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As Hardware Prices Fall, Windows Becomes Far Too Expensive to Compete With Linux

Posted in GNU/Linux, Windows at 10:55 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

All about the money

Summary: The cost of Vista 8 sheds a good clue and indirectly implies that Microsoft won’t count on competing with Android (bar patent assaults)

THE JOKE which is Vista 8 (just another twist on predecessors, plus UEFI attack on GNU/Linux [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7]) continues to annoy or amuse bloggers because it is too expensive to appeal to manufacturers. Quoting a blogger from Ghana:

At this price, we should expect to see Windows RT (sounds like retweet to me, really) tablets are going to be at par with the iPad rather than Android devices. With expected prices to range between $500-$900 for a device, it’s going to be interesting to see how Microsoft plans to take on both Android powered tablets and Apple’s iPad.

My Android tablet cost just 150 British pounds. At the aforementioned (current/prospective) fares for Windows, there is no way Microsoft can compete. A recent report we included in our daily links said that the cost of tablets is poised to drop some more.

There is a sense of achievement here because while Linux changes and evolves (new Linux-based platforms emerge) it is taking over everything with a CPU, little by little. Now we just need to observe attempts to derail this sort of trajectory. Patents are a cost-based or ban-based attack. They’re all that Apple and Microsoft have got left against Linux and thus we must concentrate on the subject.

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A Single Comment

  1. mcinsand said,

    June 18, 2012 at 3:13 pm


    The trends aren’t that hard to spot, which probably explains MS’ desperation in trying to tax FOSS wherever a sucker is willing to cave. Redmond has always been much more pragmatic about freedom than Cupertino, and the PC ecosystem had a lot of choice before Windows became the 600 pound gorilla.

    There is a cost balance to device choices among the masses. For those with more money than sense, or where their egos are invested in their toys, Apple will always be a choice. However, for those people that focus on cost versus performance, Apple has always been undesirable, particularly if choice is part of the performance equation; Apple products have all of the freedom of a Kevlar straightjacket, but priced accordingly (Okay, so I’m imagining that a bulletproof straightjacket would be unique enough to be pricey.).

    Anyway, for most people, the price/performance balance matters. This keeps Apple computers in the minority and it gave MS the majority in the early years. Yes, there was a time when MS software performed, and I remember it. At the same time, I also remember when other products started to gain traction, which is when MS became anticompetitive. Software performance isn’t the only factor, though; inertia, resistance to change, also matters. We can discuss this type of change versus that type. In my view, going from Windows 98 to Fedora was a lot easier than going from 98 to XP. Still, most people will use Windows because they have always used Windows … until the balance shifts enough to overcome that inertial threshold.

    The inertial threshold is a function of several factors including, among other things, cost, ease of use, and market share. As Windows’ visible cost rises, more of the population will be willing to try something else. For me, Windows ease of use went out the door years ago, as did it’s ease of installation, hardware support, and maintenance. At the same time, and I’ll be very blunt, if not for the freedom to choose desktop managers, a freedom that I am very thankful for, I would probably be purchasing a copy of Windows rather than using Unity (If Unity works for you, great, but I’m thankful to not be locked in, as well as to have Enlightenment and KDE.). The market share aspect cannot be ignored. Sadly, too many people are lemmings; they will look to see what the people around them are using for making a decision rather than actually looking to see what works best for them. This is the major danger facing MS and Apple’s recent market share gains. When people discover they can have reliability without Apple’s exhorbitant costs as well as freedom to choose for themselves what environment works best, Windows is toast. MS will be toast, too, unless they can find a different business model. Taxing the competition is really all that they’ve got.


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