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Vista 7: Disablement as a Business Model

“[Vista DRM] seems a bit like breaking the legs of Olympic athletes and then rating them based on how fast they can hobble on crutches.“

--Peter Gutmann



Old man with hat



Summary: Microsoft makes money from artificial limitations embedded in its software

"WHAT's the difference between a full install CD and an upgrade," asks a reader regarding Vista 7. The answer he believes to be true is that "Microsoft changes a number in an INF file."



"I don't buy Windows," he added. "All these different versions are, take a base system, disable some core functionality and then rename it and charge people more money. The price difference for Microsoft is about one penny. This is just another example of Ballmer's obsession with productization. Remember 'snapins'. That is where you get a GUI that does nothing and then pay more for the actual functions." Here is an example of "snap":

Many corporations implement business applications like Microsoft Dynamics to automate their business processes. However, usually only about 15% of information workers are licensed to use these systems and only a fraction of those actually do.


Our reader interprets it as: "we've disabled your software, pay us more money and we'll re-enable it."

"This kind of thing would be trivial to implement on a real system, it a simple scripting problem," he adds. Here is another example:

The following MMC snap-ins are available by default in the Business Edition, Enterprise Edition, and Ultimate Edition of this version of Windows...

[...]

The specific additional MMC snap-ins that are available as part of Windows Features may vary depending on the edition of this version of Windows that you are using.


"It's a perversion of the technology," remarks our reader. "Produce mindless MSCP 'professionals', that can't script and are reduced to clicking on 'snapins'. There are people out there who actually think 'snapins' is computer technology. Reminds me of that story 'the little black bag' about a doctor's toolkit from the future that could diagnose patents using colour-coded chips. The doctor was reduced to selecting from colored vials."

Here's some pricing information for Vista 7:

Windows 7 Home Premium $199, Windows 7 Home Premium upgrade $119, Windows 7 Professional $299, Windows 7 Professional upgrades $199, Windows 7 Ultimate upgrade $219, Windows 7 Ultimate $319


Even Microsoft's friends at NPD suddenly claim that it is far too expensive.

A RETAIL ANALYST with NPD Group, Stephen Baker, has said that Microsoft's pricing for Windows 7 is "way too much for the software."


Anything less than "Ultimate" is simply crippled by design, so the entry-level prices are intended to deceive. GNU/Linux has no such restrictions. Vista 7 is yet another good reason to abandon Windows for modern operating systems.

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