"We're helpless! We're harmless! We just want to sell you things!" - From the Deep Space 9 Episode - "Little Green Men" I'll let you draw any comparisons with Microsoft.

It’s a shame that I released the previous article so quickly since I really could have amalgamated these two together for a better overview of recent actions.  If the summer is traditionally a quiet period for tech news, then I think this next piece signals the end of it.

Previously I wrote regarding Microsoft having a “double whammy” on Android phones, first being that there is a “deal”[1]  in place with certain providers of Android and secondly the platform that Mr Ballmer was so quick to dismiss not so long ago, is now flavor of the month with Microsoft as it tries to push its Bing onto it (with, I hasten to add, “innovative features” which it appears Google already provides).  I don’t personally blame Microsoft for trying their luck on a Linux platform and I am sure that they pick up a few new Bing users from charitable Android consumers.  You can read that article here and I’ll let you decide if you think Microsoft’s actions re: “deals” and Android is a type of extortion or not.

Moving on though, the latest reports about Windows Mobile 7, which if you keep up to date with the tech world you will already know is due out very shortly.   The mainstream audience in my opinion are too busy talking about Android or Apple to be interested in a Windows phone and I think its fair to say that the 500 people who experienced Kin won’t be rushing to Microsoft again anytime soon.    That being said its being reported that Microsoft is to charge $15 for each Windows Mobile 7 deployment.  So whats the problem?  Well nothing, providing that these “deals” in which HTC is but one “victim” are not making Android more “expensive” for manufacturers to deploy than the Windows Mobile platform.  If that was the case then I hope I could be forgiven for highlighting what I think is a rather dirty trick.  Maybe proof (if ever you needed it) that software patents are a bad thing, if it was a case that a free platform became more expensive than a Microsoft product due to “deals” being made by them.

Mr Grallia from Computer World says:

Microsoft is claiming that it’s less expensive for smartphone makers to put Windows Phone 7 on their phones than it is for them to put Android on it — even though Android is free and Windows Phone 7 costs them $15. Do you buy it?

Now the point Mr Grallia reports that Microsoft say manufacturers have to write drivers for tech deployed with Android (and Im not sure how convinced he is by that) but I would think that in terms of cost (maybe in the case of HTC) its the Microsoft Tax on a Linux platform which makes it more expensive (if indeed it does)

Mr Grallia makes a very good point:

But overriding all the issues of cost is a much larger point: Android devices sell like hotcakes, and Windows Phone devices don’t sell at all. So if Android costs phone makers more, they’d still flock to it, because that’s where the money is. So cost, at this point, is irrelevant.

A reader of Computer World makes the observation:

By the time Windows 7 mobile comes out in a couple months, I’m guessing that it will be too late for it to get any traction, and it will be a two man fight between Apple and Google.

Source: Computer World

Which really echoes my opinion since the news of a release date was announced.

Which many Microsoft advocates claim is incorrect (on the grounds of Win Mob 7 not being released).  To them I’d say, read the article.  We are talking about Microsoft products to date.  Wheres the existing Winmob advocacy?  Lets not forget Microsoft have already had a stab at phones with the Kin….that ended in tears.

Microsoft to offer another promotional offer – Still fighting XP?

Its been announced that a Windows 7 family pack promotion is to be launched again.  Is Microsoft worried about possible future deployment of their OS?  If Windows 7 is doing as well as Microsoft claim, why is this “promotion” being offered?  I’ll let you decide.  Maybe its a sign of generosity from Microsoft in thanks of everyone who’s running Windows 7? 😉

If it is, I wonder what promotion Microsoft will offer to people who bought into Kin or Vista to make amends?

With that in mind though, Microsoft has another battle which is rarely written about on OpenBytes.  Its not Apple, it’s not Google nor is it Linux, its XP.  It seems that many people don’t want to move from the familiar XP and to me the danger for Microsoft would be that when they finally do move, they may consider Windows 7 just a big a “jump” as Linux.  Since Linux is free, I wonder if Microsoft have considered this scenario and are desperately trying to move people away from XP, not only because they want to make more money off you, but because they fear people will go elsewhere. – You can judge that, but if you are an XP user who feels pressured to leave it, why not try Linux first? it won’t cost you anything and at least you will know if it’s for you.

The announcement is mentioned here: http://www.windowsobserver.com/2010/09/01/windows-7-family-pack-making-a-comeback/

But Microsoft wants to be a friend of FOSS!!!!

Lets get this straight.  Why would it?  Please can anyone who claims this sit down and think about that statement.  If we agree Microsoft is here to take money and not some humanitarian crusade to bring software and joy to everyone, then IT CANNOT WANT TO BE FRIENDS OF FOSS.  FOSS goes against everything Microsoft wishes to sell and when Microsoft makes all these grand gestures towards it, people should be thinking why?

Lets forget about any rivalries between Apple/Microsoft/Linux users and just consider this.  Why would Microsoft want the FOSS ethos to succeed around the world?  Would Microsoft want people switching to say Open Office instead of buying its own office suite?  If Microsoft is donating code to the Linux kernel why?, in order to get people to use it? and if that was the case why would Microsoft want to give away its customers and subsequently loose revenue?

Surely actions where Microsoft is “friends” with free and open source software must either overtly (or indeed covertly) suit them and whilst Microsoft makes claims about playing nicely, it’s also taking revenue from Android sales with Samsung/HTC and others?

I personally could never accept Microsoft wanting to be “friends of FOSS”, sure they might want to be SEEN as friends, but unless someone can come up with an explanation of why Microsoft would want to support a model which goes against the way they do business (and takes customers from them) then I will keep my opinion as it is.  Unless of course, Microsoft has already admitted defeat (behind closed doors) and is ready to make money in the court-room instead of the marketplace.

But of course to suggest that Microsoft does mind loosing money to customers switching to FOSS solutions will have you labeled as a “Microsoft hater”, “Zealot” and the plethora of other insults thrown our way, lets see if there is someone who is willing to come forward and explain how Microsoft can sustain its business on either a FOSS ethos or by directly/indirectly supporting FOSS products which are directly competing with theirs.  Talking of “haters”, for me Microsoft’s  opinion on Linux/FOSS is quite clear and I haven’t seen Steve Ballmer retract it:

Linux is a cancer that attaches itself in an intellectual property sense to everything it touches.

Source:  Steve Ballmer – CEO Microsoft

Apparently though it’s a “cancer” Steve Ballmer is now using to push Bing (and gain revenue from via “deals”)


[1] The details of the “deals” with HTC and others are not known.

Goblin – bytes4free@googlemail.com

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