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Microsoft's XO Laptop Strategy

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the jigga-whaaa dept.


gbulmash writes "Microsoft is spending a 'non-trivial' amount of money to get Windows XP working on the OLPC project's XO laptop. But why? Despite the conjecture that the Linux-based XO could convince millions of people in the developing world that they don't need Windows and build a huge base of developers for Linux, there still remains the question of how Microsoft would convince owners of XO laptops to buy and install Windows XP over the functional Linux-based OS already on it. It's doubtful that Microsoft could encourage or coerce Negroponte to put XP on the machine, so whose arms will they twist?"

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guess what (0, Offtopic)

Kuku_monroe (753761) | more than 6 years ago | (#21130029)


w00t (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21130063)

frist post

Two Possible Reasons (5, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 6 years ago | (#21130081)

Microsoft is spending a 'non-trivial' amount of money to get Windows XP working on the OLPC project's XO laptop. But why?
I'm going to propose two reasons, both are quite laughable.

The first is the driving force behind all of Microsoft's actions (and, in fact, almost everyone's): money.

They are developing this so that people can pay an extra $20 to get XP on the OLPC. I assume they will have to drop the regular license price of $90 to something not one half the cost of the laptop. Well, for common sense reasons and also the fact that it destroys the idea of a cheap laptop for kids.

The second idea is that they've finally caved. They finally recognized that releasing an XP shell for free (but not open source) will guaranty their survival because it will allow the poor, the desperate & the cheap to still run windows and possibly alleviate piracy. The idealists like us will still use open source but for practicality purposes many will go along with this. Vista will still cost you an arm and a leg but it will be shinier and flashier and souped up compared to this shell of XP. This will also ensure that the children will grow up accustomed to the broken model of Windows and any development they do will be Win32.

So, I see this as in all likelihood a cross between the two above. They will release Windows XP trimmed down but it will only run if it recognizes the hardware as XO (to prevent you and I from using it to run an MMO only on Windows without the operating system or SVCHost process taking up 30% of my resources). So it's free on OLPCs but still costs fat cat Americans & Europeans moneys. They retain some profit and are seeding themselves into the minds of youths that will be responsible for saving their countries from third world status.

It's the same strategy they used with their "Academic Alliance" software giving to universities & the not so strange donations that Gates oversees when a village in a third world nation receives computers and technical support worth thousands of USD.

Microsoft's interests are their survival and money.

Nicholas Negroponte should be thrilled that Microsoft is already recognizing his success and I wish to send him my gratitude and admiration as so far he has been the only person in this picture with purely good motives. Also all the unnamed developers that have made this possible whether they be employed to do it or not.

Don't get me wrong, it's great that the world's largest software maker is fighting to give more options to people in need. I'm just afraid that they're going to try to maneuver putting their software on instead of the Linux kernel and we'll have to deal with Windows/Internet Explorer's horrible insecurities on a global level.

maybe it is simple (1)

goombah99 (560566) | more than 6 years ago | (#21130279)

If the OLPC really increases their market share dramatically, and since the OLPC model shifts all marketing a distribution costs onto the country purchasing them, and because all orders are bulk orders in the millions, maybe they could cut the price dramatically. It's all marginal profit to them and a margin of say $20 might be just dandy. It would be a cut feature version to avoid cannibalizing 1sth world nation sales. Maybe they could even open source the low end version and turn the world into their kernel developer.

The other possibility is that they just want a low power system they can embed in the iLoo 2008.

I Like Your Ideas But They Are Altruistic (2, Interesting)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 6 years ago | (#21130413)

... and because all orders are bulk orders in the millions, maybe they could cut the price dramatically.
See, your problem is that you're thinking like a human being with a heart and soul who cares for his fellow man. Well, we have this thing called 'the internet' and it allows all software to be distributed 'in bulk' to everyone using the internet. I like your explanation and agree that that is how they should look at it. But it's obviously not because they could have treated everyone in the world as 'bulk' when they released their latest piece of MS Office software. Imagine downloading it to the tune of $5. It makes sense because then everyone would use it, everyone would pay the trivial cost and they would make a lot of money.

But that's not the case because they know they can make more money. They balance their greed and desire for money with their market dominance. If they go too far one way, they lose ground on the other. Their marketing is so good they don't even worry about whether or not the software is great. Having coded web apps for IE, I can tell you in a heart beat I wish it never existed.

Maybe they could even open source the low end version and turn the world into their kernel developer.
You must be new here. Great idea, I agree with you but again, money. You and I both know that would improve Windows too much!

Microsoft is putting more money into development of a product that's going to net them less cash than the original product they already dumped millions into. Something funny is going on here and I bet it has to do with them fearing losing world wide dominance on an operating system. Just in numbers! Start adding millions of machines running Linux bought by governments and suddenly your CEO reports can't brag insane digits of market share over Linux. It's probably more fear driven than anything--but the final thing they need to figure out is how they can get money out of this deal.

Re:I Like Your Ideas But They Are Altruistic (2, Insightful)

evilandi (2800) | more than 6 years ago | (#21130839)

Well, we have this thing called 'the internet' and it allows all software to be distributed 'in bulk' to everyone using the internet

For values of "everyone" that are limited to broadband, yes.

For people on the edge of a mesh network that is operational provided none of the twelve intermediate XO laptops are switched off en-route to the next-but-one village that has a single 9600bps dial-up... no.

If Microsoft was smart... (2, Interesting)

Chapter80 (926879) | more than 6 years ago | (#21130347)

If Microsoft was smart, they'd complete the migration of Windows to OLPC. Then they'd charge a premium price for it (say $595, including Microsoft Works or Office).

Then they'd fund an underground source (think of how they funded SCO) to develop an easy one-click port from OLPC Linux to Windows, keeping all valuable user files in tact.

Then the underground source would accidentally leak it on the P2P networks, and the rouge pirate underprivileged kids would think they are "sticking it to the man" and getting something real valuable (Windows + Office), when in reality Ballmer is just training a whole new set of young people that they cannot live without Windows.

Shhh don't mention this strategy to them!

Re:Two Possible Reasons (1)

Interl0per (1045948) | more than 6 years ago | (#21130353)

Very likely; it mirrors Microsoft's successful strategy over the years of encouraging development on their platform through discounted educational versions and free reduced-functionality builds of their environments and documentation. Grabbing up significant numbers of hobbyists and developers to keep a synergistic library of apps has to have had a positive impact on maintaining MSWin's momentum in the market.

Re:Two Possible Reasons (5, Interesting)

kebes (861706) | more than 6 years ago | (#21130395)

They will release Windows XP trimmed down but it will only run if it recognizes the hardware as XO
That would be interesting, since there are well-established solutions for emulating the XO [] in a virtual image (mostly for development purposes). These could probably be adapted to run this modified Windows XP. I imagine that a trimmed-down XP running in a virtual machine would be very useful. It would run quickly and could thus easily fill the gap of running a few Windows apps on an otherwise FLOSS machine.

No doubt Microsoft would try to create license terms to prohibit such usage, but without cooperation from the hardware designers in the OLPC project, I'm not sure they will have any technical ability to lock-out their Windows XP version from being run in virtual machines.

Perceived Value (1)

MarsDefenseMinister (738128) | more than 6 years ago | (#21130481)

I think it's about perceived value. Most people don't value what they didn't pay for. It's free, so it's not worth much, right? This is the reason why I won't give my child any money for college. Not a penny. I'm going to make them pay their own way, out of their trust funds and other incomes. If I paid for it and gave them a free education, they wouldn't value it at all.

Same with Linux. It came with the computer, and it's free anyway. Microsoft is going to make a HUGE amount of money selling XP to people who want something they paid for. It's a perception that it's better because Microsoft can make money from it.

Right, I know all the objections, and most of them are wrong or irrelevant. That's because you can hop on the Internets and fill my computer full of arguments about freedom and open software and stuff. But, you can't as easily hop on the Internets and do the same thing to a kid in Niger, can you? It'll take you a couple years to educate these kids, and in that two years (or 4 or 6) before you can tell the rest of the world about your great free software, Microsoft will make billions selling them something they already have.

Re:Perceived Value (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21130603)

I'm going to make them pay their own way, out of their trust funds and other incomes.

They're going to pay their own way...out of their trust funds.

One more (1)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 6 years ago | (#21130591)

Proof of concept. Perhaps one or more groups got the go ahead to pursue a light weight OS that is more portable than current offerings (CE, Xp, and Vista). Showing it to work on the OLPC would be just great for press time.

This would be the precusror to more Windows named systems with a new common core. Not his first generation attempt but aiming more at the types of devices which MS expects to take off in the upcoming nations of the world.

Personally I think the OLPC is a waste of money, more should be dedicated to infrastructure and cheap communication... (as in, cell phone access to stuff relevant to those who need it, reserve computers for classroom presentation to students.. not something to haul home and evetuanlly see on the side of the road)

Re:One more (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21130969)

So you're saying give the man a fish (or some infrastructure/cheap comm), instead of teaching him (or his children) how.

Of course, training a whole new generation of 419 scammers is probably not the end goal.

Re:Two Possible Reasons (3, Interesting)

ealar dlanvuli (523604) | more than 6 years ago | (#21130609)

No. The reason is very simple. Everywhere but the US, Microsoft exists in the market because of piracy. I doubt they expect to have a bunch of people buying XP. On the other hand, I bet they do expect a bunch of people pirate XP.

Microsofts biggest fear is people will learn that computers don't have to be based on windows. Once that happens, they can't sell licenses to business and government, because the people won't only know windows so the businesses won't get it.


Re:Two Possible Reasons (4, Interesting)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 6 years ago | (#21130723)

The first is the driving force behind all of Microsoft's actions (and, in fact, almost everyone's): money.

Absolutely. But I think both of your ideas are off the mark (though you start to get it a bit later). The goal, here, probably isn't to make money selling Windows to XO users. In fact, I'll bet dollars to donuts their plan is to give away their port for free. No, the goal is to get people familiarized with Windows products. Remember, the developing world today will be the markets of the future for MS. Having an entire generation of children exposed to Windows could be a very good thing for Microsoft when those economies begin to mature.

Re:Two Possible Reasons (1)

Dr. Hok (702268) | more than 6 years ago | (#21130785)

I assume they will have to drop the regular license price of $90 to something not one half the cost of the laptop.
The price people pay for Windows in 3rd world countries is nowhere near $90. AFAIK, it's rather below $1. So there is absolutely no loss for M$ to buy a decent amount of XOs, put XP on them and resell them at no extra charge.

Re:Two Possible Reasons (1)

bendodge (998616) | more than 6 years ago | (#21130817)

Ok, so it's just MS's normal routine of trying to preserver Windows' dominance. Let's just all tag this mslockin and hope it's so slow and expensive that it crashes and burns.

"more options to people in need" (1)

toby (759) | more than 6 years ago | (#21131127)

it's great that the world's largest software maker is fighting to give more options to people in need

Yep! That's their mission!

In other news, Global Warming benefits public health! [] according to White House flack.

It's sorta like this (5, Insightful)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 6 years ago | (#21131167)

More likely because a key factor in the Windows+Office+IE monopoly is its ubiquity. Remember: it's only a "de facto standard" or "industry standard" if, indeed, pretty much everyone and their grandma is inofficially accepting it as a standard, and when your program/format/whatever is subconsciously synonimous with the whole category.

The way it works is like this: (very nearly) everyone uses product X (where X can be Excel, Word, whatever) with its proprietary format Y. At home, at work, etc. The effects are, in no particular order:

1. That it's taken for granted that almost everyone already knows how to work with X, but you might need to train them to use the competitors' equivalent. This is a very big factor when corporations decide to standardize on something. And, at least subconsciously, it's then a factor in what people use at home. You've already used or seen X used at work, so there's no point in wasting your time learning something else instead.

2. Because of 1, knowing how to use program X suddenly is a "skill" you might need at work. You know chances are overwhelming that, unless you're a linux admin or such, the PC at your next job will have X installed on it, and you'll be expected to know how to use it. It might even be an explicit requirement in the job ad. (Remember: training them is expensive, so you might as well hire those who already have the skills you want.)

So the maths already becomes screwed up. If product X costs, say, 500$, it already paid for itself with interest if having that skill saves you even a month of looking for a new job. Or if it lets you move to a job that pays as little as 50$ a month more than your current one, it paid for itself in 10 months flat. "But some other equivalent is free" just lost a lot of appeal in that context.

3. Because "everyone" has program X, thus they "all" can (and do) use its proprietary format Y. (See the recent linked story about even most OOo users saving in .doc or .xls format.) So it becomes the de-facto format of communication, and everyone is supposed to be able to read and write it flawlessly. If you're the guy who can't read format Y, you're as much an oddball as if you were the local luddite without a phone.

And especially for a company, "we don't do Y files" is a big no-no. It doesn't take more than one contract lost with a big customer because you told him you don't want to install Word, to make a bigger loss than buying a retail copy of it for every computer.

This is somewhat easier to get around, since nowadays OOo does a decent job of reading _most_ office files. But, still, the more it gets taken for granted, the more you're expected to be a 100% flawless emulation, down to the 65536 bug. And it gets pointed as a show-stopper if one guy's spreadsheet uses some obscure old function or macro that you don't emulate 100% accurately.

4. Even more importantly, well, you can't have a monopoly on interchangeable separate pieces. That kind of a market can be attacked one product at a time. You want every product to depend on every other product. You want people to say, "yeah, Linux is nice, but does it run the latest version of Word?" and the like.

But to cut this long rant shorter, again, it all boils down to ubiquity. It boils down to the next manager doing any purchasing thinking "naah, _everyone_ knows how to use Windows and Word, but we'd need to retrain everyone if we installed Linux and OOo."

And in that aspect, raising a whole bloody generation of Indians and Chinese on Linux and OOo, is probably something that scares the seven shades of shit out of MS. It's the kind of thing that could lead to "nah, if we're offshoring there and/or importing workers from there anyway, we'd Linux and OOo are for free and we'd need to retrain them for Windows and MS Office." Or worse yet, to realizing, "hmm, everyone there uses ODF, don't they? I guess it would cost us more to force them to accept .xls files." It's that kind of things that could unravel the whole edifice.

Now mind you, it would take a long time to challenge the monopoly that way, and there still is a chance that it wouldn't work at all anyway. But MS has been known to be swift to squash even lesser threats than that.

And, briefly, that's what I'm guessing they're doing here: squashing a potential problem early, before it grows big enough to bite them in the ass. Even if it will take a long time to grow, and you never know how big it will grow anyway (it might stay Pekinese sized after all), it's best not to take risks.

Oxymoron (1)

JohnnyComeLately (725958) | more than 6 years ago | (#21130089)

Does it seem to anyone else that it's a dichotomy to put anything Windows on Linux? If I run Linux, it's usually a box I want to stay up and work all the time. This is not Window's thing. The DVD player in my house that freezes, is my XBOX360. The only HD DVD player I know that freezes, is the HD DVD hanging off my XBOX360.

Re:Oxymoron (1, Informative)

jimstapleton (999106) | more than 6 years ago | (#21130425)

(1) AFAIK, the 360 doesn't run Windows.

(2) The 90s called, they want their Windows back. Seriously, Win2K and later only have stability problems with bad hardware and bad drives. The former will cause issues with ANY os, and the latter with many (including Linux, sorry)

(3) The OLPC is not intended to be a server or always on, your criticism is based on an extremely flawed presumption.

Re:Oxymoron (1)

Constantine XVI (880691) | more than 6 years ago | (#21130837)

The 360 does run Windows. Granted, it's heavily stripped down and not even on the same architecture, but it's still Windows.

Re:Oxymoron (3, Informative)

SEMW (967629) | more than 6 years ago | (#21130931)

"I am honestly not sure where the Win2K misperception comes from, but Xbox runs a custom operating system built from the ground up."

Source: XBox team official MSDN Blog [] .

Re:Oxymoron (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21130907)

Seriously, Win2K and later only have stability problems with bad hardware and bad drives

This is rubbish. MS shills (and even sadder, people with an emotional investment in Windows because it's the only OS they know) repeat this and repeat this hoping to make it true in perception if not in reality, but windows 2k and above have layer upon layer of buggy and memory-leaky and security-hole-ridden crap, often buried in legacy APIs dangling like appendices. NTs may not be as unstable as 9xs, but cannot match linux for stability on high-end hardware either (I build and run clusters for a living, I've been thoroughly underwhelmed by Microsoft's NT-kernel-based windows clustering. Nothing like having 10 computers running at once to demonstrate that MTBF matters. Linux is running on machines with 10000s of CPUs now, without catastrophic failures. Try that with windows, and welcome to hell.)

The OLPC is not intended to be a server or always on, your criticism is based on an extremely flawed presumption.

IIRC it operates in a mode akin to hibernation rather than truly turning off. It seldom "really reboots". This is like most linux-based phones and PDAs (and WinCE devices, for that matter - WinCE being the best OS microsoft has ever written with the possible exception of Xenix which later became SCO Unix) . Long-term memory leak bugs and such matter in such environments.

Re:Oxymoron (1)

jimstapleton (999106) | more than 6 years ago | (#21131065)

Actually, my primary OS is FreeBSD, so I am neither an MS shill or someone who does not know another OS.

I've had plenty of windows machines that have *NEVER* crashed (likewise, I have had them crash), and I have had Linux machines crash (most recent was a Ubuntu machine installed about 6 months ago, was playing Boson at the time).

Where I work, we do have hundreds of machines with each of Windows, Linux, hpux, and AIX. The only catastrophic failures? When a hard drive goes, or the power goes and the generator doesn't kick in. In the former case, that affects all equally, in the latter, Windows actually had the fastest/best recovery rate.

> IIRC it operates in a mode akin to hibernation rather than truly turning off. It seldom "really reboots".

Oh, in that case, Windows is the OS I'd choose, of the three I've used extensively (Windows, Linux, FreeBSD), Windows is the only one with a good hibernation recover. Suspend in Windows sucks though (conversely, for suspend, I'd go for Linux).

I guess (5, Insightful)

Rik Sweeney (471717) | more than 6 years ago | (#21130091)

that Microsoft could give away XP and subsidise the price of the laptop.

Sure they'd make a loss, but wouldn't it be worth it just to secure dominance?

Re:I guess (1)

eniac42 (1144799) | more than 6 years ago | (#21130571)

It would fit the classic pattern for eliminating competition. I am half expecting MS patent trolls to jump out of the woodwork at some stage, to effectively take over control of the Linux IP, maybe through 3rd party companies related to MS. Prehaps very cheap versions of the XP would be made available for as long as it is necessary to prevent competition. And once thats done, jack the price back up, of course..

My only question is how are they going to get Aero running on OLPC?

Difficult (1)

s.bots (1099921) | more than 6 years ago | (#21130107)

Why Microsoft would have any desire to do this is beyond me. They are putting themselves into the shoes of non-MS OS's. As we nerds know, most people are satisfied enough with whatever OS comes with their computer and have no desire to put in the work to change to another system. It's not like this is a high profit region, (in the sense of price per unit) they won't be able to shaft the Africans as well as they have the First World consumers. Plus, wouldn't they need to develop some kind of protocol similar to the XO's mesh in order to allow for communication? Or is that a hardware thing?

Re:Difficult (1)

forrestt (267374) | more than 6 years ago | (#21130599)

I think you may be missing a piece here. If M$ can get XP to run on the XO then they can buy several (hundred?) million units and give them away (what is a few hundred million to Billy G?). They would already have XP on them when the children receive them. Microsoft could probably do one better and have them built with slight hardware improvements as well. They were willing to take a similar hit on the XBox to secure the market share for consoles. I doubt they would be unwilling to spend some money to secure the computing future of the entire third world.

The XO foundation might not let them (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 6 years ago | (#21130967)

Everybody seems to be assuming that Microsoft can buy up all the machines and this isn't the case. This isn't off-the-shelf hardware and XO could easily refuse to sell.

How long would Microsoft's famous PR people be able to spin their destroying the charitable XO project? Not very long...

Nope. The XO isn't a "problem" which can be solved by throwing chairs around.

Finally MS has to fight an included OS (4, Insightful)

corsec67 (627446) | more than 6 years ago | (#21130115)

Now MS will have to compete against a working, installed OS that is on the laptops, based on their own merit. Since Linux can be free, including Windows will increase the price, and might not be as usable.

Finally we can see if windows success is due in a large part to it being included in most computer purchases.

Re:Finally MS has to fight an included OS (2, Interesting)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#21130971)

Oh, yes. Sweeeeeeet justice baby! Microsoft is now in the position of playing second fiddle, and now they have to prove that there is a compelling reason to use Windows over Linux.

Of course, there will always be people who will do it. But I'd bet such people would be in the minority on this one, especially given the target market. Here's a fact: everybody needs an OS to do useful work on their computer. No one needs Windows. The fact is, despite what some might say, Linux is perfectly useable for the vast majority of computer users ... the people who claim they "need" Windows, other than hard-core gamers (since their major application is not available on Linux), if they really examined what they truly needed (a word processor, a web browser, a spreadsheet, a personal finance app), vs. what they claim they need ("100% Microsoft Office compatibility"), they'll find that most of what they claim as a need to have Windows is really a want and not a true need. A small -- but significant -- minority of computer users actually need Windows because the application they need has no equivalent on Linux.

I guess (1)

warrior_s (881715) | more than 6 years ago | (#21130127)

they will design a stripped down version which they will give away for free! Just to make sure that when these children grow up and are able to spend money, they atleast know that microsoft is a company they can buy products from.

So the OLPC laptop will be getting . . . (2, Funny)

StefanJ (88986) | more than 6 years ago | (#21130129)

. . . its first piece of malware.

But think of the advantages (3, Funny)

wsanders (114993) | more than 6 years ago | (#21130331)

When some African child gets a 419 scam he can just get a couple of his buddies together and walk down teh street to personally kick the guy's ass!

Re:But think of the advantages (2, Informative)

jimstapleton (999106) | more than 6 years ago | (#21130865)

I get 419 scam emails on my BSD machine all the time...

I don't think the presence of Windows affects that...

I can't wait (2, Interesting)

MBCook (132727) | more than 6 years ago | (#21130159)

Let's see. Three options.

  1. They give it away for free - Thus proving it's worthless and shovelware
  2. They charge a little - Thus proving it's over priced
  3. They let people pirate it - Thus proving that's OK

That's a little tongue-in-cheek, but this can't end too well for them from my. This will also prove that the wee little power of the OLPC (compared to consumer computers in the US, etc) is enough for anyone... or it will run like a dog and turn off large chunks of these "customers" to their software.

Nothing like buying/pirating that "nice Windows that everyone likes" and finding it will run slow and have to handle viruses and all that other stuff.

Could end well, I kinda doubt it. But then I bet they'll be selling/giving out the crippled version that they offer in some countries that only lets you have 3 windows open (or whatever), and not the real thing.

Re:I can't wait (1)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 6 years ago | (#21130479)

They give it away for free - Thus proving it's worthless and shovelware

Well that's just idiotic. Are you saying Linux is shovelware?

Personally, I'm willing to bet that, if they do get Windows running on the OLPC, they *will* give it away for free. Odds are it will have to be fairly limited, anyway, given the limitations of the XO, so there's no danger of it biting into their regular revenue streams, and it's a great way for MS to get Windows in the hands of a developing world. thus familiarizing them with their products, which makes it more likely they'll adopt them later in life. And the beauty is, while such an action would normally constitute dumping, they can do it under the guise of "charity".

Re:I can't wait (2, Insightful)

Waffle Iron (339739) | more than 6 years ago | (#21130629)

Are you saying Linux is shovelware?

Linux doesn't have the stifling EULA restrictions and technical hobbling that make "emerging market" versions of Windows into shovelware.

Re:I can't wait (1)

BadHaggis (1179673) | more than 6 years ago | (#21131231)

Nothing like buying/pirating that "nice Windows that everyone likes" and finding it will run slow and have to handle viruses and all that other stuff.

Which brings into question, who will provide virus/spyware protection for these systems? If Microsoft is able to trim XP down enough to run on these systems I'm sure that they won't add virus protection into them and I am sure there is still a some security issues with XP that have yet to be addressed. Seems like an entirely new market for bot nets to explore and dominate, who is going to fix the OLPC XP systems once they have been infected with the latest Storm Worm bot or any other bot.

Why would they sell Windows? (3, Insightful)

onion2k (203094) | more than 6 years ago | (#21130161)

Despite the conjecture that the Linux-based XO could convince millions of people in the developing world that they don't need Windows and build a huge base of developers for Linux, there still remains the question of how Microsoft would convince owners of XO laptops to buy and install Windows XP over the functional Linux-based OS already on it.

Buy and install? Why would these developing nations have to buy Windows? Microsoft could intend to give it to them for free. Because they're so fluffy and altruistic and gosh-darn-nice of course, there'd be no ulterior motive whatsoever.


Do what? (1)

JK_the_Slacker (1175625) | more than 6 years ago | (#21130163)

Apparently they haven't read this article [] - how can they expect their OS to run smoothly on a cheap laptop if they can't make it run smoothly on a high-powered desktop?

Note: I know, that's Server 2008, this is XP... My comparison stands.

Windows *XP*? (2, Interesting)

MSTCrow5429 (642744) | more than 6 years ago | (#21130179)

I guess Microsoft has begun to face reality, pushing XP over Vista.

Re:Windows *XP*? (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21130321)

If they can get Vista running on the XO, I'll eat my shoe.

sure it'll run Vista... you just have to duct-tape this $1000 laptop to it

FUD (1, Insightful)

caffiend666 (598633) | more than 6 years ago | (#21130187)

By saying they are about to support the XO system, they create doubt about the current XO system and limit supporters. Enough people will wait to see what Microsoft will do, that even if Microsoft doesn't do anything, the support for the Linux XO system will be limited. This is similar to what Microsoft did to Novell Directory Server and other systems. If Microsoft was genuinely interested on a computer on every desk, they would have put out their own XO system a decade ago and would be supporting the current XO project. No, they are interested solely in control.

Tried and true formula (was:FUD) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21130443)

Threat of lawsuit.

I recall a story (thus unverified, but sounded plausible) that IBM once went to SUN and demanded licensing fee for varies patents. When SUN debunked IBM's individual claims, IBM replied "We have many thousands of patents in our portfolio. Do you honestly think we can't find something infringing in our portfolio?" SUN paid up just to make IBM go away.

All Macroshaft has to do is make demands of Negropointe to the tune of :25% of machines you shipped must included Windows." Regardless of the merits, legal process alone could bankrupt Negropointe. Negropointe might just cave to 'make the problem go away.'

Re:Tried and true formula (was:FUD) (1)

FranTaylor (164577) | more than 6 years ago | (#21131185)

Neither Microsoft nor Nick will be going down that path. As soon as Microsoft whips out one of its patents, the free software zealots will gang up to kill it. Microsoft knows this, this is why they aren't actually filing any lawsuits, despite the fact that their claims are diminished for each day that they wait. Parent poster is correct, this is a FUD ploy.

They can't ignore it... (1)

Opr33Opr33 (1180091) | more than 6 years ago | (#21130199)

Microsoft is a monopoly, therefore they must spend an inordinate amount of cash and time to leave no stone unturned in their market. Profit or not.

Crack Dealers (3, Insightful)

ShaolinMonk (962704) | more than 6 years ago | (#21130205)

This is a very old and proven method of marketing. A good example of this is still in use today. Crack Dealers. Give your crack away to children, so they become dependant on it. Once they are completely addicted, you have created a demand. Which allows Microsoft to continue business with little fear of anyone thinking any differently then they want. Because no addicted customer is going to revolt against their crack dealer. But they will introduce their friends and family to crack, and continue the cycle.

Re:Crack Dealers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21130455)

Actually - its worse as they'll get people use to the shell - but no mention about any reduced in price Microsoft Office, etc. So its cheap to get you in and then increased prices for everything else. It should stay on Linux - then at least all of the additional software would also be free.

If I was Ballmer (3, Insightful)

saibot834 (1061528) | more than 6 years ago | (#21130225)

The most clever thing to do for Microsoft is hand out copies of Windows for free in the third world. If they don't give them for free (or at _very_ low cost), people won't use Windows and get used to GNU/Linux and other free alternatives to Windows. M$ has to decide what they want: No money now, a bigger market share of GNU/Linux and no money later - OR - no money now, Windows in the developing ([insert oblg. joke her]) world and perhaps much money later, when they can afford to buy Windows.
I think a Microsoft employee has already said this about China: Installed pirated copies of Windows help Microsoft more than installed copies of GNU/Linux.

It's the same in the drug business: you get the first cigaret gratis, and once you are addicted, you gotta pay...

Re:If I was Ballmer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21130519)

They have done that in the past when Eastern Europe was the new "third world".

I have some very vivid memories how the local MSFT educational rep was handing out pirated CDs with keys like "1234567" printed on them. He and his collegues did that for 5 solid years until they had enough of the market and the economy was in good enough shape for Bill to arrive and talk with the president regarding the appauling state of piracy in the country.

Even giving it away isn't enough... (0, Troll)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 6 years ago | (#21130531)

I has to be installed at the factory for no extra cost.

Even so, I don't see how it would benefit anybody:

a) Windows simply doesn't have the security models in place to not need a complete reinstall every month or so.

b) Windows isn't designed for eight year olds to use. The XO has an application model which matches the target users.

c) No "popular Windows apps" are going to fit in the XO's flash memory, Windows + a couple of bundled crapplets is going to be far less useful than XO's current software.

So ...what are they up to?

I think it's just that they must be seen to have a strategy - no matter what it turns out to be. They've assigned somebody to the job and are busy releasing empty press articles.

I only hope they don't cause actual harm to the project. The OOXML fiasco has clearly shown that Microsoft isn't above palm-greasing and the political systems in XO's target countries are an easy target for people with ready money.

what's the point? (2, Interesting)

m2943 (1140797) | more than 6 years ago | (#21130229)

I don't see any point in porting desktop versions of Windows, since few of the applications are going to work anyway. Windows Mobile might make a limited amount of sense, but even there, I'd ask: why bother?

Re:what's the point? (1)

Anonymous Monkey (795756) | more than 6 years ago | (#21130327)

I would think it's about Ego. "I own ALL COMPUTERS!" as the chairs fly, so logically they can't stop until the empire includes even the computer in my microwave oven.

Bob! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21130281)

They know all they need to do is port Bob do and they'll be swimming in it. This is the perfect Bob platform. They'll deny it and it's a secret project, but you know in your heart it's true.

Re:Bob! (1)

nawcom (941663) | more than 6 years ago | (#21130377)

Melinda Gates is back in business biatch!!! for sho!!!

They did consider Vista....... (3, Funny)

edwardpickman (965122) | more than 6 years ago | (#21130283)

The problem they ran into was translating "Not Allowed" into all those third world languages.

What about Vista? (1)

flicman (177070) | more than 6 years ago | (#21130323)

More, what does this say about their commitment to Vista? Why isn't there a push to get a low-footprint version of Vista on the XO laptop? I feel like the whole company could benefit from money being thrown at figuring out how to de-beef that thing anyway, and it would speak more to the company's buy-in of their own OS if they were developing their OS of the future rather than one that's rapidly approaching EOL.

Re:What about Vista? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21130901)

Low-footprint Vista?

Man, talk about vaporware...

2 thoughts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21130337)

1) What is MS smoking? If they plan to release Windows-XO for free, and ship computers with it, they might have a chance, but when the laptop is functional, and already has an OS - well, remember Netscape on Windows? Doesn't matter if it is better, what is there already, will win (and if it is better, that certainly doesn't hurt). Heck even Firefox, which few who have tried, will claim is worse than IE, hasn't surpassed IE in the windows browser market.

2) What is it with the vaporware tags? MS may not deliver products that match the hype and expectation, but they don't get much into the vaporware arena either. Letdownware might be a better term...

Why not do it? (1)

axus (991473) | more than 6 years ago | (#21130379)

People figure out how to get Linux to run on a PS2, because its interesting and opens some possibilities. I'm sure Microsoft would like to find out how to make their OS run on lower-end hardware, even if they don't use XO they could use some other device. They can buy these things for $100 each, put Windows on them, and sell for $150. People would buy it

makes sense (2, Insightful)

ILongForDarkness (1134931) | more than 6 years ago | (#21130419)

What is the philosophy behind OLPC? That limiting computer access to the moneyed is inheritally wrong and causes them to remain impoverished. The corollary to this is that if you give them modern technology at least some will succeed. Well if they succeed do you as Microsoft want them buying MS products or, used to Linux?

This is even more an issue, as with the free versions of Visual studio, MS is allowing people to learn how to develop for MS platforms for free. MS has always believed strongly in the "we don't sell the OS, we sell the ecosystem" philosophy, and that is what they are trying to do. Help people learn to develop for their products, so they continue to have a growing market for upgrades.

Suddenly I am in favor of "trusted computing" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21130447)

Head explodes!

Whose arm to twist? (4, Insightful)

Coryoth (254751) | more than 6 years ago | (#21130461)

...there still remains the question of how Microsoft would convince owners of XO laptops to buy and install Windows XP over the functional Linux-based OS already on it. It's doubtful that Microsoft could encourage or coerce Negroponte to put XP on the machine, so whose arms will they twist?"
I expect Microsoft will be going after the governments that are buying the XO laptops and then distributing them. It makes for a juicy target as it allows Microsoft to have Windows on the laptops in an entire country. It also has the advantage that it gives Microsoft a good leverage point: they can take a two pronged approach to convincing governments that they should do a mass reinstall of all the laptops with Windows before distributing them.
  1. Microsoft can pitch the whole "Windows is the standard, and you need to prepare your children to compete on the global market", suggesting that anything but Windows is going to cripple the children once they use anything other than the laptops. The usual FUD.
  2. Microsoft can have side negotiations about bulk deals on Microsoft software for the government. Discounts won't cost MS that much, but they could represent a decent chunk of change to some of the countries that are looking to be involved in this program.
That makes for an easy point of attack, and allow Microsoft to subvert the XO laptop scheme quite effectively. Essentially they just go straight to the middleman with a combination of FUD and bribes, with the result that many of the laptops end uyp training the kids in Windows.

I think this is impossible.... (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 6 years ago | (#21130671)

There's no "middlemen" in the XO supply chain the XO project could simply refuse to allow Windows on the machines.

Would Microsoft's PR people be able to cope with the bad publicity that would bring them? I doubt it. They'd be caving after a couple of weeks when the developed world revolts against them (which I certainly would).

Hey, I bet we can run Windows on this!!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21130471)

Tables turned? lol
The new joke is not running linux on your toaster, but windows...

Suspicious behaviour? (1)

Z00L00K (682162) | more than 6 years ago | (#21130473)

Can it be that Microsoft is trying to figure out if the solution is infringing on any of their patents and that they then are able to kill the whole project unless they are to provide the OS.

Dead End (1)

rickliner (263200) | more than 6 years ago | (#21130495)

Why would Microsoft bother spending time and money to adapt an OS they're about to ditch? They have already promised to stop selling XP next year, and there is no way the XO laptop, or the next version to come after it, will have the horsepower to run the superbloat of Vista.

Unless they are conceding that XP will be around longer than they would like...

Re:Dead End (2, Insightful)

Churla (936633) | more than 6 years ago | (#21130793)

Yes, they may stop SELLING it.

As mentioned elsewhere in this thread imagine what MS could gain by saying:

"OK, Vista is our flagship product. XP is our old class of product that's stable, but we aren't going to be developing new capabilities for it anymore. So from now on XP is free. If you like XP, you'll probably LOVE Vista, and there will be a nice upgrade path for you for a small fee."

What happens if MS offers up an OS for free too? Sure they stop making money on OS licenses. But if people are locked into the platform that's just money down the road on applications and/or bringing them up to Vista.

Re:Dead End (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21131175)

I thought they were going to stop supporting XP in a few years. What then?

It's a backhanded vote of confidence. (3, Interesting)

hey! (33014) | more than 6 years ago | (#21130501)

This is speculation on my part, but I'm guessing that in part this is flanking maneuver.

Since there has been a computer industry, the most important place to keep an eye on is what I call "the high end of the low end". that's the place where computers are being stretched into new applications they didn't address before. First comes the killer application, then comes the figuring out how to steal application domains from the mid range.

Any place that is going to have these devices already has all the conventional laptops and desktops it can support. These devices are creating a new class of low end devices, which leaves the machines currently running windows in the mid-range: the abode of dinosaurs.

Some day Microsoft may face a government in a place that has millions of these devices in the hands of the populace, that may consider it a reasonable idea to migrate away from Windows because of that. Instead, Microsoft can make them a proposition: we'll cut you a deal on Windows for the OLPC so you can "upgrade" them to a real operating system. You will bring all those people on this toy operating system into parity with the rest of the world, which makes you a hero. And you get to do those major IT projects you are considering in Visual Studio 2010 instead of having to learn Python.

The exact details of what they have in mind may be quite different; it may even be that they don't really have anything specific in mind. But Microsoft is a company that believe is technology; thus they take the possibility of OLPC's having a transformative effect on societies seriously. The possibility that OLPC can change the rules of the game. On the off chance it does, then the money spent to port Windows to the device will be a small price to pay to have a hand in the game. If it doesn't, they still take away knowledge about porting their platform to more resource constrained devices, so if anybody makes a splash in that area, they'll be prepared with an answer.

Yep (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 6 years ago | (#21130829)

Microsoft has to be seen to have a strategy, even if it's a hollow one.

Makes perfect sense (1)

abigsmurf (919188) | more than 6 years ago | (#21130517)

Assuming MS spend a few million on cutting down windows to make it comfortable on a system with limited, finite resources and then sell the XO version roughly at cost for distribution say, $10. They could end up with hundreds of thousands of people who don't really know MS getting to grips with their OS.

Considering the millions TV advertising costs and it's only reaching people already familiar with their brand for 10-20seconds, this is pretty good value for MS.

Personally I'm not a fan of the OLPC's approach of using a version of linux that lacks compatibility with most other versions. It seems the key benefit is that most programs are essentially scripted (in Python iirc). I can't see the vast majority of school kids getting to grip with the language, especially if they've had limited access to PCs so far in their lives, I would've thought compatibility with the vast library of Linux programs would be more important.

You don't get it... (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 6 years ago | (#21130787)

"I'm not a fan of the OLPC's approach of using a version of linux that lacks compatibility with most other versions."

You just don't get it.

The idea behind the XO isn't to be able to run "standard" applications. The idea is to create a whole new ecosystem based around the needs of eight year old children.

The principle points addressed by the XO are communication (instant messaging) and replacement of paper school books.

Re:Makes perfect sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21130797)

Double troll points !

> ... that lacks compatibility with most other versions.

Er... Its built on Fedora, so it "matches compatibility". It has glibc, python and an X server.. where are these incompatabilities you talk about ? Maybe you are confusing that the "interface" doesn't look like KDE or GNOME, but that doesn't matter for specialized tasks.. see below.

> I can't see the vast majority of school kids getting to grip with the language,

Since when do "the vast majority" of any school kids actually do programming ?

> I would've thought compatibility with the vast library of Linux programs would be more important.

The OLPC is not your moms windows machine, it has specific goals with specific software installed, think applicance computing. The "vast" amount of applications are not useful to a school kid, on a low powered machine.

Re:Makes perfect sense (1)

Simulacrus (1003107) | more than 6 years ago | (#21131113)

The OLPC also allows programs to be written in eToys/Squeak. For those not familiar, Squeak is a free implementation of Smalltalk, created by the original architect of Smalltalk, Alan Kay. In many ways, Squeak is the true spiritual successor to the Logo project of Seymour Papert. Squeak is fully object oriented, reflective and runs with a bit identical virtual machine across diverse platforms. It also has an extremely low keyword count. Personally, I am very happy to think that programmers of the future may be trained on such a platform.

Why it will never happen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21130601)

I know a few people working on the XO laptop and here's why Linux will not be replaced on it. They have taken the Linkux kernel and stripped it down so much for use with the machine. The drivers are fine-tuned to work specifically with the laptop and nothing more. They do this to squeeze maximum performance out of the really modest hardware in the XO. Will Microsoft let them tweak the XP kernel for this? I doubt it. They need to do this to save power, disk space, and for speed. Until Microsoft sees why Linux was chosen (it wasn't for the price), they will be utterly confused, and when they do see why and understand it, they will either release XP as open source (not going to happen), or realize they are not in the same business.

every laptop with linux (0, Flamebait)

wardk (3037) | more than 6 years ago | (#21130613)

is stealing from microsoft.

the world's users are theirs. period. that's just the way it is.

any computing device without windows is just taking from them what is rightfully theirs.

just ask em

Re:every laptop with linux (1)

Fred_A (10934) | more than 6 years ago | (#21131135)

is stealing from microsoft.
the world's users are theirs. period. that's just the way it is.
any computing device without windows is just taking from them what is rightfully theirs.
just ask em
Oddly enough if you talk with people from MS that's exactly what they tell you (although in a circumlocutory way). It can be downright surreal at times.

Reminds me so much of ITRON (1)

nawcom (941663) | more than 6 years ago | (#21130627)

reminds me of the ol ITRON from Japan. a paragraph or two from a Linux News article ( [] :

"Impact Deferred

The TRON Project is not new; in fact, it was poised to its mark more than a decade ago, in Japan's PC industry, but the U.S. government intervened. In 1989, Japanese electronics giant Matsushita introduced a BTRON PC, a machine that stunned the industry with its advanced capabilities. The BTRON PC had an 80286 Intel (Nasdaq: INTC) The HP ProLiant DL380 G5 Server with Systems Insight Manager (SIM). Latest News about Intel chip running at 8 MHz and a mere 2 MB of memory, but it could display moving video in color in a separate window. Also, it had a dual-booting system that could run both the BTRON OS and MS-DOS.

When the Japanese government announced it would install BTRON PC in Japanese schools, the U.S. government objected. It called the Japanese initiative "actual and potential market intervention" and threatened the move with sanctions. The Japanese, dependent on the U.S. export market, quickly dropped the plan. The U.S. government later withdrew its threat, but the damage had already been done. Nearly all Japanese companies involved in TRON-related activities had canceled their projects."

This is a little different situation, so what will Microsoft do now in order to seize the issue?

Some Pro-Microsoft Reasons (2, Interesting)

smackenzie (912024) | more than 6 years ago | (#21130685)

1. There is an internal push by Microsoft to acquire 100 startups asap. Certainly there is a halo effect (no pun intended) in the company to "be a part of" other startups. This is an interesting startup.

2. Despite the common perception on Slashdot, a lot of relevant Microsoft employees are smart, interesting, caring people who might just find getting their OS to work on this platform a tantallizing challenge.

3. The work performed can be used down the road for similar devices. So, even if Windows XP doesn't materialize on OLPC, they can show off how it can be done for other, similar, vendors. (Isn't the Acer research program and a number of other companies' research programs indicating that they are investigating computers in this price bracket with similar features?)

4. The Gates' foundation has had a HUGE impact on third world countries in many, many areas. We already know that the OLPC turned down Apple OS X because it proprietary components -- so no way will Windows XP be a default. But if Gates' foundation purchased the devices themselves (in quantities of many millions), installed Windows XP "OLPC Edition" and gave them away... it would be an interesting combination of altruism and self-servicing. Too many arguments on both sides to list them for this article.

Re:Some Pro-Microsoft Reasons (1)

glop (181086) | more than 6 years ago | (#21130911)

I find your ideas interesting. I would add:
5) the OLPC not being "capable" of running Windows makes Windows look bad : a fat system that wastes resources etc. They probably want to show that there OS can run on the OLPC and is therefore not technically inferior to Linux.

So they have a few objective reasons to do that without being ashamed of it.

Re:Some Pro-Microsoft Reasons (1)

smackenzie (912024) | more than 6 years ago | (#21131081)

Yes, that's a great point. No doubt you are completely correct. I think at one point in my head I had that in the list, but you know Slashdot... you feel a compelling urge to push send.

Re:Some Pro-Microsoft Reasons (1)

Fred_A (10934) | more than 6 years ago | (#21131179)

I find your ideas interesting. I would add:
5) the OLPC not being "capable" of running Windows makes Windows look bad : a fat system that wastes resources etc. They probably want to show that there OS can run on the OLPC and is therefore not technically inferior to Linux.
It probably would run Windows 2. Or 3.

Whose Arms Will They Twist? (1)

davidsyes (765062) | more than 6 years ago | (#21130741)

It's doubtful that Microsoft could encourage or coerce Negroponte to put XP on the machine, so whose arms will they twist?"

Governments'. Corrupt governments' arms. Ones that crave money, fame, and other gratification from relationships with large (generally corrupt) companies.

The one reason for Windows isn't there... (1)

Entropius (188861) | more than 6 years ago | (#21130779)

The main reason a lot of people have Windows is to play games.

I don't think anyone's going to mod an XO with a Geforce 7600, so what's the point?

or maybe (1)

friedman101 (618627) | more than 6 years ago | (#21130805)

I know this runs counter to the "et tu billy" culture that has developed around here but it is worth mentioning that Bill Gates is a philanthropist at heart. He has given away an estimated 29 billion USD since the year 2000. His influence at Microsoft is still considerable even if he doesn't have the fancy title on his office he once did. Maybe Gates thinks he can create some useful software and give it away for free. I doubt Microsoft can compete with an already mature and free Linux product in this market but I support the competition. We shouldn't be so fast to judge.

It's XP, but not as we know it, Jim (5, Insightful)

Peter Simpson (112887) | more than 6 years ago | (#21130831)

The software that MS will provide will, by necessity, be hardware-specific to the XO platform.
You almost have to do that, as there's no hard drive (you'll need a flash file system instead)
and minimal RAM, and a non-standard display. As a matter of fact, XO doesn't look anything like the
platform MS is used to running on.

The OS Microsoft finally provides may look like XP to the user,
but I suspect it's going to be more like a highly modified WinCE inside.

They'll give the OS away...after all, it will only run on the XO...and advertise how
they're helping to educate the developing world's children -- the Microsoft way.

And the reason they're going to all this effort?

I think MS sees this as a strategic move. OLPC potentially delivers a pretty
large number of young eyeballs. It would be a *very* Bad Thing for their
first exposure to computers to involve a friendly penguin wearing the label "Linux".

Much better for future MS sales that they see the Windows logo.

Because Red Hat is already there... (1)

badfrogw00tz (1090573) | more than 6 years ago | (#21130841)

Seems to me that the thinking would go something like this: "Why do those Red Hat guys want their OS on that cheap laptop? They must have a long-range plan to make money from it at some point, otherwise they wouldn't be involved. We need to get Windows on there too, we'll figure out how to monetize it later."

Exactly what OLPC needs - a real operating system (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21130867)

This is exactly what OLPC needs. Before getting too excited about it, read [] up [] on [] OLPC [] . Not only does it fail to address real educational concerns, the interface is sufficiently proprietary that these kids aren't going to learn how to use a standard GUI.

Kudos to Microsoft for supporting this platform, and hopefully Classmate PC [] will be able to bridge this gap with a real system. Certainly the OLPC business model is exciting and I think given the opportunity to buy a student this kind of computer would be something better for students and teachers to work with.

If Microsoft really does... (1)

realdodgeman (1113225) | more than 6 years ago | (#21130885)

If Microsoft finds some way to put XP on those laptops (through governments, giveaways or otherwise), I would like to see the computer world's reaction.

The XO is designed with both hardware and software specially built for each other. I would bet that even if MS could make XP run on it, it would take ages to make all the hardware features work (mesh, changing resolution display, etc).

But the real question is: How would people react. They *know* that XP runs worse on those laptops, and that Microsoft's only intent is to make the used to Windows. Would the world really let that happen? EU would surely react to such a monopoly behavior.

I just hope that Microsoft doesn't succeed here. XO is one of the long term chances that Linux have to make a real hog at Microsoft's desktop dominance. With the source code function, the XO would also make an army of competent programmers that could help destroy the MS monopoly.

OLPC is just a bench mark (1)

Fengpost (907072) | more than 6 years ago | (#21130997)

MS is trying to get XP on OLPC is an effort to modify XP to run on the future cheap version of the ultra mobile device, such as Asus eeePC or classmate PC. Those are the next hot seller in the PC market. If they can get XP to run on the OLPC, then MS can just modify the XP and call it something else to enter the cheap ultra mobile market. They figure if people sees their familiar OS on the new ultra cheap PC then they are more likely to buy it and MS can just make easy money.

XP on 433Mhz computer with 256Mb RAM? Impossible! (1)

miknix (1047580) | more than 6 years ago | (#21131011)

Looking ate OLPC specifications []
I'd say that Microsoft will have the very hard task of running windows XP on these computers.

If XP is slow as hell on a 512Mb RAM Pentium III 600Mhz computer, what would it be on a AMD Geode 433 Mhz 256Mb RAM.

Maybe M$ wanted to say Windows Mobile 5 instead ?

I'll tell you who. (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 6 years ago | (#21131015)

It's doubtful that Microsoft could encourage or coerce Negroponte to put XP on the machine, so whose arms will they twist?"

That would be the various ministers of education and/or commerce or any other official in the various countries that the OLPC folks would like to import who have veto power over the project. And it won't be an arm twist, it will be a fully stocked offshore bank account.

After a time, when these countries administrations discover the fraud, these (now former) officials will have to make a run for the border and find some way to move their ill-gotten gains. We will all be receiving e-mails from them, offering us a cut of the funds if we can assist them in such a transfer by kindly sending them our bank account numbers.

"Competitors" (2, Interesting)

RealGrouchy (943109) | more than 6 years ago | (#21131089)

I read that story on the wire this morning, and noticed how it implies that "Linux" is just a "competitor" to Microsoft, as if it were just some other company providing the same type of product, but with slightly different features.

At no point does the article discuss the nature of Linux, nor the inherent advantages (and disadvantages, since it's "objective" news) of open-source.

While techies are at least familiar with the concepts of FLOSS, there's still a long way to go to get the mainstream to understand it. This article is a reminder of that.

- RG>

The Gummint's (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21131101)

"Who's arm will they twist"

They will twist and shout and bribe government officials to put a "real" OS on the systems they hand out

I am in 2 minds ... (1)

Alain Williams (2972) | more than 6 years ago | (#21131117)

I argue strongly that the operating system should be unbundled, or at least the consumer offered the choice at the point of sale. Why: because I don't like having to pay the 'M$ tax' when I buy a new PC.

However: the XO comes with a bundled OS: Linux. Hmmmm, to be consistent should I not argue that the consumer should be able to choose what OS they want on their XO ?

The above is a matter of principle, not which is better or whatever.

I still don't know what I should think .... help please!

MS will target school administrators (1)

david.emery (127135) | more than 6 years ago | (#21131149)

That's been the very successful (and arguably appropriate) strategy all along. Empower administrators who have to manage/control/procure all these devices. Lock them into the Microsoft Way. Have them invest $$$ into Tech Support, servers, back office software, etc. To Microsoft's credit, they do provide this stuff to schools at reduced price, and to Microsoft's credit, they do provide solutions to problems that large scale system administrators/CIOs have to face.

But that marketing model still feels like a pusher hooking new addicts to me at times, particularly when I see schools investing $$ into replacing an existing Apple infrastructure with a Microsoft infrastructure, "because that's what the IT people are familiar with." That's a case of the flea wagging the dog.

35 years ago (ugh, I had to say that...) I was lucky in the early days of 'student access' to play with a variety of machines, from a TOPS 10 terminal to programmable desktop calculators (this is pre-PC) It's had a major positive impact, exposure to 'more than one way to do it' is a key aspect of education, I think.


MS made a realization (1)

Chabil Ha' (875116) | more than 6 years ago | (#21131241)

that the next biggest market is that from the developing nation. Because the hardware hasn't here to for been available at a cost effective price, no platform has existed for them to put their software. Because someone is solving the hardware problem, they now have a platform from which to run Windows...98. I would laugh to see Vista run on one of those machines.
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