Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 24th Apr 2014 23:12 UTC
Windows

Peter Bright making the case for subscription-based Windows.

Microsoft has already made Windows free to OEMs for tablets with screens below a certain size. Making it free to everyone but without the desktop would be a logical extension of this. It gives Microsoft the tools to compete with both Android on tablets and Chrome OS on laptops, while still not cutting it out of the revenue loop entirely. Desktop-less Windows should provide Microsoft with some amount of revenue through applications bought in the Store.

To this, add a couple of levels of unlocks: one tier for regular Windows desktop features (offering parity with the feature set of Windows 8.1 today), and a second, higher tier for Windows corporate features (offering parity with Windows 8.1 Pro). These could be both persistent unlocks or periodic subscriptions. Microsoft has already had persistent operating system unlocks since Windows Vista's Anytime Upgrade feature, so none of this would be hugely different from what's gone before.

The facts and rumours do line up, but honestly - free/subscription-based Windows is right up there with a TV from Apple when it comes to long-running, always-returning but never materialising rumours.

Order by: Score:
Meh, just do it like Apple.
by bryanv on Fri 25th Apr 2014 01:06 UTC
bryanv
Member since:
2005-08-26

Sell a license to the OS, make the upgrade inexpensive enough that you're crazy -not- to do it, shorten the release cycle, and make smaller more incremental changes.

This problem was solved 10 years ago by an intrepid company that has shown it works.

I fail to see why this is hard to understand.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Meh, just do it like Apple.
by unclefester on Fri 25th Apr 2014 02:53 UTC in reply to "Meh, just do it like Apple."
unclefester Member since:
2007-01-13

Apple makes money from selling hardware with huge profit margins. The OS upgrades are not a major revenue source.

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: Meh, just do it like Apple.
by judgen on Fri 25th Apr 2014 03:22 UTC in reply to "RE: Meh, just do it like Apple."
judgen Member since:
2006-07-12

And microsoft is also a hardware company now to some extent with the xbox, surface and nokia phones. They could probably make it work.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Meh, just do it like Apple.
by bryanv on Fri 25th Apr 2014 13:43 UTC in reply to "RE: Meh, just do it like Apple."
bryanv Member since:
2005-08-26

Microsoft makes their money flogging Office, I fail to see the disconnect.

Apple has high margin on hardware, yes. But they do get residual income off the OS X upgrades.

You also need to keep in mind economies of scale -- there's really no excuse for the biggest OS vendor in the world to have the highest price (to the consumer) OS when it comes upgrade time.

Reply Score: 1

Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

Apple has high margin on hardware, yes. But they do get residual income off the OS X upgrades.


Well, I imagine the residual income from upgrades has probably dropped to zero, since they offered the Mavericks update for free...

Reply Score: 4

RE: Meh, just do it like Apple.
by avgalen on Fri 25th Apr 2014 07:58 UTC in reply to "Meh, just do it like Apple."
avgalen Member since:
2010-09-23

Except that is not how Apple does it.
Apple is giving away their software and only allows it to run on their hardware, which is how they make their money.

Actually, Microsoft is also giving away the updates to their non-server OS lately. Android/Chrome-OS, Linux, etc are all gratis....which means that it is very unlikely that you are actually paying for your OS last year or this year.

Reply Score: 4

RE: Meh, just do it like Apple.
by tanishaj on Sun 27th Apr 2014 02:16 UTC in reply to "Meh, just do it like Apple."
tanishaj Member since:
2010-12-22

Sell a license to the OS, make the upgrade inexpensive enough that you're crazy -not- to do it, shorten the release cycle, and make smaller more incremental changes.

This problem was solved 10 years ago by an intrepid company that has shown it works.

I fail to see why this is hard to understand.


Apple makes all their money on hardware (minus iTunes sales of course). It makes sense for them to make the OS free or very low cost. It makes sense for them to make sure that everybody is using the latest software and that key features do not work on older hardware.

Microsoft makes their money on software. In general, other people make the hardware. It is an entirely different model.

Microsoft is trying to co-evolve the IBM services and Apple-style devices businesses as well though. So, it may go the way you suggest eventually.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Meh, just do it like Apple.
by zima on Sun 27th Apr 2014 19:14 UTC in reply to "Meh, just do it like Apple."
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

With corporate deployments (which Apple barely has) it's more complicated, those clients demand long support lifecycles.

Reply Score: 2

No Thanks
by Xaero_Vincent on Fri 25th Apr 2014 01:59 UTC
Xaero_Vincent
Member since:
2006-08-18

Windows subscriptions would be an utter failure if pushed on general home users as a requirement, because it might entail them having to pay just for the privilege of using their computer operating system. Unless upgrading or building a custom PC, few end-users actually buy Windows, rather instead buy a new computer that comes with it pre-loaded and have it freely and permanently accessible as an expectation.

Reply Score: 6

RE: No Thanks
by unclefester on Fri 25th Apr 2014 02:55 UTC in reply to "No Thanks"
unclefester Member since:
2007-01-13

Selling low cost subscriptions would increase the sale of whitebox PCs.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: No Thanks
by WereCatf on Fri 25th Apr 2014 03:53 UTC in reply to "RE: No Thanks"
WereCatf Member since:
2006-02-15

Selling low cost subscriptions would increase the sale of whitebox PCs.


And why do you reckon that would be?

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: No Thanks
by unclefester on Fri 25th Apr 2014 06:10 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: No Thanks"
unclefester Member since:
2007-01-13

And why do you reckon that would be?


Currently a whitebox buyer pays at least $50 more than a major OEM (eg Dell) to purchase an OEM Windows licence due to volume discounts.

An ongoing licence fee would make a whitebox more cost competitive if licence fees were equal for all users.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: No Thanks
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Fri 25th Apr 2014 14:27 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: No Thanks"
Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

I understand the economic theory you're presenting. And If this was toasters we were talking about, I'd agree.

But whitebox PC's appeal to a certain sort of people. I don't know anyone right now who doesn't buy one because of the extra $50 windows fee, who would if that fee didn't exist.

I would never recommend a whitebox to a non techy friend. That's an invitation to become their personal lifelong IT support...

When something goes wrong with a Dell, they blame Dell. When something goes wrong with a whitebox I recommended, well then they blame me.

Edited 2014-04-25 14:28 UTC

Reply Score: 6

RE[5]: No Thanks
by unclefester on Fri 25th Apr 2014 23:53 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: No Thanks"
unclefester Member since:
2007-01-13

Australian home users have always used whiteboxes. Virtually every suburb and small town has at least one whitebox builder. Brands like Dell and HP have never been very popular or widely available outside the corporate market.

I've never had the least bit of bother with any whitebox I've built because I've aways used high quality components.

Reply Score: 4

RE[6]: No Thanks
by zima on Sun 27th Apr 2014 19:15 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: No Thanks"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

Though it changed with the rising popularity of laptops.

Reply Score: 2

RE[7]: No Thanks
by moondevil on Mon 28th Apr 2014 12:02 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: No Thanks"
moondevil Member since:
2005-07-08

In Europe there are lots of local OEMs also assembling laptops.

Reply Score: 2

RE: No Thanks
by unclefester on Fri 25th Apr 2014 06:21 UTC in reply to "No Thanks"
unclefester Member since:
2007-01-13

My sister had a perfectly functional 10 year old PC. The XP install totally f***ed up after a forced restart and I was unable to repair or reinstall the legal copy of XP. I decided to install Xubuntu instead. She wasn't happy but the alternative was buying or building a new PC.

ps She nows loves Xubuntu and I don't have to constantly remove cruft and spyware.

Reply Score: 1

RE: No Thanks
by unclefester on Fri 25th Apr 2014 06:30 UTC in reply to "No Thanks"
unclefester Member since:
2007-01-13

Unfortunately many home users are pretty much locked in to the Windows/Office ecosystem due to work and school practicalities. A few years ago I did an university course which was literally impossible to complete without access to a Windows PC.

Reply Score: 4

RE: No Thanks
by Adurbe on Fri 25th Apr 2014 18:40 UTC in reply to "No Thanks"
Adurbe Member since:
2005-07-06

I'm not so sure it Will fail because I don't think it will be implemented in the manner you describe.

Don't think of it like an antivirus subscription which simply stops working once your year runs out, think of it more like Xbox Live.

I can happily use my Xbox but certain features require Gold. Playing games online, watching catch up TV, and so on. I still get Xbox system updates regardless of if I pay or not.

A few examples (off the top of my head) features could be upsold as 'Windows Gold';

Online gaming
Catch up TV apps (as per on the Xbox)
AD login (thereby almost forcing big businesses)
Cloud data backup
Required for office (I forse the two becoming synonymous)
x minutes free Skype calls

I assume they will also have in mind a killer feature or two which I haven't thought of :-p

Reply Score: 3

Comment by stabbyjones
by stabbyjones on Fri 25th Apr 2014 11:03 UTC
stabbyjones
Member since:
2008-04-15

Big business already subscribes. We pay per server and per user in license agreements that could essentially called subscriptions.
Home users will have to start subscribing to office 365 (hahahaha) before I'd even think of people subscribing to Windows.

Reply Score: 6

RE: Comment by stabbyjones
by Nelson on Fri 25th Apr 2014 11:38 UTC in reply to "Comment by stabbyjones"
Nelson Member since:
2005-11-29

Check Microsoft's financials. Office 365 Home added 1M subscribers last quarter.

Reply Score: 2

Comment by v_bobok
by v_bobok on Fri 25th Apr 2014 12:38 UTC
v_bobok
Member since:
2008-08-01

Run, baby, run.

Reply Score: 4

low, I know, but has to be said
by tkeith on Fri 25th Apr 2014 14:59 UTC
tkeith
Member since:
2010-09-01

I wonder if a Microsoft engineer comments, pointing out a fallacy in his article, he will attack him/her with namecalling and pitiful arguments.

Reply Score: 1

RE: low, I know, but has to be said
by agentj on Sat 26th Apr 2014 07:50 UTC in reply to "low, I know, but has to be said"
agentj Member since:
2005-08-19

Microsoft engineer or any other person working in such large companies won't comment on specific details, because his/her comment may reveal company's information. They're just going to laugh in the office.

Edited 2014-04-26 07:52 UTC

Reply Score: 3

tkeith Member since:
2010-09-01

Since you weren't the only person who didn't understand my reference:

http://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2014/02/neither-micro...

Scroll down to where Peter Bright told her she's "fucking paranoid".

Reply Score: 2

Coxy
Member since:
2006-07-01

is the day I witch to linux... unless I win the lotto, then I'm getting a mac.

Windows subscriptions is not anything I would pay... having to buy upgrades and extra "services" in the store? no.

The store sucks balls, the apps are all crud just there to sell adverts, or worse mine for bitcoins when your not doing much.

Reply Score: 2

kwan_e Member since:
2007-02-18

is the day I witch to linux...


I've been using OpenSUSE 13 since its release and I can't be happier. It's KDE implementation is really solid.

Reply Score: 3

Drumhellar Member since:
2005-07-12

Any idea how OpenSUSE's KDE implementation compares to Fedora's KDE spin? I've been using Fedora for a while, having moved from Kubuntu, and while I enjoy it well enough, I still wonder if I'm missing out on something more KDE focused. I know OpenSUSE has traditionally been KDE-centric, but not sure if the better KDE focus is worth doing the work for the switch...

Reply Score: 2

kwan_e Member since:
2007-02-18

Any idea how OpenSUSE's KDE implementation compares to Fedora's KDE spin?


I haven't used Fedora in any way, I was always an Ubuntu user before. I must say though that on my machine, I do have a Samsung SSD* and 16GB of RAM, half of which goes to /tmp under the default tmpfs scheme so perhaps it helps. But other than that, the only issues I have was I went with a cheaper ATI card, but I've had no trouble for that either after a few updates.

In terms of configuration, I think the only thing OpenSUSE provides is YaST. All the other KDE configuration stuff is there. I don't really consider myself a power user, even though I am a programmer, I can't be bothered fiddling with stuff, but YaST seems really polished.

* I also have no swap partition and I've never run into memory problems even while having multiple Chrome tabs open watching Youtube and compiling GCC.

Edited 2014-04-26 02:58 UTC

Reply Score: 2

grat Member since:
2006-02-02

openSuSE hasn't been "KDE Focused" since about the 8.x series. KDE and Gnome (and XFCE) are all three well supported, and easy to pick at install time (You might have to turn off "automatic configuration" during install, but even so, the desktops are easy to install afterwards).

See http://en.opensuse.org/Features#Free_Desktops

Historically, the SuSE guys have done a very nice job of making all three desktops highly polished and similar in appearance. Gnome 3.x has made this a bit more difficult, since the Gnome team believes they should be in charge of "branding" for Gnome.

I've been very happy with 13.1.

Reply Score: 3

WereCatf Member since:
2006-02-15

is the day I witch to linux...


I'll most likely keep using non-subscription Windows as long as possible, ie. as long as Microsoft keeps supplying security-updates, and hopefully by then ReactOS will have caught-up enough to be useable.

Reply Score: 2

Coxy Member since:
2006-07-01

I don't mind windows, but it's just the OS. For me it'S not that important, and I don't feel like I bought it... it is the computer as much as the screen or keyboard.

What I would hate, and what I would not do, is pay for things that I could do before for free, or for all intents and purposes, for free already.

I haven't used the store to buy any apps except cut the rope for my children.

I hate going there, there are promoted apps, and crap produced in bulk by people hoping to make money from adverts. I like the idea that you can go to just one place for apps, but the arguments that it makes users safer is crap. Just look at all the android apps that were recently found to contain bitcoin miners.

I have no use for the crap in the store and never will. Maybe it will be different for my kids who will grow up knowing nothing else, but I just can't see much use for it. The only good thing about it is that if I get a new windows pc I can sync it and have all the same ad laced crap on my new pc.

Reply Score: 3

WereCatf Member since:
2006-02-15

Just look at all the android apps that were recently found to contain bitcoin miners.


To be honest, that's because Google's vetting-process sucks ass. They only use a bot to do the vetting, no humans involved, and it was already shown several years ago to be too easy to fool. AFAIK both Microsoft and Apple are much, much more involved in the process of vetting submissions.

Google really should get their shit together.

Edited 2014-04-25 17:29 UTC

Reply Score: 4

Just sayin'
by fretinator on Fri 25th Apr 2014 21:41 UTC
fretinator
Member since:
2005-07-06

Inevitably, the inevitable winds up being more evitable than we thought.

Reply Score: 5

Hum ...
by acobar on Sat 26th Apr 2014 01:00 UTC
acobar
Member since:
2005-11-15

Overdue user: - F*ck stupid computer, let me in!

Cortana: - I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that Dave.

:-D

Reply Score: 1

Windows free to play?
by torp on Sat 26th Apr 2014 12:35 UTC
torp
Member since:
2010-08-10

I can picture it now. It will be something like the new Dungeon Keeper game. Check this review out: http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2014-02-05-dungeon-keeper-review

"You must wait 24 hours before opening control panel, or pay 0.99".

Edited 2014-04-26 12:37 UTC

Reply Score: 0