Linked by David Adams on Fri 15th Aug 2003 15:07 UTC, submitted by Scott Purcell
Microsoft In order to participate in Thailand's "Peoples PC" project (in which the goverment hopes to provide 1 million low-cost PCs for the population), Microsoft has cut their price for Windows and Office together to as low as $36 -- 10% of what they sometimes charge for Office alone! They also are dropping their controversial product activation requirements for this project. Previously, the Peoples PC project was based exclusively on Linux. My take: Watch for falling margins at MS as big customers realize, in the wake of Munich and Thailand, that threats of migration to Linux can win BIG price breaks from MS...
Order by: Score:
How Long
by JSplice on Fri 15th Aug 2003 15:09 UTC

I wonder how long it will take before Microsoft has the break under pressure in the US. It's good to see that at least MS is being put in their place at least somewhere in the world. First Munich, now Thailand...let's see what's next.

isnt it about time for another antitrust?
by offtangent on Fri 15th Aug 2003 15:12 UTC

...milk us for $500+ to smash the competition elsewhere!

Product dumping
by Brian on Fri 15th Aug 2003 15:14 UTC

That's exactly what they're trying to do in Thailand.
Hopefully the thai govt will realize that their only hope for a good home grown IT industry is to go with the open source solutions. Dealing with a company that blatantly abuses its market position is pretty much asking for it, esp for other countries.

42 billion goes a long way....

Online source
by Me on Fri 15th Aug 2003 15:16 UTC
Yes
by JSplice on Fri 15th Aug 2003 15:19 UTC

I think the time to manhandle Microsoft is now. Due to the economy being slow, companies are looking for cheaper solutions. If Linux can come in and offer a good, cheap alternative to Microsoft, then MS will really recognize this threat and make them get on the ball. Now MS doesn't have a chance to show us any improvements in an OS until Longhorn is released in 2005, so this can give Linux a real good advantage at the moment. And once linux starts making it's way to businesses more and more, other companies will find out that it actually is a feasible alternative and make it more attractive.

different cost standards
by Roy on Fri 15th Aug 2003 15:23 UTC

This is going to be a difficult issue for MS. In the US, companies don't balk too much at paying $500 per employee for OS/Office suite because the employee and office space are comparably MUCH more expensive. In poorer nations, the normal MS prices will seem unreasonable to many making open source solutions more competetive.

This will create a lot more demand for the open source solutions, which should lead to significant quality improvements in the software, making open source software viable for a wider range of consumers (rinse and repeat).

but i still wouldn't buy it

RE: different cost standards
by JSplice on Fri 15th Aug 2003 15:36 UTC

In poorer nations, the normal MS prices will seem unreasonable to many making open source solutions more competetive.

Well the problem here is that it looks like MS has been willing to offer products WAY cheaper in these nations in order to maintain product usage. I think that if this keeps coming up, other businesses around the world may notice this, and ask for a price cut themselves. Either way, Microsoft is going to suffer lost revenues from the Linux threat.

same here
by eightiesdude on Fri 15th Aug 2003 15:47 UTC

I wouldnt buy it either for $36. This whole this is such sham. M$ selling the new office 2003 pro for $700? and the academic verison for $200?

No thanks, openoffice.org for me is more than adequate or abiword, koffice. No thanks M$ I cut the puppet strings a long time ago. I learned to live without you and learned so much.

That's a reasonable price, but what about us Americans?
by SASQuatch666 on Fri 15th Aug 2003 15:48 UTC

They still have a WAY over-inflated price for their software here in the states,and there is No way I would buy even an upgrade package from these crooks when you can buy a full boxed Linux distro or better yet BeOS pro or Zeta(when and if they ever release it)for a fraction of the price.
Win98 still does all I need to do in the Windoze world,and the only way I would get a newer version of Windoze would be if I bought a new PC and it just happened to be on it
Linux is comming along in user friendliness(tho not as fast as it should)and the new Zeta release of BeOS promises new hardware support to an OS already equal to and,in many ways superior to Windoze in user friendliness.Plus there are plenty of apps for both OS's Linux just needs to make the installation process more simplified and standardized,BeOS already is as simple or simpler than Windoze in this respect.
Linux has a several desktop environments to choose from and a mind boggling amount of themes and eye candy for each (X windows runs slow on my old junk but this shouldn't be an issue in the new monster CPU and tons of RAM boxes they sell today)and BeOS has one of the slickest GUI's ever made.
So the handwriting is on the wall,between a free OS that keeps getting better and a "dead"commercial OS that simply refuses to die M$ is gonna have competition whether they like it or not,so they had better make their pricing competitive!

I am a Thai
by a farm boy on Fri 15th Aug 2003 15:55 UTC

And I know nobody that use a legal copy of M$.
I'm lucky I never use Windows. Also eveybody I know
that bought the computer from that program unstall GNU/Linux
and install Windows instead.

re: Yes by JSplice
by dabooty on Fri 15th Aug 2003 15:57 UTC

absolutely correct.

and i would add:
"Now MS doesn't have a chance to show us any improvements in an OS until Longhorn is released in 2005"

I would think that Longhorn is to evolved already to adjust the planning or features, so i would even guess that the first chance to react against linux (if it has aquired a position in the entreprise by then) on the desktop would be the release after longhorn. Given the quick evolution and nature of open source software that will be much too late

It will just keep happening...
by MS sucks on Fri 15th Aug 2003 15:59 UTC

Munich and Thailand are two good examples of what MS is doing here. The prices we (and probably every other first world country) pay are outrageously inflated. MS is making so much money off us for paying high prices it is ridiculous. The Munich and Thailand cases so that if MS wants to, they can cut the price down as low as they want and still make money. However, instead of $42 billion they would probably only a few billion.

I hope that governments will wise up to the tactics of MS. One thing a lot of people overlook is now what happens when Thailand decides to upgrade their machines. Munich choosing Linux allows them to upgrade machines when THEY want, not when MS wants. Giving in to MS, even for severely discounted installs, is still giving in totally. You will be MS's bitch. Not cool.

So what happens when...?
by Elias on Fri 15th Aug 2003 16:00 UTC

So what happens when after MS gives away it's software for practically nothing to all these people?

1) Give away software cheap...
2) Make sure everyone becomes dependant on software...
3) Raise the price back to normal....
4) Reap in the profits...

So yeah, sure, go ahead and get the software cheap for now. Don't worry, you'll pay for it later.

Re: So what happens when...?
by JSplice on Fri 15th Aug 2003 16:07 UTC

So yeah, sure, go ahead and get the software cheap for now. Don't worry, you'll pay for it later.

That's exactly right. Microsoft can afford to lose a LOT of money reducing the prices of their software, just to make people dependent on it (as if 90% of the computer world isn't already). I mean look at the Xbox. MS is losing a lot of money on it, just to obtain a share of the gaming market. When a company like MS has so much money, they have the ability to compete with other companies in this way: they can go on a nosedive with the competition, microsoft is at a higher altitude, and the competition crashes first, and Microsoft flys away untouched.

re: So what happens when
by dabooty on Fri 15th Aug 2003 16:08 UTC

When microsoft starts giving away it's products not all that much is gonna happen.

"1) Give away software cheap... "
- Piracy will decrease because ppl can get the software cheap or for free so there is no need to copy it.
- That would probably increase the price of the entreprise applications from microsoft (exchange etc), so businesses would look for alternatives even quicker
"2) Make sure everyone becomes dependant on software... "
a lot of them already are
"3) Raise the price back to normal.... "
- people will upgrade less quickly
- if they upgrade most of them will start pirating again
"4) Reap in the profits... "
or get hurt real bad
this really is to transparent to not harm microsoft's image, and too flawed to even be profitable (they would lose money through the process imo)

There we go again
by Maynard on Fri 15th Aug 2003 16:10 UTC

I think the ethics of Microsoft's behaviour are clearly questionable here. Cheap software makes them seem good, but in reality this is an extension to the old 'let piracy be' attitude that won them market share a long time ago. Now removing product activation. Its almost encouraging piracy all over again. I need to see why they would remove activation, the cheap software bit might just be philanthropy, but I think any sort of 'donations' by a monopoly which involve the product with which they monopolize the market should be investigated, or just banned on ethical grounds.

re: re: So what happens when
by dabooty on Fri 15th Aug 2003 16:10 UTC

jsplice: "Microsoft can afford to lose a LOT of money reducing the prices of their software, just to make people dependent on it "

yes, but they cant really hurt their image any further
businesses and governments are increasingly vigilant against vendor lock-in, and that could very well be the reason why other options are looked at

$36 ... not here in the UK
by tech_user on Fri 15th Aug 2003 16:21 UTC

$36 for office and windows together? more like 400 here in the UK!

$36 converted is still not cheap
by Nymia on Fri 15th Aug 2003 16:28 UTC

Convert $36 to the local currency and one will notice it is still quite an amount. $36 can go long way in places where the exchange rate is high.

FYi
by bact' on Fri 15th Aug 2003 16:53 UTC

with that price,
it's a small suite of MS Office,
just Word + Excel (no Powerpoint).

UI of Windows XP Home and its main apps
(IE, Media Player, Help, ..)
are all in Thai language
(no English language available).

Linux for me, it is cheaper & stable & secure.

RE: $36 is just about what's windows/office is worth
by Scott Nightlinger on Fri 15th Aug 2003 17:42 UTC

Your juvenility, poor grammar, and poor punctuation are not appreciated here. Please take it to the back alley where it belongs. You may return after you have matured and earned an education.

Re: So what happens when...?
by Dextor on Fri 15th Aug 2003 18:20 UTC

I totally agree......

As Master Yoda would said ....
by Jonas on Fri 15th Aug 2003 18:31 UTC

Philantropy is not! ;)

Possibly in reaction to the Sun
by Mudball on Fri 15th Aug 2003 18:34 UTC

I believe Sun is marketing StarOffice/StarSuite agressively in Asian countries. Sun can severely undersell Microsoft for similar functionality that MS Office has, and Microsoft (thanks to free market pressures) has no choice but to compromise.

Sun has been ramping up for quite a while, now, but I would bet Microsoft has been stressed about it for quite some time.

Corporate-branded: Sun GNOME, Sun StarOffice, Netscape 7, etc.
Open-Source-branded: GNU GNOME, OpenOffice.org, Mozilla, etc.

If you want free, you have a choice, if you want corporate branding, you still have a choice. It seems all roads are pointing _away_ from Microsoft for the next several years ;)

Just like selling smack..
by Bman on Fri 15th Aug 2003 19:13 UTC

The first hit is always free.

...
by Anonymous on Fri 15th Aug 2003 20:27 UTC

Even if they sell it for $36 doesn't mean the Thai gov.will save money, there's a lot of more software a computer needs to be secure.

Some other software a Windows PC based must have its:

- Antivirus
I don't think Norton will cut their prices, and a infected computer may cost money + time.

- A Firewall.

- Monitoring tools.

- Updates

- Etc, etc.

The Thai. gov. must think what is good in a long period of time.

l;oL - China says no to MS software.
by Anonymous on Fri 15th Aug 2003 21:27 UTC

I just submitted a news article to OSNEWS which says that China has decided to go with it's own home grown office suite know as WPS Office Suite. So it looks like this might be yet another reason why MS is doing this. Then again MS cannot compete against the growing nationalist feeling towards software that most first-third-world nations have right now.

Remember
by Tom on Fri 15th Aug 2003 21:46 UTC

I hope the people in Thailand remember who Microsoft really is.

Product Activation
by John Blink on Fri 15th Aug 2003 22:50 UTC

Then they should drop Product Activation in every other part of the world too.

Be fair Microsoft!

You see they are expecting piracy so that the OS can spread in the country so that their is a lock in of technology.

Pricing
by John Blink on Fri 15th Aug 2003 22:53 UTC

Is that $36 US dollars?

I had to pay $199 Australian dollars for Windows XP Pro Upgrade, and that was Academic pricing.

This just shows that they do not value existing customers. What does that say about their company. They are certainly double faced.

Usually we buy copy of windows only for $3...
by guest on Fri 15th Aug 2003 22:57 UTC

...so $36 is still way too much...

and yes we also buy copy of linux for $3, well maybe $5 - $10 if it comes with a lot of CDs.

@Scott Nightlinger
by clitlicker on Fri 15th Aug 2003 22:59 UTC

>Your juvenility, poor grammar, and poor punctuation
>are not appreciated here. Please take it to the back
>alley where it belongs. You may return after you
>have matured and earned an education.

yr hOli3r thAn thoU, condescending, pompous, foppish,
prissy deportment makes the same mistake that all
etiquette-nazis make: that what you think matters.
not only does yr opinion not matter, but YOU don't matter.
in fact, you should go tell yr mama how much you are offended
cos she'll the only one who'll give a shit. you boring bitch

@clitlicker
by John Blink on Fri 15th Aug 2003 23:02 UTC

Please don't tell people they don't matter. That is not true.

Re: Pricing
by John Blink on Fri 15th Aug 2003 23:04 UTC

I wrote...
had to pay $199 Australian dollars for Windows XP Pro Upgrade, and that was Academic pricing.

How much is Academic pricing in the US for this product.

This will screw us all
by Oh oh on Fri 15th Aug 2003 23:24 UTC

In the richer nations (US,UK, etc) there is already a large movement to move jobs to other nations like India, China where the labor is cheap. If the software is cheap too then there is even more of a reason to move to these other nations. think about it. The computer that is sitting on the average workers desk in the USA costs thousands for the software on it alone, but now the price has been slashed by a factor of ten? WTF

We need to force MS to lower their prices here in the states because otherwise we will all be screwed.

US academic pricing
by first_post on Fri 15th Aug 2003 23:27 UTC

it's 139 bucks retail.

@first_post
by John Blink on Sat 16th Aug 2003 00:09 UTC

Thanks.

They either get something or they get nothing
by Anonymous on Sat 16th Aug 2003 00:22 UTC

Since piracy is so rampant in SE Asia, if the Thai people want to run Windows, they just pick up a warez copy for a few baht and run it.

Microsoft can either get nothing, as in this case, or they can sell the stuff for a few baht as well, which at least makes them some money.

It's not like the cost of developing Windows wasn't covered years ago - these people have over 40 billion dollars in the bank.

What happens when someone starts importing Thai Windows back into the US and selling legal licenses of Office/Windows for the Thai prices?

Actually, this is probably not an issue in the US because free trade is an oxymoron there, but in countries like Australia, where, for example, region-coding of DVDs is regarded as an illegal practice, ultra-cheap Windows/Office could become a reality.


@ Roy
by CPUGuy on Sat 16th Aug 2003 01:06 UTC

Roy, thank you, I'd never actually thought about pricing in foreign, espeicially asian, countries in relation to how much workers cost as compared to in America.

Dumping Laws
by Bayerwerke on Sat 16th Aug 2003 01:40 UTC

I wonder if Thailand has import dumping laws (selling something at an artificially low price to destroy competition)?

moral of the story
by SSA on Sat 16th Aug 2003 03:35 UTC

If you get enough people to threaten to move to Linux you can get Microsoft to give you huge discounts.

RE: Brian (IP: 216.38.221.---)
by CooCooCaChoo on Sat 16th Aug 2003 03:37 UTC

That's exactly what they're trying to do in Thailand.
Hopefully the thai govt will realize that their only hope for a good home grown IT industry is to go with the open source solutions. Dealing with a company that blatantly abuses its market position is pretty much asking for it, esp for other countries.

42 billion goes a long way....


Then the US will throw trade restrictions on Thailand, blame them for Step 11, terrorism, droought, plague, communism, world famines and the slow economy in the US.

Whilst all this happens the US continue to pump $30billion in subsidies to US farmers and flood markets thus putting local farmers out of work due to the trade distorting subsidies and heavy handed foreign policy being force down peoples throats.

This is the US way, "f*ck the world, the US knows whats right and by hooker by crook we'll ram out values and one sided foreign policy down peoples throats whether they like it or not. If we are attacked by "terrorists" we'll just say they're "jealous of our freedoms" even though their whole family was whiped out and their village bombed back to the stone age".

the biggest risk however...
by Fejack on Sat 16th Aug 2003 07:09 UTC

I don't specifically know bout Thailand, but Third-World countries autorities are usually more prone to giving into corruption - that's one of the main reason for the economical mess and the constant inability of 3rd World countries to develop.
The autorities of Munchen remained untouchable and put first the interest of the administration. I think there is a risk of seeing Microsoft secretly bribing key Thai people to win the contract. I sincerely hope they don't give into it, for the sake of Thai people.

This is a computer/software forum
by MoronPeeCeeUSR on Sat 16th Aug 2003 08:22 UTC

This is the US way, "f*ck the world, the US knows whats right and by hooker by crook we'll ram out values and one sided foreign policy down peoples throats whether they like it or not. If we are attacked by "terrorists" we'll just say they're "jealous of our freedoms" even though their whole family was whiped out and their village bombed back to the stone age".

Please don't try and turn it into some political debate. We don't need that shit here.

Not a political debate ?
by Mark Gruber on Sat 16th Aug 2003 10:13 UTC

The comments made by some posters sounded harsh. But isn't it Microsoft who is responsible for turning the illegal use of software into a political issue ? Meanwhile, they have the habit of appealing any court decision that finds them guilty of that same mischief.

Let's remember that during the antitrust trial, Microsoft executives argued they couldn't show the source code of Windows because it would potentially lead to a breach of US national security. Once Scott free, they started showing that same code to foreign governments without being charged either with treason or perjury.

When the product activation scam, err, scheme was introduced in Windows XP, it was touted by Redmond as the best way to counter piracy. Customers throughout the world litterally bought that argument. After 30 days, they religiously called a Redmond employee to get their activation code so they could continue using the software they already paid for. Today, Microsoft has found a new way to disrespect customers throughout rich nations : it doesn't apply its own anti-piracy measures to one of the countries it once described as hotbeds of piracy.

I guess the message to the US customers is : screw the Federal Trade Commission, the Department of Justice, along with all the institutions that protect citizens rights. The same goes for all the other G8 (or G9, G10) members.
This situation reminds me of a bad cop movie, you know, when corrupt detectives can't arrest mobsters and are told to go f*ck themselves. Well, Microsoft has just told all its customers (from the US Governement to Jane Doe) to go f*ck themselves.

As for the price cut, two months ago the US Army signed a 471 million $ contract with a reseller (at 950 $ per computer, for MS software). According to Slashdot, this big and powerful institution agreed to pay twice for the same thing. They were effectively treated like suckers.
Well, today, the Thai governement (a Thirld World entity) has just shown everybody that it has more bargaining power than the US military. This is a political issue, like it or not.

$36 is still expensive
by follerec on Sat 16th Aug 2003 14:10 UTC

i can buy a full meal, with 2 cups of rice, a dish, and softdrinks for about $1. so i can either eat for about 18 days, or buy microsoft software... i wonder which one i'll choose.

basically i do have a recommendation to those who develop software for businesses internally... build them as "web application", by which i mean, make sure they run in all browsers. that way, you can even recommend using linux or some other OS and reduce costs and dependency from microsoft. as long as you get this right, your bosses won't really care what OS you run as long as your software will work on all computers, and your admins can support you.

i'm seeing this happen more and more with new businesses started by my generation (mid-late 20s). they'll run linux with openoffice, or windows98 with openoffice, and not have to buy msoffice, as long as admins can support their users, and all the other important applications run in browsers. it's, of course, harder for the bigger, older companies to handle this. guess they are less open to change.

This says one of two things
by Andrew D on Sat 16th Aug 2003 14:16 UTC

1. Microsoft are earning such a huge margin on the software that they are able to reduce the price to this extent. Hence they are profiteering bigtime.

2. Microsoft are taking a big loss here to sow up the market and are hence engaging in anti-competitive practices.

Of course it could be 3. both of the above.

I certainly feel it has to be (1) because I can't believe they are still attempting to recoup costs of development and certainly the cost of a manual a box and some CDs or a DVD is not even the $36 being quoted.

Blah. Nothing will change until the options are more palatable and more slickly marketed. OpenOffice - for me - is a great alternative, so much so that I don't use MSOffice at all anymore and the Big Two Linux desktops are getting far better. Who knows where it'll end up...

it's insulting...
by thaidog on Sun 17th Aug 2003 02:58 UTC

u know it's not that everybody in a *third world* country (as u guys called us) such as thailand wants to pirate MS. There's a whole lot of ppl who don't like stealing and want to do the right thing. however legit copies of MS software have been sold at some unbelievable price that most ppl in the right mind cannot simply spend on. U think $400 for a MS office is crazy in U.S., it's a monthly salary for even some engineers here. don't insult us with an outrageous pricing. i don't care coz linux suits me better but don't rub it on the faces of those who like your (MS) software. MS, keep the $36 pricing (not just for ppl PCs) if u want to show a genuine goodwill. It's still expensive but yet acceptable.

MS Action pack is that price...
by Lorne Hammond on Sun 17th Aug 2003 18:07 UTC


I run a game centre up in British Columbia Canada, and have just recently purchased the ' Microsoft Action Pack '

http://members.microsoft.com/partner/salesmarketing/partnermarket/a...


For all that software we paid 469.00 cdn delivered + tax.. as you can see you get 10 licenses for everything and this neato (coaster) with a training seminar on it about how to offer advantages over linux in the enterprise and small business fronts.

Now getting the Office XP and Windows XP licenses for next to nothing was great.. the windows 2003 advanced server is worth about 800 alone and its dutifully running my caffe software, my XP licenses went onto the client machines as it makes a decent game platform. on the other hand my backend servers are of course linux debian based, one system is running my dns, web, mac authentication for my wireless, a samba file server, a 16 player cs server, a 32 player ut2003 server, and i just put on a 32 player battlefield 1942 server however its a bit of a ram hog.

So windows XP for a game machine / client and linux for the backend server farm where windows just doesn't cut the mustard. (good thing I reimage the windows boxes daily ;) )

Also, my web / surfing machines are Knoppix distro's booted via PXE from another server, nice, quiet, secure terminal serviced boxen with no hd's, unfortunatly the general populace is lost because the mozilla icon doesn't look like an explorer icon, but i'm working on that.

-IF- linux had a much larger game library, i'd have no use for windows, or that huge MS tax at all.

thats my 0.02... cheers,
-L

I forgot to mention.....
by Lorne Hammond on Sun 17th Aug 2003 18:23 UTC


There was a huge article in the local paper ( my city has about 78,000 people living in it) about how the entire school district was switching off of MS and onto linux, thats 3500 pcs now and 1500 more by the end of the year.

aparently MS is not happy about it and has called up the school board on several occasions offering these ' deals ' and incentives.

Alternativley @ costco here in town the Windows XP Pro full version is 299.99 cdn while Office XP is 799.00 cdn.

Talk about insanity.

http://www.sd73.bc.ca/tux/

Cheers,
L

@Lorne Hammond
by Bill Sykes on Sun 17th Aug 2003 22:27 UTC

" the windows 2003 advanced server is worth about 800 alone and its dutifully running my caffe software, my XP licenses went onto the client machines as it makes a decent game platform. "

Lorne, I hope you have read you EULA. If you are chaging people to use these machines you are in violation of the agreemnent. This software is for consultants and VAR's so they can learn about the software while they use it for thier internal use.

Bill

Low cost not low enough
by Mipooh on Wed 20th Aug 2003 16:13 UTC

For Thai people even 36 $ is too much. So noone is interested in that. Thai people have their copies of everything what's expensive. Not too many people here are interested in Linux, because for them it's the same price for a Linux copy or a XP copy. And the shrill outfit of XP and all the games for Windows, this is a reason to copy it, not that they want to work with computers. Here in really big computer shops you'll see all the copies offered in "original-like" packs. Noone cares.