After last week’s announcement by Steve Ballmer that Windows’ biggest competitor is pirated versions of Windows, it’s amazing to me that Microsoft isn’t changing their ways. In many ways, they’re promoting piracy of their software.
As a PC builder, I get enjoyment out of the freedom to put together a PC a la cart. This Motherboard + This CPU + This Memory, and so on. In current times, you’ll usually match an equally powered name-brand PC, except you would not get an operating system with your build as you would with the store-bought PC.
Buying Windows will cost you $100 or more (up to $300) which puts you $100 – $300 beyond the cost of an equally-equipped OEM system. Is it worth it? No. What’s the solution? Don’t pay for Windows! Pirate it!
Windows is freely and readily available on any Peer-to-peer, Bit-torrent or newsgroup network and can be downloaded and installed quicker than going through the process of deciding which version of Windows you want (and can afford). Free alternatives (Linux) are just as easy to obtain, but are not as refined, and not as widely supported. Mac OS is not an option because it’s restricted to Apple hardware.
How else does Microsoft promote piracy? I have experienced one way first hand. I have a Zune MP3 player. I want to begin by saying that it’s a great device. I recommend it to everybody. But I will give this warning, If you don’t have windows, you have a $250 brick.
My home server runs Ubuntu Linux, and as that’s where I store all my music, I wanted to set up my Zune to sync with the server itself. I wanted something that could maintain my media any time. Both my desktop and laptop get shut down when they’re not in use, but the home server sits in it’s rack and doesn’t shut down. It’s the perfect machine to just plug my Zune into at night and go to sleep while it updates with podcasts and new music.
One problem. There is no way to sync a Zune in Linux. so I have to turn on my laptop any time I want to sync my zune. Unless i want to install Windows on my server. That would cost me at least another $100. More if I wanted to install any type of Windows Server software.
Many people will simply download and install the version of Windows that they need rather than turn on their laptop when they need to sync their MP3 player. Even Apple doesn’t restrict the iPod to MAC users only, and Microsoft shouldn’t restrict their customers to using Windows only. It just helps perpetuate and encourage piracy.
Microsoft needs to encourage people to use their software legitimately, rather than forcing them to use the software regardless of their ability or desire to pay for it! Lower the price of Windows and stop promoting proprietary hardware and you won’t be your biggest competitor. You’ll probably be farther ahead of your other competitors as well.