Prices, Promotions and extortion – The One Microsoft Way ?

"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”)

Notes

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

Goblin – bytes4free@googlemail.com

If you are new to this blog (or have not yet read it) please take time to view the OpenBytes statement, here.

28 Comments Add yours

  1. In a couple of cases where Microsoft has trumpeted a deal, I suspect they were the ones that paid. Of course since the deals are closed, this can’t be proved, but looking at some of the patents involved, I believe that this may be the case.

  2. Agent_Smith says:

    Linux will succeed because the software is awesome. Just installed Mandriva 2010 powerpack in my dad’s computer, and he payed for it. But, it’s the awesome, marvelous, fantastic KDE 4.4. And I, after watching his computer, am willing to buy a better machine to run Mandriva.😀

  3. openbytes says:

    Ouch…KDE and Mandriva…not to my liking…Ive always preferred Gnome.

    1. J.H. says:

      KDE 4 has taken a while to get where it needs to be, but 4.5 is really good. Gnome is a good working desktop but I definitely want some eye candy on my PC, and KDE 4 delivers.🙂

      1. openbytes says:

        To be fair, I never had any functionality issues with KDE, it just merely I don’t like it (as in aesthetically)…..

        1. And that is the wonderful thing about Linux/BSD/Solaris (Free Operating Systems). Unlike Microsoft Windows or Mac OSX, you have choices.

          Me, I don’t really like either KDE or Gnome, I prefer using Enlightenment or XFCE. And with Free Operating Systems you have options like that. For that matter if you have the talent (I don’t) you can design and implement your own idea of the ultimate desktop.

          Freedom. It’s wonderful.

          1. openbytes says:

            Although for some, choice is bad…..

            I do have to laugh when people claim Linux has “too much choice”…

            1. J.H. says:

              >>Although for some, choice is bad…..

              >>I do have to laugh when people claim Linux has “too much choice”…

              No way, that’s the best part about it.
              Not to mention how many Linux distros out there a so *nice* these days, and getting better all the time, in spite of the fact that sometimes it feels like there are 8,000,000 different ones out there….🙂

            2. They might as well claim that there’s too much choice in the automotive market!

        2. J.H. says:

          See, I run into the same issue w/ Gnome. I like the way it works, but it’s just sort of ‘bland’ to me. Of course KDE 4 especially can be hit or miss depending on the distro, e.g. for me, I can’t stand Kubuntu.

          1. openbytes says:

            I think its the “bland” that I like…KDE brought back memories of Vista and the whole thing feels “plastic” and cheap.

            Mandriva is the one distro I had a big problem with, it just kept providing issue after issue for me…the one that sticks in my mind is it trying to upgrade itself to a previous version. Infact it was less weary installing Gentoo than it was Mandriva.

            Kubuntu is something Ive never really looked at. I have a few secondary rigs running a derivative of it (and 1x 9.10 deployment) but in all cases (including when I deploy Ubuntu for others) is Gnome.

            **Oh and meant to say (as I believe you are a new commenter) thanks very much for taking the time to visit and comment!

            Kind regards
            Tim.

            1. J.H. says:

              I can see where you could compare Vista w/ KDE 4 (and even more so 7 w/ KDE 4). There’s definitely some similarities in the look / feel department.

              Of course, Gnome reminds me of Mac OS pre OSX.🙂

              I’m not a ‘new’ commenter, per se, I’ve been lurking for a while (like you, I turned to the ‘dark side’ when I can to the realization that Vista was total crap) and I think I threw out an incoherent comment here or there on some older posts. Thanks for the welcome.

              1. openbytes says:

                🙂

                Agreed about Gnome…Whilst Vista convinced me to make the change to Linux 100%, I think its funny that just like now when certain “advocates” praise 7, they were saying exactly the same about Vista (and now seem to admit that Vista was a pig)..that was until MS wanted to flog a new version of Windows and they couldn’t keep a lid on peoples disgust with Vista.

                I’m sure we will see exactly the same thing when 7 is replaced and Microsoft want peoples money again….

                BTW Whats your distro of choice? (and I hope you will consider visiting #techrights on freenode.net …you’d be more than welcome.

                Kind Regards
                Tim.

                1. J.H. says:

                  Vista was a pig. Although not always. I actually enjoyed the betas quite a bit up to a certain point. Then something went terribly wrong performance wise.

                  Seven is actually not that horrible… for home use. Trying to use it in an enterprise is another story. I decided to be a guinea pig here at work with it, and was not pleased. There are a lot of things that I do on a day-to-day basis as a sysadmin that I was able to do with a lot less difficulty under XP. I’m talking about simple day-to-day tasks. The 7 experiment at work ended for me on my workstation when it decided to patch itself (even though I had turned off the auto updates) and completely failed on the reboot. Back to XP I went.

                  Current distro? I use OpenSUSE on my main PC, but I’m a bit annoyed with it since 11.3 came out, so I’m going to do some test VM’s in Virtualbox with a few others and see if any of them catch my fancy. Ubuntu sits on the ‘family’ PC. Mythbuntu handles my PVR /HTPC.

                  1. openbytes says:

                    Thanks for that info, its nice to hear what others have chosen as their distro of choice.

                    RE: 7, I’d agree it was fine and to a point improved on Vista, at the time it was released the issue I had with it was what it offered that could not be achieved either natively or via 3rd party apps with XP…I never had a proper answer. I think the same is true for Linux, I repeatedly ask what 7 can offer me that can’t be offered with Linux…

                    For now the only answer I received was gaming (although incorrect) and a few 3rd party apps made by other companies…..it’s good to see so many titles with Wine compliance because it would be a shame if a user was tied to Microsoft only because of a 3rd party app.

                    Kind regards
                    Tim.

                    1. J.H. says:

                      The only reason why Windows is on any partition on any of my machines is because of iTunes (kids have iPods) and some games.

            2. Agent_Smith says:

              Hi Tim, It’s me again. Well, let me put it this way: If M$ Winblow$ Vi$ta would have been done right, it would resemble KDE 4. I mean, KDE 4 is a successful shiny beautiful GUI. And, consumes a lot less resources than Vi$ta.
              And, it’s improving every version.
              Take it for a spin. You won’t regret, I bet.
              Best regards!!!

              1. J.H. says:

                I wish MS would add a simple desktop pager to their Business / Enterprise versions. I don’t generally use this feature @ home, but I can’t live w/o it @ work (got spoiled years back when I was a Unix admin @ Sun).

                There’s always windowspager…

              2. chew says:

                My Sabayon KDE box only uses about 512M of ram at boot, with uber eye candy enabled.
                I agree Agent Smith, KDE is definitely worth taking a spin.

    2. chew says:

      I like Gnome, my only problem (a big one at that) is Pulseaudio, absolute f`n garbage and the best part is, it`s so engrained in Gnome you simply can`t remove the package without breaking something else. That`s why at the moment I`m using Sabayon KDE edition, if pulse is fixed or pulled I`ll go back to Gnome.

      1. J.H. says:

        I’ve wondered why Pulse came along, ALSA was perfectly acceptable.

        How would you say the Sabayon KDE is? It on my ‘short list’ of distros to try as I look for a possible replacement for OpenSUSE.

        1. chew says:

          I too found ALSA perfectly suited to my needs, they should`ve left well enough alone IMO. Regarding Sabayon, well I guess it depends on want out of a distro. I personally love the time and attention to detail the Sabayon team has spent on it. If you like dark themes you`ll like Sabayon, installed the latest drivers for my hardware by default, good selection of packages too. I too have used OpenSuse on and off over the years, but in comparison to Sabayon, I found initial setup less of a hassle.

          Your mileage may vary.

          1. J.H. says:

            Well, that has me interested, I’ll have to give Sabayon a good run and see if it fits the bill.

  4. chew says:

    “We’re helpless! We’re harmless! We just want to sell you things!” – From the Deep Space 9 Episode – “Little Green Men”

    Love that episode, right after this comment the general had a great rebuttal, something along the lines as I know your kind, you are like a used car salesman.

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