                  Copyright has been changed by companys (one company, disney, mainly) so a company doesnt have to pay for copyright and can keep their works forever.

                  Drug laws were created purely for racist segragation (The white christian government didnt like the fact other countrys workers used a standard drug, wanted those workers gone to make more jobs for said white christian workers, and so made outlaws of the group by making the comon drug of the time illegal)
                  They are currently enforced because, for example, if weed was legal, the entire oil business would pretty much go away, as hemp oils burn over 50% cleaner and are way over 10 times cheaper to produce, plus will never go away as the case with oils refined from ore. (Just one example, there are many others)

                  All the laws that already have real world counterparts but because it now involves the internet its somehow different.
                  If I stole a CD from a store, i get a fine, and on my 2nd offence MAYBE a day or two of jail time. If i download the same data from the internet, its somehow changed into 5 years of prison time and $10,000 per song.

                  Deregulation laws. Yes, basically in english they all read identical:
                  "If you can make a better product than I do, cheaper, we will sue you for preventing us from making money" (See airlines, phone company, sony, etc)

                  Any law that only helps a small minority while at the same time hurting the entire majority is most likely made by a company and bought.

                  That pretty much describes all of the laws passed in the past few years...
                  Sad but true *shrug*

              • Re:Why (Score:5, Insightful)

                by mcrbids ( 148650 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2003 @11:37AM (#6161889) Journal
                Exactly. Non-OEM version. Unless you're building machines for re-sale, you are NOT entitled to buy the OEM version of the software. You have obtained your software through fraudulent means, and are in violation of the Microsoft EULA, ....

                The terms of the EULA (at least as of about 3 years ago) indicate that the 'doze copy must be sold with a significant amount of hardware - and either a motherboard or hard drive suffice.

                There's no requirement that they be *new*, or is there any restriction on *price*, or even that said motherboard or hard drive have any guarantee of functionality. We even called their piracy hotline, verified this, and even demanded a ticket number that we could reference later.

                So, as the owner of a computer store, we kept a box of "questionable" hardware that we sold for $1 USD. Anytime we replace a Hard disk or Motherboard, we'd indicate on the replaced item with a permanent marker its status and put it in the $1 box.

                And, when we sold an OEM copy of Windows, we included the $1 hard disk or motherboard!

                Now, as far as I can tell, we followed the EULA right to the letter, and for some reason, many of the people who bought these hard drives and motherboards left them behind!.
          • Re:Why (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Cereal Box ( 4286 )
            Not sure how the law is in the UK but in the US you can buy OEM copies of software as long as you buy "hardware" with it. One store I go to defines "hardware" as something as simple as a CPU fan. I imagine this is pretty legitimate, as this store is well-known in the area and has been operating for a number of years.
          • Re:Why (Score:5, Informative)

            by bleh-of-the-huns ( 17740 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2003 @08:04AM (#6159898)
            XP Home Upgrade Edition, $99
            XP Home Full edition, $199
            XP Pro Upgrade Edition, $199
            XP Pro Full Edition, $299

            The prices may fluctuate a lil up or down, depending on where its being sold, but thats about the going rates on XP for the various versions, the upgrade being identical to the full install, but it looks for a previous version, easily fooled by sticking in any old windows cd, or even dos bootdisk.
            • If you shop around a little bit, you can buy a full version of Windows XP for $93. [newegg.com], or a full version of XP Pro for $143.

              Both specify "must be purchased with hardware" which is apparently related to the deal they have with Microsoft. This is probably intended to be sold to people building their own computers, as that's the primary business of the referenced site, so Microsoft's 'with hardware' clause may have been intended to mean a processor and motherboard etc... but a $5 cable satisfies the formal requ

    • Re:Why (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Nah, people who buy lindows aren't neccessarily *against* microsoft. If they knew enough to be against ms, they wouldn't run lindows. I think the people buyin lindows are people looking for a computer that offers: email and office and surf stuff and then go for price. Nothing *against* microsoft at all.
    • Re:Why (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Blacklotuz ( 575879 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2003 @07:12AM (#6159613)
      If you'r buying a Lindows box with the intention of runing XP, you either already own XP or plan to pirate it.
      • Re:Why (Score:5, Interesting)

        by TheMidget ( 512188 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2003 @07:29AM (#6159715)
        If you'r buying a Lindows box with the intention of runing XP, you either already own XP or plan to pirate it.

        Or you read that with a Lindows box, you can get XP for $50 rather than $200. Assuming that Lindows costs less than $150, this is an extremely good deal! Looks like a good way to get Windows users to try out Linux ;-)

    • Re:Why (Score:3, Insightful)

      by akadruid ( 606405 ) *
      If you had bought a Lindows system, why would you wanna buy XP.
      Assuming you are not trolling:
      This is an frontal attack on the company and it's policies.
      They hope to make it more profitable for the company to sell windows than linux, thereby killing off another competitor.
      It's just the first stage of knocking out consumer decision making.
      • Re:Why (Score:4, Funny)

        by gormanly ( 134067 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2003 @08:02AM (#6159878)
        This is an frontal attack on the company and it's policies.
        They hope to make it more profitable for the company to sell windows than linux, thereby killing off another competitor.


        Looks like they've already suceeded: Lindow Man [bbc.co.uk] is "the only prehistoric person who survives in Britain"!
    • Re:Why (Score:5, Insightful)

      by llamalicious ( 448215 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2003 @07:28AM (#6159711) Journal
      ...and then you use it, can't communicate effectively or share files 100% with the rest of your family, see a cheap way to get that "Windows thing my sister, brother, aunt and uncle have" and say, hmm, only $50...

      Not trolling, I'm dead serious. If one of my less technically inclined siblings bought a Lindows machine from Wal*Mart, you can be sure after a few days or weeks of using it for emailing stuff back and forth (excel, word, ppt, whatever) with the other family members, they be begging to get Windows on their computer (Why can I open this CoolStuff.ppt on my computer??.) Ok, in fairness, they wouldn't necessarily be begging for Windows, per se, but they'd be begging to be able to have a working solution. Just for the numerous kids educational titles out there they'd get it.

      Please, don't start in with the run it on Wine shit either, unless your going to provide free on-site tech support to resolve library and native vs. Wine dll issues on each piece of software they have.

      Yes, I do know I reference MS Office file types up there, which cost far more than the discounted $50 XP. I'm over-generalizing just to make a point. IMO Lindows is great, for someone who *knows* they want to get away from Microsoft, or want to get started in Linux without starting up a distro from a Floppy, network install or CD and figuring it all out. But not for any typical home user I know...

      Now, to my actual point:
      Yes, I've used a Lindows machine a family member bought on a whim; it's no longer running Lindows. You better believe they didn't know it didn't have Windows. Lindows/Windows... it's all the same... right??? He didn't have a clue what he was getting. None. I'll be a good chunk of all the Lindows machine buying folks don't know either.

      Ahhh... well, that's my big rant for the day, time for some coffee to calm me down.

      Agree/disagree...? I wanna hear about it.
      • Re:Why (Score:4, Insightful)

        by jeffkjo1 ( 663413 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2003 @07:43AM (#6159786) Homepage
        Yes, I've used a Lindows machine a family member bought on a whim; it's no longer running Lindows. You better believe they didn't know it didn't have Windows. Lindows/Windows... it's all the same... right??? He didn't have a clue what he was getting. None. I'll be a good chunk of all the Lindows machine buying folks don't know either.


        This is because too many people think computer *means* windows... That is, unless the computer looks like a gumdrop, in which case, it means *kooky macintosh*, but they wouldnt know what to do with that either.
      • Re:Why (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Quantum Skyline ( 600872 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2003 @07:45AM (#6159800)
        Agree wholeheartedly.

        The average user doesn't know the difference between Windows/Lindows, except the fact that there is no Word, Excel, Outlook (Express), etc yet. No one's heard of WordPerfect. Barely anyone I know uses Netscape. I would have to explain why Kazaa doesn't work...and they don't care about alternatives - its Kazaa or bust. Can't run MSN Messenger? Screw it. Even if Sim or Everybuddy or GAIM is better.

        Most people who are buying a computer that cheap are buying it because it is that cheap. They don't care what's on it as long as it runs the games it needs without any extra work. I try to educate users about licensing, but explain to a 12 year old like I did this weekend the concept of copyright and licensing. It goes right over their heads. And since parents probably know less than their kids about computers, parents will ask "Is this what you want?", get an affirmative, and pull out the Visa.

        Kids get to play their games, parents get rid of another headache.
      • Re:Why (Score:3, Insightful)

        by nolife ( 233813 )
        I disagree

        you can be sure after a few days or weeks of using it for emailing stuff back and forth (excel, word, ppt, whatever) with the other family members, they be begging to get Windows on their computer

        Not until very recently (with XP), not many home users have MS Office available, maybe MS Works or Corel but not the full blown Office package. If so, I was not aware Office was a common package on OEM computers.

        I have NEVER sent or recieved a MS Office document from a family member (or anyone for
      • Disagree (Score:3, Interesting)

        by metamatic ( 202216 )
        My less-technically-inclined parents are begging me to put Linux on their computer.

        Why?

        Because their Windows system has hosed itself or been wiped out by viruses and trojan horses four times in the last year or two. Every time they get it all working again, suddenly they have an infestation of pop-up penis enlargement ads, or everyone they know starts getting e-mailed virus file attachments. Even when Windows is not obviously hosed, it tends to crash and otherwise behave erratically, because they're not t
    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 10, 2003 @07:34AM (#6159735)
      For several days, the Ars crowd has been discussing this. The discussion is worth reading through [infopop.net]
    • Re:Why (Score:4, Funny)

      by Daniel Phillips ( 238627 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2003 @07:43AM (#6159787)
      If you had bought a Lindows system, why would you wanna buy XP. You've obviously made a choice not to buy windows.

      Or you've decided to take advantage of billg's generosity, and get XP for $149 total, including a copy of Lindows. Dual boot on a beer budget!

      Everybody buy this, I say. (And help get another money suck going, much like XBox.)
  • by Machine9 ( 627913 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2003 @07:10AM (#6159596) Homepage
    Even if it's true (something which is far from impossible considering microsoft's attitude towards the competition), does it really matter?

    I mean, do we *really* want Lindows to be the thing the masses at large associate with linux, or alternative OSes in general?

    • by Speare ( 84249 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2003 @07:19AM (#6159654) Homepage Journal

      Why not? Choices make the world a better place. Lindows isn't Debian. Lindows isn't Red Hat. Lindows is Lindows. Just because you don't like it doesn't mean it's not a good product for some people.

      If somebody forks over some cash for a Microsoft-free product, it still sends a message to Microsoft. If somebody's happy with Lindows, great! If somebody's unhappy with Lindows after trying it, they can decide to go back to Microsoft or they can try something else, but they know they have a choice.

    • Please for once try thinking of lindows not to be an evil linux distribution. Think about it as a windows competition that has nothing to do with linux on surface. Now a windows competitor is a fine thing or?

      Today Windows and Linux Users are two completletly diffrent folks with different desires. You and me are a linux users with linuxish desires thats fine. Now for us lindows is something not attractive to use ourselfs okay. Now there are these windows users, they like maybe lindows which is windows like,
  • Hooked on Crack (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 10, 2003 @07:11AM (#6159605)
    Like the friendly neighborhood drug dealer, Bill says, "Here, have this first taste on me..."
  • by Howler ( 17832 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2003 @07:11AM (#6159606)
    People who have bought Lindows PCs are not going to want to spend yet another $50 bux on something that their computer does for them already.

    From what I've seen the concept is to eliminate the M$ tax and make the machine as cheap as possible...this kinda defeats the purpose for the user.
    • You need to stop kidding yourself if you think that Lindows can adequately work as a replacement for Windows XP.

      On the software side, Lindows can't run a lot of Windows software, and many programs that it can run (via Wine) don't always work correctly. OpenOffice DOES NOT work as a 100% replacement for Office. Just because you can move simple to moderately complex documents back and forth between Office and OO doesn't mean that OO can seamlessly replace Office. It's not just "weird Office features that
      • by Virtex ( 2914 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2003 @09:31AM (#6160656) Homepage
        You need to stop kidding yourself if you think that Windows XP can adequately work as a replacement for Linux.

        On the software side, Windows XP can't run a lot of Linux software, and many programs that it can run (via porting) don't always work correctly. MS Office DOES NOT work as a 100% replacement for OpenOffice. Just because you can move simple to moderately complex documents back and forth between OO and Office doesn't mean that Office can seamlessly replace OO. It's not just "weird OO features that no one ever uses" that Office can't do, it's a lot of stuff. It'll work pretty well, but it's not a complete replacement for OO by any means. Also, do you really think that you could just buy Linux software off the shelf, pop it into your Windows machine, and have it autorun, install, and work properly? Keep dreaming.

        On the hardware side, unless you go and buy hardware that works in a fairly generic method (hard drives, mice, etc.) you're not going to have a lot of luck. Buy a piece of hardware that needs special drivers (webcams, video input cards, etc.) and you're going to see your chance of successfully getting Windows working with the hardware drop to zero.

        So in light of all this, free seems like a deal. No money to get software and hardware to "just work" without jumping through hoops. Not a bad deal.

        Not a troll, just trying to give you a reality check...
  • sigh (Score:3, Insightful)

    by satanicat ( 239025 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2003 @07:11AM (#6159608)
    I dont know that this is new news,

    Microsoft seems to have been taking heat for something or another for as long as I can remember.

    On the otherhand, all compitition play dirty. Dont they?
    • Re:sigh (Score:3, Informative)

      by JWW ( 79176 )
      Please do some looking into what they've done. They are not just "Doing what everyone else does."

      Places to start:

      "Dos isn't done 'til Lotus won't run."

      Strange error messages for DR DOS users starting windows 3.1.

      Claim for Windows NT Sever that there will never be "evil" per client licensing for the file server. (my favorite one, of course they just ment for version 3.51 )

      IBM essentially dumping OS/2 in order to be able to preload Windows 95 (Microsoft waited until the last minute to give them permissi
      • Re:sigh (Score:3, Informative)

        by Schnapple ( 262314 )

        Any of the pay for a copy of windows per machine you ship deal they have with PC manufacturers.

        Your post makes this sound current, but they had to cut this out a while back. I know recently some allegations have said that this is still the case but it isn't (you think places like Dell would tolerate it?)

        Their dealings with Corel re: linux.

        Corel bonered Linux themselves, along with most products they've ever done with the exception of Draw. They also screwed the pooch over a Java WordPerfect without Mic

  • dumping? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Washizu ( 220337 ) <bengarvey@nOspAm.comcast.net> on Tuesday June 10, 2003 @07:12AM (#6159609) Homepage
    Price dumping implies Microsoft is selling it below cost. It costs far less than $50 to produce a WindowsXP CD.

    • Re:dumping? (Score:3, Informative)

      by SkArcher ( 676201 )
      To burn a CD, yes, but they have development costs and (in theory) an ongoing debugging effort (ahem), and I belive they have previously quoted $100 as their 'break even' price due to these factors and support costs.

      Selling at below cost to break your competitors is illegal in at least some places, im sure.
      • Re:dumping? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Washizu ( 220337 ) <bengarvey@nOspAm.comcast.net> on Tuesday June 10, 2003 @07:35AM (#6159741) Homepage
        To all who replied, here's a quick business lesson.

        You have the development costs of creating WindowsXP (Cost A)

        You have the support cost of maintaining WindowsXP (Cost B)

        You have the manufacturing cost of producing a single copy of WindowsXP (Cost C, and let's assume that all fixed maufacturing costs such as the buildings and machines are included in the fixed development cost)

        If MS sells n copies of XP, their costs are A + B + ( n * C ).

        So if they sell 100 copies, it's A + B + 100*C
        If they sell 10000 copies, it's A + B + 10000*C

        A and B are already factored in. They know they have to pay for those no matter how many copies they can sell and they must price WindowsXP with some margin over C, and not worry about A or B.

        If they can sell many copies of WindowsXP for a large margin over C, then they'll recover A and B very quickly. If the margin is small, it will take longer to recover those costs.

        Microsoft estimates how many copies they can sell at various prices and chooses the price that allows them to recover A and B the fastest.

        With a relatively small variable cost, it's almost impossible for Microsoft to "dump" their prices in the traditional definition of the word, which is temporarily selling below your variable cost to eliminate competition.

        In the Lindows case, they're just reacting to market pressure.

        That's what pays their developers' salaries.
    • Re:dumping? (Score:5, Informative)

      by horza ( 87255 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2003 @07:31AM (#6159721) Homepage
      Dumping [umich.edu] - Export price that is "unfairly low," defined as either below the home market price (normal value) (hence price discrimination) or below cost. With the rare exception of successful predatory dumping, dumping is economically beneficial to the importing country as a whole (though harmful to competing producers) and often represents normal business practice.

      Phillip.
    • Re:dumping? (Score:3, Flamebait)

      Price dumping implies Microsoft is selling it below cost. It costs far less than $50 to produce a WindowsXP CD.

      You're right, the actual name for this is predatory marketing, and it too is illegal.

      Not that we should expect the Bush administration to care.
  • dumping? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by sleeper0 ( 319432 )
    Is it even possible for software to be subject to "dumping" laws? Doesnt the product need to be sold for less than it's manufacturing cost? Sorry if i am misinformed.
  • by SkArcher ( 676201 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2003 @07:13AM (#6159621) Journal
    So, the main competitor to M$ for home-user computer Operating Systems allegdes that M$ is discounting windows XP when specifically targetting Lindows users?

    Could be, certainly within the GatesBorgs resources and methodology. Equally however, this could be a cleverly designed ploy to increase the profile of Lindows.

    I'll wait on some hard evidence.

    Note: I'm not saying I like M$, but I'm certainly not about to go off on some raving Linux-fanboi rant without seeing some evidence first.
    • by TheMidget ( 512188 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2003 @07:34AM (#6159733)
      Equally however, this could be a cleverly designed ploy to increase the profile of Lindows.

      Exactly. Tell the customer: "buy Lindows for $50, then buy XP for $50, throw your Lindows into the trash, and notice how you've only paid $100 for your XP rather than $200"! And most users would be curious enough to keep Lindows around (rather than throwing it away), and might have a look at it one boring Sunday afternoon. In conclusion, this looks like an excellent deal for the customer, for Lindows, and for Linux in general!

  • by m00nun1t ( 588082 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2003 @07:14AM (#6159624) Homepage
    Now, this might be right and it might not be. But I wouldn't take Michael Robertson as a reliable source on things Microsoft related, particulary with (at this point) no evidence to back him up. The man who put up a large sum of money to effectively sponsor the XBox hacking competition doesn't seem to be especially objective.
  • by SerpentMage ( 13390 ) <ChristianHGross@nOspaM.yahoo.ca> on Tuesday June 10, 2003 @07:14AM (#6159628)
    IF and it is a BIG IF, if this is true then what happened to the Anti-Monopoly laws?

    Interesting that in all of their supreme intelligence the DOJ and judge thought that their measures would tame the beast.

    AND IF and again it is a BIG IF. It it is true. MS should be split right then and there into multiple companies... Sometimes the buck has to stop!
  • Well, now. (Score:5, Funny)

    by Black Parrot ( 19622 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2003 @07:15AM (#6159631)


    Maybe we should pool our resources so we can offer a cheap version of Linux to people who buy systems with Windows XP!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 10, 2003 @07:17AM (#6159640)

    This sounds as if a lot of users bought Lindows thinking it was Windows (the average walmart user isnt going to realize there is a huge difference) and then wondered why [insert game name here] didn't work,

    the average user is only influenced by price, they dont care if its closed or open source just wether it works and runs all the latest games etc,
    this confusion can only get worse, but then what did Lindows expect ? they purposley named their product as close as they could to their biggest competitor (by 1 letter no less)

    you get what you pay for
  • Hey, cool deal! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dochood ( 614876 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2003 @07:18AM (#6159652)
    I would think this would be great for Lindows users.

    This would make it cheap to make a dual-boot computer! I wouldn't mind having a Lindows computer for some daily work and piddling around. I would setup the dual-booting for games that only run on Windows. I could see paying $50 for it, but not $200...

    I'm not a big Microsoft fan, but I am a game fan.

    dochood
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 10, 2003 @07:19AM (#6159657)
    Why is it that anything Microsoft does is considered bad?

    When Microsoft overcharged $200 for WinXP, everyone was criticizing them. Now that they are releasing it for a more reasonable price, they are still getting criticized. We should decide on the price we want. Do you want WinXP at $200 or $50. I would rather have $50.

    Besides, is competition not one of the good things GNU/Linux has done to Microsoft? When they had no competition they kept high prices. Now they are reducing prices to compete. Is that not what we want?
    • A blanket price cut to $50 for everyone is not the same as a price cut for Lindows users. If M$ were to drop the base price of XP to $50 for all users that would be a sign of M$ reacting to competition in the marketplace by costing XP at the price that it's worth.

      Giving discounts only to Lindows users is a sign that they're sights are on Lindows and killing it is the number 1 priority and their only intention.

      There's still the question of whether discounting for one distributor breaks anti-trust. I can
    • Firstly, this could be seen as price dumping - deliberately charging low prices with the intent of driving competition out of business and extending a monopoly.

      Secondly, this isn't so much an anti-MS story as a "Hey look, MS is hurting" story.
  • by SlashdotLemming ( 640272 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2003 @07:19AM (#6159658)
    This product called Linux is offered for FREE for users of Windows.
    Now that, my friends, is price dumping.
  • PR ploy or reality, you decide.

    Neither, just some /. poster with an overly creative mind. Microsoft couldn't give a rip about Lindows or any poor sucker that bought a bluelight Walmart special.

    I swear, there should make a "creative writing" section (and even icon with it)!
  • Redmond is scared (Score:4, Interesting)

    by joeszilagyi ( 635484 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2003 @07:22AM (#6159673)
    Everyone should expect to see small things like this begin to trickle out of Microsoft over the coming few years--they're seeing that the slow push of lost market share is starting to hurt them. Add in the fact that whole COUNTRIES are deliberately dumping Windows (Germany, India), and they're going to start resorting to things like this which will put a hit over time onto their massive cash reserves of $40 billion. You can compare it to the TV networks and their endless pathetic grabs for ratings with reality TV--they're desperate, hungry, and scared, but won't admit that they're losing the battle to cable television. Does anyone really think Bill Gates will hold a press conferance saying "Linux has us by the balls, in the long term"? No; we'll get things like this, quiet little sad grabs for market share.
    • Re:Redmond is scared (Score:3, Interesting)

      by weave ( 48069 )
      They have good reason to be scared. They are already in the difficult position of having to increase earnings to satisfy stockholders. How can you gain marketshare when you have it all already? You can't, so you're left with squeezing more money out of current customers and/or expanding into other areas.

      So far, the attemps to squeeze more money (licensing changes, move to subscriptions) has failed miserably. Plus more and more customers are balking and becoming ex-customers. Not good.

      The attempts to mov

  • TigerDirect are SCUM (Score:5, Informative)

    by Jah-Wren Ryel ( 80510 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2003 @07:22AM (#6159678)
    No surprise that TigerDirect would do something like this. Bill is probably giving them a hefty profit margin on the sales too. TigerDirect would sell their own mother into slavery if it would turn a profit. About 6 years ago I bought some rinky-dink thing from them and got on their spam-list. Ever since then, I get spam about once a day from them. No matter what I do, phone, email, snail-mail, "unsubscribe" via their web server - nothing will get me off the list.

    Not only that, but they sell (er, "Rent") their spam list to other spammers. I know this because I have my own domain, so I can track who does what with my addresses - for example, amazon thinks my address is amazon@mydomain.com and tigerdirect things I am tigerdirect@mydomain.com - so when I start getting non-tigerdirect email sent to tigerdirect@mydomain.com I know they gave away my address. I wouldn't be surprised if Bill has bought a list of TigerDirect's lindows customers to use for targetted FUD. Hell, if he has their email addresses, they may end up being the recipient of the world's first linux email trojan...

    I've long since put any mail addressed to tigerdirect@mydomain.com into a direct-to-devnull kill filter, but according to my logs they still keep sending me crap. Don't trust them for a minute.
  • by budGibson ( 18631 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2003 @07:23AM (#6159681)
    Some of Linux's purported advantages over Microsoft are:

    1. Lower licensing fees ($0).
    2. Freedom from proprietary encumberment
    3. Better security
    4. More rapid bug fixes
    5. Community support

    It just sounds like Microsoft has chosen to compete on the first point. It's really only monopolistic behavior *if* they try to force deals by taking unfair advantage of their monopoly position. Competing on price is not that.
  • by 2cb ( 553764 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2003 @07:28AM (#6159713)
    I recently bought a bare bones, no-OS system from tigerdirect. I later received a survey from them via email that was a thinly veiled survey direct from Microsoft. They offered an $80 gift certificate off the purchase of XP if you filled it out. I filled it out anyway. It basically asked what OS you use, how many computers you have, what word processing program you use, and why (i.e. price, performance, features, etc.)
    • by gosand ( 234100 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2003 @08:06AM (#6159909)
      I recently bought a bare bones, no-OS system from tigerdirect. I later received a survey from them via email that was a thinly veiled survey direct from Microsoft. They offered an $80 gift certificate off the purchase of XP if you filled it out. I filled it out anyway. It basically asked what OS you use, how many computers you have, what word processing program you use, and why (i.e. price, performance, features, etc.)

      I really hope that RMS and ESR bought a bare bones, no-OS system from tigerdirect recently too. I'd like to see the look on the face of the lackey who got to tabulate those survey results.
      (imagine voice of pimply faced kid from the Simpsons)
      "uhh, what do we do if somone attached a 500 page essay to their survey?"

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 10, 2003 @07:39AM (#6159758)
    The only surprise here is that Microsoft is acknowledging how overpriced Windows is. I loaded OpenOffice [openoffice.org] on my son's computer for his homework last night. For the average user with light word processing needs, Redmond's bloatware much too expensive as well.
  • Upgrades (Score:3, Insightful)

    by cperciva ( 102828 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2003 @07:47AM (#6159807) Homepage
    What's the big deal here? Companies have been offering cheap upgrades for years. If you have a mobile phone from company X, you can almost always get a mobile phone from company Y for less than the "normal" price.

    Microsoft has done this before, as well. When Windows 2000 was released, it cost $250, but it was available as an "upgrade" for $120. There was no requirement that the upgrade be from an earlier version of Windows; in fact, it was explicitly stated that this was an upgrade "from any operating system".
  • I hope it's real (Score:3, Insightful)

    by rsilvergun ( 571051 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2003 @07:55AM (#6159851)
    I love linux as much as the next geek. Heck, I'm running gentoo right now. But from a consumer perspective, those Lindows PC (when they're running Lindows) are junk. Relatively few scanners, printers or digital cammeras will work with them. Especially the kind of cheap scanners, printers and digital cammeras that a person buying a $200 computer is likely to buy. The software is going to be, like it or not, unfamiliar to nearly all consumers. Plus it won't run all those games and apps consumers see on the shelfs, and tech support lines aren't 24hrs (I know this isn't an issue for people reading this, but to joe average this really matters). This is not to say Lindows is a bad distro (It's not, it's actually pretty good and getting better). It's just not ready to go head to head with windows like this.

    So why do I want MS subsidizing XP on those boxes? Because every unit they move is a little money into Lindow's pocket. Maybe not as much as somebody buying click-and-run, but it's better than the nothing they'd get if the end-user just returns the damn thing because none of there peripherals and software works. Because as it stands now, Lindows by itself isn't going to make it.

    What I really like to see from Lindows is them selling a complete package. Computer, monitor, printer, scanner, cammera w/smartmedia reader and software to make it all work. Brand the whole shebang, maybe take a loss on some components so you can make your money elsewhere, and above all abandon the silly notion that they're going to make money competing with microsoft right off the bat. That comes later :), after they're established. In other words, I want them to behave like apple, at least early on, and find themselves a nice moneymaking nitch. By selling the hardware themselves (or by proxy by controlling what walmart is bundling) they can control compatibilty and give the user a more consistent experience.
  • Price Discrimination (Score:4, Informative)

    by IsaacW ( 543020 ) <isaac DOT waldron AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday June 10, 2003 @07:56AM (#6159854) Homepage
    There have been a lot of posts claiming that Microsoft is "dumping" XP on the market at below cost to drive away competition. There is a problem with this: as another poster has mentioned, "dumping" is defined as selling an item below the variable cost (i.e. per-unit cost). A full XP box set costs less than $50 to produce, so this is not "dumping."

    Secondly, Microsoft is doing exactly what every company does when presented with competition: they are lowering their prices. They see Lindows as a competing product to their own, so they are lowering the price. Now, their ability to offer that discount only to buyers of Lindows machines is a result of a tool called "price discrimination." Under perfect price discrimination, each consumer of a product would be charged exactly the maximum that he is willing to pay for the product. There is nothing inherently bad about this, it simply creates several prices for a single product, similar to what Amazon was accused of doing in an earlier article here.

    Microsoft has simply lowered the price of XP to customers of Lindows only, because they know that other consumers will continue to pay the higher price. This is textbook price discrimination and nothing more.
  • $50!? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by blystovski ( 525004 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2003 @08:02AM (#6159886) Homepage
    Windows XP for $50.00 wouldn't surprise me. Here at The University of Akron, the students and faculty can buy a University copy of Windows and/or Office XP for $20.00. That's actually expensive, seeing as just over a year ago I purchased Windows 2k for $10.00. Obviously when Microsoft wants to push its product in a certain market it is willing to kill its profit margins. And I agree with many of you - I don't like it. Reminds me of Apple and the way they pushed themselves into the education market. That combined with a techno-stupid administration meant I had to grow up in a school district saturated with useless computers that weren't compatible with what I had at home. Also - as stated above, I can see where people who purchase Lindows machines would want "what everyone else has". My family, for instance, would not be able to handle the differences and technical issues. Well - they would - it would just mean I'd be spending all my free time playing "volunteer technical support guy"...screw that! And really I'm included in that group. I still run Windows on my main box. It's just easy. I don't have to worry about dependencies and software issues - I just click and go. It's easy, convenient, and to many people it is worth the $50.00. Is it ugly business practice - hell yeah! - but who's going to stop them?
    • Re:$50!? (Score:3, Informative)

      by uncadonna ( 85026 )
      I don't think you're getting a license. I believe your university has a site license. You are getting the distribution disks only, and the license belongs to the university, so the situation isn't comparable.
  • by Mostly a lurker ( 634878 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2003 @08:04AM (#6159892)
    rather than dumping. IANAL, but I thought most countries had laws that are supposed to prevent the kind of practice alleged here: offering substantial incentives only to a specific competitors customers in an attempt to drive that competitor out of business.
  • by blastedtokyo ( 540215 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2003 @08:04AM (#6159893)
    According to Froogle it's $90 [google.com]. So the actual price to a large volume computer manufacturer is roughly half that...that means with the usual retail markup the base cost is $40-50.

    no conspiracy here. Just the simple fact that OEMs pay less for Windows than Joe Schmoe would at retail.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 10, 2003 @08:10AM (#6159936)
    Not many people know of the the wintergreensys.com connection with Lindows and Tigerdirect.

    A little history ... back in October wintergreen started making budget PCs similiar to Microtel/Walmart machines ... but with a Duron processor,modem,and floppy drive. Making money on these machine is hard due to the almost non-existant margins. Needless to say the quality of these machines was poor ... and due to the inexperience of the manufacturer the quality control was poor. This all equates to one of the highest return rates that Tiger Direct ever had for a system ... though the hardware and software problems are lumped together in that rate ... the excessive hardware problems helped to inflate that number alot. Over time the hardware situation has improved greatly and the system that wintergreen put out are much less likely to fail. But all of this has left a bad taste in Tiger's mouth. Another thing you have to understand is that Tiger Direct gets money for promoting a product ... Lindows hasn't paid and left a prime positiion open for Mircosoft. Microsoft has given money to Tiger in return Tiger will give the names of past Wintergreen/Lindows system owners and send them a rebate for XP home to put on there machines. So that is some history directly from a Wintergreen employee.
  • by manifest37 ( 632701 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2003 @09:35AM (#6160700)
    This is what Micheal had to say about microsoft paying off TigerDirect:

    After my expose [lindows.com] piece on Microsoft last week, I promised one reader that I wouldn't write about Microsoft again for awhile. Unfortunately, I think I have to break my promise and here's why: As I've written about previously, the real key to desktop Linux gaining momentum is to get retailers to sell computers with Linux preinstalled. Sure, some people are smart enough to download software from our web servers then burn a CD and install it, but the majority of people want to buy a computer, plug it in and have it ready to go. Getting Linux computers onto store shelves sounds easy -- what store wouldn't want to stock computers for $200-300? (I just bought a computer for $249 and upgraded the RAM from 128MBs to 256MBs for 30 bucks and it is a solid little performer!) Consumers really want affordable computers and any retailer who stocks them sells large quantities of them. It seems like it would be an easy decision, right?

    There's one additional dynamic that comes into the equation - Microsoft's money to discourage retailers who start selling large numbers of LindowsOS computers. Microsoft routinely offers financial inducements to computer companies to not carry LindowsOS computers. With $40 billion in the bank, it's an easy decision for them to use a few million dollars to block Lindows.com from major retailers. Every month that Microsoft keeps their monopoly position, it is another billion or so in profit. You've probably heard rumors of such behavior in the past and maybe you're skeptical because the tales are, not surprisingly, light on facts. So allow me to give you the facts from one such retailer to convince you.

    LindowsOS computers have been available from TigerDirect [lindows.com], a popular mail order technology business, run by a savvy CEO, Gilbert Fiorentino. After selling thousands of LindowsOS computers in the last few months, TigerDirect describes their experience with LindowsOS in their most recent catalog, saying they have found it to be "faster, leaner, and more stable than Microsoft Windows," mentioning how "...LindowsOS never crashed, even in extreme testing situations," and then go on to say that they are "more enthusiastic about the LindowsOS than ever."

    We've met with TigerDirect in the past and they've remarked what great sellers the LindowsOS computers have been for them and how they were surprised at the demand for Microsoft alternatives. However, at these same meetings, they talked to us about e-mails and phone calls from Microsoft attempting to bribe them to stop selling LindowsOS computers.

    While TigerDirect has resisted Microsoft's pressures in the past, recently Microsoft has stepped up orders to their staffers to increase the financial incentives to impede LindowsOS sales at TigerDirect. At some point, Microsoft's monetary inducements become so large that it makes economic sense for just about any retailer to abandon LindowsOS - no matter how many computers they might be selling. TigerDirect is in the business to make a profit and if Microsoft will guarantee them a profit, nobody can begrudge them for taking it.

    Microsoft's latest offers to TigerDirect are extremely lucrative and I wouldn't be surprised if they ultimately cave to Microsoft's pocketbook. Microsoft is giving TigerDirect unheard of discounts on Microsoft software, allowing them to sell Microsoft Windows XP for just $50 to all of their customers who have purchased LindowsOS computers. TigerDirect is paying less for some copies of Microsoft Windows XP than even the largest Microsoft customers like Dell. Besides radically discounting their software, Microsoft is agreeing to spend a lot of marketing dollars to advertise their products through TigerDirect and more specifically to past LindowsOS computer buyers. Additionally, Microsoft is paying TigerDirect to collect market research on Li
  • by dcavanaugh ( 248349 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2003 @10:06AM (#6161023) Homepage
    I want to see what happens when the large OEMs demand the same pricing. The pressure for M$ to discount had to be really high, especially for them to offer such a deal to TigerDirect knowing full well that larger customers would squawk.

    In ancient times, the OEMs were bullied into doing whatever Redmond said, lest they be cast aside from the DOS/Windows herd. The ultimate effect of this little exercise is to show the OEMs how much power they have. Just start talking about Linux, and wait for the discounts. Wait another 6 months and you might see M$ paying the OEMs to pre-install the product.
  • by Bruha ( 412869 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2003 @10:36AM (#6161322) Homepage Journal
    I'd say about 90% of those pc's will not be powerful enough to even boot XP nor run very fast.. so the users will just switch back to Lindows.
  • by Vegan Pagan ( 251984 ) <deanas&earthlink,net> on Tuesday June 10, 2003 @11:01AM (#6161544)
    This is good practice for Microsoft to get into as they prepare to become an open-source software provider.
  • Instead of "Will Microsoft Subsidize WinXP For Lindows Buyers?", shouldn't the story title be:

    "Is Lindows Trying To Save A Buck On Advertising By Posting This Story On /.?"

    Oops, the cats out of the bag. Mybad.
  • by shatfield ( 199969 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2003 @04:04PM (#6164912)
    ... that Michael Robertson heads up the an Anti-Trust suit against Microsoft within the next 2 years for anti-competitive practices.

    This is price dumping to prevent a competitive marketplace, raising the barrier to entry for competitors, pure and simple. If Microsoft keeps this up, the Justice Department is going to actually have to do some real work and actually punish them.

    Or not.

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