[Haifux] "Windows-Free" laptops in Haifa
oron at actcom.co.il
Mon Feb 9 00:49:12 MSK 2009
Eli, I must say I'm surprised...
On Sunday, 8 בFebruary 2009, Eli Billauer wrote:
> I have to say that the monopoly argument is refreshing. I don't know
> about the law in this case, but given that there are stable alternatives
> around for basically any of their products, and they are all for free,
> they are in no position to play monopoly games.
This is a naive assumption for several reasons:
* One important reason for vendors to avoid alternatives are the
"incentives" they get from MS -- the prices and licensing terms
are set according to the vendor behavior.
Vendor may loose a lot of money on his MS licenses by daring
to offer lower cost solution to other customers.
- A small example -- the phrase "FOOBAR recommends Vista ...."
on *all* vendor publications worth *BIG* money in licenses.
- The other side -- Marketing campaign for competing products
would cost the vendor in MS licenses (no, we don't talk about
EULA's here, these are vendor licenses with very strict terms
* The basic trick for any monopoly is to use its power in one market
to reinforce its control on other markets (that's why regulation is
necessary evil in these cases). An example close to home is what Bezeq
once did as a monopoly -- cross-subsides local/international calls.
So, a monopoly like MS can artificially make some of its products
cheaper than any competition (even have negative price) *for the vendor*
Obviously this isn't sustainable in the long run for all products --
However, the trick played by MS is very simple -- you focus on
the most visible wins and so you can break them quickly
E.g: Make the Eee-PC cheaper with Windows than Linux (at least
for vendors), when/if Asus stops shipping Linux Eee-PC's move
to the next target.
BTW: if you want to mention Dell. Let me remind you this company started
its Linux offerings in ~2000 and backed out because of "no-demand".
Did they get any "incentives" to reach this conclusion? If not,
someone at MS should be fired ;-) Do you think a ~8 years delay
by a major vendor isn't important?
> On the contrary, they have been forced to drop prices because they're
> competing with free software. Not to mention deals with governments,
> driven by the fear to lose a huge number of desktops.
True, and I also think they won't be able to stop the market forever.
But give them enough time and they may just move their monopoly from
the desktop to the data-center -- you would be able to use Linux on
your desktop but you would pay just the same to MS via server access
licenses... (think how Exchange servers are priced and why .Net is
> So even though they have so-and-so of the market, in essence they don't
> control it anymore.
IMO, we are in a transition period now -- MS have enough power to force
many vendors and limit our options -- our goal is to make it harder for
them. In this sense, things like Zvi's act (with all the PR) help send
spanners in their wheels and make the market more friendly for us.
Oron Peled Voice: +972-4-8228492
oron at actcom.co.il http://www.actcom.co.il/~oron
"Debugging is at least twice as hard as writing the program in the
first place. So if your code is as clever as you can possibly make
it, then by definition you're not smart enough to debug it."
-- Brian Kernighan
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