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Software Piracy Due to Expensive Hardware, Says Ballmer 814

frdmfghtr writes "ZDNet is running a story where Steve Ballmer tries to pin the blame of software copyright infringement on expensive hardware: 'One way to stem piracy is to offer consumers in emerging countries a low-cost PC, Ballmer said. "There has to be...a $100 computer to go down-market in some of these countries. We have to engineer (PCs) to be lighter and cheaper," he said.' Does he think that cheaper hardware will make copying software harder to do?"
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Software Piracy Due to Expensive Hardware, Says Ballmer

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  • by stecoop ( 759508 ) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @10:14AM (#10586199) Journal
    When Google integrates an OS as their service. Imagine that one-day a Google like service where you turn on your computer and it connects to Google without any local OS (other than a BIOS and hopefully the BIOS is the Open Source one). Your files, settings and information are stored on the service. Sure you could have USB drives locally to store private info if you desire. But I wonder what Mr. Ballmer would say to that lowest of low price cheap hardware? You could take the money that would have been spent on the OS and allocate that to help pay for the service. At $100/12 = $8 a month; even at $300/12 = $25 per month - not bad having a use anywhere service whereby you don't have to maintain the OS or the Hardware.
    • by xmas2003 ( 739875 ) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @10:22AM (#10586351) Homepage
      YEP - right now, a retail copy of Windoze sells for something like $300 (my guess is bundled cost to Dell/Compaq/etc. is around $50 or so) ... so for the $500 hardware PC, the incremental cost of the OS from the manufacturer is 10% ... so it's still somewhat "hidden" - I DO wonder if they actually sell much Windoze at the retail price of about $300.

      Now ... PC hardware drops to $100 ... so now the cost of the OS is 50% ... becomes a LOT more visible to both the manufacturers and also the end-users.

      And finally, as the parent points out, what happens when a service is provided and the hardware is provided for free ... ala how Cell Phones are done today.

      • Hence they came up with that really cheap version of windows for some parts of the world. I think he wants cheaper computers with the cheaper windows in all the homes.

        Lets say out of the 250Mil or so middle class in india, 50mil get a computer because of cheap computers and OSes that is an extra 15billion in MS pocket...
        • by budgenator ( 254554 ) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @06:33PM (#10593089) Journal
          How about Linux on a Xbox? If Microsoft is losing money on the game console and expecting to make it back on game disks ala the Gillette Biz Plan, then Linux on Xbox would be the death-of-a-thousand-cuts!
      • by sbrown123 ( 229895 ) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @11:17AM (#10587296) Homepage
        wonder if they actually sell much Windoze at the retail price of about $300.

        You'd be really surprised. The $50 install on the Dell/HP/Gateway boxes often does not include a full version of the software on CD with it. This means that if the user needs a driver or their OS needs saved and the useless Recovery CD does not do the trick, they have to go to the store and buy a copy. This is amazingly very common. If you have a full version copy, your very popular...
        • by Eraser_ ( 101354 ) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @12:52PM (#10588797)
          Actually, Windows XP licensing requires that companies ship a full copy of Windows XP with their systems. Now, Dell does this true to its word. Sony on the other hand requires you to use their recovery suite and burn a copy of XP for reinstallation purposes.

          The other thing is, XP copies all its known drivers to your hard drive anyways, same with Windows 2000. Those will never ask your original product CD. I believe 2000 only does so if you add "windows components" via their add/remove programs interface which lets you like add/remove solitare and such.
    • It's called a network PC... it was tried, it failed. It's rumored to be making a comeback but people want to own things... not rent them, and here I would classify software as a thing.

      The other bad thing about network computers is that you are at the mercy of the people who maintain the programs to install the latest programs and hopefully have what you want. I could see it work in an office environment but not for home use.

      The only reason he claims this is that a lower cost of hardware would allow them t
  • Geez Louise (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AKAImBatman ( 238306 ) * <> on Thursday October 21, 2004 @10:15AM (#10586210) Homepage Journal
    He's really grasping at straws, isn't he? Anecdotal evidence suggests the exact opposite. When the price of hardware goes down, the market generally demands that software costs go down as well. That's why there's so much griping about Windows being large chunk of computer costs these days. I've even heard people use that as justification for pirating software! ("My computer only cost $500, so why should I pay Microsoft $250 for Windows?")

    In addition, many people seem to be particularly upset that they're forced to pay Microsoft enormous sums again, and again, even if they don't want to. In other words, people feel like they've already payed Microsoft their dues, so why should they pay it all over again? This has the effect of delaying upgrades until new computers are purchased, with businesses being the primary exception.

    Because of Microsoft's stranglehold on the market, they are able to rope companies into upgrade contracts that extort payment for new versions. Under these contracts, failure to upgrade results in higher costs for later upgrades. So much higher that it makes more sense to upgrade now rather than later. Could any other company pull these sorts of strong-arm tactics? Of course not! In any other business, you'd find a competitor and switch to them (or at least use it as a negotiation tactic).

    Let's hope that the rise of Mac OS X, Linux, Novell, and Sun as desktop competitors will finally provide a viable choice for both home and business.
    • Re:Geez Louise (Score:3, Interesting)

      He's a funny guy. How are they going to justify to customers that some general purpose software on $0.20 media costs more than a physical piece of hardware?
    • Re:Geez Louise (Score:5, Insightful)

      by gcaseye6677 ( 694805 ) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @10:26AM (#10586412)
      Balmer just keeps getting dumber and dumber. When will the board of Microsoft wake up and can his ass? He seems to be one of the few people in the world who just cannot grasp how fucked Microsoft will be once their Windows/Office revenue stream dries up. All he has to offer is excuses and half-baked ideas like product registration (did anyone not think this would be cracked?) and licensing deals that are so unappealing they lead companies to seriously consider other platforms. Balmer is the perfect example of a PHB in the extreme.
    • Re:Geez Louise (Score:5, Insightful)

      by tambo ( 310170 ) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @10:26AM (#10586417)
      He's really grasping at straws, isn't he?

      Absolutely. By this reasoning, gasoline if cars cost less. Although the products are used together, their prices and markets are almost completely unrelated.

      In addition, many people seem to be particularly upset that they're forced to pay Microsoft enormous sums again, and again, even if they don't want to.

      Correct. That is, of course, Microsoft's core business: virtually all of their strategy involves cementing the position of Windows on the desktop, so that they can charge people again for the same product every time they buy the machine. An even better example is Microsoft Office, which hasn't noticeably improved since before 2000, yet still costs $250 or so.

      Let's hope that the rise of Mac OS X, Linux, Novell, and Sun as desktop competitors will finally provide a viable choice for both home and business.

      Sadly, that really won't happen until there is one compatible, OS-neutral software platform. Most new commercial software is written for Windows - that's simply a fact - and it's because of (a) the network effect of such a large market, and (b) the success Microsoft has had with making Windows software development incredibly easy. Compare a nicely-fleshed-out Windows application, with automatic visual styles and Direct3D and OpenFileDialog boxes, with wonky Java applets that might run in a browser, and might just break.

      So the way to break the Windows monopoly is to create one finely-honed programming platform. When the latest 3D games and business apps run just as well (or better!) on Linux as on Windows, the migration barrier will be much reduced, and people will switch in greater numbers.

      - David Stein

      • Re:Geez Louise (Score:5, Informative)

        by AKAImBatman ( 238306 ) * <> on Thursday October 21, 2004 @10:36AM (#10586569) Homepage Journal
        Sorry, I generally agree with what you're saying, but you tweaked my feathers on one point:

        Compare a nicely-fleshed-out Windows application, with automatic visual styles and Direct3D and OpenFileDialog boxes, with wonky Java applets that might run in a browser, and might just break.

        NOBODY and I do mean NOBODY writes Java Applets any more. Java Applications are what have been working to displace Windows dominance. A few examples:

        Azureus Bit Torrent Client []
        Thinkfree Office Suite []
        DataDino Database Explorer []
        Disk Analyzer []

        Games too:

        Wurm Online []
        My 4K games []
        Big game list []

        So PLEASE don't mention Java Applets. You're likely to get stoned for it.
        • Re:Geez Louise (Score:5, Insightful)

          by hobuddy ( 253368 ) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @11:09AM (#10587138)

          Java is a nearly total failure at desktop applications, and will remain so, because Sun doesn't give a damn about enabling native Java apps to deliver user experiences comparable to those offered by native apps.

          Every day I use one of the most successful Java desktop applications (jEdit []), and like it very much. So it should tell us something when the author of that application, Slava Pestov, advises [] programmers to "just give up" on Java for the desktop:

          It is clear that Java was never practical for developing real applications, and never will be. Instead of asking how you can revive something that's obviously dead and gotten much more hype than it deserves, you should be asking if there's better technology out there.

        • Re:Geez Louise (Score:4, Insightful)

          by j-turkey ( 187775 ) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @11:10AM (#10587166) Homepage
          NOBODY and I do mean NOBODY writes Java Applets any more. Java Applications are what have been working to displace Windows dominance. A few examples:

          Azureus Bit Torrent Client...

          I'm with you about the Java Applets. F-U-G-L-Y. However, I'm going to use your post to illustrate my point earlier in this thread about Java. However, I've used Azureus quite regularly on multiple platforms. It's an excellent application. I've also used BitComet [], a Windows-only C++ native BitTorrent client. Although the latter is only available for Windows, the performance differences between Azureus and BitComet are astonishing. BitComet's memory and CPU utilization are significantly lower, and from an antecdotal "application snappiness" level, BitComet just crushes Azureus.

          This it not to sling mud at all of the Java-lovers out there. Its a fine development package, and definitely has its purposes. The point is that under most circumstances, a lower level language, while generally more expensive to develop, can yield greater performance. To me, this is critical.

          This single example clearly doesn't drive the point home, and I've seen studies that tend to show otherwise, but this just provides a single real world example of where a lower-level language-based application can outperform its counterpart. Finally, I don't have a problem admitting (disclaiming) that I'm slightly biased against Java after working on a few Java development projects in the early days and been infuriated by its performance.

        • by Hatta ( 162192 )
          So PLEASE don't mention Java Applets. You're likely to get stoned for it.

          Hell yeah. I could sure use some Java Applets. Lots and lots of Java Applets.
      • by Andy Dodd ( 701 ) <atd7.cornell@edu> on Thursday October 21, 2004 @11:02AM (#10587011) Homepage
        With the advent of cross-platform toolkits like GTK+, OpenGL, and OpenAL, it's becoming much easier to write an application and make it cross-platform with minimal effort AND have it perform excellently. (As opposed to Java, which is a great way to piss off your user by hogging 250M of memory for a freaking IM client... God those were painful days before the TOC protocol and later gAIM. Anyone remember the nightmare that the Java AIM client was?)
      • Re: Geez Louise (Score:5, Insightful)

        by ThosLives ( 686517 ) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @11:06AM (#10587078) Journal
        [offtopic to main thread, but on-topic to parent]

        ...until there is one compatible, OS-neutral software platform...
        What do you mean, "until there is..."? There are many, many "OS-neutral" platforms out there. Part of the problem is that there are too many. But that shouldn't mean all that much - if one company picks one for all their apps they should be fine.

        Here's a simple example. I'm working on developing a game. Say I want to sell that game on as many hardware platforms as I can tolerate. Let's say I happen to write that game using OpenGL, GLUT, and one of the standard C variants (ISO, ANSI, whatever). If I do that, I only have to make one version of the source code, compile for a bunch of targets, and I'm done. Sure, the performance might not be the best across all platforms since any interface I make for OpenGL is going to be a "second" window system on top of the host OS. But that's not the point - the point is that if you use some standard API (standard console i/o, OpenGL, etc) and don't go munging in "tricks of the host OS", the technology for OS-neutral applications has existed for years.

        I only say this because I have written simple and fairly complex (generally console based, mind you) applications using standard language features that first-time compile and run on Windows, Mac OS (X), HP-UX, and Solaris. I've even done the aforementioned OpenGL work that is consistent across Mac and Windows (I don't have access any more to the HP-UX or Solaris machines).

        What people sacrifice to follow this route is a "host OS look and feel" by using the host OS API calls. I'd rather, as an application programmer, have the ability to call simple graphics APIs and define my own behavior - closer to what things like OpenGL, GLUT, X-windows, and even DirectX provide rather than even things like Swing or all the widget toolkits for X-windows. Yes, it's nice when a host OS provides "standard controls" but then I have to port and "support multiple platforms". If I hire some guy to write my own standard GUI library and use something like OpenGL that's fairly ubiquitous as my "OS abstraction layer" then my application looks and behaves the same on all systems. This, to me, is more valuable than having all the applications on a system look the same.

        Okay, I realize that was a lot of text to try and illustrate my point. My gut feeling on what you propose, though, is that it's more politics than technical difficulties. After all, what is an operating system really but an abstraction layer to the hardware; all the rest of the crap that is part of a modern "OS" is really applications. I think when the paradigm shifts back to "the OS just provides access to the hardware functionality" then software writers will be better able to write applications that work on any hardware - so long as the hardware API is consistent!

        Incidentally, the cost of software would indeed come down if there were fewer platforms to support as complexity will be reduced. The more combinations of any product there are, cost goes up drastically. But, again, the "common OS" or whatever doesn't really even begin to address the issue of cost of hardware having anything to do with software piracy. Piracy is simply a market reaction to the cost of purchase vs the cost of getting copying, distributing, posessing, and using unpurchased software. (Since the cost to do this is zero, and the cost of risk getting caught is below the purchase price of most software, people will continue to pirate software).

    • Re:Geez Louise (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Daengbo ( 523424 ) <> on Thursday October 21, 2004 @10:29AM (#10586465) Homepage Journal
      When the price of hardware goes down, the market generally demands that software costs go down as well.

      This is exactly what I was thinking. When I lived in Thailand, the government promoted a low-cost computer with Linux pre-installed. They offered easy financing with 0% interest through the governments ?credit union?, I think.

      This did not in any way affect the piracy problem. In fact, it created such downward pressure on MS's prices that the first crack appeared in the "one price around the world" policy. The piracy rate didn't change (it couldn't really go up...), and in the end, nothing changed.

      Low hardware prices will not solve MS's problems.
    • This is as non-sensical as his iPod = theft spew. In fact, maybe that's his game. Whose hardware is generally perceived as "expensive"? Of course, he doesn't actually want to mention the company name. Right after he ragged on the iPod, that company reported some amazing profits and sales figures for the iPod.
  • by slars ( 410355 ) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @10:15AM (#10586217) Homepage
    OK, give me a $100 computer, but I'll still refuse to pay for Micro$oft crap on my computer!
    • by gl4ss ( 559668 ) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @10:31AM (#10586490) Homepage Journal

      who in their sane minds would pay MORE for the os than the computer?

      is he just thinking that "hmm. yeah.. so they can buy this computer at 500$.. hmm.. if the computer part just cost 100$ then they would be able to afford to pay us 400$. CALL THE PRESS! *mokeyjump* *monkeyjump* "
    • by saintp ( 595331 ) <<stpierre> <at> <>> on Thursday October 21, 2004 @10:35AM (#10586557) Homepage
      It rather startles me that both Microsoft and Sun are yammering about hardware being free and software costing money when, if we've learned anything in the past 13 years, it's the exact opposite. Hardware will always cost money; bricks and mortar don't want to be free. Manufacturing costs will always exist (except in some nanotech utopia).

      Software, on the other hand is information, which desperately wants to be free. And, contrary to the predictions of Schatz and Ballmer, software already is free.

      Until they make hardware freely duplicatable, it will cost money. It's more expensive to make 100 sticks of RAM than one. But it's no more expensive to make 100 million copies of Firefox than it is to make one. In fact, it's no more expensive to make 100 million copies of Windows -- legal or not -- than to make one. That's Netcraft confirms that Microsoft is dying: with information gaining increasing freedom, a company that sells information will be hard pressed to survive. A company like IBM, on the other hand, which sells silicon but gives away information, can expect a long and prosperous future.

      • by pnatural ( 59329 ) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @02:41PM (#10590509)
        Software, on the other hand is information, which desperately wants to be free.

        I don't think you know the full quote, of which you've only given half. The complete version, most often attributed to Stewart Brand reads thus:

        On the one hand information wants to be expensive, because it's so valuable. The right information in the right place just changes your life. On the other hand, information wants to be free, because the cost of getting it out is getting lower and lower all the time. So you have these two fighting against each other.

        Which changes your argument significantly, I think.
  • Wow. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rudy_wayne ( 414635 ) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @10:15AM (#10586218)

    It's absolutely amazing that the head of one the biggest corporations can publcily say something so totally and utterly stupid.

    • Re:Wow. (Score:5, Funny)

      by The Queen ( 56621 ) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @10:21AM (#10586313) Homepage
      Why is that surprising? They let Bush do it all the time, and he's the head of the biggest corporation in the world. ;-)
    • Re:Wow. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by AKAImBatman ( 238306 ) * <> on Thursday October 21, 2004 @10:23AM (#10586359) Homepage Journal
      It's not an accident. Microsoft has been trying for a long time now to convince consumers that software is more valuable than hardware. The problem is that I don't think Microsoft understands the issue of tangibility. Even the greenest user understands that hardware is tangible (they can touch it, see it, pitch it out the window, etc.) while software is intangible (can't do much other that look at it and interact with it).

      When you take into account how natural it is to place more value on a physical object vs. an intangible (e.g. a service rendered such as plumbing), is it any wonder why consumers are ignoring Microsoft's mind-bender campaign?
      • Re:Wow. (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Fnkmaster ( 89084 ) * on Thursday October 21, 2004 @11:12AM (#10587197)
        There's a reason that Open Source software is gaining in popularity in corporations. And I think you've stated it nicely. Companies from the small like Digium [] (makers of Asterisk) to the big, like Big Blue [] realize that selling software is not as profitable as it once was, largely due to competition in the market from overseas and the ease of cloning product features. Services is still profitable, if at a modest margin, and if you make use of overseas labor. Hardware is profitable, but your margins are again limited.

        That's why the best approach from a business perspective seems to be bundling or packaging fancy software with hardware, services or both. The software may be the hook to get people in, and you might even give it away (and while you're at it, make it Open Source, it makes your customers happy). But tie it to your expensive hardware. Or just convince companies that it works best with your expensive hardware. Or that your expensive services personnel are best equipped to customize or build value-added functions on top of it.

        This is the whole reason that quite a few tech businesses have embraced Open Source. It's not a function of their love of the community.

    • Re:Wow. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by TheLink ( 130905 )
      Since most of these public figures aren't actually that stupid/ignorant, they are probably assuming their target audience is.

      CEOs (and many other smart public figures) don't speak to individuals. They speak to targetted masses. They manipulate masses not individuals.

      When public figures (which CEOs are) get away or even rewarded for saying stupid things it doesn't prove or show that they are stupid, it is the public who are stupid. And so far many of such public figures are being rewarded for doing such th
  • Software Piracy Due to Expensive Hardware, Says Balmer
    I think he spelled "software" wrong again.
    • -Errors in MS products behaviour due to stupid user errors.
      -Security breaches in Microsoft's products due to plugins.
      -Worst hurricane season in Florida in recorded history due to a cyclic weather phenomenon.
      -Global warming due to increased levels of CO2.

      Okay, maybe Microsoft didn't cause those last couple, but I say we blame them anyway. They've been transferring it just a little too often, and I think it's about time they take on their share.

      So, Microsoft, what are you going to do to reduce world emissi
  • by jarich ( 733129 ) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @10:16AM (#10586229) Homepage Journal
    In other news, it was announced that speeding was primarily due to long roads. Starting next year, all roads will be shortened by 10% and this should achieve a 10% slowdown in highway speeds.
  • Yeah, software piracy is completely due to expensive hardwre. It has nothing whatsoever to do with overprices software. How can we have cheap PC's when the OS costs 25% + of the purcahse price of the PC?
  • how MUCH cheaper? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by bondjamesbond ( 99019 ) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @10:16AM (#10586232) Journal
    When you can buy a pretty good OS-less computer at for around $250us, that's pretty good. No, BALDmer, we need cheaper software.
  • price of the PC??? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Gothmolly ( 148874 ) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @10:16AM (#10586239)
    So I buy a $100 PC, but then need $700 for an OS and desktop suite (WP, spreadsheet, et. al)? Steve, put down the pipe, you've been hanging out with Darl too long.
    Or is this a sinister MS plot to get people hooked on cheap PCs, then use a subscription $9.95 a month model to 'rent' the software?
    • Software 'rental' (Score:3, Insightful)

      by glomph ( 2644 )
      This is where it's headed. The Microsoft Tax paid monthly, or your machine turns into a 100% space heater(as opposed to 97% when running MS crap). Will be the best thing that ever happened to Desktop Linux (or other free alternatives).
    • by Prince Vegeta SSJ4 ( 718736 ) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @11:31AM (#10587494)
      Or is this a sinister MS plot to get people hooked on cheap PCs, then use a subscription $9.95 a month model to 'rent' the software?

      My thoughts exactly, this would create an indefinite cash flow stream, whether the service is used or not. It would force 'Upgrades'. Need to access that spreadsheet, pay up! Need to retrieve that old invoice, pay up! No way in hell would I pay for a subscription service for critical software, unless I at least had the ability to use (at least a certain version) it offline, and forever.

      Imagine that you did some work in excel 5 years ago, and really no longer need to use it. Assume this was done under a subscription software/os model. Now, five years later: you have to subscribe just to manipulate that file. let's say you only need to use it for 30 minutes - sorry minimum subscription term is 1 month @ 9.95. Bahh.

      Look at Netflix, although there is pending competition from Amazon, as well as Blockbuster and Wal-Mart. Their subscription model was a cash cow (or at least very profitable). If people were paying 40 bucks a month, but did not rrent movies that month - what return do you think that is. With software, it would be more proprietary (i.e. Office Documents), making competition harder.

  • Ah....No (Score:5, Insightful)

    by deanj ( 519759 ) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @10:17AM (#10586244)
    PCs are cheap here. You can get an entry level PC for less than $500. Still there's piracy.

    Look at the Palm or mobile phones. Cheap cheap cheap. Still there's piracy.... and a lot of those programs only cost $5.

    The cost of hardware and software have nothing to do with it. If there's a way to get a "free copy", some people will always go that route.
    • Re:Ah....No (Score:3, Insightful)

      by vidnet ( 580068 )
      Finally someone who gets it! People don't pirate because they can't afford software. A $5 midlet or $10 shareware app is less than what most people spend on a dinner or throw away in the arcade at a whim.

      It's not only cheaper, it's also easier to find a serial online than it is to paypal the money and wait for the mail. Not to mention it's likely the only way for kids without Visa or parents who trust online shopping.

  • by schon ( 31600 ) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @10:18AM (#10586264)
    MS's problems aren't because they don't understand security, or customer satisfaction, or that monopolies are held to a different standard..

    It's because the people in charge live in a different universe!

    You have something with almost zero marginal cost, and mark-up measured in thousands of percent, and he thinks the problem is because the *hardware* (which has a large marginal cost, and has mark-up measured in the single-digit percentages) is too expensive?

    Sweet Jebus, software is pirated in third world nations because the software is too expensive.

    I wonder what color the sky is in his world?
    • by smootc-m ( 730115 ) <> on Thursday October 21, 2004 @10:42AM (#10586671) Homepage
      Exactly. A rational response to piracy would be to lower prices. The hidden problem here is Microsoft is loath to lower prices, because doing so would hammer its stock price and lead to an inevtiable downward stock price spiral.

      Microsoft is stuck between a rock and a hard place. High prices in the third world inevitably lead to piracy and an added incentive to move to Open Source software. Lowering prices means lower margins and a drastic reduction in market capitalization.
    • by maxwell demon ( 590494 ) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @10:55AM (#10586865) Journal
      I wonder what color the sky is in his world?

      Blue with white text on it.
  • I beg your pardon? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by delta_avi_delta ( 813412 ) <[dave.murphy] [at] []> on Thursday October 21, 2004 @10:18AM (#10586279)
    I'm sorry, but less than 24 hours after a story here discussed the pirate industry in Russia, and made the point that the average monthly wage is $240, and some software licences cost $600, comes this?

    Please. Cheaper hardware is going to exacerbate the situation by providing even more poor people with the desire for new software that the can't affoard. The only solution is to take computers from poor people. I'm joking, but I hope you can see my point...
    • by l3v1 ( 787564 )
      Good point. And I add another one: I live in the EU, I have two engineering degrees and I earn ~$380/month. No, it's not the best I could get, but it's not the worse either (you could tell me to get my a$$ in the US and get paid, but I'm staying sorry guys :D ).

      No way I would change my Debians just to pay loads of cash to Ballmer&co.

      • by danila ( 69889 )
        Well, at least move to Western Europe. The labour market must be pretty shitty in Estonia, Slovakia, Poland, or wherether you live right now. People in developed countries (and most of the old EU countries are developed) earn about 10 times that.
  • by AtariAmarok ( 451306 ) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @10:19AM (#10586280)
    He may look like Young Frankenstein, and dance like Elaine Benes, but the man is a shrewed business shark. Either what he says is true, or more likely it is a "FUD" plan by Microsoft to achieve some sort of effect that we are not discussing here. From my point of view, however, his statement makes no sense at all.
    • by antiMStroll ( 664213 ) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @10:57AM (#10586897)
      Some MS representative has publicly stated in the past - Gates I think - that in the future hardware will be free and consumers will only pay for software and software services. In economics it's known as the "Batshit Crazy" theory. This is just more of the same from Balmer following the party line. You also have to question how cagey it really is when every CIO worth his salt knows of the free OS alternatives and MS is being forced to release 'cut price' versions of its OS in Asia.
  • by Negatyfus ( 602326 ) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @10:19AM (#10586281) Journal
    A $149 PS2 didn't stop GTA: San Andreas from being pirated.

    It's a sport for the crackers, often easier than buying for the consumers and always cheaper. So how is paying for software to compete with getting it for free and without leaving the house?
  • by tbase ( 666607 ) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @10:22AM (#10586352)
    ...of CD's is to blame for pirated music.

    Let's see, the cost and performance of PC hardware is constantly dropping, and how's the price of software been doing?

    You know, if they'd just sell hummers for $100, people wouldn't steal gas anymore.
  • by Leknor ( 224175 ) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @10:28AM (#10586460)
    Umm, Steve, it's partly your fault people need faster hardware? Each new release of MS {Windows,Office,Whatever} needs bigger and bigger specs. If Windows Longhorn ran faster than Win XP on the exact same hardware, the base price for new machines would drop due to natural market pressures. Instead each new release inflates the system minimum requirements which naturally inflates the cost of a baseline system.

    Disclaimer: pretty much all of the computing industry, including open source software, are constantly requiring more and more powerful CPUs.
  • by DeepDarkSky ( 111382 ) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @10:29AM (#10586467)
    is because Microsoft now has cheaper versions of the software available to put on these cheaper PCs. The stripped down versions of Windows, for instance. It would certainly be hypocritical to say PCs should cost $100 when the OS itself costs more.

    And the reason for this, after all, is to open up the low-end market so that Microsoft can tap that revenue source. After all, if they offer something for $200 normally, and offer a strip down version for $50 such that people can afford it, it's still better than getting $0 because people can't afford to pay for it and end up pirating it.

    The funny thing is, from a certain standpoint, Microsoft is actually NOT trying to stop piracy (the official line is always to be anti-piracy, of course), but Microsoft probably realized that their software will be pirated, and in some ways, this loss leader in the emerging markets should strategically be allowed. Because then, Microsoft will dominate even more, especially where Linux is popular. On the other hand, Microsoft can't grow that market if the people cannot afford to pay for the hardware. Keep in mind that Windows is as dominant as it is today partly because it was easy to copy Windows. They could have put really difficult schemes to prevent piracy, but they didn't, because ultimately, that's not how they make their money anyway. They make their money by having dominance and then sell software based on it (Office, for instance).

    And in the future, Microsoft want DRM and they want to do transactions. They want more people on the internet using windows, and the way they can get that is to have as many people as possible with little cheap boxes that run some form of Windows that can at the very least access the internet so they can spend money through Microsoft channels.

  • by JayBlalock ( 635935 ) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @10:35AM (#10586551)
    You know, I've decided all of these "anti piracy" measures have started actually affecting how corporate minds think in places like Microsoft and the RIAA. They're looking at piracy like the US government seems to look at terrorism. There are X pirates out there, and if we can just make them stop, then everything will be hunky-dory and sales will increase a thousandfold.

    This, of course, is nonsense.

    They are asking "How can we stop piracy?" when what they NEED to be asking is "How can we increase sales?" These aren't equivilent questions in the least, but they seem to believe they are. We all read that story about piracy in Russia. If a single $15 CD costs approximately 1/4 of an average citizen's weekly pay there, there is simply no way in hell they're going to be paying $200 for MS Office. EVER. Doesn't matter how frigging cheap you make the computers, even if you give them away in very large cereal boxes, the people are NOT going to spend half their month's paycheck on a piece of software.

    This will not hold true in ANY scenario. Ballmer & Friends appear to believe that if they eliminate piracy, copies of Office will fly off the shelves. Even if they did manage to make a copy of Office which was 100% unpiratable (for the sake of argument), that wouldn't spur sales any. The people would just start pirating some other piece of software, or use OOo.

    The *only* rational solution to the problem is to drop software prices. The ONLY one. No other solution has the potential to actually increase software sales. (which certainly should be their goal, unless they've given up on actual profit in their eternal search for scapegoats) Yet that's the one measure Ballmer says they will NOT implement.

    Interesting, huh?

    My theory, incidentally, is that Microsoft is terrified of these hypothetical localized copies of their software leaking into the mainstream and selling at a discount. That's why their cheap XP-lite is so crippled. It doesn't HAVE to be, but they're so protective of their market share that they're unwilling to risk it in any way, even at the potential benefit of even more markets.

    Either that or, as I said, they've become so focused on pirates that they've forgotten to actually do business in the meantime.

  • by karlandtanya ( 601084 ) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @10:37AM (#10586581)
    Really, think about it.

    IT budgets are finite .

    IT budgets typically cover hardware, software, and (sometimes) services.

    Services are not much of an issue since that typically comes from staffing. It's a lot easier to shift capital money from HW to SW purchases than to shift expensed money from staffing to purchases.

    MS doesn't sell hardware. Well, they brand keyboards, mice and xboxes. But that ain't where they make their nut.

    Therefore, it is desirable that the entire IT budget be allocated to software. Hardware has to go.

    Hardware has to go. QED.

    Ideally, MS would prefer that IT budgets are spent entirely on software licenses, and no hardware at all. Without actually installing the software or even opening the boxes, there would no concerns about tech support, liability, or piracy for that matter.

  • An idiot... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Eggplant62 ( 120514 ) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @10:39AM (#10586612)
    Ballmer is clearly out of touch with reality on this. Cheap hardware will not change the software piracy problem a whit. Why do people pirate software? Because operating systems run $80-$120, Microsoft's Office suite costs $450, Anti-virus runs $40-$80.

    These ridiculous software prices, the constant need to upgrade and relicense and pay the same prices over and over and over -- that's what drives people to pirate software. Or turn to open source software solutions. Microsoft's trash got tossed out of my house on its ear 5 years ago. Nuttin' but Linux and there are scant few things I can do without their virus propagation system.
  • by Codifex Maximus ( 639 ) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @10:41AM (#10586647) Homepage
    > a $100 computer to go down-market in some of these
    > countries. We have to engineer (PCs) to be lighter
    > and cheaper,

    How much cheaper can Microsoft expect hardware to get? It's almost costless as it is now.

    The Microsoft OS is the real cost barrier. The cheaper hardware gets; the more folks will want an OS just as cheap. Microsoft will have to lower their prices.

    When Microsoft lowers their prices then they will have to partition their market into full/higher cost solutions and chopped/lower cost solutions; this will give Linux a clear advantage because Linux can offer a fully appointed OS with no cost differential.

    I expect Microsoft's momentum to carry it a few more years yet... but after that the energy will have bled off and people will begin to see the benefits of Linux more clearly.
  • Just a guess (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Dragoon412 ( 648209 ) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @10:42AM (#10586664)
    But it seems to me that piracy is so rampant not because of hardware costs, but because software costs will nickel and dime you to death (obviously, this doesn't apply to OSS, so spare me the "OMG use Lunix!!11" responses).

    So, first I start off with the $300 OS.

    Then, take a look at the other day-to-day software a typical user will (probably) need / want:

    -Anti-Virus......$50 / year
    -Image Editing...$200+
    -Decent IMing....$20
    -Popup Blocker...$25 ...and that's just to start; basic sorts of things that a typical home user would have. Suddenly that $500 PC isn't such a good deal.
  • I have the distinct feeling that this isn't true.

    1) I have a work PC, a home PC, a laptop, and a work PC at another site that I spend half my time at. Why does that mean I have to fork out for 4 X copies of Windows XP to keep the corporate standard so that I can connect into the network?

    2) People see the OS as an enabler for the hardware, nothing more. People talk about Windows, it's the standard, they don't like the idea of paying for it, as if it's built into the cost of a PC as far as many consumers are concerned. A lot of people don't realise that they are paying for it when they purchase a new PC.

    3) People don't mind paying a percentage of the cost of a PC for windows e.g. 10%. Now, the cost of an OEM license of Windows is about 1/5 or more the price of their PC. They aren't willing to wear it.

    4) People have forked out for Windows again and again and again. They really want something new that will really impress them. (As a community, we really need this ourselves on linux to boot MS out of the market but nevertheless) They aren't recieving that at the moment because of the whole thing about it being the standard...

    Either way, they are seriously lost here.

    IBM bought Unix and made AIX as an enabler for the hardware they were selling, the market hasn't changed. Microsoft had better realise this fact and fast.

  • by Facekhan ( 445017 ) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @10:47AM (#10586745)
    Software is going to become a commodity not hardware. Hardware already is pretty cheap even while hardware development costs and productions costs often exceed the costs of a disciplined software development project. Microsoft has two cash cows and almost everything else they make is a flop at least in part because they are not disciplined spenders. Office and Windows are gradually waning as all cash cows eventually do and that waning is increasing. The software market is undergoing a slow but very major correction in the form of FOSS. Because competition was blocked by a monopoly and because the equipment and knowledge needed to develop a competing product were relatively widespread would-be competitors reacted by building their product in such a way that Microsoft's bankroll it uses to compete (or anti-compete) becomes mostly irrelevent. You can't buy out FOSS, you can't sue it out of existence, you can't target any specific company or person in order to get rid of it. FOSS is a response to the heavy handed tactics of Microsoft and to a lesser extent it is also related to a number of other near-monopolies that developed in the software industry.

    Windows and particularly Office cost way too much. One would never think that in this age of 3d-games and super computers in the home and screensavers that cure cancer that an unimpressive package that does word processing, spreadsheets, boring presentations, and a seldom used database would be sold for $400. They simply fought all their compeitors to death or scared them enough to stay out of that market.

    Software is what is going to get cheaper. FOSS software makes it possible to get the most use out of each line of code by allowing it to be used over and over by different users who have different needs.

    The ever shrinking cost of a low-end PC have already commoditized hardware to about as low as it can reasonably go given that hardware manufacturers are not going to waste their time building old parts to sell for pennies when they can build new technologies to sell at a higher price. Then mass market them at the midlevel and then drop down the price to move out the remaining inventory when they announce something new at the high end.

    Some components can get cheaper especially when sold at retail chains like CompUSA and BestBuy where a hard drive still costs $80 no matter how small. Its their minimum hard drive price. You will often see a drive going for 80 or 85 and it will be double the size of the one going for 79.99.

  • by thewiz ( 24994 ) * on Thursday October 21, 2004 @11:02AM (#10587002)
    But I've ALWAYS found that I spend MORE for software than I do hardware. The machine I'm typing this posting with is a dual Athlon system that I spent about $1000 to build. The software (OS, office suite, compiler, and several other apps), however, set me back nearly $3000. I wonder what Mr. Ballmer has been smoking if he believes that "expensive" hardware is the reason people pirate software. I also wonder where I might be able to get some of what he's been smoking ;)
    I don't pirate the software I use; I believe in paying for software so I have the legal right to use it. I'm currently in the process of moving away from expensive software and to using more open source software.
  • by Noksagt ( 69097 ) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @11:06AM (#10587097) Homepage
    Mac hardware is more expensive than PC hardware (before any true believers jump on me, I'm not making any value judgement here). Yet Mac software is pirated disproportionally less than software for Windows. Yes, Windows is significantly more popular. Apple is said to have ~3% market share. But I would say there is more than 100 times more software packages that are more heavily pirated under Windows.
    • Yes and no. Go to any college campus and Mac users will have Photoshop, Office, and half a dozen other apps pirated. Why? Because most applications on Mac require a simple drag and drop of the folder from one computer to another via the network. Its extremely easy to pirate materials.

      In the real world its a different senerio. The two main people that use Macs today in business are still graphics and video editing folks. In those industries, if you are caught using pirated software then you are black

  • by rcb1974 ( 654474 ) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @11:13AM (#10587218) Homepage
    Balmer thinks that if hardware were cheaper, people would have more money left over. If people have more money to spend, they can better afford Microsoft software. Balmer thinks that if people could afford Microsoft software, then they would rather buy it than pirate it. He probably thinks that it is less of a hassle to buy software than pirate to it. There are people who think the opposite for good reasons.

    However, like traffic tickets and sales tax, MS Windows is a regressive tax; it hurts the poor much more than the rich. The solution is to scale the price of Windows so that it is a fixed percentage (like 10% maybe) of the total PC cost, but with a max cap of say $200. Under this pricing scheme, a $300 PC would cost $330 if you wanted Windows on it. A $10000 PC would cost $200 if you wanted Windows on it. That would make Windows more affordable in developing countries where cheap PCs are in high demand.

    As far as the big picture is concerned, what Balmer ought to consider is what _Microsoft_ does that is wrong and evil. Exploiting the poor is evil. A lot of people simply don't realize just how _evil_ exploitation really is because they haven't lived in 3rd world countries. Strongarming businesses is also wrong. Releasing insecure software which forces IT folks to spend countless hours dealing with spyware, viruses, and/or trojans is evil too. No wonder Microsoft has an image problem!

    I think the main reason why OEM hardware manufacterers still don't sell PCs with no OS installed is because Windows allows them to test their PC's hardware. This comes in handy when you have to provide support for your product. Instead, what OEMs should do is include test software on a bootable CD that tests all the PC's hardware. What do people think about this?
  • by yaddayaddayadda ( 571054 ) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @11:30AM (#10587476) Homepage
    Software is pirated because it CAN be pirated. You're gonna have a hard time pirating silicon. This is the prime difference between SOFTware and HARDware. Trust this, if Linux weren't open source, people would pirate it. People pirate software they will never use to it's full extent either. I wonder how many people have pirated copies of Autocad that they really don't know how to use at all. How many pirated copies of photoshop are used just for resizeing and converting image types? Why do people steal things? That's a real question. They steal what they think they "deserve". It's a real bullshit mentality. At least in the case of stealing Windows XP, people really do get what they deserve. Sorry I'm going on so long here, but new ideas keep popping up. Yes, I'm suffering from post before you think right now. Maybe it boils down to laziness. People will steal Windows XP before they learn to run Linux. People will steal Photoshop before they find out what other options that exist for less money or for free, as in The Gimp. So, who are the real assholes? Sure, Ballmer makes some pretty outrageous statements and basically exists to ruin the good names of the software developers and geniuses that work for him. But, the real assholes are the unwashed masses that allow companies like Microsoft to make products that actually push up the cost of hardware by being bloated and full of useless "features". Let's face it, without customers, a company means nothing. This is not to let MS off the hook entirely though, they do everything in their power (too much power) to keep customers "loyal". As stated in Full Metal Jacket, "It's a huge shit sandwich, and we're all going to have to take a bite." But that's not entirely true either. Believe it or not, Microsoft actually "helps" open source users by forcing an increase in the power of hardware systems. My Linux box really flies on some pretty cheap hardware. It's just a P3 1GHz/512MB RAM/GeForce 5200 and it runs great. Most people wouldn't even purchase a system with those specs if they saw it in a store. I'll tell you what, I bet it runs better than most P4 systems sold with windows in most cases the average user comes across. It's not that I can't afford a fast computer, I'm writing this on a G4 Aluminum PowerBook, a computer I was proud to pay a ton of money for. Anyway, Ballmer, you may be right, statistically, but philisophically, you're dead wrong man. Matt
  • by nurb432 ( 527695 ) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @11:31AM (#10587496) Homepage Journal
    Saving a few bucks on your PC wont effect the fact that the software is overpriced. These days the hardware is not the prime factor in cost like it used to be. ( unless you go for one of those esoteric gaming machines or special purpose workstations )

    However, if they have a hand in the 'specs' of these new low cost PCs, you can bet they will be so restricted that using anything that is copied ( or not approved to execute ) wont happen..

    its a switch of cause and effect to please the uninformed masses..

  • by thedbp ( 443047 ) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @12:08PM (#10588013)
    First he says that iPod owners are all theives (which is weird, because most of the music purchased online goes onto iPods), now he's saying its the hardware company's fault that his product is pirated.

    Let me set this straight for you, B-man. The reasons for these two phenomenons are VERY similar:

    1) People mainly pirate music because almost NO ONE feels that a CD is worth $17. Its price gouging, its unfair, they stifle competion, and the record company fatcats are getting disgustingly wealthy by ripping off artists and the public while pushing a mediocre product.

    2) People priate MS software because almost NO ONE feels that their OS is worth $300, and almost NO ONE feels that their Office package is worth $400. Its price gouging, its unfair, they stifle competion, and the coporate heads are getting disgustingly wealthy by ripping off coders and the public while pushing a mediocre product.

    Clear? Good.
  • by Billly Gates ( 198444 ) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @12:40PM (#10588591) Journal
    Face it folks.

    You can get a descent PC for $899 including an lcd monitor.

    Add $300 for Windows and $499 for office and half the price of the pc is for Microsoft sofware!

    Balmer is soooo full of shit and he is trying to make a lie become a truth.

    If I can not afford more than $900 for a new pc do you think I am going to pay these outrageous fee's for software? I am just going to install BSD or if I need Windows, pirate it. Plain and simple.

    In 1995 MS office cost $175 while the average cost of a pc was around $1800. Do the math with costs?

    Now the percentage is approaching 50%!

  • by yeremein ( 678037 ) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @12:41PM (#10588615)
    20 years ago:

    5MHz CPU
    512KB RAM
    20MB HDD
    14" monochrome CRT
    Total price: $3000

    MS-DOS: $60

    Operating system = 2% of total cost


    2.4GHz Celeron
    256MB RAM
    40GB HDD
    15" SVGA LCD monitor
    Total cost: $500

    Windows XP Home OEM: $100

    Operating system = 20% of system cost

    The price of the OS has increased by an order of magnitude relative to hardware costs... and the cause of piracy is expensive hardware? Pull your head out, Ballmer.
  • by adzoox ( 615327 ) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @12:55PM (#10588840) Journal
    That's interesting considering that greater than 90% of all installed Macs have completely legitimate software on them .... the last time I heard that number was below 50% (for a totally legit system) on the Windows side.

    And since Apple hardware is more expensive (at least initial purchase) then this hardly holds any water.

  • by Ralph Spoilsport ( 673134 ) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @01:10PM (#10589071) Journal
    Let's double the cost of the computer he considers too expensive, from $500 to $1000, and skip the obvious discussion of the MS tax - we'll stipulate that it's a Windows machine, even though I use a Macintosh. This is not a point of practicality, just a point of economics.

    Now, let's see: I want to get MY work done.

    My clients are in video, audio, web, and print. I need:

    Adobe Photoshop
    Adobe InDesign
    Adobe Illustrator
    Macromedia FreeHand (because I like to work in it better than Illustrator)
    Macromedia Dreamweaver
    Quark Xpress (for cranky or fussy printers who are still runnning Quark 4 on OS9 or 2000)
    Macromedia Fireworks
    Macromedia Flash
    Ableton Live (for music development)
    Adobe Audition (for Windows based destructive editing)
    Propellorheads Reason (for composition)
    AVID DV Express, Pro edition (for video)
    Adobe After Effects
    Adobe Premiere (because it comes with the Video Bundle)
    And, of course, MS Office


    Assuming I buy most of it in Bundles (Adobe Creative Suite, MM MX suite, etc.) I come out to a rough number of:


    At that point, a $1000 computer is one of THE LEAST of my expenses. When you bring in a DV camera, a decent audio ADC, Firewire RAIDs, scanners, printers, and similar crucial items, a $1000 computer becomes even less of a cost to the total operation. A $500 computer becomes insignificant - heck - it's almost impossible to find a decent multichannel audio ADC for less than $600.

    Ballmer is COMPLETELY wrong, or, more likely: HE'S LYING. SOFTWARE is the expensive item, followed by peripherals. The last item is the computer. The expensive part of the computer is not in its cost, but in configuring it to one's needs, which takes time (which is extremely expensive) software (which isn't cheap) and peripherals (which can be cheap or extremely expensive).


  • by carldot67 ( 678632 ) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @01:16PM (#10589194)
    I have SEVEN "sub-$100 machines" in my care. Assorted P75, 133, 200, 350 and they all run either Linux or BSD. None of them are capable of running Win 2000 or XP.
    Ballmer forgets that the reason people have expensive, high-spec machines is because THATS ALL XP WILL RUN ON.
    Good lord, Steve, get a clue!
  • by rnturn ( 11092 ) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @01:27PM (#10589379)

    ... and Microsoft wants a bigger piece.

    ``Does he think that cheaper hardware will make copying software harder to do?''

    Nah. My theory is that Ballmer sees their problem as people are spending money on hardware that Ballmer thinks they ought to be spending on software. Every dollar that Intel/Dell/HP/etc makes is a dollar that Microsoft didn't make. No one should be expecting Microsoft to be lowering their prices in lockstep with any price reductions that the hardware vendors put into place.

    What Microsoft is hoping for is a situation where cheaper computers are in the hands of the masses resulting there will be an even bigger demand for software. What they don't seem to realize is that, for poorer countries, that could easily mean an even bigger demand for counterfeited software. Or the folks in those countries will just load a free OS on those computers. Microsoft would like very much to prevent that from happening. (Good luck with that.) The trouble is that someone from a poor country has a small set of choices. Say they've got $500 to spend. They'd like a computer (perhaps so they can become computer literate and work for one of those outsourcing companies):

    • Option 1: They look at a computer with Windows+Office. It costs $500 which includes a $100 computer and $400 worth of Microsoft software.
    • Option 2: They can get a $100 computer with $40 worth of a commercial Linux distribution and have an extra $360 left over to feed their family.
    • Option 3: Get the $100 computer and borrow Linux from the guy down the street. Now he's got $400 more for food.
    • Option 4: Get the $100 computer, use a ripped off copy of Windows. He's still got the extra $400 for groceries. And if the buyer is a struggling small business, a chance to win a visit by the local police and a representative of the BSA. Oddly enough, this can happen if they choose Option 1. (What an incentive to go with Microsoft. Where do I sign up? :-) )

    Ballmer seems to think that people will choose Option 1. I would contend that Option 1 is the last choice people will make. (Me personally? I'd go with Option 2 since it allows me to support the OSS "industry".)

    Some day they'll understand that the world is not always looking for ways to send their hard-earned money to Microsoft.

  • A $100 PC? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by dtfinch ( 661405 ) * on Thursday October 21, 2004 @03:54PM (#10591287) Journal
    To run a $299 Windows?

    These folks pirate Windows because the version they can afford is crap, crap that they were already forced to pay $50 for despite not wanting it.

    For those people, who's yearly wages are a fraction of that made by Americans, stealing windows is like stealing a $300/pill prescription drug that costs pennies to make.

    I'd honestly like them all to switch to Linux, because piracy should not be condoned, but Microsoft brings it on themselves, and then passes the blame.

    What I suspect Microsoft is eventually planning to do is to partially cover the price of hardware, under terms that require manufacturers to only produce drivers for Windows, protected by software patents wherever possible. Complying manufacturers will win in the marketplace, and Microsoft will have strengthened its hold on the market. Windows will further advertise Microsoft products and services, and undermine free alternatives for security reasons. MSN Explorer will be the default browser. Users will be able to order or rent and install software much more easily than if they walked to a store, but the software will either come from Microsoft or there will be a Microsoft tax (listing and certification fees) included. blah blah blah.

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