App Store Rules Make Microsoft Intentions Clear.
Non free software owners are creating practical mechanisms to exclude competition and exercise the power they have long claimed over users. Microsoft and other non free software companies have always demanded the right to terminate your use of their software at any time for any reason. In time, EULAs added language about being able to search and delete user files too. Recently the Windows 8 logo requirements revealed that the next generation of Microsoft ready x86 and ARM hardware will be unable to run anything but code signed by Microsoft . As noted by Mr. Pogson, Microsoft also tried to bully the entire ARM market to use their boot mechanism but has so far failed because the Microsoft way impractically restricts OEM trade. To further clarify their position, Microsoft recently announced the rules of their App Store:
We [Microsoft] may change or discontinue certain apps or content offered in the Windows Store at any time, for any reason. … we may refund to you the amount you paid for the license… If the Windows Store, an app, or any content is changed or discontinued, your data could be deleted or you may not be able to retrieve data you have stored. We have no obligation to return data to you.
This is the logical conclusion of Microsoft’s attempts to control “open” software on Cheap Off the Shelf Technology and users. From the beginning, when Gates rode IBM’s coattails into market dominance, Microsoft abused their position to sabotage competitors like OS/2, DRDOS and Word Perfect. All along, the monopoly bully portrayed itself as a champion of free enterprise. If OEMs accept Microsoft’s outrageous restricted boot scheme and anti-trust regulators don’t intervene, the only way to get software on x86 and ARM will be through Microsoft’s App store. All other software and OS will be locked out at Microsoft’s discretion. People who want their software freedom will be forced onto more expensive PowerPC and under performing MIPS hardware. Microsoft knows that the control they have over hardware translates directly into money they can charge people.
Prior successes of this model have all been tied to other monopolies and success is not assured because people hate being bullied and extorted. Tivo and iPod depended on big publisher monopolies on movies and music. iPhone and other non free phones have all depended on telco spectrum monopolies. Microsoft and Apple have both previously taken advantage of media format monopolies. Apple’s iPad depends heavily on software and design patents but is swiftly being overrun. Previous Microsoft tablet and PDA efforts have all went the way of Zune. Xbox sponged off the once mighty world of PC gaming and mostly killed it. For these few successes there have been many failures. At this point, with most business software firmly XP focused, it is not clear what Microsoft has to offer developer and vendors to go along. Users have nothing to gain and should demand software freedom. If everyone ignores the new hardware, vendors will be forced to offer things people want.