Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 12th May 2008 17:40 UTC
Windows Last week, we reported on a peculiar price difference in Australia between the Linux and Windows versions of the Asus Eee PC 900, the new model in the Eee line. The Windows model was 50 USD cheaper than the Linux model - the Linux model did have a bigger hard drive, but interestingly, the version with the smaller hard drive was not available as a Linux machine. This gave rise to speculation that Microsoft had been putting pressure on Asus to favour Windows XP over Linux. It appears Microsoft's assault in this segment of the market goes deeper than just Asus and the Eee alone.
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"Assault?"
by gonzo on Mon 12th May 2008 17:50 UTC
gonzo
Member since:
2005-11-10

Also called "competition," and there's nothing wrong with it.

Reply Score: 2

RE: "Assault?"
by Thom_Holwerda on Mon 12th May 2008 17:52 UTC in reply to ""Assault?""
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

Also called "competition," and there's nothing wrong with it.


Is assault an inherently negative term or something?

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: "Assault?"
by gonzo on Mon 12th May 2008 18:03 UTC in reply to "RE: "Assault?""
gonzo Member since:
2005-11-10

I'd say so (especially in the context of the whole story - pressure on Asus, etc). But hey, correct me if I'm wrong.

Edited 2008-05-12 18:07 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: "Assault?"
by Morgan on Tue 13th May 2008 05:30 UTC in reply to "RE: "Assault?""
Morgan Member since:
2005-06-29

Is assault an inherently negative term or something?


I can't think of a positive connotation. In law enforcement, my field of expertise, assault is most definitely a bad thing to do to someone, as it lands you a night or more in jail. Other uses of the word include acts of war, verbal harassment (verbal assault), intimidation tactics, and generally giving someone a bad day.

Yeah, I'd say it's a pretty negative concept.

Reply Score: 3

RE: "Assault?"
by rajj on Mon 12th May 2008 18:52 UTC in reply to ""Assault?""
rajj Member since:
2005-07-06

This would be price discrimination which would actually make it anti-competitive.

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: "Assault?"
by gonzo on Mon 12th May 2008 23:09 UTC in reply to "RE: "Assault?""
gonzo Member since:
2005-11-10

I agree: if Microsoft is not allowed to set the price of its product to fight the competition, then it is anti-competitive.

Edited 2008-05-12 23:10 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: "Assault?"
by rajj on Mon 12th May 2008 23:23 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: "Assault?""
rajj Member since:
2005-07-06

Look up the definition of price discrimination and loss-leader.

Reply Score: 6

RE[4]: "Assault?"
by gonzo on Tue 13th May 2008 03:01 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: "Assault?""
gonzo Member since:
2005-11-10

Well, where exactly do you see price discrimination in this case?

Price discrimination also might be used as a predatory pricing tactic -- setting prices below cost to certain customers -- to harm competition at the supplier's level.

1. Where do you see that MS is setting prices below cost,
2. and that it is for certain customers only?
3. How do you know Xandros Linux is not priced below cost to harm competition too?

Edited 2008-05-13 03:05 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE[5]: "Assault?"
by Splinter on Tue 13th May 2008 03:07 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: "Assault?""
Splinter Member since:
2005-07-13

Well, where exactly do you see price discrimination in this case?

Price discrimination also might be used as a predatory pricing tactic -- setting prices below cost to certain customers -- to harm competition at the supplier's level.

1. Where do you see that MS is setting prices below cost,
2. And that it is for certain customers only?


1. We don't know the internal costs of XP however they sell the current OEM for over $100 AUD. (nearer 150 I think) so if $32USD is not less then cost then there profit margins are HUGE. (Note you can only support profit margins like that if you have a monopoly)
2. The conditions of the license to limit for certain customers, customers buying ULPC's with less than 1GB Ram etc.

So as far as I can tell it matches on both counts.

Reply Score: 2

RE[6]: "Assault?"
by Thom_Holwerda on Tue 13th May 2008 09:48 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: "Assault?""
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

1. We don't know the internal costs of XP however they sell the current OEM for over $100 AUD. (nearer 150 I think) so if $32USD is not less then cost then there profit margins are HUGE. (Note you can only support profit margins like that if you have a monopoly)


I think XP's production costs are the cost of pressing CDs, more or less, at this point. The investment in XP and 2000 will have already earned itself back about a million times, so I don't think USD 32 is below production costs at all.

Reply Score: 2

RE[6]: "Assault?"
by gonzo on Wed 14th May 2008 01:46 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: "Assault?""
gonzo Member since:
2005-11-10

2. The conditions of the license to limit for certain customers, customers buying ULPC's with less than 1GB Ram etc.

But it is the same for ALL those customers that are deploying XP on those ULPCs (with less than 1GB). They ALL get the SAME deal, if the device is in that category.

For example, both Dell and Asus would pay the same for XP on that kind of device. No preferred treatment.

Reply Score: 2

RE: "Assault?"
by iserlohn on Mon 12th May 2008 18:55 UTC in reply to ""Assault?""
iserlohn Member since:
2006-02-24

A free market only works when there is something called choice. There is reason for antitrust regulation and it is to promote consumer choice.

I know people cringe at hearing the word regulation, but sometimes, regulation is an necessary evil. As someone much wiser said, your right to swing your fist ends at the tip of my nose. So who's going to enforce that?

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: "Assault?"
by sbergman27 on Mon 12th May 2008 19:00 UTC in reply to "RE: "Assault?""
sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

So who's going to enforce that?

Not the US. We're more concerned about countering terrorism these days. DOJ et. al. vs MS was all pre-WTC. Maybe the new administration will care. Meanwhile, Neelie Kroes is this atheist's God.

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: "Assault?"
by h3rman on Tue 13th May 2008 09:29 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: "Assault?""
h3rman Member since:
2006-08-09

Not the US. We're more concerned about countering terrorism these days.


Not the US. We're more concerned about pretending to counter terrorism these days.


Fixed that for you. ;)

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: "Assault?"
by tomcat on Wed 14th May 2008 01:41 UTC in reply to "RE: "Assault?""
tomcat Member since:
2006-01-06

A free market only works when there is something called choice. There is reason for antitrust regulation and it is to promote consumer choice.


Asus is the customer. It has already demonstrated that it has a choice between Windows XP and Linux. So, really, the notion that there's an antitrust issue here is ridiculous.

Reply Score: 3

RE: "Assault?"
by SlackerJack on Mon 12th May 2008 18:58 UTC in reply to ""Assault?""
SlackerJack Member since:
2005-11-12

Let me put you right there, what you meant to say was 'Fair competition', I'd agree but since when did the words fair, Microsoft and competition ever be in the same sentence.

Reply Score: 7

RE: "Assault?"
by elsewhere on Tue 13th May 2008 04:08 UTC in reply to ""Assault?""
elsewhere Member since:
2005-07-13

Also called "competition," and there's nothing wrong with it.


Also called "predatory pricing", and there is something wrong with it.

But I won't cry "anti-trust" or anything like that. In fact, it's amusing to see Microsoft do this. It's not often that you see MS willingly undermine the value in their own products, considering they go to such great lengths to protect the perception.

Microsoft has acknowledged desktop linux as a viable alternative to Windows. They would not be dropping the license price if they felt that they could justify the value otherwise. Even if they're limiting that recognition to a narrow market niche, it's still a wonderful validation for all the work that the OSS community has done for desktop linux. They deserve credit for that.

Ghandi's famous quote is often abused now in OSS, but still utterly relevant:

"First they laugh at you,
Then they ignore you,
Then they fight you,
And then you win."

So it seems...

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: "Assault?"
by IvoLimmen on Tue 13th May 2008 05:58 UTC in reply to "RE: "Assault?""
IvoLimmen Member since:
2005-07-06

I completely agree with you. First I thought that this would not be good for Linux as people tend to buy the cheapest machine there is. Even a Linux user would consider buying a cheaper version and simply install Linux on it, filling Microsoft pockets (eventhough it's a very small Microsoft tax).
Eventually Microsoft will loose the battle as nothing is as cheap as free.
With Linux (and other open source operating systems) becoming more user friendly and more generally available (as pre-installed OS on new machines) people will eventually turn to a operating system that is free.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: "Assault?"
by lemur2 on Tue 13th May 2008 10:04 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: "Assault?""
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

I completely agree with you. First I thought that this would not be good for Linux as people tend to buy the cheapest machine there is. Even a Linux user would consider buying a cheaper version and simply install Linux on it, filling Microsoft pockets (eventhough it's a very small Microsoft tax).
Eventually Microsoft will loose the battle as nothing is as cheap as free.
With Linux (and other open source operating systems) becoming more user friendly and more generally available (as pre-installed OS on new machines) people will eventually turn to a operating system that is free.


Microsoft is heavily discounting a basic version of XP (XP Home) to go on these machines. Possibly it amounts to more than just a discount ... a Microsoft subsidy to get Windows on to the machine instead of Linux.

Microsoft's strategy probably involves them thinking that having purchased a Windows machine, I would now have to buy Microsoft Office ...

That means as a Linux user, I could buy a Windows ULCPC (possibly the EEEPC 900), wipe Windows, install a better Linux distribution (Mandriva 2008.1 works perfectly on the EEEPC), and end up with a better OS and a full set of applications, and Microsoft may have even paid a small contribution to my hardware.

The only disappointing thing about all that would be that my sale would count as a Windows sale.

Perhaps if I applied for a Windows refund ... not that I would expect to get it, but at least it might count for something if I applied.

Edited 2008-05-13 10:08 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: "Assault?"
by h3rman on Tue 13th May 2008 10:43 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: "Assault?""
h3rman Member since:
2006-08-09


The only disappointing thing about all that would be that my sale would count as a Windows sale.


Which is exactly the problem. The fact that people think that to buy a Microsoft OS preloaded on any pc that has no Apple logo on it, is the norm, is exactly the problem.

It doesn't matter that Microsoft makes one, two, ten, or a hundred billion dollars out of it. What it comes down to, all that matters is that the millions of people that do not want or need a proprietary Microsoft operating system, can buy a laptop without Microsoft being involved in any way.

Microsoft, just leave us alone, will you.

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: "Assault?"
by DigitalAxis on Tue 13th May 2008 17:29 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: "Assault?""
DigitalAxis Member since:
2005-08-28

I seem to recall ASUS' intent was to sell the EeePC 900 at a single price point; so people are actually getting penalized for trying to get Windows XP with the machine. Granted, I bet a lot of people would like a 12 GB machine with Linux for $500, but I guess that's not how they wanted to do it.

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: "Assault?" - I'm at 16 Gig for about 400$
by jabbotts on Tue 13th May 2008 18:26 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: "Assault?""
jabbotts Member since:
2007-09-06

N800 + OCZ 8Gig SDHC + OCZ 8Gig SDHC = ~400$ 12Gig+ machine running a Linux based OS; and I couldn't be happier with it (unless I had the N810).

Yeah, agreeded; having nonMS preinstalls available at a reasonable cost with adiquate hardware resources for 90% of user needs is just not in MS best (or remotest) interests. MS does business very well, it's a shame the don't do software very well.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: "Assault?"
by google_ninja on Wed 14th May 2008 01:50 UTC in reply to "RE: "Assault?""
google_ninja Member since:
2006-02-05

Thanks for making one of the few non-stupid comments so far.

The only thing I would argue about is

But I won't cry "anti-trust" or anything like that. In fact, it's amusing to see Microsoft do this. It's not often that you see MS willingly undermine the value in their own products, considering they go to such great lengths to protect the perception.


This may not be their current strategy NOW, but it is the one they used to gain market dominance in the first place. Apple was telling companies that they should do business on 10k USD machines, and MS was offering a "good enough" solution for a fraction of the cost.

It was only relatively recently in the conquest of the server room that they started talking about quality, ease of use, and TCO, because what they were up against often cost half as much (or free), and they really had no other choice.

Reply Score: 2

You're kidding right?!?
by cmost on Mon 12th May 2008 18:17 UTC
cmost
Member since:
2006-07-16

Microsoft "pressuring" hardware manufacturers and OEM's to do its bidding by using pricing incentives? Surely you jest! Here's a big fat "no duh!!"

Reply Score: 4

RE: You're kidding right?!?
by iserlohn on Mon 12th May 2008 18:46 UTC in reply to "You're kidding right?!?"
iserlohn Member since:
2006-02-24

There is a only a very fine line between being a monopoly, and abusing said position. Artificially raising the barriers to entry in a marketplace is generally seen as anti-competitive measure by the courts. Sounds familiar doesn't it?

Reply Score: 9

Innovation
by sbergman27 on Mon 12th May 2008 18:21 UTC
sbergman27
Member since:
2005-07-24

I'm lazily reposting (more or less) the same comment I made on LWN:

Basically, what good product design giveth, Microsoft taketh away. If your engineers are able to provide impressive specs at an impressively low price... MS will ruin it by upping the price of the OS, effectively punishing the manufacturer and their customers for any good job done by the design team. So why bother? Yes, I can certainly see why the name "Microsoft" is so closely associated with the word "innovation".

Edited 2008-05-12 18:27 UTC

Reply Score: 11

RE: Innovation
by google_ninja on Wed 14th May 2008 01:53 UTC in reply to "Innovation"
google_ninja Member since:
2006-02-05

Isn't that the exact opposite of what is happening here? You have your wrong MS argument out steve, today its "Anti-competitive", not "Bloated and expensive"

(tongue is firmly planted in cheek)

Reply Score: 2

...
by Hiev on Mon 12th May 2008 18:30 UTC
Hiev
Member since:
2005-09-27

You guys make to many assumptions w/o probes.

Maybe it was Assus who got tired of Linux.

Maybe they knew that users were ripping Linux and installing Windows XP, and is making things easier now for them.

Edited 2008-05-12 18:37 UTC

Reply Score: 4

RE: ...
by gustl on Mon 12th May 2008 19:16 UTC in reply to "..."
gustl Member since:
2006-01-19

At a price difference of US$ 50.- I could accept 20,- coming from using a smaller hard drive, the rest is Microsoft dumping itself into the market.

Remember, there now already exists a Version of Linux which is custom - taylored to the Asus EeePC. Hence, the per-unit cost of Linux is US$ 0.- for every additional computer sold.

Tayloring Windows XP to the Hardware costs something upfront, I expect Microsoft to do the work for Asus.
But additionally Microsoft would need to somehow beat the $ 0.- price tag of Linux, which must be a hard thing to do. Beating a US$ 0.- price tag by approximately US$ 30.- would mean, that Microsoft actually pays ASUS to use XP, or they pressured them by threatening higher OEM license fees than ASUS pays right now for the non-ultramobile stuff.

Well, MS can do that for some computers some times, but never for all computers all the time.

What today is an UMPC could be upgraded to 13, 14 and 15 inch displays as displays get thinner, cheaper and lighter, the processors in this cheap segment will continue to get more and more power, and Microsoft will see the Market becoming bigger and bigger.
Other producers will also get onto the Linux bandwagon, seeing that ASUS got a REAL good deal out of it. Because if you are the New Manufacturer On The Block, and you want to bargain with Microsoft, you better had 1 Million sales a month OR got to market with the lowest price and Linux and let yourselves being approached by Microsoft.

Linux gaining critical mass at a market close to the desktop market Microsoft currently dominates must be their greatest fear, that is why they are willing to spend big money on preventing that happen.

Given enough time, the Windows OEM price might come down to a few dollars. On that price tag we can see if the market starts working again. In the UMPC market that seems to be the case.

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: ...
by Hiev on Mon 12th May 2008 21:02 UTC in reply to "RE: ..."
Hiev Member since:
2005-09-27

Remember, there now already exists a Version of Linux which is custom - taylored to the Asus EeePC. Hence, the per-unit cost of Linux is US$ 0.- for every additional computer sold.

And who told you that the cost of the Linux OS they are using is US$ 0.-?

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: ...
by cookieninja on Mon 12th May 2008 21:07 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: ..."
cookieninja Member since:
2005-11-11

I was thinking about that too! Since when was Xandros a non-profit organisation or some kind of saintly charity.

For all we know, they could have been charging an unusually high price for their software and/or services to Asus in the belief that there was little to no competition, and that could explain part of the reason for the size of the price difference.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: ...
by Trenien on Tue 13th May 2008 13:43 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: ..."
Trenien Member since:
2007-10-11

But isn't Xandros GPL? (I have no idea)

If it's the case, that means that appart from support, and the initial cost to adapt it to the eeepc, each new copy cost Asus $0.

If not, they can switch to Mandriva tomorow, since it fully supports the eeepc as is, right now.

Edited 2008-05-13 13:43 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: ...
by DigitalAxis on Tue 13th May 2008 17:31 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: ..."
DigitalAxis Member since:
2005-08-28

Xandros sells their version of Linux. They're allowed to do that under the GPL, and they do. Yeah, you could also get free Linux, or take their stuff and rebrand it, but I assume Asus is getting something out of their deal with Xandros, like support.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: ...
by zima on Wed 14th May 2008 00:46 UTC in reply to "RE: ..."
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

No, no, please, don't hope for UMPCs to turn into...oridnary laptops, basically.

When tech advances, give me lower price and/or longer battery life, not bigger displays.

Reply Score: 1

Poor Microsoft
by anda_skoa on Mon 12th May 2008 19:02 UTC
anda_skoa
Member since:
2005-07-07

Must hurt to not just be unable to use the current version of their operating system and having to resort to one which is officially end-of-life, but to also have to add restrictions which basically waive any possibilty of it every coming to such devices.

Must suck to have software for servers, desktop and traditional mobile devices and still get caught by surprise when a new category of device emerges.

I guess a couple of people formerly at Microsoft's market research department are currently looking for a new job

Reply Score: 8

license transfert ?
by Ikshaar on Mon 12th May 2008 19:18 UTC
Ikshaar
Member since:
2005-07-14

so can i buy one of those ulpc, install linux on it, then use my cheap windows licence on my other pc ?

or will it be a license so restrictive that you cannot use it on any other pc after purchase ?

Reply Score: 3

RE: license transfert ?
by sbergman27 on Mon 12th May 2008 19:25 UTC in reply to "license transfert ?"
sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

Do you even have to ask? ;-) You'll be doing well to tote your new purchase out off the sales floor without violating the license in some way. Such violations will not be prosecuted except when they really threaten MS. Such are the hazards of selective enforcement.

Reply Score: 4

RE: license transfert ?
by jabbotts on Tue 13th May 2008 18:34 UTC in reply to "license transfert ?"
jabbotts Member since:
2007-09-06

Apart from the legal maze that MS beagles put in the EULA, you'd also be getting a WindowsXP Home license. If that's all you need, give me a day or two and I'll mail you my MS Bob license, it's about as usable.

(I kidd of course, there's no Bob license anywhere in my boxes at home. ;) )

Reply Score: 2

See
by Xaero_Vincent on Mon 12th May 2008 19:23 UTC
Xaero_Vincent
Member since:
2006-08-18

This is why Linux will never win. Yes, there are other variables involved but this one takes the cake.

Linux's disputable usability issues are nothing compared to how far Microsoft will go to ensure competition doesn't exist.

IMHO, Linux's biggest advantage is it's price (free distributions). When referring to a crappy, outdated distribution like Xandros on the EeePC, price is the "only" advantage.

Reply Score: 4

RE: See
by sbergman27 on Mon 12th May 2008 19:30 UTC in reply to "See"
sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

This is why Linux will never win.

Xaero,

Linux did just win. When you force your competitor to do something that he would otherwise not have done, and didn't really want to do... that is a win, of sorts. Admittedly not as obvious or satisfying as obliterating them outright. But a win nonetheless.

Edited 2008-05-12 19:31 UTC

Reply Score: 12

RE[2]: See
by bousozoku on Mon 12th May 2008 21:59 UTC in reply to "RE: See"
bousozoku Member since:
2006-01-23

"This is why Linux will never win.

Xaero,

Linux did just win. When you force your competitor to do something that he would otherwise not have done, and didn't really want to do... that is a win, of sorts. Admittedly not as obvious or satisfying as obliterating them outright. But a win nonetheless.
"

I think it's a minor win for Linux also. Microsoft are not in their comfort zone now and haven't been for a while. They're not exactly terrified but it's better than their being comfortable and simply dictating terms to everyone involved.

Someone, with some diplomatic skills, needs to really push for ease-of-use on Linux (and BSD by extension) to provide some solid OEM installations. Even putting a Linux distribution in a dual boot configuration with Windows would be an improvement. People will take the easiest path--they're not going to look for Linux.

Reply Score: 1

RE: See
by Adurbe on Mon 12th May 2008 19:37 UTC in reply to "See"
Adurbe Member since:
2005-07-06

what version of xandros does the laptop use?

one of the free or paid for versions?

edit: http://www.xandros.com/products/home/home_edition.html

xandros is not free to you and me, so how much does asus pay for each license?

Edited 2008-05-12 19:38 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE: See
by chemical_scum on Mon 12th May 2008 22:39 UTC in reply to "See"
chemical_scum Member since:
2005-11-02

IMHO, Linux's biggest advantage is it's price (free distributions). When referring to a crappy, outdated distribution like Xandros on the EeePC, price is the "only" advantage.


Linux's biggest advantage here is its scalability and customizability. Xandros customized a very effective tabbed interface for a system like the eeePC. All right Linux "ubergeeks" installed Ubuntu over it and Windows "powerusers" (ROTFL) installed XP over it and slowed it down and bloated it.

But for anyone just wanting to use it for what its intended, web browsing, email and basic office utilities the original interface is just what's needed.

Reply Score: 4

Competition?
by SoloDeveloper on Mon 12th May 2008 19:29 UTC
SoloDeveloper
Member since:
2008-03-16

There is nothing wrong with competition, but for Microsoft to such ludicrous demands on the hardware requirements Is absurd.

I mean, less than 1GHz Processor? Less than 1 GB Ram? Why dont i just go in to my closet and dig out my 600MHz machine with 512 RAM and use that instead?

I mean, just WHO does Microsoft think they are to willingly stile hardware and technological development JUST because they want in on some of the action?

I hope that no one gets a Windows ULPC and goes for the better hardware advancements and goes for the Linux version.

Reply Score: 6

cookieninja
Member since:
2005-11-11

Why is this bad for Linux ? I think all Linux manufacturers need to do is capitalise on their current position.

Linux distributions should focus on offering additional software that Windows does not have, which gives the device additional uses for the average person.

They should also make a serious attempt to market the better spec device as an advantage for users.

They should also try to work with OEMs to bring out competitively priced devices with a higher spec than Microsoft allows, along with functionality that demands it. A multi-touch touch screen immediately comes to mind.

It wouldn't hurt to include a decent selection of games and even, shock horror, work alongside people making commercial closed-source games. Ditto for applications if it's necessary.

Also, they shouldn't be scared of finding uses for the device that see it working alongside a windows desktop, although of course the same features should work with a Linux or Mac desktop.

Sitting back and waiting for regulatory intervention is a recipe for disaster and losing the pole position Linux is currently in.

btw. I accept the idea that Microsoft is playing dirty, but I want to see Linux distributions playing hardball and taking the fight to them.

Edited 2008-05-12 19:50 UTC

Reply Score: 0

chemical_scum Member since:
2005-11-02

They should also try to work with OEMs to bring out competitively priced devices with a higher spec than Microsoft allows, along with functionality that demands it. A multi-touch touch screen immediately comes to mind.


Ubuntu and Intel already have a cooperation agreement to work on this. Microsoft has just cut themselves out of this market with there hardware limitation announcement.

Reply Score: 4

jabbotts Member since:
2007-09-06

I think it was leaked documents provided by some nameless vendor too the news agency rather than an MS anouncement; I suspect, MS was hoping that the letter to it's "partners" would remain between the two respectively. Luckily, human decency prevailed and those documents slipped out a door somewhere.

Reply Score: 2

no one cares
by Rugxulo on Mon 12th May 2008 20:19 UTC
Rugxulo
Member since:
2007-10-09

These arguments will never end! How can you not be tired of reading about "MS is bad, blah blah blah ..." or "Linux is perfect ..."?? So much could be improved on both ends that neither one should be gloating, sitting on their high horse. That's all the end user really cares about: what it can do, how well it can do it, how cheap, how effective, how easy to use, etc.

In short: MS and Linux, quit fighting, kiss and make up, and get back to work! "It's good to play together", anyone?? ;-)

Reply Score: 3

RE: no one cares
by sbergman27 on Mon 12th May 2008 20:30 UTC in reply to "no one cares"
sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

In short: MS and Linux, quit fighting, kiss and make up, and get back to work!

I'm usually in agreement with the "quit fighting, team up, and get back to work" philosophy. But... exactly how do you expect this to happen? Through some new deal between Novell and Microsoft? Who do you mean by "Linux"? And, for that matter, who do you mean by "MS"?

There are fundamental issues to be resolved before anyone could even pretend to be buddy, buddy.

Reply Score: 3

sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

....marketshare. Why fool around ourselves? Promoting linux is one thing and dectating terms is another. MS has earned its status to dectect terms of business.

How, exactly, would this monolithic, centrally controlled, Linux you allude to dectate terms? Or dectect terms of business, should it ever earn the status to dectect those terms?

Edited 2008-05-12 21:30 UTC

Reply Score: 3

Terracotta Member since:
2005-08-15

linux won't behave exactly the same as MS, because there is competition in the linux world. if Linux had 90% market share, it would be devided between suse, fedora, red hat, xandros, debian, ubuntu, linspire... Between commercial and non commercial distributions, so if one company would behave the same as MS does now, the manufacturer would just take another linux flavor.

For MS it's easy to ask such prices, everything they get for XP now is some extra money, of course they would prefer more vista pc's, but well that one won't work decently on those machines so they are forced to sell an almost eight year old (matured though) OS. Nice thinking, and in the end it's a win for Linux, MS is forced to lower the price, or they get a competitor on the desktop market, and now no one would want that, would we... euhu :|

Reply Score: 4

SReilly Member since:
2006-12-28

I think you don't understand what Linux is.

Linux is a kernel, no more, no less. Groups, companies and sometimes even individuals bring together software, make it play nicely together, and then release it in what's called distributions. The fact that many of these distributions are interchangeable means that if you don't like the direction or cost of one, it's pretty trivial to jump to another. This means that no one entity distributing Linux could ever wield the kind of power and control that MS does.

As for people from Linuxland taking responsibility for HW drivers working with Linux distributions, all you need to answer that one is to look up the vast amount of driver development in the Linux kernel. Most of those drivers where independently developed, i.e. not paid for by the companies who released the HW, and is regularly updated and patched.

MS does nowhere near the amount of driver development as the Linux kernel devs do. In fact, HW manufacturers are expected to develop their own drivers for Windows.

So frankly, the points you are trying to make don't actually make much sense.

Reply Score: 7

wannabe geek Member since:
2006-09-27

Right, so Microsoft haters do stop complaining about Vista and fork Windows XP already! ;D

Reply Score: 2

jabbotts Member since:
2007-09-06

"
but reality is that linux distro will do exactly same thing if they have 90% marketshare
"

First, the two are motivated by different things.

FOSS and by extension, Linux and OS based on Linux, are more conserned with engineering persuites; make clean code, make the program do what is meant to do and do that well, add features, improve and evolve what came before you. The motivation is for better programming code, more usable features (without becomign bloat) and in general, what benefits the end user.

MS is a coporation by corporate law which states that a corporation must always choose in favour of the share holder when given a choice; market share and profit margins are important above all else. Software has to be good enough to sell but can't miss deadlines and can't better than what will sell lest the expense cut into profits. For a company where software is the primary product under a closed source model; it eventually comes down to keeping market share. There is nothing more important than keeping your market share so you can continue to pass profit margins back to your shareholders.

So, no, if a company providing an OS that happened to be based on the Linux kernel or any other FOSS kernel project it would not be remotely as likely to attack the market the way Microsoft often does.

MS has literally said "these computers have to remain below these specs or we won't play nice with you anymore".. how does that benefit the end user? If processors, memory, drives, screens, keyboards or any other components become available for lower cost at better quality; how does not increasing resources withough incraseing retail pricing through natural market forces benefit end user?

"
MS takes PARTIAL responsibility that hardware and preipherals will work smoothly on preloaded Asus. Can anyone from linux land come forward and claim that HW
"

The Kernel developers, those who actually write the "Linux" are interested in including any hardware support they can get specs for. More hardware vendors are starting to provide interface specs if not driver source code also but the high end desktop hardware market remains the domain of video games still. We'll see how ATI and nVidia manage at changing that.

The X.org develoeprs, those who write X so you can have pretty graphic programs are also interested in including any hardware support valid for the back end of a GUI. I'd personally like to see better TV Tuner native support in X.org but my 8800 GPU works perfectly so far.

There is a Linux Drivers project which is specifically focused on getting interface specs, getting driver source or writing the driver source for OS based on Linux.

Would those three core groups be enough to consider "anyone come forward from Linux land"? You give MS kisses and hugs for taking partial responsability for hardware support and use that to slam FOSS because Linux, X.org and other FOSS developers have traditionally had to take *all* the responsability for writing hardware support and gosh they've done well with no help from manufacturers.

Yes, it would be nice if hardware makers provided at least the bare minimum; driver interface specs. They'd find that drivers for many platforms magically apear with the expansion of there potential customer base. I wouldn't go blaming an OS kernel or an distribution based on it for the synthetic limitations placed on it by third parties.

Now, if there's a specific bit of hardware you'r having issues with. I'd recommend posting that in the form of a question and I, if not many others, will offer any help we can.

Reply Score: 2

Monopoly in action
by TechGeek on Mon 12th May 2008 23:40 UTC
TechGeek
Member since:
2006-01-14

It would be one thing if MS was selling this license to every one making laptops. Or selling it for all laptop models. But the fact is they are rigging the playing field in their favor. Its discriminatory pricing and its illegal as far as I know. I hope this comes back to bite them on the ass.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Monopoly in action
by tomcat on Wed 14th May 2008 01:46 UTC in reply to "Monopoly in action"
tomcat Member since:
2006-01-06

It would be one thing if MS was selling this license to every one making laptops. Or selling it for all laptop models. But the fact is they are rigging the playing field in their favor. Its discriminatory pricing and its illegal as far as I know. I hope this comes back to bite them on the ass.


LMAO! Discriminatory pricing? That's hilarious, given that MS is competing against a product (Linux) that's given away for free. Asus doesn't have to use Xandros. They can use any one of hundred different Linux distros. So, really, this insane idea that MS isn't allowed to compete against $0 is really what's discriminatory.

Reply Score: 3

ReactOS
by Mystif on Tue 13th May 2008 00:18 UTC
Mystif
Member since:
2008-05-12

I am no fan of Microsoft, but I use several Microsoft apps daily, and Linux only occasionally. Mostly I just take a peak at it here and there to see how things are going.

Linux does not look like Windows, does not feel like Windows, etc.

That does not mean Linux is better or worse than Windows, though many would have plenty of reasons, some good/some bad, for thinking and feeling the way they do.

All of that really comes down to how you feel about Windows/Linux and what you like and/or are accustomed to and what you need to do your job.

But if all you want is to strike a blow against the "Evil Empire" of Microsoft then this whole Microsoft/Linux thing is not where you should be focusing.

I have nothing to do with ReactOS, myself. I am swamped from all sides, and know next to nothing about the kind of programming the ReactOS crew needs.

That said, if I knew how to program like that I would not be enhancing Linux I would focus my efforts on ReactOS.

It looks like Windows, acts like Windows, it is FREE - something Windows will never be. Right now you could run the entire OS in memory and have plenty of RAM left over for your applications... the Windows ones some of you need, and already use. There has been discussion about Linux app compatibility, as well.

These people have been working, for years, on what could easily become the low/no cost replacement for Windows. It would take very little to make it look like Win XP instead of Win 2000.

My father is no computer expert, he definitely qualifies as an average home user.

I ran Linux on his PC without telling him. It is no insult to Linux that he has trouble using Linux, it looks and feels different to him. As he used Linux he encountered things that are just different enough to slow him down.

I ran ReactOS on his PC one day, without telling him. At first all he noticed was that it looked a little different, not as colorful. He did not struggle with it but he did miss his icons (I failed to recreate many that he uses). The OS did crash, it is not ready for prime time, so that came as no surprise. (This was also about a year ago, ReactOS (and Linux, as well) has improved.)

My father, and others like him, are why I would focus on ReactOS above Linux.

He could use it with the apps he has now, I have him using OpenOffice, Thunderbird and FireFox. He does not use much else. Yeah these apps exist on Linux also, that is part of why I chose them for him. But that is really about hedging my bets, not his.

The computer he has now would likely be his last. It would not need hefty RAM upgrades and larger Harddrives for quite some time, if ever.

If he wanted a new PC I could get him a pretty nice one, not put any money into Microsoft's coffers and he could run EVERYTHING he already has, no licensing issues, no unfamiliar software, nothing significant to learn.

The downside is that at the rate things are going for ReactOS now it will likely be ten to fifteen more years before they have a viable OS.

If enough people who can program really wanted to take Microsoft out they would focus on the OS that has the flattest learning curve for migration. One day that could be Linux, but right now, today, right this very second, it is ReactOS.

If you go to the ReactOS.org web site and look you will see screenshots of several of Microsoft's own products which install, and several of those of which run NATIVELY, on ReactOS.

And please don't get me wrong, it is not like I do not think there is no place for Linux, or any other OS. I believe in using the right tool for the job, and having fun. For instance, I really like playing with Haiku on my PC. I had QNX and Photon on my PC for the longest time, and hated it when it QNX changed directions away from the free OS. (I once traded an image of the QNX demo floppy for the location of the disk images of a copy of OS/2 Warp 4 in IRC after someone told me it was impossible to fit a 32bit OS, GUI, Web Browser, File Browser, Screen saver and a few Hardware Wizards on one floppy. It was not legal, but I was an OS hound and there was a lot to like about OS/2, at the time.)

ReactOS, because of its size, would be well suited to ULPCs and OLPCs.

In closing, all I am saying is I just think that the OS best suited to fill the gap soon to be left by XP could easy be ReactOS - it just needs lots of TLC and work. People who work at companies mired in Microsoft apps and OSes, like I do could stick with an OS that looks/acts like what they know and that runs what they have already purchased.

Believe it or not, sometimes change is the only thing stopping companies from spending HUGE sums of money on software.

Edited 2008-05-13 00:25 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE: ReactOS
by Mystif on Tue 13th May 2008 00:19 UTC in reply to "ReactOS"
Mystif Member since:
2008-05-12

Please ignore this reply to myself, posted in error. LOL

Edited 2008-05-13 00:22 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE: ReactOS - for many Linux is not about taking out MS
by jabbotts on Tue 13th May 2008 19:20 UTC in reply to "ReactOS"
jabbotts Member since:
2007-09-06

Don't get me wrong, there is a large and loud group who are into FOSS purely because "it will take down the evil empire.. mwaaaaahahaha" but every group has it's ideolgists and extremists.

For many, as Linus says often, Microsoft is just not interesting too them. The company and resulting product lines have no effect or interest for them either way. They just prefer FOSS to get what they want done and it works; it's about what your used too as you demonstrait.

There are lots of people at some placement between the two and there are other extremes also. For the developers, FOSS is more about producing good engineering not producing the downfall of a third party company.

ReactOS is on my list to include into my OS collection but it's not installed yet. I understand that the goal behind ReactOS is a replacement for Windows. They want the same look and feel and support for win16/win32/win64 libraries so you can run Windows software without the WindowsOS behind it. It's an interesting idea and worth a look but for ReactOS, I'm in the latter group discribed above; I have Mandriva and WindowsXP already so I gain nothing outside of exploring it along with my other OS playing cards.

I'd rather see more major software developers go cross platform.

(Interesting note; WinXP with nothing but hardware drivers eats ~400 Megs of RAM at boot. My Mandriva server after being left on a while still sits about 35 Meg of RAM in use when idle. I'm not sure where ReactOS falls between the two though.)

Reply Score: 2

Mystif Member since:
2008-05-12

ReactOS uses around 90MBs of RAM and yet does so much of what Windows requires 300+MBs to do. For Windows apps it is well worth a look.

Reply Score: 1

license_2_blather
Member since:
2006-02-05

Wonder what their policy will be? At the least I'd think they'd still have to release security updates. I can delay switching to Fistya a bit longer (not that I planned to real soon anyway).

I'd also think that with those hardware specs, XP might still be kinda slow. And will unavailability of XP on higher-end hardware discourage UMPC makers from increasing performance? That might push people back to Linux.

Reply Score: 1

price....
by l3v1 on Tue 13th May 2008 07:35 UTC
l3v1
Member since:
2005-07-06

Allow me to desecrate the great one, but in OS-land [and everyone is doomed to get to know this some time] that which we call a price by any other name would smell as bad.

Never ever in my life have I bought a computer to "use" its OS. HW and OS are the yin and yang of a computer, but even together they are useless in the sense that the HW is just a piece of junk in itself and the OS on it just provides you with a platform to build on. If you want success, one day or the other you'll recognize that you have to give the platform free to the people and base your businness on developing and selling those applications that the people buy their computers for in the first place.

It seems, that in a certain sick way even MS recognizes that the OS is better to be free, since a $26 price is almost like nothing. I say almost, since they seem not to be able to drop the price yet.

Of course the intentions are always a big question. Why ? Because it's not just the price that matters, the historical behavior of a company should have a great weight when making decisions. Should.

Yet, you can't blame them for trying to compete, in the only way they know how to. And it seems, however the world turns, it's always them that get the cash in the end.

Edited 2008-05-13 07:36 UTC

Reply Score: 2

Hardware limits
by Knuckles on Tue 13th May 2008 08:08 UTC
Knuckles
Member since:
2005-06-29

The problem with this is that the manufacturers will not exceed the stipulated hardware limits, so that they can still ship windows, so all these pc's will be artificially limited by microsoft's position.

This is a bit like sata optical drives: they had some problems with xp, so for years we didn't have them, but when vista came out they finally started appearing everywhere, and now they're very common and dirt-cheap like IDE drives before them.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Hardware limits
by lemur2 on Tue 13th May 2008 09:40 UTC in reply to "Hardware limits"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

The problem with this is that the manufacturers will not exceed the stipulated hardware limits, so that they can still ship windows, so all these pc's will be artificially limited by microsoft's position.


There is too little "room" in Microsoft's ULCPC position. Microsoft has constrained the CPU speed, storage and RAM to a value that will just support XP. That means these machines will never run Vista, and machines offered will all have to be at the "full allowable spec". The machines from every manufacturer will be the same, in order to be "top of the line ULCPC" and still get a discount from Microsoft.

It won't be that long before another manufacturer sees an opportunity. There will be an opportunity for an also-ran manufacturer, whose ULCPC model is not favoured as a popular choice, to say "to hell with Windows" and to put out a ULCPC model featuring a multi-core faster CPU, more memory, more storage, possibly a touch-screen and a decent Linux distribution, making a killer machine hardware specification compared to the rest of the market for the same money.

The manufacturer would have to be one who didn't depend on selling Windows machines normally, but still a high-profile name. Nokia is one name that comes to mind ... perhaps offering a KDE 4.1 distribution? (KDE is based on Qt after all). Mandriva perhaps, later this year?

It will become widely known that you can put Windows on this machine after you have purchased it, if you happen to have a spare copy of Windows wink wink.

The sales will still all count as Linux sales, regardless if the Linux distribution stays on the machine or not.

Microsoft will not get any money from these sales.

Edited 2008-05-13 09:45 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Hardware limits
by tomcat on Wed 14th May 2008 01:51 UTC in reply to "RE: Hardware limits"
tomcat Member since:
2006-01-06

Microsoft will not get any money from these sales...


Right, and it's such a marginal scenario that it's really not worthy of much consideration.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Hardware limits
by tomcat on Wed 14th May 2008 01:49 UTC in reply to "Hardware limits"
tomcat Member since:
2006-01-06

The problem with this is that the manufacturers will not exceed the stipulated hardware limits, so that they can still ship windows, so all these pc's will be artificially limited by microsoft's position.


The UMPC category is going to advance, with or without MS. So, I wouldn't read too much into the current licensing.

Reply Score: 2

Microsoft Can't Win This
by segedunum on Tue 13th May 2008 12:06 UTC
segedunum
Member since:
2005-07-06

When PCs were PCs and OEMs were OEMs then everything was OK. However, today we have lots of different devices that are off-shoots of PCs. Companies are producing very small devices where the cost of software is more significant, and they're producing different devices like tablets, PVRs and those Surface things. Microsoft can't keep differentiating between these devices forever to keep their licensing model intact or face losing revenue, they can't keep discounting and they can't keep customising Windows for every system out there themselves. Are they going to come up with Asus' and Xandros' tabbed menu system for this device? A lot of the point of the eeepc was the way that you did things.

Their licensing and development model just doesn't scale. The only way this will work is if this series of special deals succeeds in making Linux based systems go away permanently. That is never going to happen, and Linux and open source companies and users can have as many bites of the cherry as they like because on most of these devices the Windows application lock-in argument is far, far, far weaker to non-existent. Hell, Microsoft had to 'make up' some reasons as to why you'd want Windows on the eeepc.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Microsoft Can't Win This
by tomcat on Wed 14th May 2008 00:32 UTC in reply to "Microsoft Can't Win This"
tomcat Member since:
2006-01-06

Microsoft can't keep differentiating between these devices forever to keep their licensing model intact or face losing revenue, they can't keep discounting and they can't keep customising Windows for every system out there themselves. Are they going to come up with Asus' and Xandros' tabbed menu system for this device? A lot of the point of the eeepc was the way that you did things.


You're really kidding yourself. With billions of dollars at stake, Microsoft can do whatever it needs to do. People had already written off MS from the UMPC market -- and then WHAM -- Asus announces this deal with MS. Also, people tend to forget that Microsoft has spent a fair bit of time modularizing the Windows kernel for all kinds of scenarios (embedded, etc). I expect that this trend will continue. So, betting that MS can't respond to market challenges is just foolhardy.

http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20080323-evidence-mounting-win...

Reply Score: 3

In other words
by jabbotts on Tue 13th May 2008 18:14 UTC
jabbotts
Member since:
2007-09-06

"
The goal apparently is to limit the hardware capabilities of ULPCs so that they don't eat into the market for mainstream PCs running Windows Vista
"

Um.. isn't the idea behind capitalism too premote the evolution of technology by havign newer, cheaper and better products challenge or replace the more expensive products?

So MS is premoting a program that, again, benefits the share holders at the expense of the end users who might benefit from a little competition in the high end market or a realistic computer cost in the low end market.

I need to go havea shower..

Reply Score: 2