I mentioned before in a previous post that in my opinion the prices for Microsoft’s latest version of Windows, called Windows Vista, are way too high. The Business version costs about $300 while the Ultimate version costs an incredible $400. If you thought those prices were high, you’re not going to believe the following.
The prices in Europe have recently been published, and according to that website, the prices for Windows Vista in Europe are going to be 409 Euros (about $531.70) for the Business version, and 549 Euros (about $713.70) for the Ultimate version.
I almost can’t believe it.
Who in their right mind is going to pay THAT much money for Windows Vista? Honestly? This is just so absurd, my mind refuses to comprehend it. And I thought the US prices were high!
I installed the final version of Windows Vista yesterday on a test computer, and I have to admit that it certainly is an improvement over Windows XP, but nothing revolutionary. It’s even less of an improvement compared to what Windows XP was to Windows 2000. It certainly is FAR from what Bill Gates promised us during PDC 2003. In that regard Vista could even be considered a failure.
Does Microsoft really expect people to spend that much money on an OS alone? Compare this to Mac OS X Tiger, which costs about $105 on Amazon, and offers virtually the same features as the Ultimate version of Windows Vista. The price difference is incredible. Also compare this to the various Linux distributions that are available these days, and ask yourself if you really need Windows Vista. Most people use their computer simply to browse the Internet, use a wordprocessor or spreadsheet and for some basic multimedia functionality. Most Linux distributions today can handle those tasks pretty well already. And Mac OS X certainly is even more capable for those tasks, and is as good as Windows Vista Business which is 3 times more expensive, and comes very close to Windows Vista Ultimate, which is 4 times more expensive.
So again, why the hell would someone spend THAT much money on Windows Vista? To be honest, if I had to spend that much money to buy Vista, I’d be switching to Mac OS X or Linux instead. And if I’m correct, many people are going to do just that in 2007 if Microsoft doesn’t do something about the prices fast.
In addition to those high prices, Microsoft have also further locked down Windows Vista and made it more difficult for people to use pirated versions. These two strategies complement eachother. On the one hand you have the high prices, and on the other hand you also force people to have to buy a legal copy. This is, ofcourse, to sell more copies and make even more money.
But this strategy, again if I am correct, is going to massively backfire on Microsoft. There are two options. First, if people are able to reliably crack Windows Vista, even more people will use pirated versions of Vista because the prices are simply too high for them to be able to afford a legal copy. And this means Microsoft is actually going to sell less copies and make less money, although they will be able to keep their marketshare. In the second option, if people aren’t able to reliably crack Windows Vista, those people that were using pirated version of Windows XP are going to have to switch to an alternative OS, like Mac OS X or Linux. In addition, a lot of people using a legal copy of Windows XP might not be able to afford Windows Vista and could also potentially switch to a different OS. So in this second option, not only is Microsoft going to sell less copies of Vista, but they are also going to lose lots of users to other OS’s, and as a result lose marketshare.
At a time when there are increasingly more stories appearing everywhere of companies and governments around the world switching to Linux, I can’t help but wonder why Microsoft is going down this path. It’s almost like they are encouraging people to switch to another OS and making it more difficult to choose Windows.
In a recent article, our beloved Steve-O was interviewed:
In an interview, Ballmer said that more than 20 percent of its software running around the world is pirated and the company aims to lower that figure with a new authentication program to run in Windows Vista and Office 2007.
Microsoft is probably going to succeed, but the mistake they are making is to assume the people part of that 20% are actually going to buy Vista. There is a reason those people are running pirated versions of Windows XP, and that is likely because they cannot afford it. If they cannot afford XP, they most certainly are not going to be able to buy Vista at those absurdly high prices. The thing that is more likely to happen, is that these people are going to switch to another OS. So if I was Microsoft, I’d expect to lose at least 20% of my marketshare in the near future.
Steve-O goes on to say:
“We’re trying to make it easier for people who somehow have received improperly licensed versions to get legal, and we also put more roadblocks in,” said Ballmer, declining to specify how much it can reduce the piracy rate. “It will help,” he said.
He actually claims Microsoft is making it easier for people to get legal, by putting in more roadblocks and maintaining those incredibly high prices for the software. I’m sorry, but what?? If anything, more roadblocks plus high prices will make it easier for people to not use Vista at all. And that will not only reduce the piracy rate, as he is hoping, but also the number of Windows users in the future.
Way to go Steve-O!