Home > Microsoft > Ballmer: We need a $100 PC Ballmer: We need a $100 PC Eugenia Loli 2004-10-20 Microsoft 74 Comments What’s one of Steve Ballmer’s biggest headaches? It’s not Linux or security breaches. It’s piracy, the Microsoft CEO said Wednesday. About The Author Eugenia Loli Ex-programmer, ex-editor in chief at OSNews.com, now a visual artist/filmmaker. Follow me on Twitter @EugeniaLoli 74 Comments 2004-10-20 6:41 pm Anonymous Yes, we need a $100 PC and $300 OS. That makes a ton of sense! Of course, having a MS tax makes it hard to have a $100 PC, but hey, Wal-mart already has $199 full Linux PCs. — Ballmer may not realize it, but piracy helped build Microsoft’s empire during the 90s and helps maintain it today. 2004-10-20 6:58 pm Anonymous Since MS makes money by selling software, it’s dependent on people having the hardware on which to put that software. Presumably, cheaper PC’s would translate into more PC sales and, hence, more MS sales. Also presumably, MS would drastically drop the price of software, both to OEM’s and consumers. Legitimate $100 PC’s and legitimate $10 Windows and legitimate $30 Office suites ought to be of concern to open source and Linux fans. If someone can buy a PC and add Windows and Office for $40, that makes open source a harder sell. Free Linux versus $40 Windows is not an automatic win for Linux. 2004-10-20 7:02 pm Anonymous I’m not using nor willing to pay for Internet Explorer, Windows Media Player, Windows Messenger, Outlook Express, Accessibility features, Defragmantation tool etc… Once they offer a real basic, lightweight and affordable OS, I’ll reconsider buying my windows. By the way, I do need decent file sharing and network domain access for my university, so my 3 Legal Home Edition licenses are not for me. (sorry for the obvious rant, but I sometimes feel microsoft doesn’t understand me or piracy at all) 2004-10-20 7:03 pm Anonymous Yeah Mr. Ballmer, let’s put a $300 OS and $300 Office suite on a cheap PC made out of tin. That’s not going to help piracy. Why point the finger at hardware manufacturers for cost issues? They’ve already done a great job of providing better performance for less money. When was the last time Microsoft did that? Oh yeah I remember…..never. Why is it that I can upgrade my motherboard, ram, and cpu with near top of the line components for less than XP and Office? Seems to me we need a $100 OS, not a $100 computer. Apple can do it for $125, Fedora/Debian/Ubuntu etc. can do it for free. Do you want people to buy your software? Then don’t charge more than it costs to build a PC for your damn OS and Office suite. 2004-10-20 7:05 pm Anonymous You’re right it would be a big concern, but it doesn’t seem that it’s going to happen. 2004-10-20 7:13 pm Anonymous [Seems to me we need a $100 OS, not a $100 computer. Apple can do it for $125, Fedora/Debian/Ubuntu etc. can do it for free.] I just want to point out that it isn’t a fair comparison. You need to buy the expencive hardware to use MacOSX, that is they make money on both hardware and software. Windows runs on x86, and they (MS) earn their money from software. Not that you are wrong, I agree a non-crippled OS at the price of about 100$ would reduce illegal copying. When agian MS has illegal copies to thank for a lot of thier marked-share. Just like Adobe has with Photoshop. 2004-10-20 7:14 pm Anonymous Yeah Mr. Ballmer, let’s put a $300 OS and $300 Office suite on a cheap PC made out of tin. Why do people keep referring to a $300 OS? I’ve seen $300 PCs for sale at WalMart.com with Windows XP preloaded, so will you quit trolling, please? 2004-10-20 7:17 pm Anonymous People also blame piracy on the price of Windows (or software) being too high. That may be true in some cases (esp 3rd world countries), but considering that I’ve seen people pirating $5 shareware apps, I think there’s a limit on how far you can go with this argument. Of course, people who pirate will always justify it somehow. I’ve never heard from people who could afford to buy software say “Yeah, I pirate apps because I’m a cheap and greedy bastard and don’t want to pay for the software I use.” At least people who switch to Linux as oppose to pirating have an ounce of integrity about them. Please understand that I’m not going off on people who pirate even when they can afford the software, just tired of hearing all of their pathetic excuses. 2004-10-20 7:18 pm Anonymous Microsoft won’t drop the price of software regardless of hardware or software sales. Software already doesn’t follow traditional economic theory; its scarsity is artificially created through licencing (which will probably become ever more restrictive). 2004-10-20 7:26 pm Anonymous Well, having 100$ PC’s would surely stirr up the market quite a bit– but seeing as MS has no departement (yet?) to sell complete systems, I don’t see it happen anytime soon. 2004-10-20 7:34 pm Anonymous Wow what a genious. Yes, we definitely do need a $100 PC. We also need brand new cars selling for $1000, 5 bedroom houses selling for $5000, and gasoline for $0.05 a gallon. What the hell is he talking about? Of course we NEED things to be cheeper. Who doesn’t? 2004-10-20 7:39 pm Anonymous in france and I assume also by WalMart you certainly do not receive a XP home CD, You get the right to use it, and it is preinstalled meaning that you can not “officialy” reuse your windows licence on a new pc when your 300$ pc die. for that price XP is unusable without open source, you need an office suite ($$$) and a lot of tools to make it usable 2004-10-20 7:39 pm Anonymous A $100pc with a $180 OS(let’s get real people). hardware makers are running at 2-3% profit on hardware were MSFT is running at %400 for windows. If MSFT was running at a business reasonable %50 markup for it’s OS, and Office Linux wouldn’t stand a chance. Of course Losing Billions in a year would lead to a shareholder revolt. Why would MSFT lose Billions?? Because none of it’s other divisions are profitable enough to support themselves, execpt maybe Xbox games. 2004-10-20 7:42 pm Anonymous What the hell is he talking about? Of course we NEED things to be cheeper. Who doesn’t? Things shouldn’t be cheaper than they are. Ever heard of economy? If everything becomes cheaper, companies will make less money, you will recieve a smaller paycheck and in the end the lowered prices are still too high. Simply put, that is. 2004-10-20 7:51 pm Anonymous Not trolling at all. Just being realistic. Windows XP Pro at retail is $241 (newegg.com), so a little cheaper than being said. Now you can get an OEM version for $100 less, but the license is only useable once. So if you upgrade your CPU and motherboard, you have to buy yet another license, even though the rest of your computer is the same. If you want to have a transferable license, you have to buy the full retail version. Same goes for Office and its retail and OEM variants. If you buy/build a PC, and never upgrade it with faster/better components, then OEM is just fine. If you do, them OEM doesn’t work for you, and you have to pay the full amounts for both. I just think it’s too expensive, and I think Ballmer is being uprealistic with placing blame on the hardware manufacturers. 2004-10-20 7:53 pm Anonymous Yes that is a good point. I guess what I meant is that from a consumer’s stand point, people want things to be cheaper for themselves. Companies naturally would not charge consumers less than what it cost to produce their product unless they were a big enough company and could afford to lose money on the product in an attempt to gain market share in a particular area (*ahemXBOXahem*). 2004-10-20 8:09 pm Anonymous No it’s not a good point. In an economy, money doesn’t just disappear. If company A is making less money, it’s because consumer B spent less money with them. That means that consumer B has more money to spend elsewhere, probably with company C, who is making something consumer B actually wants, rather than the garbage company A is forcing them to buy because of its monopoly position. If a market economy is working right, the money should flow to the highest value uses for it. If MS is gouging customers for a product that should essentially be free (it’s commodity software we’re talking about here), then that is an inefficient use of resources. If the resources were freed up, and spent elsewhere on a higher value use, the overall wealth of the economy would improve. Overall, pay checks would increase. So the point made is utter garbage. Matt 2004-10-20 8:33 pm Anonymous Now you can get an OEM version for $100 less, but the license is only useable once. So if you upgrade your CPU and motherboard, you have to buy yet another license, even though the rest of your computer is the same Sorry but that is crap the OEM version is a full version and you can install it as many times as you want. if the hardware changes and it complains you just call Microsoft to have them reactivate it. I own XP Pro OEM and XP Home OEM purchased from newegg. My question is how many people here would run XP and MS Office if they were $75 and $100 respectively? 2004-10-20 8:38 pm Anonymous We do need a $100 PC, I have so many uses for a $100 PC. I would sell the monitor for $20 and get an $80 box!!!!! I’m behind the man on this one.. Course, I’d end up loading a distribution or flavor of something… 2004-10-20 8:40 pm Anonymous What we really need is for the OS to cost less than the hardware, not a $100 PC and $300 OS! I’m building my mate a PC and apart from the LCD, a copy of WinXP is the most expensive part of the deal (which is why I’m giving him SUSE 9.1 Pro and letting him take care of WinXP). 2004-10-20 8:43 pm Anonymous AFAICT, many current or older mainboards run Win-98 and I don’t doubt that users in emerging markets will run pirate copies. There are also lots of older boxes running Minix or Linux out there too. In the era of open source and open standards, can these poor folks pay, and keep paying for: DRM’ed copies of web pages? DRM’ed copies of music files? DRM’ed copies of lecture notes files? No access to independently created audio content because the creator could not afford to pay encoder license and per-download royalty fees to the patent holder, or because the creator was deemed a security risk by the patent holder acting as agent for the US Govt.? With MS getting a slice of every monetary transaction? Sure, the goal for MS, as always, is to squeeze mainboard costs down to nothing, with all the value-add existing in the CPU, OS software, and (optionally) video boards. I’d guess that the high price for Win-XP in the aftermarket is a strategy to encourage users to buy a new box. If MS sells Win-XP for say USD 50 for both the home and pro versions, the OEM can sell the pro version at a premium, and pocket the difference. The OEM’s have little incentive to offer other OS’s unless a clear market reason for doing so emerges. MS can sell app software for whatever a given market will tolerate until they gain a monopoly market share, or until those markets advance in economic strength. 2004-10-20 8:53 pm Anonymous These are dangerous words. A $100 open hardware PC would kill Microsoft. If things continue the way they are, by the time a $100 PC could come out, Linux will be esentially on par with Windows in it’s ability to accomplish everyday end-user tasks. If the choice is between a $100 a computer that runs Linux or a $200 computer that run’s Windows with the same capabilities, Microsoft would loose a lot of income. Imagine, instead, a $100 “PC” that is locked down like an X-Box so it will only run Windows. Now that would be an initiative Microsoft could get behind because it would drive the cost of a Windows computer down to being on-par with a Linux box. Microsoft doesn’t know how to play the premium software game. They only know how to win by being the cheapest who sells the most copies. Linux is about to force them into a new position, one they aren’t comfortable with. As long as Linux can run on the same inexpensive hardware that Windows can it’s impossible for Microsoft to be the comodity option. Microsoft wants to change the rules so that Linux has to have it’s own hardware platform which will be low volume and therefor more expensive. Customers, however, don’t want this so Microsoft has to be very quiet about it’s plans. I bet this call for the “$100” pc is a smoke screen for their X-Box PC plans. 2004-10-20 9:08 pm Anonymous APPLE HARDWARE IS NOT EXPENSIVE, please get over it. You can get a sub $1000 mac these days with an educational discount, and this is not a cripled machine that you get when you buy a $400 emachine 2004-10-20 9:18 pm Anonymous [quote]Sorry but that is crap the OEM version is a full version and you can install it as many times as you want. if the hardware changes and it complains you just call Microsoft to have them reactivate it. I own XP Pro OEM and XP Home OEM purchased from newegg.[/quote] Actually, it is true. Legally. Sure, MS will probably reactivate it, because they are too busy to go after small fish. But a huge corp. re-using OEM licenses are technically going against the license agreement, and they will go after these corps. 2004-10-20 9:19 pm Anonymous Seriously, if Apple tried hard enough they could get the base price of a 256 MB eMac down to $399 – $499. Put it in a plain ol’ ATX case without a monitor and ditch the fancy designer case. They might get some market share. While I agree with minime, your idea is a cool one. 2004-10-20 9:23 pm Anonymous The End User License Agreement (EULA) for OEM software, including Windows XP, states that the software is licensed as a single integrated product in connection with the hardware. However, it’s important to remember that the end user cannot see nor accept the electronic EULA until the software is installed on a fully-assembled computer system. So, even though the original OEM software unit may have been distributed with a component, like a hard drive, it isn’t until the software is installed on a fully-assembled computer system that it becomes “married” to the hardware. In general, OEM software may not be transferred from one system to another system. However, the computer system can certainly be updated with new components without the requirement of a new software license. The only exception to this is the motherboard 1. If the motherboard is replaced 2, the computer system is deemed “new” and a new license would be required. Other PC components may be upgraded, including a hard drive. Though if the hard drive 3 is replaced/upgraded, the operating system must first be removed from the old hard drive. To restate: the operating system is “married” to the computer system on which it is originally installed. If you haven’t already, please take a moment to review a comprehensive group of OEM Licensing Questions and Answers which are specific to system builders: https://oem.microsoft.com/worldwide/514341.asp. The link above is for registered OEM builders. Thank you, The Microsoft OEM System Builder Licensing Team. From: http://www.michaelstevenstech.com/oemeula.htm 2004-10-20 9:24 pm Anonymous 1. Low cost software. 2. Security. 3. Ease of use and friendly GUI tools. 4. Low cost support. 5. Good support for both current and legacy hardware. 6. Choice. The solution is to not only stop spreading M$ FUD but also have M$ seriously work on offering a better Windows system while keeping cost low and not push deadlines to 2006 such as Longhorn. Otherwise do as Novell suggests and “simply change” to an alternative OS such as SuSE Linux. 2004-10-20 9:28 pm Anonymous Is the Xbox not about $100 and is it not a sort of PC… If they start shipping Windows Media Bug 2005 and Windows XP on those Xboxes… 2004-10-20 9:38 pm Anonymous If the motherboard is replaced 2, the computer system is deemed “new” and a new license would be required. Right so you call Microsoft and get a new license activation key. How this was interpreted as having to buy the OS again i will never know. 2004-10-20 9:50 pm Anonymous At least it’s not just iPod users that are thieves. Since Microsoft can’t protect it’s own IP, how is it that they going to protect the music industry? 2004-10-20 9:51 pm Anonymous Right so you call Microsoft and get a new license activation key. How this was interpreted as having to buy the OS again i will never know. I give up. It’s not an interpretation. That’s how it works, legally. 2004-10-20 9:52 pm Anonymous I’ve seen one of those $200 PCs (with Desktop/LX pre-installed) and KDE (3.1 then later 3.2) ran quite fast on it. When the computer (sadly) had Windows XP put on it instead, Windows is VERY sluggy, always crying for more RAM. I’m not sure how much more RAM’ll cost when it’s eventually bought for the computer, but I’m curious as to what sort of specs a $100 PC running Windows XP would have. 2004-10-20 9:54 pm Anonymous I can spend $2000 every few years for a new computer. But if I had to spend the full price for the yearly (for yearly new product releases) for the software I got in my collection, I would have to spend $50,000/year. So, no Ballmer, you idiot! Software should be cheaper, not PCs. PCs are affordable, software isn’t. 2004-10-20 10:06 pm Anonymous But the reason for $100 PCs wouldn’t be to save consumers money that they can then put towards Microsoft software. It might happen sometimes, and it would be the icing on the cake for Microsoft, but the real reason they want this to happen is to brute force their way past their compatibility problems. Dragging around a customer base that’s still largely using Windows 98/ME/2000 is slowing Microsoft down, and they haven’t been able to provide a compelling reason for people with semi-decent hardware and software that sort of works to upgrade. A $100 PC would encourage a lot of sales, and those sales would put Windows XP on a lot of desks that have previously been occupied by computers running Windows 98/ME/2000. 2004-10-20 10:12 pm Anonymous But the reason for $100 PCs wouldn’t be to save consumers money that they can then put towards Microsoft software. It might happen sometimes, and it would be the icing on the cake for Microsoft, but the real reason they want this to happen is to brute force their way past their compatibility problems. Dragging around a customer base that’s still largely using Windows 98/ME/2000 is slowing Microsoft down, and they haven’t been able to provide a compelling reason for people with semi-decent hardware and software that sort of works to upgrade. A $100 PC would encourage a lot of sales, and those sales would put Windows XP on a lot of desks that have previously been occupied by computers running Windows 98/ME/2000. Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. But I still think he’s delusional. I think it’s the wrong way to get your most current product on someone’s desk. The right way would be to price it more appropriately, and offer features that right now everyone has to get from 3rd party vendors, plus increased stability and security. I also would like to say I could care less how pretty Windows is; with each release it gets prettier, and slower. Even in classic mode and slipstreaming it, XP still isn’t as fast as 2k Pro. 2004-10-20 10:26 pm Anonymous I couldn’t agree more. I think, though, that Ballmer isn’t delusional. I think he just realizes that Microsoft can’t offer a lot of value, or at least not a lot more than their older products do, and at least not for consumers. They can’t get people to go out and buy new hardware for the sake of running new Microsoft software, so they’ll get people to buy new Microsoft software for the sake of using new hardware. Either OEMs aren’t going to bite, or Microsoft’s going to have to offer a lot of kickbacks. 2004-10-20 10:38 pm Anonymous Piracy is such a problem for Microsoft, yes. Yeah, a lot of people pirate their products, so they’d have stacks more money if those people bought it. But let’s face it; those people aren’t going to pay for Windows + Office. Not so much because they can’t afford it, but they just don’t want to – it wouldn’t matter if it was $100 or $1000, they don’t want to pay money. Anyway, it’s not like Microsoft are having trouble developing new software because of a lack of money! Where’s the space in a $100 PC for Microsoft anyway? It’d be a hell of a mission trying to make a PC for that – if it was achieved that would be just the cost of the hardware. Linux fits nicely into the budget, but Microsoft don’t as long as they expect to make money from it. 2004-10-20 11:35 pm Anonymous that we really need is a $45 (or less) windows os. 😀 2004-10-21 12:06 am Anonymous Piracy is such a problem for Microsoft, yes. Yeah, a lot of people pirate their products, so they’d have stacks more money if those people bought it. But let’s face it; those people aren’t going to pay for Windows + Office. Not so much because they can’t afford it, but they just don’t want to – it wouldn’t matter if it was $100 or $1000, they don’t want to pay money. I don’t think the “people will steal no matter what the price” argument holds true, at least not all the time. I know many people who gladly fork over money for Photoshop, Macromedia Studio, etc. as students, because students get a great price on those products. $199 for Studio, as opposed to $499 (I think?) is a great deal. So people will pay the $199 to get 4 programs, because it has value. A reskinned, slower Win2K Pro will little to no new features isn’t a great value, so people don’t pay it, regardless of being $100 or $260 or whatever. Piracy isn’t right, no matter the justification. But unfortunately for Microsoft, value plays a huge part in the severity of it. 2004-10-21 12:27 am Anonymous If piracy were enforcable there’d be a shitload more linux Desktop users around… I know a ton of people who try linux and think it’s nice but run XP instead, often I hear “man if I had the time to learn it”, “if I had to pay for windows…” etc. so I definately think that piracy is helping and hindering microsoft at the same time. 2004-10-21 12:38 am Anonymous As I read it if you replace the motherboard and it is not a repair job, then you need a new license, not a new activation code. New motherboard, new computer, new copy of Windows or is smartpatrol just carrying on the long standing tradition of Microsoft Licensing Terms designed to confuse… 2004-10-21 12:41 am Anonymous “We also need brand new cars selling for $1000, 5 bedroom houses selling for $5000, and gasoline for $0.05 a gallon. What the hell is he talking about? Of course we NEED things to be cheeper. Who doesn’t?” wrong. Things don’t work this way, your probably also one who thinks if taxes were lowered across the board you would have more money. Everything is relitive. You get paid for what ti cost to live (asuming your not a min wage type where you are paid on the basis of what you do is worth). So if everything was made cheaper then what it is now, like you mention. Your salary would just get cut. They system (economy) has to be kept stable, one event effects the other. If your a normal person making a middle class salary, part of what you get paid factors in things like the cost of software for your computer, or your car payments and such since those are cost of living expenses, which is what your salary is based on. What one wants to see is the value of things be made right. People will go and buy a nice 4 year old used car for 5 grand. They also might go and buy a nice bicycle for the same, or a computer. And not think much of it, but when you compair them next to each other it makes no sense you paid the same for them. On face value some things should be cheap, but some how it has to fit into the economy and people need to get paid and such. Things can’t be for free (and anything that seams free if you think about it, does cost you some how) sunlight is probably one of the few things that doesn’t fit, but it’s not a product either. 2004-10-21 12:56 am Anonymous See my comments above for a response to half of the stupid comments you make. Making things cheaper generally improves the economy, and the overall wages of people, it doesn’t harm it. And as for the comment that you get paid based on your cost of living – where can I get some of that action. My cost of living, when you take into account the jet I need, and the plush house, cars, and international travel comes to about $1M per annum. Given that we all get paid based on our cost of living (according to your analysis), I should be able to present my cost of living bill to my employer, and he’ll match it in wages – why didn’t I think of this negotiating tactic before? I’m so dumb (see my nick for proof). Matt 2004-10-21 2:27 am Anonymous dude spring the extra 900 bucks get a 999$ ibook lol then you have a good os and a good set of h/w 2004-10-21 2:38 am Anonymous I’m not sure if that was supposed to be sarcastic or not, but I’ll bite. Brad is right in what he says. Think about it this way, if it cost $100 a week for a worker to live, I am not saying thats comfortable living, but living none the less, then for a bottom rung job, an employer has no justification for paying that person over $100 a week. Now if someone is a bit more important and skilled, they won’t work for $100 a week, also they are wanted by other employers to work for them. So they get a higher wage, and so as a persons skills and job importance increase, so does their wage. Though this has gone way to far in the case of Million Dollar executives, who do a bad job and still get Golden Handshakes… but thats a matter for another forum/time. 2004-10-21 2:48 am Anonymous price of windoze prof xp is $199 at amazon.com http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/B00005MOTF/002-721830… price suse linux is $29 bucks better yet get it free from Fedore I am using Linux desktop at work I don see any issue. 2004-10-21 2:52 am Anonymous Yes I was being sarcastic – very perceptive – that was sarcasm too. Anyway, if you notice that in every part of your analysis, you qualify your statements, so that the wage paid is based on …. either skill, the value of the job or both. Did you notice that? So the wage paid, on your analysis, is not linked to cost of living, but skill, and job value and bear no relation to living costs at all. Your analysis only serves to disprove your point. But you keep trying. 2004-10-21 3:01 am Anonymous “And as for the comment that you get paid based on your cost of living – where can I get some of that action. My cost of living, when you take into account the jet I need, and the plush house, cars, and international travel comes to about $1M per annum. Given that we all get paid based on our cost of living (according to your analysis), I should be able to present my cost of living bill to my employer, and he’ll match it in wages – why didn’t I think of this negotiating tactic before? I’m so dumb (see my nick for proof). ” I’m sure with your charm you are paid well. You clearly don’t get it. I know your being a smartass but just incase. Your cost of living is not the cost of how you want to live, like you showed above, but what a normal person would need to live normaly. Salary is very much based on this. Thus why a job in NYC pays more then the same job in the middle of Kansas. It cost way more to live in NYC, so things are adjusted. And yes, you could try going to your company and say your not paid anough for your way of life, and they can say no and you keap looking for companies that will pay you what you want. But it’s unlikely you will. Also if you truely arn’t making enough to live at your current job, you can approach your company and show how your not and maybe able to get a raise (talking about reasonable things here, like a few grand a year). Companies will give you a raise if you show you are underpaid and they like you, or can’t find someone else wanting to do the job. Cost of living is a great way to make more, if your moving from a place that is cheap to live to someplace that isn’t you can make a solid argument for how much you need to make over where you are currently at to justify the move. If you haven’t somehow realized all this before in your life you are very behind the 8 ball. There are reasons why there are cost of living indexes out there for cities. If you do things right you can really make out, like get a job in NYC or New Jersey and get paid for the high cost of living, but then live in Pennsylvania (where it’s dirt cheap to live)and commute every day. My parents did this for 25 years. 2004-10-21 3:15 am Anonymous :Spend the extra $8 and live in the Windows World. It’s much better here. You can get streaming content and all that without the hastle. There’s tons of Windows apps and all that. And you can have the safety to know that you can send a Microsoft Word document which includes your RESUME to an organization and they can open it up and read it. Live in the real world. Reality police. Word is not even compatiable with Word. The other end has to have the same version as you if you have a complex document and want them to see it right. PDF is way easier, I never had any problems with sending PDF documents while Word documents I usally have to sit infront of their computer to get it to look right. :Wake up! Your life is wasting away. So why are you using Windows? you know how much time you would save by not having to babysit Windows if you switched to say Mac OS X,BSD or Linux 2004-10-21 4:53 am Anonymous Well, I’m not a great mathematican, but some calculus: Windows XP Home OEM is 100 Euro (roughly $100). Cheap PC are available for around 200 Euro. Hardware profits are tiny, maybe 2%. There is no room to cut hardware costs significantly in the near future. So for a 100 Euro/Dollar PC you’d need to cut hardware costs down to 95 Euro/Dollar and Windows down to 5 Euro/Dollar. First is unrealistic, second is quite unlikely to happen. This is quite some marketing blather. It sounds like Ballmer wants us to think the hardware vendors are making the big profits and should cut costs down or poor consumers are doomed. What’s the profit margin for each sold Windows OEM? Where to cut costs best? I’m not saying that Microsoft should give their software away for free. But selling Windows OEM for 100 Euro and then demanding a 100 Dollar PC is a good joke. 2004-10-21 6:01 am Anonymous The study about migrating from Windows to Linux on all Paris’ computer applications never concluded that Linux was more expensive than Windows. The conclusion was that MIGRATION was more expensive than staying Windows. That’s a subtile difference, and when you argue for your OS, be honest and use the correct arguments. On my own, I think that starting a professionnal working environment is for the moment cheaper with Linuxes than “with doze”. All the requirements for professionnal use is included in most distro (Network support, Terminal emulations for Mainframes, NetBrowsers, Mail support, Web Servers, Dev Envrionnements, and so on). Hope the bright side of the force will succeed 2004-10-21 6:09 am Anonymous You know when XBox came out, you could rig it to run Linux, so you actually had a $199 dollar PC. Then Microsoft updated their system if you connected it onto the net so you wouldn’t be able to do it. 2004-10-21 8:01 am Anonymous Couldn’t agree more Jeff it is totally unrealistic to blame the hardware manufacturers, but what do we expect it is Ballmer in the corner. What happens when buys a PC at any price with xp pre-installed and the hard drive dies presumably you need to have a transferable license which you have to buy the full retail version……. Naturally ever lower and lower pricing leads us down a dark alley. Myself I think companies in several industries have been encouraging piracy in “all its many and varied” forms for years. Twin tape decks, twin video decks just to mention 2 very obvious ones. In computing this is a self-inflicted wound created by stupid pricing levels that are unrealistic, compared to the rest of the business and high piracy is the result not just of the pricing but of the arrogance and all the rest of the practices. It is so simple really. One doesn’t even need to be intelligent. The difficulty for Ballmer now is to decide how best to rectify these years of management blunders and attitudes in order to save the company from a continual slide downwards. 2004-10-21 8:32 am Anonymous Dear bullethead. Windows is $97 or @199 or @299 or whatever. Fact is, if you manage to buy your Windows at $97 all you get is the CD, and a license to install and use the software on it. For a very low budget you can then get yourselves an OpenOffice, a Gimp, an e-Mail program, whatever. If you insist on having MS Office you have to pay another $100 or $200 or $300 depending on which license model you choose and where you buy. NOT included is SUPPORT, not a single e-Mail, not a single phone-call, nothing, you are also not allowed to use that windows machine as a terminal server for 20 clients. With Linux its different. For $300 you get a SuSE or RedHat or whatever, already including lots of useful software, you get support. If you choose to never use the support, or if the support periode is over, you can install the software on as many PC’s (including servers). If you want to you can download the distribution of your choice for almost $0, or if you don’t have broadband ask at your local linux user group, they will happily provide you with every distro you can think of. Even better, this is perfectly LEGAL. Thus if we compare licensing costs of MS windows with licensing costs of linux please try to compare fairly. And this comparison for the home desktop is $0 – $80 for linux, and $97 – $299 for windows. Now think about what costs less. 2004-10-21 8:33 am Anonymous http://www.lcs.mit.edu/about/titans.html It’s interesting – to quote Bill Gates: “Contrast the old proprietary computing model, where software accounted for a high proportion of system cost, with the PC model, where software is only a tiny percentage of overall cost.” Yeah, riiiiight! the PC hardware gets down to $100.00, the software remains up at about $500.00, and Microsoft being Microsoft, it gets what it wants… Until it stops getting it, and then screams “piracy!!!” Eg: http://news.com.com/Ballmer+We+need+a+100+PC/2100-1012_3-5419179.ht… “The biggest problem we have right now is that people who should be paying for software aren’t,” Ballmer told an audience of technology executives at an industry conference here sponsored by market researcher Gartner. One way around that that doesn’t rely on the coercive forces of the state, that relies on the open and free market – which the United States seems to want to portray itself as supporting – is to offer zero-cost licenses together with the source code, in return for a commitment from the people receiving the licenses, that they will retain rights to any improvements and bug-fixes they come up with, but they must submit the improvements and bug-fixes to Microsoft to have them recognized and incorporated into the central source tree. Why not? It works for *BSD, Linux, Apache, GIMP, emacs, gcc, etc … and it beats piracy hands-down. No one except the person who files off the authorship attributions and license details from those software packages, or in the case of GPLed software are guilty of refusing to release the source code, are guilty of infringement of the licenses. And someone who pretends to what he has not done, is universally contemptible, anyway. 2004-10-21 10:29 am Anonymous If the motherboard is replaced 2, the computer system is deemed “new” and a new license would be required. Right so you call Microsoft and get a new license activation key. How this was interpreted as having to buy the OS again i will never know. The problem here is that Microsoft states that a new *licence* is required. This is what costs money, as the licence activation key is just that: an activation key for a paid-for licence. As a person that has had to sell OEM hardware in the past, take my word for it; legally you cannot move the OS from one machine to another if they are deemed “different”. The addage “my broom may have had the brush and handle replaced many times, but it is still the same broom” does not apply as far as M$ is concerned. 2004-10-21 12:36 pm Anonymous “PCs are not selling to the lower end of the population in China and India”, lower end of the population? wtf!? lower end population = poor people, i suppose to mr. ballmer. 2004-10-21 12:42 pm Anonymous For a very low budget you can then get yourselves an OpenOffice, a Gimp, an e-Mail program, whatever. If you insist on having MS Office you have to pay another $100 or $200 or $300 depending on which license model you choose and where you buy. These programs are also available for Windows (OpenOffice, Gimp), and there are free email clients available also. NOT included is SUPPORT, not a single e-Mail, not a single phone-call, nothing, you are also not allowed to use that windows machine as a terminal server for 20 clients. All of the support I’ve ever received on both operating systems has come from the community–message boards and chat rooms. This really eliminates the need for company-provided tech support. With Linux its different. For $300 you get a SuSE or RedHat or whatever, already including lots of useful software, you get support. If you choose to never use the support, or if the support periode is over, you can install the software on as many PC’s (including servers). What commercial software is included with SuSE and RedHat that would justify this $300 purchase? I can see the value when it comes to a server OS, but the more advanced Linux servers cost more (Red Hat Application Server–$999) Thus if we compare licensing costs of MS windows with licensing costs of linux please try to compare fairly. And this comparison for the home desktop is $0 – $80 for linux, and $97 – $299 for windows. Now think about what costs less. If we are comparing licensing fees for a home user, this difference in price is negligent when considering usability. Windows is much easier to use than Linux. So while you pay less for Linux, you sacrafice ease-of-use and many other things, including seletion of applications. And before you go and start ranting about all the “awesome” Linux applications, you need to realize that most Linux apps are crap. There are exceptions, one of them being the Gimp. While you may have to pay for these Windows apps that are better, they will not run on Linux. So people who would want to run these apps that are much better than their free Linux counterparts are alienated by this cheaper operating system. It all comes down to what you are willing to pay. Some want free software, so they go wtih Linux. Other people like the mainstream, so they pay more money for better quality products (Windows, Office, etc.). There are others who have much more money to spend than others and choose Mac. My point being–you get what you pay for. 2004-10-21 1:06 pm Anonymous Been building them for cheapskate relatives. Used Celeron 500MHz, 256 megs of ram, 8 gig hd, 15 inch monitor, SB Live card, ATI Xpert 2000 video……$100 out of the newspaper want ads. Basic Mandrake or SuSE install…..$0. One VERY happy relative. The only thing they had to spring for was a cheapo $15 NIC to connect to thier newly installed cable internet service. 2004-10-21 1:54 pm Anonymous What happens when buys a PC at any price with xp pre-installed and the hard drive dies presumably you need to have a transferable license which you have to buy the full retail version……. Actually replacing a hard drive would still allow you to use the same OEM license, because MS considers a new hard drive an “upgrade”, rather than being the “heart of the system” that the motherboard is. Basically, to MS the motherboard is the computer. New motherboard, new computer, needs new license, which you have to buy, not just reactivate. 2004-10-21 1:56 pm Anonymous Things shouldn’t be cheaper than they are. Ever heard of economy? If everything becomes cheaper, companies will make less money, you will recieve a smaller paycheck and in the end the lowered prices are still too high. Thom, that is just the most crazy thing I have ever heard. Please don’t talk about subjects you have no idea about. People want ‘stuff'(thats the technical term) not money. For example Joe has $200 disposable income. He looks around and sees a PC with windows for $200.00. So he decides to look around and finds the a PC with windows for $100. Se he buys that PC and $100 worth of Games for $200 versus $200 for just the PC and the OS. In dollars he has only contributed $200 to the GDP in both cases, but surely you can see that in terms of ‘stuff’ the economy has produced more. In summary, inefficiency does not make a good economy. The economy benefits when everything tends towards a commodity. 2004-10-21 2:51 pm Anonymous That call for a $100 computer is an open admission that MS sees a big threat on the windows and office cash cows. 2004-10-21 3:47 pm Anonymous The problem here is that Microsoft states that a new *licence* is required. This is what costs money, as the licence activation key is just that: an activation key for a paid-for licence. As a person that has had to sell OEM hardware in the past, take my word for it; legally you cannot move the OS from one machine to another if they are deemed “different”. The addage “my broom may have had the brush and handle replaced many times, but it is still the same broom” does not apply as far as M$ is concerned. I haven’t had a problem with this. I moved a copy of XP home from a laptop i bought to a different machine no problem. The way i always understood it was that you could not have the same active single license of XP on more than one machine. This I believe is all they really want to prevent. I find it very hard to believe that for instance i buy a p4 motherboad and cpu then upgrade to an Athlon based motherboard cpu that i would have to buy another copy of Windows. That goes against common sense and i highly doubt Microsoft would be dumb enough to try and enforce something like that. Interpret it however you wish though. 2004-10-21 4:54 pm Anonymous I don’t need a $100 PC or $100 WinXP. I need an operating system that works!!! If it’s cost is $100, perhaps I’ll pay for it. I’m fine with my Suse 9.1 ($80 if you want media, books, etc.) 2004-10-21 4:58 pm Anonymous I just got off the phone with my Microsoft rep. He tells me that “license” in the EULA means a separate purchase of XP. Hard Drives, Sound cards, Network cards, any other peripheral can be changed out, but if the motherboard is changed, a new license has to be purchased. Straight from the StormTroopers mouth 2004-10-21 5:03 pm Anonymous Windows home is like $100, & the pro is like $250, right? When you can get a pro edition of linux for almost half of windows home the prob, isn’t hard to see, although most of my message is cuase it is invisible when typing it. Using Mozilla 1.1 in Suse Home 8.1 2004-10-21 5:18 pm Anonymous “Seems to me we need a $100 OS, not a $100 computer. Apple can do it for $125, Fedora/Debian/Ubuntu etc. can do it for free.” Well, if you buy a computer new you certainly arent paying more than 100 for Windows. Fedora/Debial/Ubuntu may do it for free, but I am fine paying for a quality product that just plain old works like Windows. 2004-10-21 5:33 pm Anonymous This I believe is all they really want to prevent. I find it very hard to believe that for instance i buy a p4 motherboad and cpu then upgrade to an Athlon based motherboard cpu that i would have to buy another copy of Windows. That goes against common sense and i highly doubt Microsoft would be dumb enough to try and enforce something like that. Interpret it however you wish though. There is nothing to believe, nothing to interpret. OEM licenses are non-transferable. You swap the board, you need to purchase a new license. Really, it’s not that tough to understand. Do we have to get Gates himself here before you believe what many have already provided proof to? Good for you that MS has so far allowed you to reactivate on a different computer. This is not the norm. Well, if you buy a computer new you certainly arent paying more than 100 for Windows. Fedora/Debial/Ubuntu may do it for free, but I am fine paying for a quality product that just plain old works like Windows. I am paying more than $100 for Windows, because I don’t buy store bought crap, I build my own machines. I like to be able to upgrade individual parts, not buy a whole new computer everytime I want a new motherboard. BTW, Fedora just plain old works on brand new A64 hardware. No problems here. 2004-10-21 9:14 pm Anonymous This I believe is all they really want to prevent. I find it very hard to believe that for instance i buy a p4 motherboad and cpu then upgrade to an Athlon based motherboard cpu that i would have to buy another copy of Windows. That goes against common sense and i highly doubt Microsoft would be dumb enough to try and enforce something like that. Interpret it however you wish though. Much to my dismay Microsoft has enforced it to a certain degree. When replacing a motherboard Microsoft told me to buy a new copy since the motherboard had changed and refused to activate it. 2004-10-21 11:58 pm Anonymous The iBooks, eMacs, and iMacs are priced right, but when I can get a near top of the line desktop PC for $1000 why the heck can’t I get a 1.8gHz Powermac G5 for $1000?? The non-dual powermacs are overpriced. 2004-10-22 2:27 am Anonymous well they came out with at 1.8GHz for $1499… 2004-10-22 5:12 am Anonymous So I change the motherboard, then have to get a fresh copy of windows? That is madness to anyone who builds there own machine. 2004-10-22 6:35 am Anonymous That’s why I have Mandrake instead of Xp. 2004-10-22 7:44 am Anonymous Exactly Arthur, and why I switched to Slackware to get away from the madness. Now if 20% of everyone with a computer switched, then you may find the monolith more willing to change. Unfortunately most people are sheep. We strangely live in an era where the governments actively encourage dumbing-down, so for these two major reasons I cannot imagine the silent majority switching. Actually what is the percentage of people without a computer? That’s a HUGE market, and hopefully that market is going to go Linux way. This then will be the way the 20% or more will switch because they go straight to Linux and don’t need the other O/S baggage. Lets face it folks, in a cash-strapped world, VALUE FOR MONEY, is king. We in the West have it all 100% wrong right now, chasing the cheapest and cheapest…….it does not necessarily mean cheap is good value. In the case of Linux, when you sit back and look what you have got for your money, then you see VALUE. When you install Windows what do you see apart from the O/S?