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Why Microsoft Shouldn't Worry About Cannibalizing Their Userbases

Soulskill posted 1 year,5 days | from the gotta-get-your-protein-somewhere dept.

Windows 180

New submitter coyote_oww writes "A ComputerWorld analysis article suggests that Microsoft should stop worrying about one product cutting into another product's sales, and concentrate on putting their best foot foward regardless of the impact on product lines. The big impact would be the price of Windows: '... Microsoft must, at least in the main, sell devices based on lower prices. And the only significant component of a Windows-powered device that can be cut further — hardware margins are at or very near the bone, and have been for years — is the Windows license.' It's still possible they could sell Windows versions at different rates for different devices, but that could get hard to justify to consumers over the long haul."

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180 comments

New license model: Free! (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44311777)

Release windows for free, and we will finally see how it competes.

Re:New license model: Free! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44311821)

Sorry for the stupid comment, was just curious if I could beat the stupid first post trolls that have been out today (as per usual).

Re:New license model: Free! (3, Insightful)

crutchy (1949900) | 1 year,5 days | (#44312357)

no need to apologize. the op was more thought-provoking than many other comments on /.

i've read plenty about microsoft's anti-competitive business practices, with linux advocates claiming that windows would be wiped out if linux and windows were on the same level of competition, and mostly i agree with those sentiments, but it is also interesting to tip that on its head and imagine how well linux would compete if it had to compete with a free and open source version of windows. i know its just an armchair exercise because it will never happen, but if linux wasn't licensed under the GPL and was sold at a similar price as windows, would it have any hope at all?

having used linux i personally think it is probably preferable to windows for servers, and many companies do pay for enterprise linux servers. if linux had an equal footing in applications from vendors like adobe and autodesk i think it might do ok on the desktop, but i don't think it would be a clear winner because desktop windows and linux (as operating systems, notwithstanding availability of applications) their user experiences really aren't that different nowadays. linux has security benefits in filesystem permissions that are actually used, but its sometimes at the expense of ease of use that windows has, although this video kind of pokes a few holes in that with respect to vista http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FxOIebkmrqs [youtube.com]

Re:New license model: Free! (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44313801)

I routinely use both Linux and Win7, depending on the client I'm dealing with.

A well set up Linux is easily the more responsive environment, and has less annoyances and inconsistent behaviors than the Windows equivalent. Simple stuff like using USB drives or wireless networking just works better. Switching back to W7 feels like wading through glue after a day or two on Linux.

If both OSs were priced the same, had identical OEM and software vendor support, I have no doubt people would largely choose Linux.

Re:New license model: Free! (1)

colinrichardday (768814) | 1 year,5 days | (#44313849)

But can Windows be gratis without being libre? One reason why Linux can be gratis is that it is libre, and so contributing to the various OSS projects is easy. Could one do this for Windows? Could Microsoft develop a business plan where Windows is gratis?

Re:New license model: Free! (2)

jbolden (176878) | 1 year,5 days | (#44313865)

but if linux wasn't licensed under the GPL and was sold at a similar price as windows, would it have any hope at all?

Its hard to imagine what that would even mean. The open source ecosystem is what makes Linux, Linux. Its like asking if lions didn't eat meat would they be as feared? If they don't eat meat they just aren't lions anymore.

The Unix server market was rather big. While Linux being free helped Linux displace Sun, SGI, Digital Unix, HPUX, IBM I don't think free had much to do with it beating Windows. On the other hand without Linux, LAMP never happens and thus Windows probably wins the server world and we don't have an open web. From there history is just too different.

Re:New license model: Free! (1)

c0lo (1497653) | 1 year,5 days | (#44312617)

Release windows for free, and we will finally see how it competes.

TFT (the fine title) suggests that they can still charge for windows as long as they keep eating the windows users (or only their bases?) without worry - and this "without worry" is somehow the miraculous key to the solution.

Re:New license model: Free! (4, Insightful)

niftymitch (1625721) | 1 year,5 days | (#44313245)

Release windows for free, and we will finally see how it competes.

TFT (the fine title) suggests that they can still charge for windows as long as they keep eating the windows users (or only their bases?) without worry - and this "without worry" is somehow the miraculous key to the solution.

Not for free but they need to understand that as you suck harder and harder on the udder of a cash cow the less friendly that cow will be to you and will dry up or kick you in the head.

At this point it is difficult to believe that MS has not realized an honest profit from the honest investments it has made. They have done a lot of service but there is a point when the business model must change.

Worthy computers can be had for yuppiy pocket change and free software has gotten well beyond the experimental stages. Especially in server land.

The home computer model has changed, and there will be less and less need for WindowZ. My smart TV has more compute power than my early on desktops. Which were well beyond my 6502, MC14500 and 8080 processor based projects. It is a new day, MS and many others need to take stock or see their financial models fall apart.

Servers and server farms will grow.... but be in the hands of a small number of companies. In the price range of a UPS delivery van small companies will have local computer resources than can be installed and serviced by folk at an equivalent level of a USP van driver. Yes the Brown UPS vans are a marvel of technology but they make money delivering packages shipped for sub $10... that is astounding.

Chromebooks and the new XO tablet are showing that the old models are fragile and new ideas are welcome.

Raspberry-Pi and project boards like the pandaboard and Beaglebone Black are showing that sufficiently interesting hardware need not cost a lot of $$. Invest $100 in these school and development boards and revisit your education.

The future is at hand -- yet again.

Re:New license model: Free! (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44313299)

Release windows for free, and we will finally see how it competes.

Are you suggesting it will increase it's marketshare by being free of charge?

Different versions of Windows (5, Insightful)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | 1 year,5 days | (#44311781)

You know what I want? A lower-cost Windows targeted at gamers. I don't need drivers for scanners, printers, fax and other unnecessary crap if all I do is play games on it.

A Windows with less processes running would also mean a faster computer able to dedicate more resources to the games instead of crap I don't need.

Re:Different versions of Windows (5, Insightful)

Your.Master (1088569) | 1 year,5 days | (#44311825)

That's basically what an xbox is.

I guess the implication is that you want something that compromises between Windows PCs and XBox on some points. Which raises the question of what is the right compromise position?

Re:Different versions of Windows (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44312111)

According to Microsoft, the market will sort it out.

Basically, MSFT is telling the GP to fuck off. Or Asus/HP/Dell/etc.

Re:Different versions of Windows (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44312423)

the most compromising position is usually naked and bending over in acceptance of whatever may come next

most consumers are very good at coming to the most compromising position

Re:Different versions of Windows (2)

war4peace (1628283) | 1 year,5 days | (#44312629)

That's basically what an xbox is.

Yeah it's an XBox which can also run Linux, EVE Online, Neverwinter, Firefall, World of Tanks, WoW, Path of Exile and so on, and so forth.

You seem to confuse a stripped down Windows (which is essentially an OS) with the hardware behind it.

Explained differently:
Let's assume I own a powerful PC. Has a Haswell platform with a potent GPU and lots of RAM. My main OS is Linux. But I also game a lot, mostly Windows games. Wouldn't it be awesome to be able to buy a Windows "gaming edition" for 15 bucks and load it with zounds of free-to-play MMOs?

Re:Different versions of Windows (3, Interesting)

tapspace (2368622) | 1 year,5 days | (#44311837)

What would happen is the "gamer" version would be one of the (fragmented) premium versions, so you'd end up paying more for less. Plus, who wants a computer that you can't connect to a printer in a pinch if need be, just because you don't have the right windoze license?

Re:Different versions of Windows (2)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | 1 year,5 days | (#44311871)

If Windows Gamer Edition only cost 20$ I guess people wouldn't complain much about things like printers.

Re:Different versions of Windows (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44312117)

You don't work in IT, do you?

Re: Different versions of Windows (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44312197)

Why does that matter? The point is that it's a niche version of the OS. I can't imagine a business buying gamer editions...

Re: Different versions of Windows (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44313043)

It matters because IT workers all know that consumers are d!ckbags who expect the $100 tablet to function the same as a $3,000 gaming desktop.

Re:Different versions of Windows (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44311969)

Look lets cut to the chase. Install Linux and be done with it.

Re:Different versions of Windows (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44313073)

Or better, install Windows and be done with it. Seriously. Grown ups don't have time to mess with Linux anymore. Just use windows and be happy. Linux people seem to still be under the impression that Windows blue screens everyday. It's not like that anymore. Windows 7 and Windows 8 are very stable, and much easier and more hassle free than linux.

Re:Different versions of Windows (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44313737)

Windows people still seem to be under the impression that linux is hard. It's not like that any-more. Ubuntu and Mint are much easier, and are less bloated/expensive than Windows.

Re:Different versions of Windows (3, Funny)

intermodal (534361) | 1 year,5 days | (#44312125)

The cool thing about this is inevitably somebody would hack CUPS into Windows...

Re:Different versions of Windows (1)

ADRA (37398) | 1 year,5 days | (#44313745)

Yes, if you think about cost distribution, I imagine the Windows team spends significantly more for adding new Gaming features than they do in adding more business productivity features, but I bet the productivity features end up costing more in the end. Don't wish too hard for this, or gaming platforms WILL cost twice as much.

Re:Different versions of Windows (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44311911)

Windows 7 is $99. So either you have a shit computer where scanner drivers actually make a performance difference, or you're some cheap fuck that can't be arsed to pay $100 for Windows to power a $1500 PC.

Re:Different versions of Windows (-1, Troll)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | 1 year,5 days | (#44312085)

If I had 1500$ I'd buy a Mac, not a shit computer with Windows on it.

Re:Different versions of Windows (1)

Wain13001 (1119071) | 1 year,5 days | (#44312247)

If I had 1500$ I'd buy a Mac, not a shit computer with Windows on it.

Where do you shop? For $1500 I can buy a pretty fantastic computer with Windows on it.

Re:Different versions of Windows (1)

0123456 (636235) | 1 year,5 days | (#44312791)

Where do you shop? For $1500 I can buy a pretty fantastic computer with Windows on it.

Yeah, I paid about $1500 for my new game machine. Even including the extortionate cost of Windows, that bought an i7, mid-range gaming GPU, tons of RAM, an SSD and terabytes of hard drive space.

Re:Different versions of Windows (2)

jedidiah (1196) | 1 year,5 days | (#44312261)

What kind of idiot spends $1500 on a PC in 2013?

I spent half that for my current PC 3 years ago and I'm still hard pressed to find a reason to replace it.

With a cheap video card upgrade, a 5 year old craptacular machine can be a respectable casual gaming machine. It's not 1988 anymore. You don't have to pay through the nose for hardware anymore. System software needs to keep in step with that.

$100 is overpriced for this years version of a well entrenched monopoly product. If not for vendor-lock, the value of that product would be $0.

Re:Different versions of Windows (4, Insightful)

the_B0fh (208483) | 1 year,5 days | (#44312399)

So funny that Mac and iOS users are so much happier with their systems (even in Korea, where iPhone and iPad took first place in customer satisfaction away from Samsung), but the haters who don't use it, my god, it's like a jealous ex-lover. They cannot stop telling you how much your current lover sucks, even though you're happy with it.

Get over it. Be happy with your choice, and move on, rather than keeping on and harping and bitching about other people's choices.

Re:Different versions of Windows (1)

jbolden (176878) | 1 year,5 days | (#44313907)

Very true and funny.

Re:Different versions of Windows (2)

KingMotley (944240) | 1 year,5 days | (#44312693)

$100 is overpriced for this years version of a well entrenched monopoly product. If not for vendor-lock, the value of that product would be $0.

I think you are on to something there. Write me an OS that can run all my games and applications on it in a user friendly manner that I don't have to spend days googling the right command to type in to get it what I need it to do, and support the major video cards out there running in SLI, the major chipsets, RAID drivers, etc etc, and sell it for $0, and I'm sure it will be a hit.

If it was so overly priced you'd have a ton of competitors out there. Oh wait, no, there isn't. And I suspect no, you won't spend the 200 million man hours writing the OS and then release it for free either. Until then, $100 seems like a pretty good deal.

Re:Different versions of Windows (4, Insightful)

walshy007 (906710) | 1 year,5 days | (#44312829)

This may surprise you, but linux has had better hardware compatibility out of the box than windows for quite some time.

I don't expect linux to support windows games, just like I don't expect modern windows to support dos games. It's legacy.

Re: Different versions of Windows (4, Insightful)

KingMotley (944240) | 1 year,5 days | (#44313035)

This may suprise you, but that is only true if you want to support old hardware. Anything cutting edge is more likely supported by windows than Linux, and since I have more cutting edge hardware than old relics, it isn't true for me.

Re: Different versions of Windows (1)

snadrus (930168) | 1 year,5 days | (#44313683)

I don't think that old game matters anymore:
1. Consider ARM systems, including NVidia's efforts to bring their best to ARM.
2. x86's slowing progress means more time customers can wait for porting to complete.

Re:Different versions of Windows (1)

jbolden (176878) | 1 year,5 days | (#44313895)

Well it was 2012 and this idiot spend $2500 on a retina macbook. I got a machine which would lose in some categories and win in other with Alphas minis I used to work on that served 3000 end users. Everything is about 5x faster then my old machine.

Re:Different versions of Windows (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44311951)

Do you know what processes do when they are not being used? They sleep. Go work out what that means.

Re:Different versions of Windows (1)

justthinkit (954982) | 1 year,5 days | (#44313747)

They do take up memory even while inactive. But that is what "services.msc" is for. Run that, turn off everything you don't need, and enjoy! Also, the GP's comments about drivers is rubbish (not sure how (s)he got modded up) -- if you don't install a printer (and turn off the print service), there is no "printer driver" impact, etc.

Re:Different versions of Windows (1, Troll)

rahvin112 (446269) | 1 year,5 days | (#44312161)

What I want is a Linux that games as well as Windows. That just might come to be because of Valve. I could finally get rid of Windows if I can game on Linux reliably.

Re:Different versions of Windows (1)

michael_rendier (2601249) | 1 year,5 days | (#44312517)

PS3 is running linux...

Re:Different versions of Windows (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44312855)

No, it's not.

Re:Different versions of Windows (4, Insightful)

realmolo (574068) | 1 year,5 days | (#44312163)

You don't know what you are talking about.

When a game runs on Windows, it ALREADY gets all the resources it wants.

A stripped-down version fo Windows wouldn't make your games run faster. Modern games are mostly video-card limited. And since there is no standard hardware platform for a PC, programmers can only do so much optimization before they break compatibility.

Re:Different versions of Windows (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44312421)

Windows, along with all modern operating systems for that matter, has an O(1) scheduler. Reducing the process count would have a negligible impact on performance since most of the processes you're talking about getting rid of are just daemons that sleep or wait on an event for 99.99% of their lives.

Re:Different versions of Windows (1)

war4peace (1628283) | 1 year,5 days | (#44312659)

...except the ones which don't. Yahoo Messenger, Windows Update, antivirus, firewall just to name a few.

Re:Different versions of Windows (4, Funny)

Dayze!Confused (717774) | 1 year,5 days | (#44312867)

Yeah, the real hog is the System Idle Process, I see that taking up to 99% of my systems processing power when I'm not even doing anything. Find a way to get rid of that and you'll be golden.

Re:Different versions of Windows (1)

KingMotley (944240) | 1 year,5 days | (#44312721)

Currently, when I run games, they typically use less than 20% of my CPU, and I bet if I disabled all my unused services that I don't need to run the current game, I could get that down to, oh... 19.95% CPU usage, so I could have one more core sitting idle for .05% longer.

Re:Different versions of Windows (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44313313)

You know what I want? A lower-cost Windows targeted at gamers. I don't need drivers for scanners, printers, fax and other unnecessary crap if all I do is play games on it.

A Windows with less processes running would also mean a faster computer able to dedicate more resources to the games instead of crap I don't need.

It would be very stupid move from Microsoft to provide low cost gaming edition of windows considering that xbox project already tries to make better ROI out of the gaming technologies developed in house. It doesn't help either that the open nature of pc gaming from Microsofts perspective means competition in their own platform with other companies like Valve.

Actually i bet most of the people would be happy with near-zero-cost "gaming windows" with steam running as shell.

Re:Different versions of Windows (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44313415)

Agreed, but Id say not just lower-cost but no-cost. Windows is losing mind share fast. A consumer-grade version of Windows 8 equivalent to ChromeOS--locked down, very light, and free--shouldnt be something Microsoft is afraid of publishing. They can recoup their money (and more) by making the Windows store the way to get apps.

And there will always be enterprises, power users, and developers who will shell out money for the enterprise-grade version.

Re:Different versions of Windows (5, Interesting)

hairyfeet (841228) | 1 year,5 days | (#44313487)

The sad part? The pirates have had it for a fricking decade now and it kicks MAJOR ass, in fact it makes Linux look like a beached whale in August by comparison.

I'm of course talking about the "Tiny" Windows builds that have been going on since Tiny2K, came out around 2001. The TinyXP used just 48Mb of memory on the desktop, Tiny 2K3 Workstation just 63Mb, and Tiny 7 uses as little as 256Mb for a full desktop but of course with superfetch any extra RAM will be used to speed up the system. The one exception would be Tiny Vista which took 512Mb for the desktop but hey, they're gamers not miracle workers.

So anybody that wants to give them a try I'm sure can find a copy easily enough, but why MSFT don't hire these guys I'll never know as frankly their builds kick the shit out of WinFLP and Embedded as far as footprint and CPU usage goes while letting you run all your Windows software, its truly crazy how little those builds use while giving you everything you need to make a kick ass gaming PC OS that uses less than the consoles do to run the OS.

Suspicious article (5, Informative)

schneidafunk (795759) | 1 year,5 days | (#44311813)

The article is on ComputerWorld, which is owned by IDG. They are quoting a research analyst from IDC, which is also owned by IDG. What's the motivation for writing this article?

Re:Suspicious article (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44311965)

CW are spammers through and through -- they can't even understand their own virus scanners. They have almost 0 journalistic integrity and are only out trolled by ibt for clickbait tripe articles with no substance. They are to technology business news what CNet is to tech consumer news. Grist for the mill.

But they spam the submission queue with eye-catching headlines and the editors here are more than happy to oblige (though given the sad state of the submission queue, I don't really blame them).

Yes. (4, Funny)

ackthpt (218170) | 1 year,5 days | (#44311817)

Steve should consider throwing his best chair forward.

Re: Yes. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44312151)

I see lots of flying chairs in the future of MS.

Re: Yes. (2)

ackthpt (218170) | 1 year,5 days | (#44312275)

I see lots of flying chairs in the future of MS.

May be the saving of the Entertainment division - Steve's MMO Chair Throwing Extravaganza

Slashdot Rules. (0, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44311829)

1. Windows bad.
2. Linux good.

synergy (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44311839)

from the article: "As part of the reorganization, Microsoft will consolidate all of its client OSes, including Windows 8, Windows RT, Windows Phone 8, Windows Embedded and Xbox, into a single engineering group [...] The Windows desktop client and mobile have a lot of common functionality, and a combined group could have a lot of synergy".
I fully agree, that's a good strategy (and it was about time)... oh, and one o the few times the word "synergy" makes sense!

Re:synergy (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44311931)

It sounds like he's proactively reorganizing the corporate paradigm to maximize cross-platform synergy and leverage integrated competencies.

Re: synergy (1)

jd2112 (1535857) | 1 year,5 days | (#44312373)

Bullsht Bingo!!!

abusers (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44311857)

Don't like to know they can't abuse their partners anymore.
Microsoft is heading down the Apple walled garden path and will cut the throats on any of it's former channel partners whenever the need arises, without compunction.

Anyone who gets in bed with Microsoft know what to expect, all you have to do is look at their history.

All is fair in love and business!

Windows 8 cost recovery (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44311881)

Instead of charging variable amounts for Windows 8, they could charge a fixed amount and then refund a small percentage to the user every time it unexpectedly switches interfaces on them. Windows RT would be flat-rate then, as would Windows 8 for people who live entirely in the Metro world. Me, on the other hand, I'd be a millionaire in a week.

"You have to kill your own babies" (4, Interesting)

whoever57 (658626) | 1 year,5 days | (#44311921)

The motto of the CEO at a company I worked for many years ago.

Re:"You have to kill your own babies" (5, Insightful)

macromorgan (2020426) | 1 year,5 days | (#44311971)

The important thing to remember is in a competitive economy, someone is going to disrupt your business. It might as well be you. Fighting against it only postpones the inevitable.

Re:"You have to kill your own babies" (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44312063)

Exactly, my company put it as, someone is going to eat your lunch, it might as well be you.

Re: "You have to kill your own babies" (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44312227)

Everybody sees Win phone is a loser, now, why would you want to use a desktop from a losing company? It debased everything they produce in many people's minds.

Re:"You have to kill your own babies" (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44312665)

> Fighting against it only postpones the inevitable.

No, it leaves you in a weaker positions because your competitors were innovating during that time.

Re:"You have to kill your own babies" (1)

ADRA (37398) | 1 year,5 days | (#44313761)

You are soo right. That coke thing is hanging by a thread. I bet their dev teams are about to jump ship any day to design the new new new new new coke.

What about (1)

justthinkit (954982) | 1 year,5 days | (#44313793)

What about a version of Windows called "Windows: What We Didn't Change"? During the install or first boot, after a brief mention of how many tweaks & minor improvements were made, it would bring up a video showing all of the interface changes they rejected as being worse than useless. And make the video unskippable. People would be writing donation checks to thank Microsoft for their kindness. Programmers would name their first born "Windows: What We Didn't Change". And slashdotters? Slashdotters would be about the same.

Windows 8 have the opposite effect of (0)

demoncleaner925 (2718229) | 1 year,5 days | (#44311923)

cannibalization; it will increase the sales of their other os offerings. I wish there would let someone else release a tablet with windows 8.

The xbox cannibalized windows (0)

SilenceBE (1439827) | 1 year,5 days | (#44311985)

For years games was a big argument to have windows installed on a machine. But the arrival of the 360 made it for me so easy to dump windows for linux on my desktop and buy a macbook pro for on the go.

Re:The xbox cannibalized windows (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | 1 year,5 days | (#44312101)

For years games was a big argument to have windows installed on a machine. But the arrival of the 360 made it for me so easy to dump windows for linux on my desktop and buy a macbook pro for on the go.

Funny, Windows 7 took me in the opposite direction - skipped the AdBox 360 and started getting all my games on PC so I could mod to my hearts' content.

Re:The xbox cannibalized windows (1)

vux984 (928602) | 1 year,5 days | (#44312741)

Not to mention that games for windows are cheaper, have a wider selection, and go on sale more often.

Gaming on windows has gotten steadily better while the consoles have gotten steadily less appealing the last several years.

The only console I'll buy these days are the Nintendo ones because I like their first party exclusives, multi-player games, and unusual controllers (wii remotes, wii-u pad, enough to want them for the extra variety, and the family.)

Yeesh. How cheap do people expect things? (2, Insightful)

msobkow (48369) | 1 year,5 days | (#44311999)

Windows is a product. When you buy it pre-installed on a machine, prices are already cut to the bone with volume discounts to the manufacturer. Someone has to pay for the security updates, the patches, and so on when it's run by a monolithic corporation instead of an open source community.

I've no beef with the price I paid for my Win7 laptop -- and I know that maybe $50-100 of that purchase price was for the Windows license. Perfectly reasonable.

I use Ubuntu LTS on my "main" machine, but that's because I like Linux, not because Windows is "too expensive."

Furthermore, precisely what product line would be cannibalized by cutting Windows prices further? WinPhone (which no one wants and is a different code base)? WinRT (which no one wants because it's a piece of incompatible crap)? XBox (which doesn't even have an installable OS)?

This article is essentially flamebait to spark discussion, and nothing more. There is nothing pragmatic or realistic about it.

Re:Yeesh. How cheap do people expect things? (2)

jbengt (874751) | 1 year,5 days | (#44313211)

Windows is a product.

Are you sure? Last time I checked, I can only license it, not buy it like I buy products. Also, if it is a product, how come, from the best I can tell by reading the license, product liability doesn't cover it?

Re:Yeesh. How cheap do people expect things? (1)

hythlodayr (709935) | 1 year,5 days | (#44313509)

Seeing how the competition are free--ChromeOS, Android, and Ubuntu--and consumer-level users arent bound to Windows, Microsoft cant afford to charge for a consumer version of Windows. Not unless theyre giving up consumer space. Enterprise is a different story, where users are locked in for the foreseeable future.

Re:Yeesh. How cheap do people expect things? (1)

jbengt (874751) | 1 year,5 days | (#44313525)

. . . what product line would be cannibalized by cutting Windows prices . . .

I believe they meant that Windows would be "cannibalized" by MS making and selling devices.

point being come out with linux version of MS (-1, Offtopic)

cod3r_ (2031620) | 1 year,5 days | (#44312001)

Do the right thing MS.. Move to *nix back end like everyone else.

Re:point being come out with linux version of MS (1, Funny)

KingMotley (944240) | 1 year,5 days | (#44312749)

Do the right thing MS.. Move to *nix back end like the other 0.80% that use *nix

Fixed that for you.

Re:point being come out with linux version of MS (1)

Tough Love (215404) | 1 year,5 days | (#44313657)

Do the right thing MS.. Move to *nix back end like the other 0.80% that use *nix

Fixed that for you.

Wow MSFT astroturf on the loose. In denial much?

Re:point being come out with linux version of MS (1)

KingMotley (944240) | 1 year,5 days | (#44313675)

Are you trying to say that my numbers are off somehow? Hell, I'll be super generous today and let's just say 1.6%. Does that change things for you?

Re:point being come out with linux version of MS (1)

Truekaiser (724672) | 1 year,5 days | (#44313981)

Actually I could see them doing this.
After the company is mostly in ruins following failed product after failed product and no longer being able to rely on install base anymore.

They could very easily do what apple did, buy a version of the bsd source like the mach bsd. Only tweak the internals a little and focus on a window manager and a select few programs.

Easy for us to say (4, Insightful)

paiute (550198) | 1 year,5 days | (#44312087)

Cannibalize your own product line before the competition does is an obvious necessity, yet it is the hardest thing for managers to actually do.

Microsoft's decline is directly correlated with (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44312095)

the introduction of Windows Genuine Advantage.

Before WGA was introduced, most people thought windows came free when they purchased a new computer. The rather high price for the OS was completely obfuscated. The cost was hidden because there was no impediment to installing a copy onto any machine so they thought it was free. All you needed was a copy. Well, MS decided they wanted to get paid for all of those installs. So, they introduced WGA. So, what happened... Well, people still bought new machines... But, when they went to use the new OS version on their old machines it didn't work because it could only be validated on one machine... Now, people still wanted the new OS so they went to see how much it cost and they were horrified by how much a copy of windows cost.

This left people with four choices:
1. Don't upgrade... (Look at how long it has taken to get people to stop using Win XP.)
2. Pay the high price. (Probably not)
3. Bootleg a copy. (Bit-torrent has lots of copies)
4. Look someplace else. (Have you noticed how well Apple has been doing lately)

Notice, in all but one unlikely scenario, MS doesn't make anymore money than they did before the introduction of WGA. But what they have done is enlighten people to the true cost of MS windows. Additionally, when someone doesn't upgrade or goes with an alternative to Windows, then third party applications suffer because the installed base of the current windows is diminished...

MS quite simply destroyed their own monopoly by trying to get people to pay for something they would never pay for.

Every time MS releases a new OS I keep thinking they would figure this out and drop WGA but they keep on striving for a smaller and smaller market share.

Simply put, having a solid monopoly is MUCH more valuable than the few sales they have made as a result of WGA...
Oh and lets not forget, WGA just pisses people off so as a paying customer... You get punished... Great business model if you want to shrink your market share.

Re:Microsoft's decline is directly correlated with (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | 1 year,5 days | (#44312189)

(Look at how long it has taken to get people to stop using Win XP.)

part of that was software other part low end hardware that was to low end for vista / 7

Re:Microsoft's decline is directly correlated with (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44312253)

Win 7 runs fine on older machines... You just don't get the fancy graphics... No, people didn't upgrade because it cost too much!

Of course, Vista (like Windows 8) is a downgrade so maybe part of the slow adoption is a desire to avoid breaking their machines.

Re:Microsoft's decline is directly correlated with (3, Insightful)

Dr. Evil (3501) | 1 year,5 days | (#44313155)

WGA stopped the wholesale OEM piracy from the organized crime shops. They were even producing holograms, shiny boxes, "certificates of authenticity" etc. Palates of this counterfeit software would be shipped through quasi-legit channels into serious software retailers for realistic prices.

Casual piracy of Windows doesn't affect MS. Your PC probably shipped with the OS anyway. The high volume of XP licenses out there are businesses who were hoping for something better than Win7 before XP began to disappear. Few people are running machines old enough to have shipped with original XP licenses. Who wants a 256MB of RAM, 20GB HDD machine from 2002 anyway?

MS is dying because Ballmer is an f-ing idiot.

Re:Microsoft's decline is directly correlated with (1)

yuhong (1378501) | 1 year,5 days | (#44313295)

You mean Vista?

Re:Microsoft's decline is directly correlated with (1)

Dr. Evil (3501) | 1 year,5 days | (#44313887)

I mean the "high volume of XP software" out there. Enterprises have downgrade rights to install their corporate standard XP images. The stickers on the machines might be Vista, but they're being wiped and loaded with XP before being given to employees.

XP is still at 37% marketshare http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Usage_share_of_operating_systems [wikipedia.org]

Re:Microsoft's decline is directly correlated with (1)

yuhong (1378501) | 1 year,5 days | (#44314039)

True, but I was referring to you saying Win7 above. Is that a mistake?

Re:Microsoft's decline is directly correlated with (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44313407)

Stop giving M$ good ideas.

Captcha: exempts

ReactOS (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44312135)

Isn't it time for ReactOS... I would love to have an open source OS that is compatible with MS Windows... Nothing would put an end to the MS nonsense faster!!!

Obvious (1)

msparker (449164) | 1 year,5 days | (#44312347)

"Cause all their userbases are belong to us" is the only appropriate comment here. Jesus.

Microsoft is not a monolithic entity. (3, Insightful)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | 1 year,5 days | (#44312411)

The article talks as though Microsoft is a monolithic entity that will like a single intent. Like any large organization there it is a conglomeration of parts and they mostly act in their self interest than the interest of the whole organization. Most of the time there is a large overlap between the self interest and interest of the larger body. But Microsoft has some perverse incentives like giving part of the revenue stream from a product line as compensation to the top managers of that line. Sounds great in theory as a motivation factor but it can backfire too. These people in top management well versed in the palace intrigues have to let some other part cannibalize their revenue stream for the interest of the organization as a whole. The track record is they won't. Only when the "partner level" managers' bonuses (or is it bonii?) are tied to the over all performance of the company, not the individual parts under their control, they will let internal cannibalization. But letting their bonii depend on large parts of the company they have no control over is a tough sell too. It is a problem that developed over a long time. It won't be solved in short time.

Re:Microsoft is not a monolithic entity. (1)

Rob_Bryerton (606093) | 1 year,5 days | (#44313039)

Good stuff, man; interesting read. Thanks for posting.

And someone mod this guy up for coining the term "bonii"!

Best foot (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44312627)

"concentrate on putting their best foot foward regardless of the impact on product lines"

They can't do that. They'd go out of business in a blink!

Yes and No (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44313041)

Cannibalizing your own product lines is hard for managers to do, but is usually the right thing to do. If you worry about destroying sales of one product, you probably do not need to make it. Exceptions exist, such as building a high end product.

But cut your profit? Horrible idea. That only works if you plan on going out of business soon. If you cannot maintain margins then not enough innovation is happening.

What Windows really needs is new technology that people want, that makes current PC's seem old and dated, creating an update demand (at good margins). Perhaps new 4k monitors at reasonable prices?

Who cares (0)

sugarmotor (621907) | 1 year,5 days | (#44313087)

Who cares about what Microsoft should or should not worry about?

It's the resellers who are being canibalized .. (1)

dgharmon (2564621) | 1 year,5 days | (#44313553)

"That shift is the corporate reorganization unveiled last week to support a radical strategy of retreating from decades of selling packaged software and advancing on sustainable services and potentially-lucrative devices".

Nice spin on what is essentially Microsoft cutting into their own reseller channel ..

Don't interfere with your enemy (2)

Tough Love (215404) | 1 year,5 days | (#44313629)

Don't interfere with your enemy while they are busy making a mistake. Got it? Whose side are you on, anyway.

Angry (1)

EmperorOfCanada (1332175) | 1 year,5 days | (#44313663)

It has always made me angry that manufacturers have had to cut prices so much that for basic consumer machines 100% of their profits come from the trial/bloat ware that they stuff their machines with. Yet Microsoft still keeps charging a ~$100 tax on every machine. This is $100 on a machine selling for maybe $300-$400.

What I wish would happen is some daring company like Staples would start selling some machines with Linux on them and have their sales people show that you can browse, watch Youtube, and edit office documents just fine. They could give the customer the option of trying Linux out for a few weeks and if they don't like it then they can come back with $100 in their hand and Staples will install Windows.

I suspect a fair number of people would be 100% happy with Linux and at least people would understand that Microsoft was gouging them for 25%.

Get with it Redmond. (1)

donnie Freyer (2881319) | 1 year,5 days | (#44313925)

Linux is free. Mountain Lion is $20 Mac Server is $20. Windows 8? $200.! I could see maybe $50 with deals for bulk but 2 C Notes for something that is a fist fight and outside the last 20 year built comfort zone people are used to... Nah. Way too hard a sell. Would be nice to either have a fresh and solid OS for the enterprise environment standard or simply another option all together.
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