Windows

Microsoft's plan to retain the throne as king in a Windows world


Microsoft $3 suiteJust when open source alternatives to Microsoft start to pick up steam and capture the interest of (current and potential) PC users, a sweet deal is laid out on the table that many frugal software shoppers won't be able to turn down. A recent story from CNET Networks' News.com explains how Microsoft plans to keep a strong hold on its throne as king in a Windows world. Read the entire story: "Microsoft aims to reach next billion PC users."  

Here's the lowdown:

"The software maker will offer the $3 Student Innovation Suite to governments that agree to directly purchase PCs for students to use in their schoolwork and at home. ... The collection of software, which will start shipping in the second half of this year, includes Windows XP Starter Edition, Office Home and Student 2007, Windows Live Mail Desktop and several educational products. ... Microsoft is hoping this program and others will help the company reach more of the 5 billion people who have yet to benefit from the PC revolution."

For more information about the $3 Student Innovation Suite, check out these articles from other news sources:

Do you think that Microsoft will achieve its internal goal of reaching a billion new users by 2015? Or do you think that Microsoft will have to literally give their software to emerging markets and developing nations in order to compete with open source alternatives? Share your thoughts in this discussion. 

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About

Sonja Thompson has worked for TechRepublic since October of 1999. She is currently a Senior Editor and the host of the Smartphones and Tablets blogs.

108 comments
Jack-M
Jack-M

When will it stop? I'll concede victory to Micrsoft but can they finish something before they start selling something new? I know it's progress but at what cost? Jack

jck
jck

That even Michael Dell is looking at Linux (*ubuntu). http://articles.techrepublic.com.com/2100-10877_11-6177641.html Gates better be scared...if Linux keeps progressing at the rate technologically that it has for the past 10 years, MS might have to start laying off in 10 years (GOD I WISH). WTG Michael Dell...I owe you a beer! :)

kknepple
kknepple

This is what I can't get my head around. These are hard working people that are here in the US. These are people trying to raise families in some cases. I understand the natural order of things but don't wish for layoffs. Don't you get enough pleasure by seeing other companies lay people off left and right? I certainly do not WISH for you to be laid off....treat how you want to be treated.

jck
jck

Oh wait! I've have been laid off by an employer to keep profits and executive bonuses up. I *HAVE* been treated that way... Guess that justified my saying that! Thanks for your positive reinforcement! I don't wish people to be laid off to lose their homes and careers. Besides...according to "law of supply and demand" that corporations use to determine jacked up prices on everything...if Microsoft isn't selling enough of their product, that means someone else took part of that static market. Hence, the jobs are still there...they just are not profiting Microsoft any longer. BTW...I've treated people how I want to be treated for years...and you know what it got me? $HIT ON...plain and simply put. Have a nice day :)

jck
jck

They are a profit machine. I wish no individual ill who has to work for a living. But someone like Gates or Balmer or Allchin (who bailed the day of Vista's release cause he knew its value would peak then)...they don't work for a living. As long as they make decisions that are legal and conform to SEC regulation...sure...their salary is only in the $100,000s...but they get HUGE stock bonuses and dividends in $10Ms. As for the economic war. Well the more I watch American business, the more I hope that the country ends up like that movie Demolition Man. Everyone has to eat Taco Bell. Everyone has to be a lemming. Everyone has to use Microsoft. That would be fitting. Oh yeah...one other thing. Microsoft didn't cry either when they sent all those phone rep jobs over to India and the Philippines, did they? Gotta love insensitive, capitalist, money-grubbing executives. I hope Linux runs Gates and those other execs into the poor house. They deserve that much. Then maybe someone will give them free Linux and a used PC too.

TechExec2
TechExec2

. I appreciated the sentiment of your post, JCK. I don't wish Microsoft employees any ill fortune either. But, the ugly truth is that there is an economic war going on and Microsoft employees are the soldiers on the other side. I don't see them crying when all of the ISVs are wiped out by Microsoft's actions. War is hell! So... F*CK EM!!

intrepi
intrepi

I think MS will meet with some success but may run into a problem selling this kettle of fish to anyone with a view on the bigger picture. If MS offered it for free with the ability to make it up on their other software, online services and spinoff's, it begs the question is it still as big a deal as it appears to be ? If something smells, fishy, tastes fishy and looks fishy, maybe it's nothing more than an empty fish basket waiting for a sucker.

TechExec2
TechExec2

. In America, a company selling a $500 product for $3 in order to displace the competition is considered dumping and it's illegal. Only a monopoly selling $44 BILLION and clearing $18 BILLION profit annually could afford to give product away like this. Everyone who pays the premium prices is funding this giveaway. Microsoft is a company that just cannot find a way to be satisfied with $44 BILLION per year. They should be focusing on keeping paying customers happy. A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. 800 million customers paying premium prices are worth far more than a billion of them at $3 a pop. And, I am supposed to put up with capricious WGA de-activations for this? There is $3 software available for all. It's called Linux and OpenOffice.

georgeou
georgeou

Illegal dumping? Are you kidding? Do you even know the definition of dumping? Dumping is when you?re undercutting a competitor?s price for the purpose sole purpose of putting them out of business at below cost. Last time I checked, Linux + OO.o was $0 which means it?s still infinitely cheaper than Windows + Office. No dumping there! I smell anger and fear that $0 Linux and OO.o won't be able to compete with $3 Windows and Office. That still means Microsoft's solution costs infinitely more times more money than the OSS solution, yet you fear this so much. What does this say about the competitiveness of OSS solutions? Are OSS proponents that insecure that they can only compete if it?s $0 versus $500? I actually think you may be right and that there is something to your fear. That?s because the vast majority of ordinary users out there would rather spend $3 on Windows + Office versus $0 on Linux + OO.o. Here in the rich nations, people spend hundreds of dollars on Windows + Office instead of $0 for Linux + OO.o. Is there illegal dumping going on here too? Microsoft stands to make $3 where they were going to make $0 before mostly because of piracy while some will use OSS), so Microsoft stands to make a lot of money where none was made before. If they succeed and sell 1 billion copies of this license, they'll still profit $3B dollars since this is licensing cost only with zero production costs.

Dumphrey
Dumphrey

reason MS is doing this si because of the adoption rates of Linux in these developing markets. MS is by no means stupid, and as China and India move to a more developed nation, the computer sales could triple over current values, and that means OS sales could triple. but, the adoption rate for Linux in these countries is WAY above what it is here in America or Europe. hell, even Japan is out stripping us in the linux market (though as an embedded platform). MS can see this, and is attempting to slow the tide as a new generation of 30 billion computer users grow up on linux.

Dumphrey
Dumphrey

Unix based, let me do a little digging. Seems Symbian is propriatary, based on something called EPOC. But, it was designed from the ground up to be on mobile/embedded devices. So I can see why it would have a large markey share.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

That's not to counter the comment. I heard a few years back that Japan was up around 90% Linux use. That can't be all on the desktop, the Embedded has to factor into that amount or maybe it's complete bunk. I'd be curious to see software market blends for Nihon.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

and there ends up being tonnes of PC savvy types with MS knowledge in third world countries in say what, three years? What does that mean for 3rd world businesses setting up now. What does it mean for 3rd world IT providers now. It's going to hurt them isn't it. They'll effectively be shepherded in the MS cost model through a lack of upcoming talent with any other OS. If I was running education policy in the 3rd world , I'd tell Bill to ram this offer up his ass. I'd do a deal with one of the big budget boys, or even set up my own and provide a linux box, save 3$ a pop on that and not damage my economy as well. It is a loss leader, a quick perusal of teh figures show who generally makes a loss in any a deal with MS. Not them is it. Very clever though I'll admit.

TechExec2
TechExec2

. This $3 offer to students in emerging countries is a desperate move by Microsoft to hold back the Linux and OSS tide. I think it is going to be only partially successful. Microsoft has never been very good at building a better product, satisfying customers, and winning business. Their claim to fame is their ability to manipulate markets. If they fail to manipulate those emerging markets and dominate them, then they lose. [b]Linux is taking off around the globe[/b] Linux is taking off around the globe. It's no wonder. Today's Linux and OSS apps make for outstanding, inexpensive, and productive computing. Offshore they are not addicted to Windows the way we are here in the U.S. A lot of them don't want to help Microsoft and the U.S. get even richer. They like the idea of the independence, freedom, and power that Linux and OSS gives them. And, they are not stupid. They know that $3 Windows+Office for students today will be $500 Windows+Office tomorrow. The central planners in China will certainly see through Microsoft's offer. [b]Apple Macintosh taking off[/b] Apple's Macintosh sales are dramatically up. The new very fast x86-based Macs and outstanding Mac OS X operating system are winning new users every month. [b]Palpable changes in the U.S.[/b] After a five year development effort, Vista is finally out and there is disappointment even from many Microsoft lovers. And, there is a palpable interest in Linux and OSS as never before. [b]Strength vs. Weakness[/b] Apple's share price reflects their overall strength (1) and Microsoft's share price its weakness (2). [b]Whining and crowing[/b] If anybody is running scared and whining, it's Microsoft. Linux advocates are crowing. ---------------------------------------------- (1) AAPL Apple Computer up 900% over the last 5 years, all time high http://bigcharts.marketwatch.com/quickchart/quickchart.asp?symb=aapl&sid=0&o_symb=aapl&freq=2&time=12 (2) MSFT Microsoft Corporation flat over the last 5 years, down 50% from it's all time high http://bigcharts.marketwatch.com/quickchart/quickchart.asp?symb=msft&sid=0&o_symb=msft&freq=2&time=12 edit: Separation of strength comment from Mac OS X. I did not mean to imply Apple's strength is primarily from Mac OS X.

TechExec2
TechExec2

. Don't post while you are high. That was a pretty amazing stream of falsehoods. :0

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

I'm sure I heard some place around grade 10 accounting that stocks loosing price suck, stocks staying flat bring no investor profits and stocks climbing provide increaseing investor profits. Maybe I don't understand this financial stuff though. If you want to through 10 grand into a stock that'll remaine nice and flat then have I got a deal for you... A stock that gains steadily may be what you meant and if so then yeah, a steady earner is a better long term investiment; it takes some skill and luck to play and up and down stock to get the most return.

Rndmacts
Rndmacts

We know you are a Linux fanatic but please get your facts straight. Apple share prices and Apple share of the market are not the same. Apples share of the market place is actually dropping not gaining. And as for share prices I prefer a stock that is consistent in its price to one that is all over the board. Another factor in the five year period Microsoft did a share split, so yes there is a halving of share value. I bought shares in both Microsoft and Apple in the 80's and I'll tell you one thing, my MS shares are worth 100 times more than my investment in Apple shares. My Apple shares would be worth zip if MS hadn't given the company $5 Billion dollars to recapitize their product. And don't say that MS was paying on patent infringement because both companies were guilty and they didn't invent the UI, Xerox did. Linux has its place in the business environment when the business wants to run a true business environment, because multimedia is not one of Linux's strong point is it. But I would equate Linux's current level of sophistication to Win 98 based on third party software available to it, perfect for the office not the home. The home user wants a rich media system capable of viewing television, watching movies as well as office applications. The biggest software enterprise for Windows is the ability to play games on the computer, the home user wants to use his or her computer for recreation as well as mundane office chores. Linux doesn't offer that environment and sorry but Apple is proprietory and you do it their way with them getting a cut or you take the highway. Apples share prices don't reflect the strength of the company, but as has been shown the will of the board of directors to profit on the backs of the ordinary shareholders by not dividing the shares and profiting on their Class A status. The only reason the SEC has not gone after Apple is that they view it as competition to Microsoft. I will retain my shares in Apple the same as I retain my stockholdings in other companies such as BCE and Telus in Canada, because they provide me with a lifestyle i am used to. I don't think that MS is running from Linux, but Linux is trying so hard to say they are different from MS but really they are the same and are playing catch up.

Dumphrey
Dumphrey

I wasn't trying to bash you, but felt it was important enough tpo clarify iPod vs rest of the Mac lineup.

TechExec2
TechExec2

. You're right and I agree. I should have done a better job of separating my comment about Mac OS X rising from the comment about stock price reflecting company strength. I did not mean to imply that Apple's strength is primarily from Mac OS X. I made a change to better reflect that. Thanks.

Dumphrey
Dumphrey

but Apples Share price is really due more to the iPod then OS X. The iPod andiTunes is Apples version of MS's office, the product that keeps people addicted. Ever tried to use an iPod on Linux? Move one between a windows box and a Mac? If you want to rail at MS about Office and Xp Starter for $3, the iTunes for free is just as bad. It guarantees people will go out and buy 2nd rate old tech iPods for to much money. iPods still cant play ogg/vorbis or FLAC. I can understand not playing ogg/vorbis, but FLAC is an audiophile standard.

martin.reading
martin.reading

Just jumping in here - but can I ask an important question - where are these 1 billion users? Are we talking 3rd world countries? Are these people that already have PC's?? If they do then yes they can make that choice of $3 MS or free Linux. So no change there - you make your own choice. However if they are being given the chance to get funded PC's with the MS then yes that is total bribery...

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

that was good squishy.. I need a spot of humour right then too. Cheers, that was great.

Rndmacts
Rndmacts

I think people are getting confused here. The individual is getting nothing for $3. What microsoft is giving is a licence to these governments to install XP starter and Ofice 2007 in educational systems. These are computers either donated or bought and placed in the school systems. It gives these students an equal footing with students in the developed world. Microsoft has similar program in the US, Canada and Europe though not for the same products. It is a matter of relevance when you consider that the average wage earner in North America earns more than whole villages in these disadvanted countries. We can't even equate our lives with these people, as we are used to readily available electricity, running water and plumbing. In North America we live in relatively young countries where the infrastruture was built at the same pace that we expanded. We only have to look at the condition of our indiginous populations to get a glimps at what these older civilizations are coping with. We are also blessed on secular governments which have made it possible to limit our population growth. My own example, I retired at 45 from the active workplace and yet still have an income above 60% of the North American workforce. I understand the plight of third world poverty but can't know it because I can always return to my priviligded life. But from volunteer work I have done both here and abroad I do know one thing, yes the underprivigded want to succeed but not at the cost of giving up their self esteem. There is value in earning something by dint of labour and hard work. These governments would look at 0$ MS products as outright charity robbing them of self esteem. Most people on these boards are well educated persons who have worked hard for their imagined self esteem, people in these countries want the same right not handouts. A free MS product would be the worst form of charity, the message would be that you are so bad off that you can't afford our product period.

jck
jck

well...actually...it's mainly his wife, Melinda, that headed the thing dealing with getting 3rd world people to use contraceptives to stop AIDS. He just kinda shows up with her, or he knows he won't get any after work :D But, that is a good proof of altruism...give and don't expect any return from it... However when it comes to the stuff...yeah...I think you're right...there will be some caveat...just like there used to be with academic editions and competitive upgrading...like...you could get it REALLY cheap...if you agreed to sign a thing saying you'd use only that version for 2 years. That's how I got my first MS software in college for cheap. Sometimes...I think he's satan...but then...I remember George Bush...hahahaha :D

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

Is he simply giving the country a billion dollars worth of computer hardware and saying; "go for it. Here's Windows Crippled edition or you can put whatever OS on it you like" Or Is he saying; "you can have a billion dollars worth of hardware to give to your citizens as long as it has my software on it." I'm all about the intent. If someone kicks my shin accidentily; it happens. If someone kicks my shin and grins at me afterward; intentions are different and responses are different. I just can't see this as best intentions to help developing country more than hidden intentions to further the monopoly. If he want's to donate a billion dollars to help the third world then great. I hope he donates two billion and makes a difference to all of us on this lonely rock as a whole. The questions remain: Can a nation accept the hardware independent of the software? Why can't he throw a billion towards OLPC? (oh right.. OLPC doesn't brand children into a closed monopoly early on. It's based on open standards, learning and transparency.)

jck
jck

I don't know how old you are, but Bill Gates isn't doing this out of the goodness of his heart. He's doing what AT&T did with Unix. He's basically trying to influence peddle his way into a market. I give you software to learn my way of doing things. So do all your countrymen. You go and apply for a job. So do all 1,000,000,000 of your countrymen. When companies see M$ is all anyone knows, they have no option but to buy it to save money. Microsoft spikes price. Microsoft makes lots of money. Microsoft pushes out other competitors. Microsoft charges 3 months wages for OS upgrade. Microsoft makes lots more money. One thing you really have to keep in perspective, George: Bill Gates is a [b]businessman[/b]. If he didn't think this would make MS more money, he wouldn't do it. It gives him good press. It gives people short-term warm fuzzies. It gives him a foot in the door in China to sell his stuff in the future. He's not giving anything away...he's being a venture capitalist, when it comes to his products being given away.

georgeou
georgeou

If Bill Gates wants to donate a few billion dollars of his own money for new computers, is that a bad thing?

daboochmeister
daboochmeister

I think people fear that Microsoft will be able to maintain monopoly status, earned via illegal techniques, by virtue of actions like this. Linux has the uphill battle, MS just needs to keep momentum. If the playing field were truly level, I don't think this would be viewed as a negative. And if MS wasn't leveraging ill-gotten gain (i.e., if they had won the market share fair and square), I don't think it would be fair to complain. (I also don't think it would be viewed as a negative by most if anyone believed it represented a change in heart by MS, that they no longer wanted to be a monopoly). Dumping is lowering price to the point that you undercut competition at your own expense, to build toward or ensure future market dominance. Microsoft has been strident about not being able to lower the price on their products -- yet suddenly they can, in a targeted way, if it will prevent adoption of Linux. $3 vs. $0 and infinity aren't the point -- the point is that $3 is effectively the same as $0 (especially when you factor in media and time to create Linux disks etc., making it not really $0). And I know your tongue's in your cheek, but word games w/ the definition of infinity don't do you credit as a journalist. Anyway, I think this act on MS's part will bring into focus the freedom vs. free of cost aspects of the OSS/Linux approach -- and that's a [i]good[/i] thing in the long run.

daboochmeister
daboochmeister

That's the phrase I was searching for -- this could also be viewed as a loss leader pricing strategy. Or as a "free as in pretzels" strategy -- they get virtually free Windows XP, they'll end up convincing themselves to buy Vista, and to base their infrastructure around MS, etc.

TechExec2
TechExec2

. Keep it up. With every post you make, it becomes obvious to another person that you're shaping the discussion in Microsoft's favor. You're part of Microsoft's machine, even if you're not directly on their payroll. Fear? Apparently you wish so. I don't have any fear about this at all. I have complete confidence that if I want to run Linux and OO.o that I will always be able to do so. I guarantee that you cannot describe a viable scenario where I will not be able to. (Be careful! There will be a lot of laughter if you try.)

jck
jck

[b][i]Average wage in India is $800 which based on North American average of $32000 is 1/40th. I can buy XP Pro for $129. They are paying for Starter not Pro version, it does have major restrictions, you can buy XP basic but who would want to. [/i][/b] The television report I saw on it said that Dell had hired technical telephone reps to make the equivalent of US$2000 per year, versus approximately $22,000 per year for an American technical telephone rep. Guess your Indians make less than mine, eh? [b][i]Your point 2 about immigrating to another country for a better life, funny I hadn`t heard that the US had opened its immigration quotas. Most borders of the industrialized world are closed today to casual immigration.[/i][/b] The U.S. Government, along with guys like Bill Gates, have been pushing for more open immigration...especially in the case of H-1B visas to allow immigrant workers to come here and work. BTW...I never said "casual" in anything. And I can assure you after talking with my grandmother Hanson as a boy about when her father came to this country from Norway...it was no cakewalk. He and his family had to work their butts off to get here. [b][i]Your point 3: Microsofts offer of $3 software is not to individuals but to governments. In North America MS has a generous program of discounted software available to states and provinces to place software in the hands of the disadvantaged. I volunteer in one such program here in Canada where we place computers with MS software in the hand of low income families at a cost of $150 per unit. Giving computers to the homeless is ridiculous shouldn`t we be trying to find shelter for these people first, then try to bring them back into the workforce. Get the cart behind the horse not in front.[/i][/b] Wow...how generous. I make under $50k a year, and I donated 5 PCs to a charity that gives computers to poor children so they can do their school work. I didn't take a tax write-off...or anything. So I guess if Gates selling those poor people computers for $50 makes him "generous", then me giving 5 disadvantaged kids computers when I make about 1/100,000th of what he does...I must be eff'in Jesus Christ...right eh? [b][i]Microsoft already has a program in Russia to help the poor, unfortunately the problems in Russia run deeper than giving away software. [/i][/b] But...then if the problem is deeper than the people having computers...why are they handing out technology instead of more food and clothing? I'm sure the Russians love the smell of MS DVDs. Must smell like caviar. Tell me...how does a $3 OS and a $50 computer for students "help" a Russian farmer? [b][i]The problem of street children in Rio has nothing to do with Microsoft. You are confusing software with social issues. Besides Brazil has dictated that Linux will be the software of the government, so why is Linux not trying to get computers and software to these children.[/i][/b] I'm not confusing anything. The point is...Microsoft giving $3 software to 3rd world countries: 1) cures no disease 2) creates no new jobs 3) feeds no one who is hungry 4) stops no violence 5) creates no new industry Fact is, there is no philanthropy or altruism or charity in this...Microsoft is loading the market...and the fact they are doing it through the government makes it even worse. [b][i]You say that there is no altruism or philanthropy about Microsoft's offering, nor should there be. Microsoft and its software is not going to heal the world's ills. They can only make it possible for these countries to compete on an equal basis. They are not the governments and do not dictate the policies in these countries, they just made an offer enabling these countries to compete. I did not see an ultimatum of use our package or else. Pecuniary would be if these countries were expected to pay close to what we pay in North America per licence.[/i][/b] Wait a second...help them compete? From what I understand, India nor China are in no financial difficulty. In fact, the Indian government is flourishing with companies like Dell, Microsoft and Toshiba setting up shop there because of the cheap labor. The Chinese government is so rich at this point, giving them anything just helps them get wealthier. Plus, most of the people working in Indian call centers are more educated than their American counterparts and are often products of the United States university system. Giving the governments of China, Indian, Uzbekistan, or Senegal isn't going to do anything...other than leverage Microsoft into a possible future market. And again...Microsoft didn't try to get software into really impoverished countries. Otherwise, a country like Ivory Coast that is so impoverished and in civil war would have been offered $3 software. [b][i]Another item, for consideration if MS were to make this software available for 0$ then you are saying that you are so poor you cannot even compete in the world today unless you receive handouts. A helping hand is appreciated more than a handout for self esteem. This is why our welfare systems are trying to evolve into assistance systems instead of the ongoing welfare cycles of the past. Microsoft is acknowledging that we all need a helping hand once in a while. [/i][/b] Microsoft is acknowledging that they need to leverage themselves in the largest growing consumer markets in the world. Fact is...Microsoft is offering $3 software (to whomever) in less industrialized countries because they want to get a foothold there...not because they want to offer a "helping hand". Oh...and...did you notice...that...the government has to agree to pay for at least half of that computer? How does an extremely impoverished country pay? They can't. So...again...Gates is only helping the countries who can pay...now he's just bloodsucking even really poor people. You can continue to think that Gates is being a protagonist of pure value to the betterment of the "next billion". And I will just continue to determine he's involved simply in venture capitalism; pure and simple. [b]ADDED NOTE:[/b] Go to the Reuters link...Microsoft did put a caveat in it, and their statement says as such: "Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft said it plans to offer a software package called Microsoft Student Innovation Suite for $3 to governments purchasing and giving [b]Windows-based computer[/b] to primary and secondary students." Nice...wonder what Microsoft does if the home user switches it to Ubuntu? Demand they take it back?

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

This offer from MS has been forced them by the market, without it they were losing ground outside of the developed nations, and that would have / will leak over. As for your comment on AIDS drugs, that was forced by public opinion. No way the those boys got together and said lets sell at a loss to the biggest market we can find where there is no competition and a life threatening need for our product. You are are either incredibly naive, mendacious or just flat out stupid.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

I think OLPC has Cuba on it's list. They are currently running the first distrobution as a test within south america though I can't remember the country. Oh, hey.. FSF was down to Cuba visiting Fidel and showing them Linux distrobutions. I don't suspect the FSF agrees with his politics but but the reason for going was to talk FOSS not governance. Linux isn't one person but Linux based OS distributors and FOSS organizations are running about everywhere these days. In the marketing world this no one central commander stuff is a bit of a problem but in terms of better software and faster innovation it's doing great. After all, Windows is 30 years of wrapping new layers of onion skin around DOS where the Linux kernel is 15'ish years old and distrobutions based on it have progressed how far in how much shorter a time? Please, please, please read the links posted at the end of a previous comment. You don't have to convert to complete FOSS Zealotry (those guys are as bad as Cult of Mac and MS Fanbois) though I suspect this discussion would be less of an argument if we both had a balanced basis of knowledge to draw on.

Andy Goss
Andy Goss

I think what people are trying to point out is that Microsoft's $3 deal (where have I heard that phrase before?) is a business move to lock in future sales, not an act of compassion. Bill Gates is a philanthropist, no argument about that, but Microsoft is not. FOSS is not a charity either, it exists because there is a demand for software without strings attached, freely evolving software that is designed to do a job as well as possible, not as a revenue-raising excercise. For that reason it is backed by those who will benefit from the existence of such software, and opposed by those who will suffer loss of revenue. Oh, and Linux, while not cost-free, is certainly cheaper than Windows, I just had to buy an XP machine for my son, as Sibelius won't run on Linux, and I can assure you that XP is not only more expensive, especially with the added cost of a proper firewall and antivirus, it is also a pig to set up, and messy to administer.

TechExec2
TechExec2

. You are a troll and a seagull poster. All you ever do around here is fly over every few weeks, drop another load, and fly away. Splaaaat! You really don't have any idea how clueless you are, do you? Good luck in your retirement. That Alzheimer's is a real bitch, huh? Hello? Seagull? I cannot wait to see you again in a few weeks...seagull...

Rndmacts
Rndmacts

Average wage in India is $800 which based on North American average of $32000 is 1/40th. I can buy XP Pro for $129. They are paying for Starter not Pro version, it does have major restrictions, you can buy XP basic but who would want to. Your point 2 about immigrating to another country for a better life, funny I hadn`t heard that the US had opened its immigration quotas. Most borders of the industrialized world are closed today to casual immigration. Your point 3: Microsofts offer of $3 software is not to individuals but to governments. In North America MS has a generous program of discounted software available to states and provinces to place software in the hands of the disadvantaged. I volunteer in one such program here in Canada where we place computers with MS software in the hand of low income families at a cost of $150 per unit. Giving computers to the homeless is ridiculous shouldn`t we be trying to find shelter for these people first, then try to bring them back into the workforce. Get the cart behind the horse not in front. Microsoft already has a program in Russia to help the poor, unfortunately the problems in Russia run deeper than giving away software. The problem of street children in Rio has nothing to do with Microsoft. You are confusing software with social issues. Besides Brazil has dictated that Linux will be the software of the government, so why is Linux not trying to get computers and software to these children. You say that there is no altruism or philanthropy about Microsoft's offering, nor should there be. Microsoft and its software is not going to heal the world's ills. They can only make it possible for these countries to compete on an equal basis. They are not the governments and do not dictate the policies in these countries, they just made an offer enabling these countries to compete. I did not see an ultimatum of use our package or else. Pecuniary would be if these countries were expected to pay close to what we pay in North America per licence. Another item, for consideration if MS were to make this software available for 0$ then you are saying that you are so poor you cannot even compete in the world today unless you receive handouts. A helping hand is appreciated more than a handout for self esteem. This is why our welfare systems are trying to evolve into assistance systems instead of the ongoing welfare cycles of the past. Microsoft is acknowledging that we all need a helping hand once in a while.

Rndmacts
Rndmacts

I believe I read recently where China had signed a deal with MS to go after the illegal software market based in China. While Red Flag Linux is available for 0$ and like all Linux distros has its place, the Chinese government still uses MS in a lot of mission critical applications in which there are no Linux alternatives, like television broadcasting. The fallacy that Linux is 0$ is becoming quite tedious, grow up, the cost of Linux is the same as Windows, if you want to ignore the investments in time, then you only live in a fools world. For the business it is an equal investment, for the home user, it depends on what they want to do. I have MS, Linux and Apple products, they all have their strengths and weaknesses, and anyone who says one is better than the other is an idiot. But to throw stones at every opportunity and ignore the reality of the real world is stupid. To call George names and make accusations about where his creds are is irrisponsible and rude. The point has been made in several posts calling MS`s actions as dumping, and unfair tactics. He pointed out that there was no way that its actions could be called dumping. Its a common practice for companies to charge what the market can bear, are pharmaceutical companies guilty of dumping AIDs drugs in these countries because they charge one third of the costs that we pay in North America. By your your reasoning Bill and Belinda gates are guilty of some nefarious purpose for vaccinating against polio and turburculosus in these same countries.

jck
jck

Why do I have a beef with it? 1) I paid a lot more than 20x $3 for XP...they might make 1/20th what I do in India...but...I paid 60x that for a full XP Pro license. If it's about relativism, I never had the offering of a reduced-function XP Pro for $10. Where's mine? 2) If people aren't making enough money for their own taste in their own country, they have the option that dozens of my ancestors had: go to another country and make a better life for yourself. 3) If this was about relative income, then how come: - You do not see Microsoft giving homeless people in America a $3 version of XP to help learn skills to get a job and make a better life. - You don't see them giving a $3 version to the poor rural Russian farmer to help run his farm. -You don't see them giving a $3 version to homeless street children in Rio de Janiero to help them learn. Fact is, Microsoft's efforts are purely pecuniary. There is no altruism or philanthropy in Microsoft's offering here. Otherwise, they'd give them all one of those $150 laptops to go with it. "It's all about the benjamins, baby." -Sean "P. Diddy" Combs

TechExec2
TechExec2

. I'm not up in arms about Microsoft's $3 offer. I was just offering some comments about it. I think it shows how weak and desperate Microsoft is. And, I don't think Wall Street is going to like it. Many of the laws and norms regarding traditional business are difficult to apply to FOSS for obvious reasons. I thought it was obvious that my simple comment about dumping was not a legal argument. Nevertheless, if there are anti-dumping laws in China, maybe the Red Flag Software Co. will sue Microsoft over it and win (or file a complaint if the suit is handled by a government department). Microsoft is clearly dumping their products into that market and trying to undermine the Red Flag Linux business over there. I'm not a lawyer, but they would likely have a strong case. Remember: Linux is free as in freedom but necessarily free as in beer. The price of a commercial Linux distribution like Red Flag Linux is not $0.

georgeou
georgeou

Ah Tech, that's a new low. You're not even trying to pretend that's a joke any more. Now will you try to answer some of my questions? Why are you up in arms about Microsoft offering $3 software to people who make 1/20th the money we make? Where are the accusations of illegal dumping?

Andy Goss
Andy Goss

If there is a smell of fear in this it must be wafting over from Ballmer and co. While in the short to medium term Microsoft will continue to dominate desktop sales, their Dickensian business model will let them down in the long term. If they follow the lead of Big Tobacco and swamp the Third World with cheap product, this is a problem for the Third World, but also a problem for Microsoft if these $3 licences are siphoned back into the full-price markets. Ditto massive discounting to students. This is a high risk strategy born either of desperation or terminal greed. And maybe anger, Ballmer seems to be good at that.

georgeou
georgeou

"but also a problem for Microsoft if these $3 licences are siphoned back into the full-price markets." There are plenty of ways to get Vista for free with all the hacks available. People who want to get free Vista Ultimate will not bother paying $3 for XP Starter Edition. You also need to remember that there are a lot of stipulations on this license. The Government has to spend some money help the poor students buy some computers. This is a win-win situation for Microsoft, and those poor nations are happy about it.

william.bondy
william.bondy

Yeah let?s give the Techless mass, as one person said, Linux. might as well stay in the dark ages at this point. I know LX has has moved to a more gui interface but MS is still easier to work on and support because it's all the same. the new $3 software is call MICROSOFT.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

Where have you been? I watched a fifteen year professional spend 15 minutes trying to find the print button in Office 2007! I remember getting 42 phone calls after a Win 2k roll out from people who couldn't find Find. That's just the UIs, under the covers, the only thing that is the same is the crap design and the bloat.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

Over reliance on the command prompt. 'nix is a modular OS. Software has a core, a command line interface and optionally a GUI. Seeing as the desktops are layers on top of the OS as opposed to intrinsically welded into it, it's easier to do everything from the command line for power users. That way scripts and utilities will work and will keep on working without a dependency on a specific interface. Note I learnt working this way on DOS, the only reason it isn't as rich an environment under windows is poor design, coupled with a desire to leverage expensive GUI products on to the market.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

Even with the last commment where I didn't actually realize it was you until reading through to the end of it (still like the Dos history review though). But Wow. Just wow.. are you ever way off base with this. Ok, I'll take the plunge.. give us some credentials. I don't usually care about credentials if the comments represent the person so here I'm really curious. How many nonWindows machines have you installed, used or admined? When was teh last time you build a dual boot Windows/Other system and have the Other boot a real fair shake? Linux and FOSS to a greater extent laments that Windows 3.11 progressed past the command line.. you actually belive this statement? Your not just throwing it out there to stir the pot? Let's stay with wallowing sorrow over the hiding of the MS command prompt behind that besky win+r then "cmd" command. Is it really that far a stretch of the imagination to consider that a command prompt (when commands are known) is far faster than a point and click? I make most of my money working with Excel at work and I can tell you factually that every time I have to reach for that mouse I waste time. Me and the keyboard have resized columns, formated text, set print area, confirmed paper settings and sent the report to both PDF compiler and paper printer in the time it takes someone with a mouse to select the row of titles they are going to format. But if you say that all this is because yee old Unix guru can't find the command prompt in Windows; well, it must be true huh. Oh.. but wait.. I have an idea.. have a read of the history of computing present clearly with business cases and analysis to back it up: early history of Hackerdom and computers (not quite the homebrew club but almost as far back). http://www.catb.org/~esr/writings/cathedral-bazaar/hacker-history/ later history of Hackerdom and computers (yes, even Bill Gates has been awarded the title of Hacker so don't let that scare you) http://www.catb.org/~esr/writings/cathedral-bazaar/hacker-revenge/ analysis of modern OS, there history and there potential outcome from the 64bit hardware architecture change. http://www.catb.org/~esr/writings/world-domination/world-domination-201.html I think those are the key ones for you to start with hopefully in relevant order though you'll want to check these out too: Cathidral and the Bazzar http://www.catb.org/~esr/writings/cathedral-bazaar/cathedral-bazaar/ Homesteading the Noosphere http://www.catb.org/~esr/writings/cathedral-bazaar/homesteading/ You'll find his website actually posts responses he's gotten and in cases he railes against the FOSS community even: http://www.catb.org/~esr/writings/cups-horror.html If you want to check out the site, you don't have to agree with everything he says (heck, I don't agree with all of it) but it would be of value to you to at least broaden your knowledge base if any of these writtings are new. That's a sincere offer of information. I'm-a try and backoff of the banging on you under this article unless the rest of your comments continue to claim trype about an OS I question if you've ever actually looked at.

Andy Goss
Andy Goss

No, accelerator on the right, brake in the middle, clutch on the left has become the universal (open) standard, though it was not always that way. I wish they could be as sensible with column stalks, I keep turning on the wiper instead of the indicator. My comments on GUI design reflect my concern for non-techie people like my wife, who insists on using 3.1 versions of Eudora Lite and Cardfile on XP because she knows how they work. Change for such people is frightening, and if it were not for the security issue she would still be on 98SE. As an ex-mainframe man I don't have any problems with the command line, and I use it if I need to, but I prefer a GUI. As I have not seen the ribbon bar I can't comment on it, but from long experience with "users", one man's "intuitive" is another's "confusing".

Rndmacts
Rndmacts

Every car manufacturer changes pedal location based on the country of sale, Europeans drive on the other side of the road and even the steering wheel moves and the most expensive car in the world places the driving position in the centre of the car. Based on comments here I have come to a realization, Linux users lament the fact that Windows progressed beyond 3.1 and the over reliance of the command prompt. Linux fills that gap for them. Statements that complain about the ribbon bar highlight the fact that techies are really not that progressive. They are more concerned about their own comfort level, but are unaware of the larger constituency out there who might find a more intuitive interface is easier to work with.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

We've made this year's model really easy, all you have to do is jump into the driver's seat (sorry, the doors are a bit sticky and watch out for the seat spring), throw your key in the ignition (er.. try this one.. we're trying a new system and they're not realy labelled well), breath into the breathalizer confirming the saliva sample also taken then press this lovely blue button so the server in our dealership can confirm that your driving our car. If everything matches and the number off your engine block hasn't been duplicated then just like magic; Presto, stearing wheel extends out of the dash.. er.. sorry, they can only get it to extend half way but promise to fix it later if you can work around it for a few months. Hey, this s dead simple for the driver; we where considering a retinal scan and you don't even want to know what was going to come out fo the seat to violate.. er.. validate you. ------------- Sorry couldn't resist. It gave me a giggle at least.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

He's moulting at the moment so I won't have him in the house. As soon as I get his wireless connection up he's going to discuss the reality of global warming with his namesake. Shouldn't moult until end of May, caught him off guard. ROTFLMAO. Dog's name is Max.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

to File Print or a tool bar with a wee image on it for five years and then you change the icon and hide it three levels away. Worse sill it's one of the common cmmmon operations with a document of any type in an office application. Some theorist has been in the mix again. We had a similar one they did a look and feel change and icons that used to be overlayed with red crosses, green ticks and yellow post-its changes to blue ticks, crosses and notes on a lighter blue icon. They are back to red green and yellow now, guess the market wasn't ready for new concepts huh? If there's naff all worthwhile in an upgrade, change the UI. Marketing 101, like a new colour range and trim for last year's model of car. Look at this new car, where's the steering wheel?

phineas
phineas

Tony, you seem far too intelligent to still be posting to this kind of discussion. Such intelligence is neither required nor appreciated when discussing MS. ;-)

MyLittleMansAnIdiot
MyLittleMansAnIdiot

It actually breaks one of the golden rules of UI design. Even between different applications in the same packeage you should try to keep the UI relatively the same. To change a UI to such a degree that users are no longer able to perform basic functions, to me, speaks of bad UI design (unless the client specifies they require those changes). perhaps there's a conspiracy that people who provide retraining for existing software are getting kickbacks from the software producers =O

Andy Goss
Andy Goss

This rather undermines the re-training argument against moving to Open Office. When I read about the MS Office 07 changes I suspected this would happen. Office suite users are primarily using an interface. They know how to make it do the job, and if the third option on the second menu from the left doesn't do what it always did they will be totally at sea. People learn menu positions and keystroke combinations by heart, it is bad policy to change them. I don't see any car manufacturer changing the pedal layout and staying in business.

boxfiddler
boxfiddler

the things Office users can't find in Office 2007. I read the Dummies book before ever popping Office 07 open after doing some online research and seeing the gripes and initial confusion it has caused. Now I am showing teachers who have been using previous versions since it came on the market (implying of course that some long-time Office users have both mental and mouse habits that are difficult to overcome) where things are in 07. Nice piece of work Uncle Billy.

w2ktechman
w2ktechman

I thought not! I have been a Win-only user for a long, long time. Late last year I made a switch to Linux, I have tried several distros, on older and newer equipment. At home, my less than a year old dual core XP media center system rarely even gets powered on anymore, instead my 5 yr. old notebook with Linux gets most of my attention these days. And guess what, I have had very few problems using it, and it costed less than $3. to setup. If you trust that much in MS, you will get burned, take some advice from the many other people who respond often, MS is trouble. Their product is easier to use in your perception only. It took little time for me to make the switch for basic usage, and everything else takes about as much time as it did to learn it in Windows. So, since you are now branded as an MS groupy, I will have to part ways with you. If you decide to actually give a linux distro a try, we can chat again. But since you seem to be an MS junkee, and blind to all of MS BS, I can wait until you get burned too!

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

But it's new enough that I need to read reviews and have a detailed look over the hardware specs. My first step would be whiping Vista off it or cutting a dual boot for Linux but that brings me back to hardware driver issues probably.

Dumphrey
Dumphrey

Other then TVs, do they produce products that aren't sh*t?

w2ktechman
w2ktechman

that most people just go by their own experiences when dealing with companies and preferences. But, MS has a very bad track record, and it is time that people start looking at these companies, not as profit generators, but as what they really are. I think that many people need to stop purchasing from these monster companies. I do not buy Sony, I try to stay away from Wal-Mart (1 or 2 trips a year), and now that I have found a suitable replacement for Windows, I am trying to stay away from MS. There are others too, but I will leave it at these for now.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

I thought I was harping on poor William a bit much the other day when he came through the comments and put a Ra Ra Microsoft against all the threads. check out his join date. Maybe he's just new and needs some time to learn about technology or watch the rythm of the commentaries growth.

Pringles86
Pringles86

I seriously doubt underdeveloped countries who have never used a computer before would care if it was Linux or Windows. The main window mangers in Linux are all the same too, if you can figure one out good enough, then you can work with them all.

dryflies
dryflies

many desktop distros are as easy to install as XP and unless you start getting into features of the nth degree in office, just as compatible. I use both. when a client is in a budget crunch and they are not a power office user, I send them to ubuntu with open office. It's the $1.00 operating system. no need to reconfigure, just use it. word processor, spreadsheet, presentation manager, database, publisher, graphics program, what more could you ask for. and all the support you need is right here on TR!

Dumphrey
Dumphrey

"Third World" contries such as India, they are more on the Linux bandwagon then we are here in the US. So the cost of support could very easily be cheaper for Linux then Windows in many developing nations.