1 day ago, W3bbo wrote
The unit production cost of an iMac and Mac Pro are different - whereas a physical SKU of Windows 7 Starter x86 costs the same as Windows Server 2008 R2 Datacenter IA-64 - I understand concerns about amortizing development costs, but when the only difference between one product and the other is by entering a magic code that "unlocks" features I start to feel a bit shafted, like how you can "upgrade" Cisco gear by entering a password - the product has already been delivered - anything on top is almost like rent-seeking.
Yes, when you're talking about a couple of quid then I don't really mind so much, but when you're talking about the price of a Windows license…
The company I'm working at has shifted their whole technical team to Linux because the cost of Windows upgrades was getting ridiculous. The development manager realised that they'd got into a cycle of upgrading Windows to run Word, so they stopped buying Office and the problem went away ... :-/
At home, I seem to have got into the habit of just using the Mac. The last OS upgrade for the laptop cost me about £20. Now folk point out that Apple can do this because they're a hardware company and that's where they make their money. This doesn't seem to explain the fact that I don't have to buy a new machine every time I upgrade the operating system (this is my third upgrade on the same hardware) and that new machines get the new operating system for free.
Folk also say that they have to charge for Windows because of all the drivers and testing they have to do for loads of different hardware platforms. But I always thought that Microsoft produced a spec that all the manufacturers adhered to, and so the manufacturers handle the bulk of testing themselves. I find it hard to believe that even Microsoft can test for every single configurable combination that goes into a PC. Likewise, even the drivers that come with the Windows installation are probably developed (at least in part) by the hardware manufacturers.
I think a year of solid Linux/Mac use has really changed my perspective on operating systems. I no longer see them as products in their own right, just as something let's me run stuff to get stuff done, so I find it increasingly difficult to justify throwing away a hundred quid or so to buy a license for one. I think this is the area that Apple and MS have very different approaches. Apple is working very hard to make the operating system disappear: muted colours, no scroll bars, versioning at the application level, and, in many many cases, an annoying lack of configurability. They're going to reach a point where they won't be able to charge for the operating system because no one will be able to find it.
Judging by WP7 and Win8, MS likes to have the operating system very much in your face as a reminder of what you're paying for: bright colours, moving tiles, gadgets and widgets and options galore. Windows is a product, hence the high price.