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Microsoft The Almighty Buck

Annual Cost of Microsoft Monopoly: $10 Billion 713

An anonymous reader writes "Microsoft's deals with major PC vendors lock users out from alternative options, such as Linux. A recent whitepaper calculates that the cost to industry of this Microsoft monopoly is $10 billion per year."
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Annual Cost of Microsoft Monopoly: $10 Billion

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  • Of Course! (Score:3, Informative)

    by Dagny Taggert ( 785517 ) <hankrearden@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @01:01PM (#13166764) Homepage
    This is what happens when a near-monopoly is allowed to costs everyone.
    • by dsginter ( 104154 ) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @01:15PM (#13166979)
      Here's a blantant example of how Microsoft has everyone in their pocket:

      Dell Dimension 2400 w/ Windows XP [] = $299

      Same PC w/ FreeDOS [] = $319

      Now someone tell me how Microsoft prices Windows XP $20 cheaper than the same PC with a free operating system.
      • by NatteringNabob ( 829042 ) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @01:34PM (#13167244)
        HP pulls the same crap. If you look at their otherwise very nice dual Opterona machines, they have one version with WinXP Pro that is $3499. The closest Linux version, with the HP Linux installer kit is $3799. Note that these machines do not come with Linux pre-installe,d they come with the HP 'linux installer kit' so it doesn't cost HP any more to produce these machines. In addition, these machines are specifically targeted at the Workstation market, not the Office PC market, so Linux would be a natural fit in this market. But some mysterious force prevents HP from selling the equivalent machine at a lower price with no OS. It is pretty darn obvious that the DOJ should have required that Microsoft's OEM agreements should always allow distributors to sell machines without Windows discounted by the cost of Windows. Instead, after a successful anti-trust prosecution, we get the same old slimy, probably illegal tactics that we have always seen from Microsoft. Thanks, W!
      • Not that I'm defending Microsoft, but there could be a simple explanation for this:

        Dell knows what support for a machine running XP costs, and they haven't got a really good idea of what it costs to support the same machine with FreeDOS. When in doubt, charge more.

        Logic dictates that everybody buying the machine with FreeDOS will be relatively computer-savvy and thus won't need support, but humans have proven logic wrong on a number of occasions...
      • Well when you buy it from Dell (or other PC vendors) here is the difference:

        Dell buys in bulk, and thusly gets special prices
        Dell's Windows version is only allowed on one (sometimes two) computers

        Dell also puts in other programs from other companies which they get paid for (like anti-virus software, online services like aol, etc)

        When you buy the box windows version from the store you are:

        Not getting bulk rates
        Are not getting advertiser discounts
        Getting a version of Windows that allows you to in
        • Sigh.

          Look, it's really, really simple:

          Price of Windows machine = Hardware cost + OS licence cost + OS installation cost + Dell's Profit - Money back from bundled software (AOL etc)
          Price of FreeDOS machine = Hardware cost + OS licence cost + OS installation cost + Dell's Profit

          Now, FreeDOS is free (leaving aside media duplication, which should be the same for both OSs), and isn't even installed on the machine when you buy it, so the two equations actually look like this:

          Price of Windows machine = Hardware co
      • by dfiguero ( 324827 ) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @01:43PM (#13167364)
        Now someone tell me how Microsoft prices Windows XP $20 cheaper than the same PC with a free operating system.


        They have this deal where clippy will work their helpdesk for X amount of time for every copy of Windows sold...
      • by man_of_mr_e ( 217855 ) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @01:52PM (#13167491)
        Actually, it's not as insidious as you might think. Notice that the Dell with XP also has a bunch of other software, like AOL, Wordperfect, etc..

        AOL actually pays Dell a fee to include their software, as do the other companies that Dell provides "trial" software for (JASC and others, for instance). This allows them to sell the PC at a lower cost.

        Also note that the regular price for the PC is $349, and the $299 price is a special.
        • Yes, Amazon had something similar that allowed them to lower prices due to the reduced cost in shipping.

          And guess what happened? They pocketed the difference rather than passing it on. Do you honestly think this would affect Dell's pricing?

          Their pricing is practically dictated to them.
      • by dotpavan ( 829804 ) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @03:45PM (#13168991) Homepage
        Now someone tell me how Microsoft prices Windows XP $20 cheaper than the same PC with a free operating system.

        simple math! it is because XP is worth -$20 :)
  • by bigwavejas ( 678602 ) * on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @01:02PM (#13166775) Journal
    Until the penalties outweigh the revenue, what's going to make MS stop? This 300lb gorilla is going to keep stomping on the little people (Linux, FreeBSD and otherS) unless something changes. In addition... Even if this didn't exist MS still has a stranglehold on the software available for personal computers, everything from Games to Applications. That's the next hurdle.

    • Until the penalties outweigh the revenue, what's going to make MS stop?

      MS is certainly contributing to making itself stop, with antics like these [].
      As Microsoft makes it more and more difficult to use its products (from a legal standpoint as well as an illegal one), the alternatives are going to look more and more attractive by comparison.
      • Ahaha. Sorry, but that's a REALLY naive way of looking at it. I don't think anyone I know in the non-tech world will consider using Linux (which they have never heard of) just because Windows requires them to verify their license on updates.
        • by Daniel_Staal ( 609844 ) <> on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @01:39PM (#13167317)
          Probably true... But think about this: You're the IT person for a medium-sized company. You know that Linux is there, and know some stuff about it. You don't use it though.

          Now, Microsoft suddenly decides to make it more labor-intensive to keep your systems up to date: You have to verify the license. It's not much, but it would be enough to make you start looking at Linux a little harder, just after your next update round.

          Maybe you'll switch, maybe you won't, but you are thinking about it. If you do, you now will show every user in the company that Linux works. They had probably never heard of it. Maybe they'll like it. Maybe even take a look at it at home. Even if you don't, you may talk about it with your boss. Who make look at it, if you make a good enough case.

          No one cost in this is enough to force a switch. But every small cost is enough to make switching just that little bit more attractive. And any one switch is one more real-world example, making more switches more likely.

          This is how empires fall. Not all at once, but in pieces...
    • by chia_monkey ( 593501 ) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @01:10PM (#13166893) Journal
      Sadly, you are very correct. I don't see an end to this monopoly anytime soon. Microsoft seems to be held to a completely different set of standards than other companies. It's either their market dominance that scares people, their deep pockets (which are filling other pockets), or a combination of these and more variables.

      The really sad part about it all is how Apple gets sued for the Tiger name or for "Apple" in cahoots with iTunes. Intel and AMD are going after each other. These are instances of competetition that is allowed to thrive and it's carrying over to the courts. Then you've got Microsoft getting pissy at Google and suing because Google is getting an ex-Microsoft employee (rumor has it, they're getting quite a few employees actually). And then you've got this monopoly business. This current administration in office doesn't care about Microsoft's anti-competitive practices. Microsoft has to get slapped pretty damn hard to stop...and I just don't think that will happen anytime soon.
    • That a pretty silly number. The amount Microsoft charges for the software they ship on computers, especially the base OS is really low. They make their money because:

      A) Software costs next to nothing to ship per unit, after the R&D is paid for.

      B) they have very high volume thanks to a monopoly

      Yes Dell could slap a free version of Linux on it and save maybe $30-50. If Dell actually cut a deal to License Red Hat or SUSE I'm willing to bet it would end up costing the same or more than Windows.

  • Poor Apple (Score:5, Funny)

    by databyss ( 586137 ) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @01:02PM (#13166777) Homepage Journal
    Poor apple topic sandwiched between two microsoft topics...

    I predict apple juice.
  • 10 Billion? What? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by zardo ( 829127 ) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @01:03PM (#13166791)
    Where do they come up with a figure like that? Put on a blindfold and throw a dart? That's ridiculous. It probably does cost the industry, but the fact that they have to come up with a number at all demonstrates some level of bias here.
    • by Realistic_Dragon ( 655151 ) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @01:08PM (#13166856) Homepage
      I calculated that numbers pulled out of asses cost the industry $98.2 billion last year!
    • That makes me wonder. Some of the Laptops/PCs from Dell would probably be a lot cheaper if the customer could request to not include Windows or any other Microsoft software that they won't even use. I tried myself once to buy a Dell Latitude D610 from them. even asked in an email to em about it and the reply was that they could'nt. major way of screwing the customer over i say.
    • Re:10 Billion? What? (Score:5, Informative)

      by bc90021 ( 43730 ) * <{bc90021} {at} {}> on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @01:12PM (#13166921) Homepage
      RTFWP. They figured out what it costs Australia, and they have numbers from Microsoft saying that Australia is 2% of MS's income.

      They extrapolate, based on their figure of $200 million in savings, which is 2% of $10 billion.

      In reality, in any given year, Microsoft makes $40 billion. Does it really seem ridiculous that 10 of that might be from their monopoly? It seems sensible to me. The WP points out that in buying a computer, that it used to be (ala early - mid 90s) that the hardware was about 85% of the cost, and the software 15%. Now, hardware costs have plummeted, whereas software prices have gone up. Now when you buy a computer, about 65% of the price is hardware, and 35% is software. Good points, if you ask me.

      • Non sequitor (Score:3, Insightful)

        by rolofft ( 256054 )
        If Windows were on equal footing with BeOS, Amiga Workbench, and OS/2; if Word were on par with Wordperfect and AmiPro; and if Bill Gate and Steve Job saw eye to eye... Australia would be $200,000,000 richer? Not only that, but the differential between the cost of hardware and software would stay perpetually where it was in 1995?

        Wouldn't training costs for sys admins and secretaries be higher if Windows and Word weren't de facto standards. Wouldn't developers be overworked if the market demanded every cons
    • Here's how they come up the number:

      10 spread butt cheeks
      20 pull digit
      30 if count(digit) 8 goto 10
  • right from the community chest. That's a lot of little green houses and red hotels.
  • by ballstothat ( 893605 ) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @01:04PM (#13166800)
    10 billion! Wow... that's like... 5 million hotels on boardwalk!

    I pity the thimble that lands there!

  • The number is crap (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Henry V .009 ( 518000 ) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @01:06PM (#13166834) Journal
    The Windows monopoly saves the world at least $500 billion a year in compatibility costs.
    • by A beautiful mind ( 821714 ) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @01:24PM (#13167106)
      ...and costs $1 trillion in virus/trojan/spam/malware costs because of homogenity.
      • Oh btw, (sorry for replying to my own post, but) the cost of Microsoft's monopoly has to DIRECTLY include the costs of all mass scale virus, spam, or any other security issues. That is simple maths.

        Let's say, in order a virus to spread, it needs an environment to live in, which is given by Microsoft because they are a monopoly, systems have the same code (windows).

        If a virus would manage to infect 10-15% of the systems worldwide and crash them down or make them otherwise impossible to use in a relativel
  • by segedunum ( 883035 ) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @01:06PM (#13166842)
    The pressure from Microsoft on OEMs is very, very well know. Would it be tolerated in any other industry? Absolutely not, but there's a tendency from people to think that that's just the way things are when it comes to computers unfortunately.
  • Bill is standing in front of a huge monitor displaying all the major hardware vendors. With a fluffy white cat on his lap and a pinky delicattely placed next to his mouth, he announces to the group that if they do not want his support revoked, they will have to pay, "One hundred Meeeellion dollars."

    The vendors laugh and a hush falls over the Redmond conference table. "Fine," replies Bill, calmly stroking the cat before deftly returning his pinky to his lips, "One hundred Beeeellion dollars!"

    "Shit," reply the executives.

  • by SuperBanana ( 662181 ) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @01:09PM (#13166875)

    Since the sidebar was the only thing that would load:

    "linux support - get penguin powered" [...] "training - for linux administration and web development" [...] "development - apps for linux, unix, windows and the web"

    How shocking that a company which sells training, support, and development services for both Linux and Windows would come out with an inflammatory article.

    Why, they couldn't possibly have ulterior motives! Nothing like a bit of viral marketing.

  • Explain (Score:3, Insightful)

    by AutopsyReport ( 856852 ) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @01:10PM (#13166894)
    Can someone explain to me how Linux has been "locked-out" from users? It's widely available to be used on a system with Windows (dual boot).

    The reason I don't use Linux is because I know it to be a much less intuitive system, but I'd struggle to refer to my choice for not using Linux as being locked out by Microsoft.

    • Re:Explain (Score:3, Insightful)

      by psbrogna ( 611644 )
      The vast majority of users will only ever use the operating system that came installed on their PC. It's my understanding that MS uses it's clout to discourage vendors from shipping systems with anything but MS o/s'. That is how Linux, or other o/s', are locked out.
  • by soma_0806 ( 893202 ) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @01:13PM (#13166943)

    Let me begin by saying I don't like Microsoft products. I think it's an evil, opportunistic company that is likely funded by Nazi gold, but....

    Microsoft itself is not the real culprit here. If the cost to the industry is really 10 billion, then the threshold for establishing a monopoly should be met. The problem is no real enforcement of the Sherman Act or any of the other federal "calls to arms" against monopoly.

    Like it or not, in capitalist society the message sent to business is to be as nasty as profitable and permitted. As long as consumers keep buying (maybe because they feel like they don't have a choice, and there is some argument there) and the government doesn't enforce its own laws (which is probably why consumers feel they have no choice), Microsoft can't be blamed overmuch.

    In short (too late!), the problem isn't really the 300 lb. gorilla. It's just doing what gorillas do. The problem is the federal prosecutor with the tranq gun taking a nap.

  • by ARRRLovin ( 807926 ) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @01:13PM (#13166951)
    ....the time we waste at work on the internet! ~$750B.
  • by jayhawk88 ( 160512 ) <> on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @01:14PM (#13166955)
    Dear Universities, Think Tanks, Consulting Agencies, and all other interested parties:

    I would like to apply for the job of "Guy that pulls numbers out of his ass". I feel that my ability to pull numbers out of my ass qualifies me as an excellent candidate for this position. To demonstrate, please allow me to give some examples:

    $4.3 Billion
    $350k per year
    $20.34 for every person in the United States

    Please note how I was effortlessly able to adjust the meanings of the ass-pulled numbers by adding descriptive phrases, while still distancing the numbers from any real facts or statistics. I realize that it takes more than pulling numbers out of my ass to succeed in todays competitive white paper/consulting/propoganda market, and feel that I can be a great benefit to your company.
    • I would like to apply for the job of "Guy that pulls numbers out of his ass".

      Dear Jayhawk88,

      Thank you for your interest in my company. Normally, we would definitely be interested in hiring a "Guy that pulls numbers out of his ass". However, I regret to inform you that we will not be hiring any time soon. I will keep your resume on file, for we do plan on hiring again -- in about 25 years.

      Bernie Ebbers

  • Article Summary (Score:3, Informative)

    by AutopsyReport ( 856852 ) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @01:14PM (#13166965)
    Took a good five minutes to load, but here's the summary folks. Also, keep checking this mirror [], I'm sure it will be up soon.

    Over the past decade, the personal computer industry has seen a major reduction in competition in the operating system platform market. A computer operating system platform is the software which computer users learn to operate their computer with, the software that independent software vendors develop applications for and the software that third-party computer hardware developers create compliant hardware for.

    Competition in the desktop computer operating system space is practically non-existent, with one platform from a single supplier commanding a very high proportion (over 95%) of the Australian market. This single platform from a sole vendor is Microsoft Windows. Cybersource believes that a sizeable portion of this market share is due to the fact that over many years, most consumers were never given the option to acquire alternative operating system platforms. Instead, Microsoft Windows was always bundled with most vendors' computer products, whether consumers wanted that bundled product on not.

    We have seen that the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) has acted in the best interests of consumers to increase competition in such areas as telecommunications. Cybersource wants to see similar actions introduced in the computer operating system platform space.

    In the software market, as in the telecommunications market, a single, powerful and well-leveraged vendor can cause the reduction of real competition and the corralling of almost all consumers into a single monopolistic platform situation. This causes significant reduction in choice, price competitiveness and innovation. Cybersource calls upon the ACCC to rectify this situation for the benefit of the local Information Technology industry and of all Australian IT consumers.

    Key Points

    1. It is impossible or extremely difficult for consumers to purchase a desktop PC or laptop from a tier-1 or tier-2 computer manufacturer without also having to purchase an OEM copy of Microsoft Windows operating system platform.

    2. Cybersource believes that this greatly reduces choice for consumers and competition for the industry. Such a reduction in choice, and consequent reduction in competition, costs the Australian economy hundreds of millions of dollars annually, through paying one vendor needlessly high prices for monopolistic products.

    3. The computer market is many ways similar to the telecommunications market. When one vendor has over 95% of the market, that vendor should be bound by a universal service obligation to ensure that all consumers can access the content, documents and data which reside on that vendor's platform. Neglecting such an obligation hinders all consumers and third-party developers not using that vendor's platform, further increasing anti-competitive pressures.

    4. Cybersource believes that such anti-competitive practices should be stopped as soon as possible, through remedies introduced by the ACCC, to secure both a broader competitive base and increased options for consumers.

    5. The first remedy that Cybersource seeks from the ACCC is that all tier-1 and tier-2 vendors should be required to offer their desktop and laptop products without an operating system pre-installed, that this choice be presented to consumers as broadly as the products themselves are, and that the price difference between the with and without operating system options should also be clearly and broadly presented at retail outlets, on vendor marketing literature and vendor websites.

    6. The second remedy that Cybersource seeks from the ACCC is that Microsoft should be required to offer unfettered and unencumbered access to all major content, document, data and applications formats which could enable interchange and interoperability between users of its platform and users of other alternative platforms.

  • MS Tax vs MS Profits (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Dracos ( 107777 ) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @01:15PM (#13166973)

    MS profited $12B this year, and is expected to profit $15B next year. And they make $10B just from being a convicted criminal?

    If only duh-byah hadn't quashed the anti-trust suit.

  • by asdfasdfasdfasdf ( 211581 ) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @01:15PM (#13166978)
    With a New PC system with OS-- easily available for under $500, I find this hard to believe. The price of a microsoft windows OEM install hasn't gone up considerably since the mid 90's, when there was a competing operating system (OS/2) available for about the same price.

    I just don't feel they've taken the "good" parts of Microsoft's monopoly into account (kill me for saying that.) Considering all of the features included with the OS that we used to pay for-- Browser, media, utils, etc, Microsoft has "given" a lot to maintain their monopoly. While I support competition whole heartedly (and look forward to a day where I can "choose Mac OS to run on my custom intel hardware) I don't think this is an honest assesment. You get a LOT with what you pay for, and there hasn't even been a new version in 4 years. And they still support you with security fixes for FREE (all jokes aside).

    Office is no more expensive now than when Word Perfect was still alive and kicking.. And the features keep coming. (Though I gladly use openOffice, myself.)

    I think the worry should be "Let's not make this a total monopoly so one company can't hold all the keys to human technology in the future" rather than, man, they're screwing us out of cash.. because I think the sheer volume of units they ship actually causes the price to be CHEAPER, not more expensive.

    I guess we'll only find out if Apple sucks it up and makes their OS able to work on Dells.

    • I just don't feel they've taken the "good" parts of Microsoft's monopoly into account (kill me for saying that.) Considering all of the features included with the OS that we used to pay for-- Browser, media, utils, etc, Microsoft has "given" a lot to maintain their monopoly. While I support competition whole heartedly (and look forward to a day where I can "choose Mac OS to run on my custom intel hardware) I don't think this is an honest assesment. You get a LOT with what you pay for, and there hasn't even
  • by asscroft ( 610290 ) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @01:17PM (#13167005)
    Not only does MS sell thier OS to OEMs, but you can put together parts and install MS and it will run just fine. Apple restricts their OS to machines they build, and they charge top dollar, and yet they're beloved on /. and MS is the great evil. What's even worse is we know Apple can run on PCs, and their proving that as we speak, and yet, when they switch over, they'll add an evil little chip to make sure your Mobo is one they sold you. How's that for a monopoly?
  • Hi... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Tebriel ( 192168 ) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @01:20PM (#13167051)
    I'd like a big mac, a large fries, and a bullshit statistic to go, please.
  • Does that include (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MECC ( 8478 ) * on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @01:25PM (#13167121)
    Does that figure include the cost incurred by their culture of software neglect?

    Should it?

  • by erroneus ( 253617 ) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @01:26PM (#13167128) Homepage
    Damn this kind of thing just burns me up. They were convicted of abusing their monopoly and harming the public.

    Nothing has changed their practices... not even a little. They continue to do harm. I think they should be brought back into court for a REAL remedy. How can we start a petition to get the Justice Department to charge them for failing to abide by their terms and for continuing to do the things they were convicted of -- i.e. bundling MSIE and all that, and then add everything else we can think of as examples of wrong doing.

    If we have a community that wants to see justice, someone who wants to get elected will see that justice is done.

  • by Boing ( 111813 ) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @01:30PM (#13167186)
    I'm normally not one to point out examples of groupthink in this community. By and large, we have our biases same as every other discussion group that's ever existed.

    But: every time there's a new study on how "piracy costs the music industry N dollars", where N is the estimated number of piracy incidents times the average suggested retail price of the pirated materials, there is universal outrage. "That's fallacious," we cry, "it assumes that every incident of piracy would have otherwise been a retail purchase at full price!". And we are right to make that claim.

    However, here's a study that exercises a similar fallacy, and yet the outrage goes in the other direction. (and yes, I know this doesn't apply to everyone... I'm generalizing).

    We can't assume, if the major vendors decided to stop bundling Windows/Office tomorrow, that any significant number of people would happily explore alternative options and be just as satisfied.

    We can't assume, had Microsoft gone belly-up nine years ago, that people would have been perfectly content to start figuring out monitor sync rates and which filesystems with which to partition and format their hard drives.

    We can't assume that all the unwashed masses would've just gone to Apple; we can't assume they would've been able to afford it; we can't assume Apple's products would've advanced at the rate they have without the pressure of being the "underdog". And since the premise of this "study" (though I am loathe to call it that) is that of the cost of a monopoly, we can't assume Apple (or Linux, or whatever) "winning" the market would've been any better.

    Like it or not, Microsoft's presence and market dominance is an inextricable part of computing history. There is no way of even remotely predicting how the last twenty years would have panned out without it. And despite its grandiose claims, the authors of this article don't even seem to have bothered trying.

  • by amliebsch ( 724858 ) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @01:34PM (#13167240) Journal
    Is that $10 billion figure net costs or gross costs? If gross, then what are the benefits from same? Isn't that relevant? If something has a $10 gross cost and a $20 gross benefit, that's a net $10 benefit.
  • Blame Game (Score:4, Insightful)

    by GeorgeMcBay ( 106610 ) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @01:36PM (#13167277)
    Some things never change. The Slashdot crowd is still playing the blame game, working on the assumption that if Windows didn't have a large monopoly, Linux usage would be more widespread.

    Still ignoring the fact that the vast majority of people just don't want to use Linux even if given a choice, because it still has serious usability issues that show no signs of being solved. Mostly because even though it is "one OS" it still suffers from the fragmentation that killed UNIX as a viable platform. Instead of kernel/system call fragmentation, it is fragmentation of desktops (KDE, Gnome, etc) and services (different print systems, different X servers, different window managers, each with slightly incompatible ways to cut & paste, etc).

    Not to mention how much easier it is for developers to develop for Windows due to the fact that you don't have to worry about a billion different differences between distros, libc versions, kernel branches, etc.

    But go ahead and keep blaming Microsoft's business practices... why stop now? It is easier than trying to actually compete for users.

    • But go ahead and keep blaming Microsoft's business practices... why stop now? It is easier than trying to actually compete for users.

      The article says MS is costing the industry X squandered dollars with their blatantly illegal business practices. The number is probably bunk, but could be in the right ballpark. How does Linux users believing that most people enjoy the experience of using Linux have anything to do with whether or not MS is engaging in illegal business practices?

      Ok Linux sucks, whatever.

  • by MemoryDragon ( 544441 ) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @01:49PM (#13167441)
    Given that a bigger part of the professional programming population spends a good deal of its time working around the non conformity of Microsoft web browsers to W3C standards and trying to reverse engineer Microsoft protocol descriptions right out of the fairy tale real, I would say the annual cost of the Microsoft monopoly is much bigger. If Microsoft had to pay pack all the costs caused by their behavior and their monopoly even with 50 billion+ in the bank they probably would be bankrupt in a handful of years.
  • by be-fan ( 61476 ) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @02:50PM (#13168299)
    I'm surprised so many Slashdotters come to the defense of Microsoft in response to a story that merely says the obvious. Of course Microsoft's monopoly creates losses! If it didn't, it'd be the first monopoly in history not to! The fact that it is a monopoly, and that it uses business practices that are illegal (for good reason) isn't even under debate. They've been convicted of the charges already!
    • by phkamp ( 524380 )
      Has it never struck you as a very obvious explanation that Microsoft could have people paid to spin their case on Slashdot ?

      With a marketing budget of their size, I'd be surprised if they didn't drip some greenbacks into hands that would spend time defending their reputation online.

      And no, I don't think Slashdot is the only place they have paid staff doing astroturf.

  • by TheSkepticalOptimist ( 898384 ) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @02:59PM (#13168401)

    I do have to agree that Microsoft dominates the PC industry with a lot of unfair partnerships and agreements with PC vendors. But to say that PC consumers are losing billions because of this "monopoly" is a little far fetched. This assumes that PC users actually WANT Linux, and are not being offered the choice.

    Lets put it this way. In a fair world, both Linux AND Windows are offered on every Dell computer. Many assume that Linux is FREE and Windows is NOT. Would the Linux option actually cost nothing compared to buying a Windows license on a Dell computer? My honest opinion is NO! While you are able to get Linux for free by downloading it online, a company like Dell would prefer to setup some form of Linux support option which you will have to pay for. Linux IS FREE, Linux support IS NOT! Also, considering the sheer amount of support required by newbies to simply install and use Linux, Dell would quickly want to absorb the extra cost of support by charging SOMETHING for installing Linux on their PC's.

    The bottom line is, people often over estimate how free Linux really is. In a perfect world, if Linux was as easy to use and configure as Windows, then yes, you are losing $100 every time you buy a Dell computer because they charge you for the XP license and don't offer you a viable free alternative. But in reality, Dell would charge about $100 to install Linux on their PC's because of all the extra headaches and nightmares it would cause them in technical support alone.

  • IE Costs? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MikeFM ( 12491 ) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @03:00PM (#13168428) Homepage Journal
    How much does IE alone cost in extra web dev expense? It seems to add about 20% to dev time in my experience to deal with IE bugs and inabilities. And it keeps us from using some features that'd make life much easier or make our products more useful.
  • by dindi ( 78034 ) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @03:01PM (#13168437)
    When I bought my toshiba laptop in Costa Rica they did not only refuse to sell me the laptop without Windows XP, they weren't even willing to give at least with an English version ....

    OK, so with PCs at least you get a normal version, but laptop versions do not install anywhere else other than the laptop ... so great I had to get a pirated version of XP for my desktop PC (do not even ask why I need it) because I refuse to pay again for the same thing I did not want to buy the first place, but if they at least gave me a normal English version not a Crippled only toshiba Spanish, I could have simply used the licence I ALREADY PAID FOR ....

    I hate microsoft for that crap, and hate all retailers who force me to buy a copy with every laptop I buy ...

    I do not need WINDOWS on my laptop please do not let me pay for it :(

    PCs I just build from pieces and not by OP system (Linux/BSD would be used anyway)

  • by suitepotato ( 863945 ) on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @03:27PM (#13168766)
    Put the average end-user in front of two identical machines, ready to load. Each with one Ethernet card, one webcam, one HP inkjet printer, one external USB/Firewire device, one HD, one DVD burner, one dial-up modem. Give them Windows XP Home retail for one and Fedora Core 3 for the other. The assignment: by yourself with no external references or help, install each one and have all peripherals and harware working. You may only connect to the net to download drivers but may NOT research anything. You have to go with the interfae and help files immediately availible with the OS in question.

    I guarantee you it will be Windows XP Home every single time that is totally or mostly successful. The webcam alone will be enough to prevent the FC3 build from reaching totality. The second most problematic will be the external USB or Firewire device. The third will be the modem and fourth will be the printer.

    People can whine about there being a monopoly when the Linux would comes up with a disto that is as easy to use, as well supported, has as wide support for hardware as easily, and is so easy to maintain as Windows. Of course, the method Microsoft chose to follow to this plateau also came with a lot of tradeoffs on stability and security but any Linux zealot who claims Linux is secure and stable is lying blatantly. If Linux was so stable, or any *nix for that matter, would you need to have (you@yourbox)# kill [process id] in your toolbox never mind the legendary issues with the quirks of the most common *nix tools?

    Here's a neat one. Load up the Stardock Object Desktop software suite on a WinXP box. Load up xcompmgr w/KDE on the FC3 box. Make each work. I guarantee the xcompmgr on FC3 will be so unstable and resource hogging as to make the machine useless, illustrating the claim of those who put it in, that is is unstable. Not so with SOD. Neat shadows, transparancy, zoomers like OSX, etc. Eye candy in abundance.

    All that said, I use FC3 every day at home. But I have no blinders on that it is a techies' OS and NOT a casual end-user OS. I've been supporting Windows since before most of the anti-Microsoft crowd began their inane tinfoil hat FUD ranting against Redmond and if there is one central truth to it that I've learned, that it is very stable and secure IF YOU KNOW WHAT YOU ARE DOING (with the exception of Millenium Edition which sucked donkey balls, especially on HP Pavillions).

    I guarantee you that should any distro of Linux of tomorrow become equal to the ease of use and intuitiveness of Windows of today, it will be equally open to user error because that is the nature of the situation. The only practical way to shield against user error is to make the doing of things so hard that it discourages the attempt. The only practical way to make the system easy to use for total idiots is to make it childishly open and easy to do the slightest thing.

    I wouldn't sell ANY version of Linux preloaded on consumer PCs aimed at casual end-users because as someone who's supported them for years on end, I know they won't even read their VCR manuals to stop the clock from flashing 12:00. They won't have truck with RPMs and dependency never mind makefiles and builds.

"If it's not loud, it doesn't work!" -- Blank Reg, from "Max Headroom"