Are you getting a fix? – Its free you know.

Are you ready to wheel the Microsoft gift into your city?  Windows 7 its free for a year...but why?
Are you ready to wheel the Microsoft gift into your city? Windows 7 its free for a year...but why?

Its been reported that Microsoft is due to meet again with the EU in regards to the bundling of IE within its Windows platform in early June.  Microsoft will be attending this hearing to make representations and defend its practice of bundling IE with its Windows product.

The EU has said of Microsoft that its IE practices:

“distorts competition”

and

“an artificial distribution advantage which other Web browsers are unable to match”

Now if you agree with this or not (and looking at some of the comments on the net, it appears many people who have used IE for years are very happy with their discovery of Firefox) it makes me wonder why Microsoft chose May 5th to make public (and free) its RC to the public until 2010.

I dont think it can be argued that when Microsoft (IMO) took a Linux distro approach to releasing betas of Windows 7 to the general public and they were very popular.  People like to think they have something “cutting edge” and I think alot of users were made to feel quite important by running the bloat beta and believing their bug reports and experiences were being looked at by Microsoft.

Thats not the way I see it.  On a particularly interesting article from April 2008, Bill Gates is reported as saying:

“I think if you invent drugs, you should be able to charge for them,”

http://arstechnica.com/microsoft/news/2008/04/bill-gates-the-gpl-which-we-disagree-with.ars

I believe that Microsoft is getting the RC out to the masses quickly and before the EU makes any ruling.  That way, if it does, people will already have Windows 7 on their machines.  It is reported on Boycott Novell that Bill Gates has in the past said words to the effect of “get them hooked, we’ll work out how to get a return later”  If this is correct then in my opinion its like the local drug dealer giving out freebies to the kids prior to the drug becoming illegal expecting a return from the addicts at a later date.

Think my example is a little OTT?  Well its Bill Gates mentioning drugs, not me.

So maybe at last Microsoft sees a worth in free software?  We’ve already seen numerous people comment that Windows 7 looks in many ways like OS X.  We have seen Microsoft cast its beady eyes at other sucessfull products and try to emulate them (IMO) Zune?.  I wonder what other ideas Microsoft can draw from FOSS and other products?

Just my opinion, but when you are drinking from the holy grail, consider that you may have picked up the wrong cup.

“The release candidate is available for everyone. From 30 April it will be available to our IT professionals through MSDN and TechNET, we let them get it in advance.”

Im sure many people will remember what some MS faithful have said in the past (in relation to Linux) “you get what you pay for” I bet the Microsoft faithful are regretting saying that as we get the news Microsoft is giving away their OS aswell!

Goblin – bytes4free@googlemail.com

7 Comments Add yours

  1. simon360 says:

    Microsoft did the same thing for Vista😉

    I think it is more of a quality control thing than it is copying FOSS. Giving away test products, or even products, for free isn’t an original idea from FOSS😉

  2. openbytes says:

    True, but what about this?

    Microsoft is worried about the sanctions that may be imposed on it by the EU, so they release the thing for free and hope for mass deployment prior to any sanctions.

    When the off the shelf product arrives (and I believe that may be May 2010) people will be used to the system and more than happy to pay (in theory) for the full version.

    Just an idea, but I did predict the RC around April/May this year and that was in December 08.

    I agree though that for free isnt strictly the remit of FOSS, however I believe Microsoft have seen it work within the Linux platform, and taken it onboard themselves.

    Again, just an opinion.

    I am aware of the Vista situation being the same, however did we have the same type of anti-trust issue hanging over Vista at RC time? I dont think so.

    Without “blowing my own trumpet” I was around and using computers professionally when Weird Dreams was being used on commercial TV as part of a childrens morning show. I saw the deployment of Win 3.1 into the workplace, and whilst my home use is now a non-microsoft one, Im still stuck in the system at work. The release of WIndows 7 (IMO) signifies something a little different. Maybe Im wrong, maybe its the recession, but I get the feeling of a little desperation by Microsoft (IMO) in the face of a public that is apathetic to the release of another new version of Windows in the middle of an economic downturn. Thats not mentioning that really when you look under the hood of Windows 7, Ive yet to have anyone highlight something it can do that other OS’s (including the Microsoft range) cant already do.

    Maybe you can enlighten me?

    and have the shareholders considered that since Windows 7 is free for a year, whats preventing consumers demanding their new PC without an OS of any kind? Does the freebie RC allow for a clean install or does it require you have Windows already present? Ive yet to get a straight answer on that question either. If it can be installed onto a brand new clean harddisk, then the shareholders may consider that whilst this freebie is knocking about, people are not going to want to pay for say Vista when the first thing they will do is simpy replace it with 7.

    1. simon360 says:

      Ahh, that does clarify it a bit more. Regardless, I think that it is still a major minority of people that are downloading and installing Windows 7. Microsoft makes it very clear that it isn’t meant for the average Joe to use, and most people will take heed of that advice. Just the geeks that have any interest, and occasionally their relatives.

      You can install Windows 7 without Windows being there before, that’s what I’ve done (although I’m primarily a Mac OS X and Linux user). I don’t think it’s really a “freebie”, though. It isn’t completely free of bugs (nothing is, but it isn’t quite release quality), and the RTM won’t be released for public download as far as I know.

      I think Microsoft will try and pull some dirty tricks with the EU, but I don’t think this is one of them. If they want to pull something against them, then they need to get Windows 7 released as soon as possible. As in, within the next week or two, and have it on all new computers. That won’t happen, and so it will remain a minority (yes, a million is still a huge minority) using Windows 7.

  3. openbytes says:

    Again, valid points.

    But ask yourself this. Who introduces friendly & family members to software/hardware?

    Usually the one person in the family who has been labeled the “computer expert” this would be fine if they actually were, but in most cases they have been given this label purely because out of everyone in the family they are the only one who can install a software package.

    The Linux remark was more aimed at the ethos of “word of mouth” which I believe Microsoft have realized is far more effective than advertising campaigns with comedians for massive amounts of money which were neither funny (IMO) nor effective.
    IMO people are far too savvy and see the current Microsoft ads as exactly what they are, adverts to try to sell you things, regardless of how many children or money saving parents you throw in front of them.

    Quote “then they need to get Windows 7 released as soon as possible.”

    I dont agree, neither Microsoft or anyone here knows what direction the EU will take with its anti-trust. Could it order a total recall of products in order to satisfy its ruling? Who knows, but isnt it safer to release the thing for free before any sanctions come into play and allow users to get hooked into it, so when purchase day comes in 2010 they will be more willing to part with cash? and also ignore any alternative packages the EU may rule should be deployed with it?

    Quote “You can install Windows 7 without Windows being there before, that’s what I’ve done”

    So I ask you, how do you think shareholders would react to this when potentially it could remove the desire to purchase a PC with any of Microsofts OS’s pre-installed?

    Quote “. It isn’t completely free of bugs (nothing is, but it isn’t quite release quality), and the RTM won’t be released for public download as far as I know.”

    Again, we agree on something, however since certain MS faithful have been singing about how great Vista is, whats the point in rushing to install a freebie which “isnt free of bugs” and will expire in 2010?

    That to me suggests the bad feeling Vista really has in the community, not what Microsoft tells us people think about Vista.

    Putting that all aside, Ive just challenged a Linux reporter who claimed that Linux needs to shed its “elitist” attitude. Whilst Ive argued that elitism exists in every facet of IT I think Windows 7 is the thing which will keep Linux such a great OS.

    Let me give you an example of a typical user that moves to Linux on a whim. They are easy to tell in the forums as their post will read something like “Ive just installed XXXXXXX and I cant get the spinning cube to work like I saw on youtube”

    This type of user we need to be grateful to Windows for (and also the free Windows 7) this type of user IMO is largely responsible for the digital slug of Windows as Microsoft (IMO) tries to please everyone with a plethora of utils/features/plugins to do just about everything (IMO except tell Steve Ballmer that jumping around on stage wailing like a cat on fire isnt a good idea)

    Windows has kept these type of users away from Linux and why Linux remains a tight/fast/secure OS and for that we have to be grateful.

    Do I think Microsoft should be bashed for releasing Windows RC for free? Certainly not. I just think its funny that the MS faithful have been saying for a long time “you get what you pay for” and now find their beloved OS is being deployed again, in the same way.

    I remember the Vista days well. I also remember that the off the shelf product wasnt quite what I was led to believe it would be.

    Sorry I had to quote this last, as talking about Vista reminded me.

    “and most people will take heed of that advice.”

    Yes, I remember what happened when people heeded advice of Microsoft…..Vista specs anyone?

  4. simon360 says:

    “So I ask you, how do you think shareholders would react to this when potentially it could remove the desire to purchase a PC with any of Microsofts OS’s pre-installed?”

    Probably pretty good, actually. Those users will have a year to get a new product key, which costs a lot more than one that comes with a computer, and is actually pure profit for Microsoft (minus the price of packaging, etc.)

    And the people I know who consider themselves “tech savvy”, even setting all the stuff up for their family, have no idea what Windows 7 even is, not to mention how to download it. And I don’t know about you, but I don’t plan on installing an OS for my family members that I know will need to be reinstalled in a year anyway.

    And yeah, Vista specs were a disaster… but that’s completely unrelated to anything. It’s like comparing apples and oranges. One is saying you can install this on barebones hardware, while the other says don’t install this at all unless you understand the circumstances.

    Finally, the Windows 7 RC is nothing more than a free trial. Like you said, it gets users hooked. It will have no influence on anything else, except Microsoft will sell a million copies when it’s released.

  5. openbytes says:

    Quote “Probably pretty good, actually. Those users will have a year to get a new product key, which costs a lot more than one that comes with a computer, and is actually pure profit for Microsoft (minus the price of packaging, etc.)”

    I disagree. Surely as far as the shareholders are concerned, a user buying a PC preinstalled with Vista and then upgrading to 7 via freebie is better than buying the machine without an OS. Isnt Microsoft loosing out on a sale? From what youre saying then, a possible scenario where Microsoft does not sell a single new install on a PC in favour of the freebie is a good thing? Im sure Microsoft are happy for people to upgrade with the freebie, but I think the plan is for them to make a sale with a pre-installed OS first.

    Quote “And the people I know who consider themselves “tech savvy”, even setting all the stuff up for their family, have no idea what Windows 7 even is, not to mention how to download it. And I don’t know about you, but I don’t plan on installing an OS for my family members that I know will need to be reinstalled in a year anyway.”

    Word of mouth. Computer expert in family uses Windows 7, rest of the family use windows 7, just like we’ve seen with some of the bloggers we’ve exposed, giving a freebie is an excellent way to advertise your products.

    Quote “Finally, the Windows 7 RC is nothing more than a free trial. Like you said, it gets users hooked. It will have no influence on anything else, except Microsoft will sell a million copies when it’s released.”

    I think they will be in for a little shock there.
    Consider this….the BT protocol. How quickly do you think a crack will be released and distributed that will remove the silliness of the time limit. Its hardly rocket science to do it and Im sure there will be a host of cracking crews lining up to do that.

    I think with the way piracy and the BT protocol has spread, Microsoft will be lucky to make many sales after its been in the digital world for a year.

    Just my opinion, but look at how much piracy of Microsoft products is currently occurring. Didnt the Piratebay have a special day of poking fun at Microsoft and its inability to shut the site?

    Quote “And yeah, Vista specs were a disaster… but that’s completely unrelated to anything. ”

    No its not. You mentioned about users heeding advice of Microsoft. I made the remark about what happened before. Do I need to remind you what Microsoft told users would be required to run Vista? Do you need examples of court papers of cases where people believe there was something wrong with that “advice”
    I think you understood the point I was making that after the “Vista advice” I think people will be a little more careful what they “heed”

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