Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 21st Nov 2008 00:11 UTC, submitted by Moulinneuf
Windows Every now and then, an article pops up which argues that it would make sense for Microsoft to offer a free, ad-powered version of Windows. "We are all aware that Google is the king of online advertising. Microsoft has wanted to compete in that space forever, which is why giving away Windows 7 makes so much sense," Business Pundit argues, "Let's look at the numbers; Microsoft's operating systems are on 90% of the world's computers, or roughly one billion machines. That's penetration on a massive scale. Even Google has to be impressed." While these articles make some valid points, they rarely dive into the actual details.
Thread beginning with comment 338020
To read all comments associated with this story, please click here.
How sustainable is this?
by Yamin on Fri 21st Nov 2008 22:21 UTC
Yamin
Member since:
2006-01-10

It seems people want everything to be free or ad-supported... and then they naturally find a way out of seeing the ads ;) Just how sustainable of a business model is this? What products would we even advertise if everything is free ;)

And then we have the nerve to complain where all the 'good jobs' go? When you want everything as cheaply as possible and everything to be commodotized as quickly as possible... something is going to give.

By paying the 'microsoft tax' or the 'cisco tax' or other measures, you are supporting the industry that keeps people working. Now how do you balance getting things as cheaply as possible with paying for products from 'good companies'? I don't know, but it is something to think about.

Reply Score: 2

RE: How sustainable is this?
by lemur2 on Mon 24th Nov 2008 02:31 in reply to "How sustainable is this?"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

Now how do you balance getting things as cheaply as possible with paying for products from 'good companies'? I don't know, but it is something to think about.


Commodity software companies write software once, then charge for it millions upon millions of times over, at huge profit margins per copy. This is a free market failure.

The economy as a whole is far better off without the millions and millions of repeated charges for the same piece of work being paid to just one software company.

The savings in the wider economy (gained say by using open and interoperable commodity software developed in collaboration) would be worth many, many times the lost value (to the economy) of one monopoly commodity software company. This is because users of software outnumber providers of software by many millions to one.

Most software written, BTW, is specialist software, with very few copies actually run. It is commodity software, rather than this specialist software, where there is a market failure at the moment, due to a single dominant monopoly supplier.

How sustainable is collaboration software development? As sustainable as any other intellectual development effort that is funded by the wider community directly, and not by the sale of products ... such as scientific research, for example. That has been funded by the wider community for a number of millenia now, so it has to be seen as somewhat proven by now, surely ...

Edited 2008-11-24 02:40 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: How sustainable is this?
by Yamin on Mon 24th Nov 2008 20:23 in reply to "RE: How sustainable is this?"
Yamin Member since:
2006-01-10

Fair points... however, I question when you speak of 'commodity' software as somehow being useless to support. There are certain industries where the knowledge base exists and you need to support that knowledge base... even if it is inefficient per say.

For example, even if your country stops space exploration, does it make sense to stop spending money on aerospace? No, because the knowledge base is very deep and specific. To train people in those fields in the industry is very difficult and time consuming. You have to keep those industries running even if it is not the most efficient. You can keep all the books and knowledge on paper and have some people hacking away at things but to have industry experts trained and ready to go when needed is very difficult without them being active on a product. This is similar to power plants which keep running at night even when there is no demand, because to shutdown/restart them would be too costly.

What you classify as commodity software is a very shallow layer. More important than the software itself is the domain level knowledge. In the case of Microsoft, it is Operating System design... In the case of Cisco/Juniper... networking, chip design Intel or AMD. There is a huge gap between industrial knowledge of these systems and just knowing about them from an academic sense.

As I said, I think as an industry we haven't given enough thought to the long term preservation of industry knowledge. Everyone is thinking of short term growth and profits and cost savings... including apparently some engineers.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE: How sustainable is this?
by lemur2 on Mon 24th Nov 2008 03:29 in reply to "How sustainable is this?"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

It seems people want everything to be free or ad-supported... and then they naturally find a way out of seeing the ads ;) Just how sustainable of a business model is this? What products would we even advertise if everything is free


The following activities represent billions and billions of dollars of lost productivity to the world economy, due almost entirely to the current "free enterprise" (read: monopoly/cartel/racketeering) method of development of commodity software (and its attendant need to keep the inner workings of the software as a secret):

- Effort spent in overcoming format and protocol incompatibilities (which are deliberately created by commodity software providers)
- IP royalties, software patents and associated payments,
- Other IP lawsuits, including copyright and trademark cases,
- IP trolls, and the cost of defending against them,
- Stifling of innovation,
- IT upgrade treadmill
- The entire "PC security" postmarket on Windows
- Spyware and malware in general, and the effort spent combatting it,
- Spam,
- Botnets and accompanying criminal activities, including theft from credit cards and banking accounts
- Internet scams

... I'm sure there are many other costs. All of these costly activities are an utter, utter waste of time, effort and money (on non-productive persuits) which litterally cost the majority of the population billions per year in un-necessary and avoidable costs. It is an enormous drain on the economy.

How sustainable is that? That is the real question. How long is the general wider software market going to put up with this absloute nonsense and utter waste of their money?

All of this enormous drain on the economy could be dissipated almost entirely if software development was simply made a community-funded collaborative effort for the common good ... just as pure scientific research always has been (but even that is becoming corrupted of late with the encroachment of commercial vested interest).

Edited 2008-11-24 03:32 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2