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OSS Officially On Microsoft's Financial Radar Screen

timothy posted more than 11 years ago | from the preemptive-boilerplate-yammering dept.

Microsoft 639

seldo writes "More news from Microsoft's latest quarterly filing: according to eWeek, Microsoft says it may have to lower its prices in response to competition from open-source software. From the filing: "To the extent the open source model gains increasing market acceptance, sales of the company's products may decline, the company may have to reduce the prices it charges for its products, and revenues and operating margins may consequently decline". This is a fairly major revelation from Microsoft, and if it happens, it may be one of the biggest wins yet for open-source software: what do you know -- competition works!"

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good news (3, Interesting)

garglblaster (459708) | more than 11 years ago | (#5221968)

Most definitely: It is good to not have a monopoly controlling a market.

MS Office will be hit first (5, Interesting)

rseuhs (322520) | more than 11 years ago | (#5222018)

Definitely good news.

Here's my scenario:

First, MS Office revenues will be hit and hit hard. OpenOffice does almost anything MS Office can do and it is not more difficult to upgrade from Office97 to OpenOffice than it is to upgrade to OfficeXP. - But a lot cheaper.

Only after an organization has successfully converted to OpenOffice, we will see full conversion to Linux.

Now we'll all have to see what Microsoft does without the hefty MS Office sales... Maybe XBox-gamers will have to pay a lot more because Microsoft can no longer afford losing millions over millions on it?

Re:MS Office will be hit first (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5222034)

While OSS is seen as the domain of geeks, M$ could put their prices up. When linux is as easy to use as windows (yes, it may be crap, but it's easy to use crap) then you will see a move to linux.

Re:MS Office will be hit first (2, Insightful)

Jondor (55589) | more than 11 years ago | (#5222039)

> Microsoft can no longer afford losing millions
> over millions on it?

How many billions did they have on their account? They can afford it for many years to come. If it's smart, that's something else..

Re:MS Office will be hit first (3, Insightful)

Kierthos (225954) | more than 11 years ago | (#5222062)

Okay, yes, technically, given the billions of dollars that MS has, yes, they could lose millions each year on a number of products. But guess what? They don't like doing so. All businesses are in the 'business' of making money. If they can find some way to increase their cash flow, or at least reduce the amount they are losing, it would be completely bone-headed of them not to take it.

Kierthos

Re:MS Office will be hit first (2, Insightful)

rseuhs (322520) | more than 11 years ago | (#5222068)

How many billions did they have on their account? They can afford it for many years to come.

Well, if Microsoft starts taking heavly losses, Micorosft stock would evaporate and Bill Gates remaining stock would become worthless.

Re:MS Office will be hit first (2, Insightful)

Madcelt (574333) | more than 11 years ago | (#5222049)

You will never see 'full conversion' to linux. There will always be people who prefer windows to linux and vice versa. It's what makes the world interesting.

Re:MS Office will be hit first (5, Insightful)

rseuhs (322520) | more than 11 years ago | (#5222118)

What advantages has Windows over Linux?

  • Runs (nearly) all desktopsoftware, because they have 95% marketshare.
  • Support people are easy to find, because they have 95% marketshare.
  • If you hire new people they are already familiar with it, because it is so widespread.
  • All consumer hardware supports it, because it has 95% marketshare
  • OEMs preinstall Windows because it is so widespread.
All advantages of Windows vs. Linux are a result of it's domination. If you take that away, Windows is dead. The OSS comunity can write most drivers for thousands of different devices and architectures. - Microsoft can't even support Alpha without hand-holding from Compaq, never mind write all the drivers for all those devices!

No. There will not be a lasting coexistance between Windows and something else. Windows will die within a few years once it no longer runs on the majority of desktops.

The pressure on Microsoft is getting bigger. Every year PCs become cheaper and the Microsoft tax represents a bigger and bigger share of OEMs revenues. They have just raised the cost for their corporate customers.

The question is, where shall all the revenue come from? Nobody really needs any MS Office version newer than Office97 and nobody is really excited about Longhorn or however it will be called.

Microsoft knows that they are doomed (that's why Bill Gates and all the other executives with a clue sell thousands of shares each month) and that it's right now just a matter of how much they can milk out of their customerbase.

Re:MS Office will be hit first (2, Interesting)

johnburton (21870) | more than 11 years ago | (#5222127)

Here's my scenario: Microsoft reduce the price of windows by 60%. The 90% of linux users who use it only because they don't have to pay for it decide they may as well use windows. Sales of office increase

Re:good news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5222132)

It is good to not have a monopoly controlling a market.

They never were a monopoly but rather just predominant. Nothing has changed. People just realized that the barriers of entry were not there afterall. Since everybody thought there was a big fat wall there, it took open source to get people to realize.

In other news, Madonna's open source anthem entitled, The Power of Goodbye:

Your heart is not open so I must go
The spell has been broken I loved you so
Freedom comes when you learn to let go
Creation comes when you learn to say no

You were my lesson I had to learn
I was your fortress you had to burn
Pain is a warning that something's wrong
I pray to God that it won't be long

Walk away
There's nothing left to try
There's no place left to hide
There's no greater power than the power of good-bye

Prices??? (2, Insightful)

skermit (451840) | more than 11 years ago | (#5221970)

How low does Microsoft have to lower prices to compete with FREE? All they have at this point is ther aftersales value, meaning customer support, etc. But eff 'em if they're gonna charge $30 a tech call, and don't take e-mail support questions anymore.

Re:Prices??? (5, Insightful)

Madcelt (574333) | more than 11 years ago | (#5222061)

It doesn't have to be free to compete with free. It has to be percieved as better value, that is entirely different.

Re:Prices??? (1)

Habikki (622599) | more than 11 years ago | (#5222080)

Does this sound familiar to anyone?

"Microsoft Tech Support, this is umm... BOB. Whats your Credit Card Number, expiration date 1st?"

They don't want to know who you are until your card goes though. You don't even get to start talking. And I believe that it's 35 per call. And if you go over 10 minutes you get billed per minute that your on the phone! Sheesh. That alone should pull in googa cash.

--Robby

Re:Prices??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5222099)

Read this:

http://newsforge.com/newsforge/03/01/31/1420212. sh tml?tid=23

That contains the answer. Why will people pay $99 for a linux distro when Linux is free? Convenience, paid-for support and extra features. The same equation applies to Microsoft software - people will pay, if paying results in greater utility than the free equivalent.

Remember that to many Linux is not free except in terms of cost and politics. It does have time and effort costs. If something comes along that costs less in time and effort but more in $, some people may think that the tradeoff between $ and T&E justifies spending the $. That may be a paid for linux distro, or it could be Microsoft software.

Re:Prices??? (1)

ksb (517539) | more than 11 years ago | (#5222117)

Yes, I agree... to make sure the OSS community should lower it's prices to fuel competition ;)

Muhahaha (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5221972)

First Post! yes!!!!

great (-1, Troll)

Ubi_NL (313657) | more than 11 years ago | (#5221973)

so instead of 87% profit margin, they'll have 77%?

I'll wait untill they lower their prices till below Linux. After all. it really is just stuff they should pay *you* to use it...

Hey!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5222130)


After all. it really is just stuff they should pay *you* to use it...
Are you trying to secretly sneak in a SOVIET RUSSIA joke here?

:-)

Re: as Xbox... (1)

borgdows (599861) | more than 11 years ago | (#5222148)

One day, Microsoft will lose 100$ for every Windows sold!

Re:great (5, Insightful)

rseuhs (322520) | more than 11 years ago | (#5222161)

Isn't that exactly what they do in Peru and India?

Also, Microsoft spent 5 to 50 million $ on campaigning (you know gala-dinners, nice flights for politicians, etc.) to stop the German Bundestag from migrating to Linux. article here (in German) [heise.de]

And the Bundestag still migrated the servers to Linux...

With over 5Million$ in expenses and 5000 desktops the Bundestag runs, Microsoft has paid at least 1000$/desktop in campaigning. Not even the dumbest Micorosft troll can claim they have made a profit on that...

Lower Prices?! (2, Funny)

Oculus Habent (562837) | more than 11 years ago | (#5221975)

And lose its insane profit margin?!

Tragic.

Re:Lower Prices?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5221994)

Yes, Microsoft was sitting around, and thought, "Know what? We need to be making less money, guys." So they cut prices.

second at best (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5221978)

no, it will never be first

I don't believe it for a second. (3, Funny)

x0n (120596) | more than 11 years ago | (#5221981)

They're up to something. I reckon he's finally managed to license English (tm) and this is a cruel prank on the OSS community.

- Oisin

Re:I don't believe it for a second. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5222098)

Just so long as Gates doesn't license Engrish. THEN we'd be in trouble!!

That's good (1, Flamebait)

gostats (647325) | more than 11 years ago | (#5221982)

I was beginning to think that $300 is a little expensive for how crashy windows is.

Re:That's good (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5222012)

Two words for you, boy: Warez.

Crashy Windows? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5222022)

I thought it's ought to be like that. :S Since my windows managed to reboot and shut down at the same time, I guessed it's a *KEWL* feature of WinMe. ^_^ I can also recommand the "blue screen while shut down" feature.
Aint windows fun? ;P

Success! (3, Insightful)

gazbo (517111) | more than 11 years ago | (#5221983)

It's about time we had this news. Really, OSS has no chance of competing with software backed by a large company, at least not when the price of the proprietary software are not unreasonable.

By forcing Microsoft to release polished and well documented code at a reasonable price, OSS has pretty much achieved its goal.

Re:Success! (2, Insightful)

The Lord of Chaos (231000) | more than 11 years ago | (#5222126)

Maybe that's your goal for OSS is. If that was the true goal of most OSS developers, to compete with Microsoft, it wouldn't be where it is today, because it would have only started about a decade ago.

I for one hope that most OSS developers don't throw in the towel at this news since there will always be a need for a rich OSS community.

My god (1)

DahGhostfacedFiddlah (470393) | more than 11 years ago | (#5222155)

That's the most successful troll I've ever seen! +3 Insightful? Look - the guy just said that OSS has no chance against microsoft, and it's time to quit - we've reached our goal.

Either that, or the moderators really do find that insightful. I find it a bit - well - flameish?

That is all.

Re:Success! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5222157)

OSS has not had a goal of forcing Microsoft to do *anything*.

Open Source software existed long before Microsoft did (check any good "History of UNIX") for starters.

OSS merely enforces a policy of free (as in beer) distribution of source code and free "rights to use".

Microsoft's disdainful attitude to its existing customers and it's buggy products have no doubt helped to drive the OSS movement - but OSS was there long before Microsoft and will be there long after...

Competition? Ha! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5221985)

OSS is doing to Microsoft what Microsoft did to Netscape.

BWAHAHAHAHAH!

Margin comparison... (5, Insightful)

MosesJones (55544) | more than 11 years ago | (#5221987)


Before the muppets start talking about products can't compete with free, remember support costs, staff costs etc etc.

One element on margin is that it is estimated that Microsoft work around the 30% mark, while IBM work around 7% and are booking multi-millions in association with Linux. So this means that Microsoft will be reducing their margin, not becoming unprofitable.

Re:Margin comparison... (-1)

L.Torvalds (548450) | more than 11 years ago | (#5222069)

Microsft reduces its profit margin to, say, $20.00 per copy of XP Home.

Linux reduces its profit margin to, profit? Whats that?

Microsoft wins, you hippy fucktards.

When it costs about US$120 (2, Interesting)

Op7imus_Prim3 (645940) | more than 11 years ago | (#5221990)

for a copy of Lindows perhaps it is the linux distibutors who need to lower prices.

Re:When it costs about US$120 (2)

rseuhs (322520) | more than 11 years ago | (#5222043)

Let me get that right...

So because Lindows charges 120$ that means that *all* Linux distributors need to lower prices?

Doesn't make any sense.

Oh, you were just trolling, I forgot.

But even the insanely overpriced Lindows is still 80$ cheaper than a full version of Windows XP home.

Yeah Linux (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5221991)

Linux was on the space shuttle, and look what happened to it! Linux proliferation will only cause more disasters. Fuck linux!

Re:Yeah Linux (-1)

noisyb (630181) | more than 11 years ago | (#5222003)

Linux was the reason why it didn't blow up before lift off.. you asshole..

What? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5222041)

Linux was on the space shuttle, and look what happened to it! Linux proliferation will only cause more disasters. Fuck linux!

Don't talk crap. NASA uses embedded BSD for their critical stuff. Anyway, the disaster was a hardware fault, not a software fault.

This was an expected move (1)

jjl (514061) | more than 11 years ago | (#5221995)

This was quite expected from Microsoft. For example, StarOffice/OpenOffice have quite successfully grabbed some ground off Microsoft Office.
This is mostly because of the very low cost of StarOffice, or no cost at all in OpenOffice's case.

I think this is mostly... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5221999)

PR... nothing more than PR...

It's not that they're wholly unaffected by the advance of Linux, but this statement should be bundled with others they use to show that "We have brutal competition... really!"

Re:I think this is mostly... (5, Insightful)

Iamnotalawyer (452226) | more than 11 years ago | (#5222137)

You couldn't be closer to the truth. This kind of public statement is surely to be referred to in defence at some future MS anti-competition trial. MS may even point to an unrelated drop in prices (such as the end in lifetime of a version prior to the release of a new one) as a sign of competing market forces at work. Points scored here by MS's counsel and PR team for being proactive in their strategy and points should be deducted from the press for actually printing this blatant spindoctoring.

Time to OSS evolve to the next level (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5222000)

It was about time.

The thing that pushes ppl to Linux and Open Source is the price. Depending if MS lower its prices too much, it may cause a lot of ppl not to consider OSS software at all.

Who would want use and a disgruntled OS if they may get nice box, nice gradient buttons, stylish consistent GUI for a reasonable price?

Maybe it forces OSS software to evolve from merely copying proprietary functionalities to actually improve users' life in order to make a differentiation. A reason for ppl to use it. For now, it's price.

Re:Time to OSS evolve to the next level (1)

primus_sucks (565583) | more than 11 years ago | (#5222063)

For now, it's price.

Better security and performance don't hurt either.

Re:Time to OSS evolve to the next level (3, Funny)

Xpilot (117961) | more than 11 years ago | (#5222084)

stylish consistent GUI for a reasonable price?

Stylish? Stylish? You mean the big, colorful plastic looking WinXP buttons? You call that stylish? To quote a reviewer on the web (I forget where from):

The Windows XP interface looks like some kid ate a box of crayons and threw up on the screen.

Is it stylish because Microsoft made it?

Re:Time to OSS evolve to the next level (4, Funny)

tweek (18111) | more than 11 years ago | (#5222123)

I always called it "Fischer-Price My First Operating System" hehe

Re:Time to OSS evolve to the next level (1)

Ozric (30691) | more than 11 years ago | (#5222160)

I had to make my work laptop with XP on it look like 2k, I hate the XP look. Makes me want to barf. Oh well, I just need a few ssh shells to my E10k domains anyway.

It's really not that big a deal (4, Insightful)

signe (64498) | more than 11 years ago | (#5222007)

Microsoft has to put everything they could possibly think of that might conceivably cause the stock to go down even slightly in there, otherwise they could be held liable by their stockholders.

So while it's certainly nice that they finally have to publically announce this as a possibility, it really doesn't mean anything. I've seen some wild things in quarterly and annual reports.

-Todd

Re:It's really not that big a deal (1)

laughing_badger (628416) | more than 11 years ago | (#5222058)

I've seen some wild things in quarterly and annual reports.

Awww, come on. You can't write that and then not give examples. I wanna hear about reduced profits forecasts due to the CTO's obsession with lap dancing clubs!

Re:It's really not that big a deal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5222065)

It's also a nice way to shift blame. "Socialist software made us lose money, boo hoo." Wait to see if their actions in the marketplace match their words before getting too excited about this.

Re:It's really not that big a deal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5222112)


Quite. I write these things for a living. You basically put every thing in you can think of.

"Our operations depend substantially on physical office locations. These may be destroyed by falling space shuttle debris and this could harm our future operating performance."

If American's weren't so class-action happy this wouldn't happen. Blame the lawyers.

Re:It's really not that big a deal (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Bullard (62082) | more than 11 years ago | (#5222167)

Yet the fact remains that OSS is now officially deemed a competitive threat to the MS empire. Combine that with a few other facts: 1) that MS still doesn't know how to combat that threat and while the wet-noodle-slap legal ruling was a travesty of justice it'll still deter MS from using their most underhanded arsenal of tactics, and 2) Microsoft's financial pyramid scheme depends on ever-increasing profits and a reversal will result in all kinds of additional expenses compared to their past mode of operation.

However the OSS community, despite being the ideal builders of level playing fields, are still far from having significant (let alone equal or over-riding) influence in the areas where MS holds their most valuable monopolies. Giving Microsoft's obscene profits ever so slightly bigger squeeze is just a minor symptom stemming from the battle over the control (or freedom) of crucially important standards, protocols and file formats. If competition is to work, that's where it really happens, not on Microsoft's product price tags.

The dotNET thingy is where MS plans to create their next complete set of standards to obsolete those caught up by the OSS community so expect some semi-serious revamping of their Licensing 6.0 in the months ahead. But don't expect to see OSS mentioned anywhere in those announcements; it'll all be due to this great innovating company gracefully catering for their valued customers' needs and wishes and "giving them what they ask for"...

It'll be interesting to see whether that can slow the adoption of OSS by any noticeable degree. I'm afraid (read: convinced) that Microsoft's hardballs are finally heading back home to roost.

Hence, No Bathroom. (5, Funny)

EvilDrew (523879) | more than 11 years ago | (#5222010)

So this is why the Microsoft Home Of The Future has no bathroom. They can't afford it anymore. Sweet.

Animals are most dangerous (2, Insightful)

caluml (551744) | more than 11 years ago | (#5222011)

Animals are most dangerous when they are cornered.
Expect to see this beast with its hackles up, coming out fighting.

First they ignore you... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5222021)

"OSS Officially On Microsoft's Financial Radar Screen"

First they ignore you,
Then they laugh at you,
Then they fight you,
Then you win.
- Gandhi.

Re:First they ignore you... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5222109)

The probelm is that Gandhi never had to fight against patents. Remember that. We know that we really have Microsoft scared when the patent threats start.

Re:First they ignore you... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5222129)

Ye, someone shot ghandi and look at how pieceful india/pakistan is today. He won for sure..

Free (libre) vs. free (beer) (5, Insightful)

Koos Baster (625091) | more than 11 years ago | (#5222023)

This is a fairly major revelation from Microsoft, and if it happens, it may be one of the biggest wins yet for open-source software: what do you know -- competition works!"

Sigh. Since when was lowering Microsoft's prices a major objective of OSS?

This is *not* a big win. Contrary: it reduces the perceived difference between OSS and MS from a consumer's perspective and may even force Linux vendors to lower their prices and thus reduce their revenues.

...Now if Microsoft interpreted the OSS threat the way they should and decided to counter it by open sourcing their stuff... THAT would be a major win for the OSS (by definition)!

Re:Free (libre) vs. free (beer) (1)

hayriye (609198) | more than 11 years ago | (#5222075)

cheap beer

Re:Free (libre) vs. free (beer) (1)

whovian (107062) | more than 11 years ago | (#5222095)

I was trying to think how MS could use this as a tactic, such as them coming back a little later to say how linux is able to compete "unfairly" and thus urge the government to step in and block open source development. And then MS could step in and save the world.

Strange things have already happened, such as the former MS security chief Howard Schmidt [slashdot.org] being appointed by Bush. the I could be way off though.

It will be a win when ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5222120)

Customers start asking them to port their server stuff to Solaris and Linux.

hmmm (1)

pizza_milkshake (580452) | more than 11 years ago | (#5222027)

How to compete price-wise with free software? Microsoft may turn into a largely service-based company (like IBM seems to have done) than a product-oriented one. Who knows. Three cheers for OSS giving Microsoft something to sweat about.

This has happened before (5, Insightful)

kahei (466208) | more than 11 years ago | (#5222028)

This is really quite analogous with what happned when MS's cheaper solutions began to eat the Unix market from the workstation up.

At first, MS's main advantage was price, but gradually they innovated(*) and re-engineered so that their product was always high enough quality to attack the next layer up -- from word processing platform up through file/print server to heavy-duty servers and workstations.

Now MS are being eaten from below by a new generation of even cheaper systems. Like early MS systems, these open source offerings are both derivative and weak except for their price advantage. However, a price advantage is enough to secure a foothold, and over time open source systems will be strengthened and will begin to innovate and will be able to take over better and better MS-held markets.

In about 10-15 years, the cycle will probably start again, taking us another step further from the days of monolithic systems and proprietry hardware/os/support lock-in (which is where we were at before the Attack of the Killer Micros, young'uns). It's all good.

(*)Rather than freaking out and writing posts about 'M$' and so on, why not go outside and get some fresh air?

Re:This has happened before (2, Insightful)

Placido (209939) | more than 11 years ago | (#5222083)

This is really quite analogous with what happned when MS's cheaper solutions began to eat the Unix market from the workstation up.

Except it's not because Microsoft is being eaten from the server down.

Re:This has happened before (2, Insightful)

kahei (466208) | more than 11 years ago | (#5222116)

Ah, you spotted my deliberate mistake :)

By 'up' I didn't mean spreading from client to server, I meant spreading from less attractive/lucrative to more attractive market segments.

When MS were starting out, the lowest margin, most easily accessed market was the WP/spreadsheet client. Nowadays, clients are expensive things with lots of graphics and ram and commodity features, and it's the small server market that's low margin and easy to get into.

Ahum. (1)

HiQ (159108) | more than 11 years ago | (#5222029)

Did the writer of the article really mean to say this:

[snip]That sobering outlook follows the bleak picture [snip]

Waiting and watching (3, Funny)

FungiSpunk (628460) | more than 11 years ago | (#5222033)

I love OSS, but just think...

OSS wins and almost all the servers and desktops are OSS. Then the companies that "bought" into the OSS, get annoyed that Linus is not releasing the fixes quick enough. Forks start appearing left right and center and suddenly every company has its own sponsered Linux distro.

Mr Gates waits patriently in the wings waiting for chaos to reach its peak before finally saying..."Well there is a reasonable, inexpensive option for your OS problems, you know?"....(thinks to himself "once more the wheel of fate turns in Bill's direction...mwhahahahaha!")

Re:Waiting and watching (3, Insightful)

Queuetue (156269) | more than 11 years ago | (#5222064)

Forks start appearing left right and center and suddenly every company has its own sponsered Linux distro.

What part of this is bad? If My company can make our OS do exactly what we want it to, that's a win, not a loss.

it's true! (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5222044)

At my university (www.unbsj.ca) there are posters everywhere that advertise MS products for 90% off of the 'estimated retail price'.

But who wants XP anyway?

Failing economy is just irrelevent (4, Interesting)

Uninvited Guest (237316) | more than 11 years ago | (#5222045)

I suppose the continuing sluggish growth in the US economy has nothing at all to do with it either. Isn't this the same sort of argument that the RIAA used to explain the drop in CD sales? "The competition from free sources is reducing our sales!" In fact, slow growth in the economy impacts all kinds of sales, including Microsoft's products.

Re:Failing economy is just irrelevent (1)

pr0nbot (313417) | more than 11 years ago | (#5222135)

"The competition from free sources is reducing our sales!" In fact, slow growth in the economy impacts all kinds of sales

Doesn't it work both ways? A slow-down in the growth of the economy may be causing lower sales. But couldn't it be lower sales that are causing a slow-down in the economy?

Quick Translation (5, Funny)

cluge (114877) | more than 11 years ago | (#5222055)

A translation for those not fiscally inclined.

*large puffs of smoke appear, and a talking face begs you*

"Gosh darn it! Open Source is digging into our revenue. Lord knows that Open Source will be the down fall of all things good, look whats happening to our profits! **Ignore present world wide economic conditions they have no bearing here** I mean, we weren't really price gouging before, we were just looking out for our stock holders. Now our profits are going to go down because we have to lower our already, really, really, really fair prices or else we won't keep market share. It's unfair competition! **Ignore present world wide economic conditions they have no bearing here**"

***second translation***
"G*d d*mn this sucks, we have to compete now, we just can't buy Linus out. So much for our past competitive strategy"

Payback's a bitch (2, Insightful)

hammarlund (568027) | more than 11 years ago | (#5222059)

Now they have a taste of what they did to Netscape by giving away IE. What goes around comes around.

Who will benefit if anybody? (1)

nemaispuke (624303) | more than 11 years ago | (#5222067)

From reading the eWeek article my guess would be that Enterprise customers would be the likely candidates to see a price drop. Microsoft makes their money in Client Access Licenses (CAL) and that is where Open Source comes in. I am sure that Microsoft is beginning to "feel the pinch" of Linux and other Unix variants stomping on their money making juggernaut! I read an article awhile back comparing the costs between an IBM Z Series mainframe running Linux and Microsoft software running on some boxes (probably Dell), but what was shocking was that the CAL's for Exchange for 5000 users with something over $250,000! Somehow I do not think that "Joe Six Pack" is going to benefit from this at all! That is where Microsoft will more than likely make up their losses to big customers.

Joe Six Pack get's to keep his job (2, Insightful)

codepunk (167897) | more than 11 years ago | (#5222104)

No perhaps Joe will get to keep his job since he is mearly a line worker. Joes IT dept saved 1/4 million allowing Joe keep working. For most companies software is a total write off. Now what if marketing takes that 1/4 million and uses it to market some actual product. Now perhaps a few more Joe's get hired. In a down economy it is all about bang for the buck

Must be because.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5222070)

every 2nd /. article has a .NET advertisement. That is to of to say that /. is an OSS targeted audience forum. Anyway Andover need to survive one way or another, and it's not by paying editors to write articles, but to just link to them externally.

I'm guessing the Halloween papers will get a mention somewhere in these posts too - Redundant. And so what is OSS is on the M$ radar? Their attack against OSS thus far has proven ineffective. If anything it will be against the Apache project.

Look at the server margin (1)

codepunk (167897) | more than 11 years ago | (#5222071)

Ouch that is a pretty bad showing in the server market. A few more quarters and you can write that division off as a loss leader. I think this year so far we have bought 8 Linux servers and 0 Windows server. I guess everyone else is moving the same direction.

Be careful how you read this (1, Redundant)

pcause (209643) | more than 11 years ago | (#5222073)

I legal filings with the SEC, you have to list the kitchen sink of all the things that anyone might possibly think could ever go wrong, no matter how completely unlikely. If you don't yu open yourself up for later suits.

This comment doesn't mean MS thinks there is a threat, but tat their attornies think that they could be sued if they don't say this, or if thjey takes steps to beat open source and those steps have any impact on earnings.

This is about not getting sued for doing what they need to win.

Isn't Microsoft Part of An Industry Association? (1)

Catiline (186878) | more than 11 years ago | (#5222076)

You know, like the MPAA or RIAA???

Their association is falling down on the job... nobody's suing over this!!!

moron the decay/decline of the ill eagle.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5222079)

felonious kingdumb of payper liesense hostage ransom stock markup FUDgePeddlers. what did you eXPect?

va.msn.?net? (VAST) [trustworthycomputing.com] ? that's a gooed won.

don't look for the dinosaurs to slide gracefully into the tarpits, as they will be hauling DOWn many other specIEs with them.

tricky (-1)

exspecto (513607) | more than 11 years ago | (#5222081)

they will have to be veeeery careful. if they lower their prices too much, it could be considered monopolistic. actually, on second thought, i hope they do. i hope they keep screwing up until they get ruled against over and over in court. pretty soon MS will be nothing but a public joke.

Bah, excuses (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5222086)

MS's business model is finally starting to wear out. Their using OSS as the excuse for declining revenue when the real reason is they're not quick enough on their feet any longer. They are attempting to villify us folks.

Servers? (4, Insightful)

Mr_Silver (213637) | more than 11 years ago | (#5222089)

Given that I've seen Linux make inroads into Microsoft's server market it wouldn't surprise me that, if they do reduce their prices, it's only for the "server editions" of things.

Despite all the comments on here about Slashdot readers, their Mum, Dad, Grandmother, Aunt, Uncle and kids using Linux on the desktop - I don't think the desktop users are making any significant decreases to sales of Windows XP just yet.

A year down the line though, who knows ...?

why are we talking about this? (1)

phrantic (630202) | more than 11 years ago | (#5222091)

when was the last time you paid for a MS product? You just "borrow" the CD from somone right?

Monopoly (0)

C0deJunkie (309293) | more than 11 years ago | (#5222092)

This is the last demostration (if anyone has ever needed it) the MS's pricing is over the "minimum profit", i.e. is acting in a monopolistic manner.

one of the biggest wins for OSS ... for now (1)

borgdows (599861) | more than 11 years ago | (#5222100)

Microsoft will more and more trying to convert PC users to closed-systems (Xbox/Palladium) in order to maintain its strong margins.

If they achieve to convert a critical mass of users, their monopoly stronghold will be even more problematic than now.

Upgrade cycle slowing (5, Interesting)

PinglePongle (8734) | more than 11 years ago | (#5222102)

I don't think OSS is making a big dent in MS revenues - it's still virtually impossible to buy a new PC without windows pre-installed (and pre-licensed).

Instead, I think MS is suffering from a lack of innovation. There is simply no compelling reason for corporates to upgrade their software anymore - Windows 2K is fine for business use, they don't get anything in XP other than support problems. You might upgrade Office to be able to read other people's files, but there are precious few "must-have" features to differentiate the current offering from Office 97.

The most significant reason for users to upgrade in the recent past has been MS's change in licensing policy - signing up before the deadline gives "free" access to upgrades for a limited period. I know that many corporates bitterly resented this pressure. However, the next version of "Windows for Servers" keeps getting pushed back, and many corporates are only now upgrading their servers from NT4 to W2K - not to take advantage of new features, but because support is being withdrawn.

So, while OSS is undoubtedly snapping at MS's heels, providing a much-needed alternative and nibbling away at the revenues, the bigger problem is that historically, Microsoft have taken ideas developed elsewhere and "embraced and extended" them. Right now, there are precious few radically new ideas to embrace, and the only way for MS to continue to grow their revenue is to find new must-have features. In short, they need to innovate under their own power.

Welcome to the real world, Bill....

Suckers (1)

Abductor (642058) | more than 11 years ago | (#5222106)

You guys are suckers. He's not feeling *any* competition from open source. He now has to pretend he's got competition in order to keep the government off his back.

moron having soul doubt/fuddles 'buying'.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5222111)

va lairIE's source forgerIE? could happen. what with lairIE's payper so far in the pottIE? fuddles could 'buy' the hole source forgerIE, for less than a billyun, in phonIE monIE, that he's lifted from US.

could happen. tell 'em robbIE.

MS Price Drop Not Good...(TM) (2, Insightful)

Jace of Fuse! (72042) | more than 11 years ago | (#5222114)

Really, I don't see how Microsoft lowering their prices could be good for anybody but them.

Well, it would save a whole lot of people a whole lot of money, so I guess that IS good, I guess. But really I see Microsoft just strengthening their foothold, which is bad for everyone in the long wrong.

Imagine if Windows cost $25? Instead of Joe-Blow doing cartwheels to get around XP Activation, they'd just buy 3 copies, one for each machine.

Imagine if Windows cost $9.99? People would buy copies for their mothers, friends, families, etc, just to "free them of those stupid problems they have with Windows 98/ME".

The fact is, Microsoft could probably still make some changes internally that would allow them to profit off of Windows if it sold for almost nothing, and THEN what would open source have to bank on? Moral righteousness? HAH. That'll sell.

Crying Wolf (2, Interesting)

KalenDarrie (320019) | more than 11 years ago | (#5222121)

I don't believe Microsoft is being greatly harmed by this. There is no way to truly damage so large a company in any quick or irrevocable way.

However, I do think that this is a good thing. Microsoft has always done business how it wants to without regard for competitors or allies so much as they were stepping stones to greater profit margins and superior dominance.

I will be both amused and relived if OSS's success forces Microsoft to reevaluate its obviously predatory practices. I might even(loosely) suggest this is much like the situation with RIAA. Software is changing when it comes to how some things are done. Microsoft must either adapt properly or miss the boat.

If they miss the boat, no great loss. Greater competition can only aid technological development and further thrust down Microsoft's prices.

Now they are opposing their own strategy (0)

Phili (243217) | more than 11 years ago | (#5222122)

Haven't they always said, that starting the minute StarOffice lowerd their prices back then, StarOffice had lost? Wasn't it reasoned, that after a year, sales showed, that StarOffice was Dead.

And now they do the same?

Total Cost of Ownership (0)

C0deJunkie (309293) | more than 11 years ago | (#5222124)

Well, at least it means that adopting some kind of OSS will reduce your TCO (by lowering the price of your Enterprise-deployed-desktop-operating-system).

Finance speak (3, Insightful)

sql*kitten (1359) | more than 11 years ago | (#5222133)

This is a fairly major revelation from Microsoft

No it isn't, it's just financial boilerplate text that the lawyers bolted on. It's to cover their asses in case anyone tries to file a class-action suit against them if their profits fall. I used to work for a NASDAQ-traded company, and we had this crap in our quarterlies all the time. You have to enumerate every possible risk to your business, even stuff like we operate in country X and there is a risk of an earthquake, which may materially affect our revenue in that market, blah blah.

Nothing to see here, move along...

Isn't this just a natural event? (1)

cottonmouth (543865) | more than 11 years ago | (#5222134)

Of course they will have to lower their prices to compete with something that is mostly free. When Linux becomes even more popular how much do you want to bet that MS starts giving their damned OS away?

Micorsoft announce they are no longer a monopoly.. (3, Funny)

clickety6 (141178) | more than 11 years ago | (#5222142)

and so they no longer need to act like one!

Or am I just getting cynical in my old age?

and the propaganda mill cranks on.. (3, Insightful)

new death barbie (240326) | more than 11 years ago | (#5222145)

Now every Microsoft shareholder has become the enemy of OSS

Now Wall Street analysts will be announcing to the world that Microsoft profits will be impacted by OSS --

And if Microsoft is 'hurting', who else in this sensitive economy could be feeling the pinch from the free software terrorists?

Officially on their RADAR? (5, Funny)

hype7 (239530) | more than 11 years ago | (#5222146)

You gotta be kidding me! This reminds me of the old joke... a US Navy Carrier sees a big blip on the radar, and sends out of the radio:
"This is the USS Big Ship to unidentified target, please change course." The response comes back:
"That's a negative, Big Ship".
"We are a Aircraft Carrier from the US Navy. Now please change course!"
"That's a negative, Big Ship. We're a lighthouse"

For chrissakes, OSS has got to be the biggest stack of rocks sitting on MS's radar that they've had in a long, long time.

-- james

If Windows drops to $100 ... (3, Interesting)

fygment (444210) | more than 11 years ago | (#5222154)

... or less then OSS is dead (unless it really starts embracing the making of Win apps). It's a lesson the music industry may learn as well if they want to truly end the Napster Clone Wars.
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