[gnulinuxinasia] How Microsoft bought China

  • From: "Frederick Noronha [फ़रेदरिक नोरोनया]" <fred@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: gnulinuxinasia@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Tue, 31 Jul 2007 22:58:55 +0530

How Microsoft bought China
Jul. 29, 2007

Opinion -- Some people seem to have a short circuit in their minds
when they try to explain why Windows has such an enormous desktop
market share. Some of them have the delusion that Windows is
technically better than the competition. It never was. It isn't now.
And, considering how Vista is staggering along, it never will be.

No, Microsoft wins because it does whatever it needs to do to win. If
that means strong-arming the PC companies, so be it. If that means
breaking the law, that's fine too.

To quote Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson in his ruling against Microsoft
in the United States versus Microsoft anti-trust case, "Microsoft paid
vast sums of money, and renounced many millions more in lost revenue
every year, in order to induce firms to take actions that would help
enhance Internet Explorer's share of browser usage at Navigator's
expense. ... In fact, Microsoft has expended wealth and foresworn
opportunities to realize more in a manner and to an extent that can
only represent a rational investment if its purpose was to perpetuate
the applications barrier to entry."

That was in 2000. Fast-forward to 2007 and what do we find? Fortune
reports that Windows is used on as many as 90 percent of China's 120
million PCs, because of piracy and because Microsoft's own prices have
dropped so low that a student can now buy a combination package of
Windows and Office for $3.

Meet the new Microsoft, same as the old Microsoft.

In discussions on Slashdot, there's the usual talk-talk about Linux,
OpenOffice.org and other desktop open-source software options being
not quite good enough, not quite compatible enough with Windows
programs, and so on.

Come on, guys. The Linux desktop works just fine. The "Year of the
Linux Desktop" isn't somewhere in the future. It was in 2005, when
Novell came out with SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 9.3.

This was, in my opinion, the first desktop Linux that had the right
combination of ease of use, business-level support and features to be
just as good a choice as any version of Windows for a company's
desktop use.

You can, of course, argue that Linux doesn't have some particular
program that you absolutely must have for your job. A favorite example
of this sort is that Linux lacks a top-level, easy-to-use desktop
graphics programs like Adobe Photoshop. Yes, Linux has GIMP, but no
one has mistaken it yet as being easy to use.

What this argument ignores is that for 90 percent of all office
workers, Linux does provide 100 percent of the application
functionality they need. Usually about this time someone trots out the
tired old argument that while OpenOffice.org can do most of what
Microsoft Office can do, it can't run Office's VBAs (Visual Basic
Applications) and macros, and since businesses depend on these, blah,
de blah, blah, blah.

There's only one problem with this argument. It's not true. Thanks to
Mono, you can run VBAs in Linux. In addition, Novell and Microsoft are
specifically working on making it easy for users to migrate Excel VBA
macros to OpenOffice's Calc.

When all is said and done, the real reason why Microsoft is "winning"
in China and has won elsewhere is that Microsoft is willing to break
the law, pay the fines, dump products on the market at far below cost,
and continue on in the belief that in the long run the costs of doing
business the Microsoft way will win out over the higher quality,
security and features of Mac OS X and the Linux desktop. —Steven J.
Vaughan Nichols
Frederick Noronha  Journalist http://fn.goa-india.org
E: fred@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx or fredericknoronha@xxxxxxxxx
P: +91-832-2409490 M: +91-9970157402
Yahoo: fredericknoronha Skype: fredericknoronha GTalk: fredericknoronha
784, Sonarbhat, Near Lourdes Convent, Saligao 403511 Goa India

Other related posts:

  • » [gnulinuxinasia] How Microsoft bought China