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Vista Free Edition?

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  • User profile image
    pathfinder

    Why doesn't Microsoft offer a Vista Free Edition?  They offer free development tools.  It could be an even more slimmed down version of Vista Home.  Maybe it doesn't have a traditional windows installer so you can't install certain kinds of software or hardware. 

    I only suggest this because it might be a way to combat piracy and Linux. 

    For example, my little brother asked me last night if I had a windows xp cd laying around that he could have.  I told him that he would need an install code and that he has to register online.  He said that he didn't care and if he had to he would just reinstall every 60 days. 

    I told him, No I don't have a cd.  I suggested he try linux.  For him, a Vista Free Edition would have been a perfect solution.   Just call Microsoft and could mail them out for $2.00, or download for free.

    Microsoft could even go the Linspire route. Albeit Linspire isn't overly successful, but it could be a market for Microsoft to dominate.  You get the OS free, and after installing it, you go to the Market place and buy the software you need or at least download demos. 

  • User profile image
    dahat

    How would such a move benefit them?

    Sure they give away dev tools as part of the .NET Framework and even the Express Edition (as well as making all versions of Visual Studio easy for pirates)... but why?

    Simple, they want people to have a reason to buy and use their platform and the more people they have contributing to the eco system the more likely they are to sell more copies of Windows and Office.

    Granted someone running Vista Free would be using the platform... and maybe even developing for it... but how likely would they be to buy a copy of Office or otherwise contribute to Microsoft’s bottom line?

    Yes it sounds cold, but they are out to make money just like everyone else (well, except for the free software folks).

  • User profile image
    rcardona

    Microsoft spent five years and hundreds of millions if not billions of dollars (copying Apple: Pogue, etal) developing Vista; they are not going to give it away for free.  Exhale now.

    However there are "free" ways to run Windows:
    1. use Linux and WINE and attempt to run Windows apps including Visual Studio Express.

    2. Run Vista RC, trial copies of Windows Server 2003 R2, or Longhorn beta

    3. use Linux and VMware Server (free) to run trial or beta versions above or an XP-SP2 VPC image which Microsoft lets you download.




  • User profile image
    pathfinder

    rcardona wrote:
    Microsoft spent five years and hundreds of millions if not billions of dollars (copying Apple: Pogue, etal) developing Vista; they are not going to give it away for free.  Exhale now.

    However there are "free" ways to run Windows:
    1. use Linux and WINE and attempt to run Windows apps including Visual Studio Express.

    2. Run Vista RC, trial copies of Windows Server 2003 R2, or Longhorn beta

    3. use Linux and VMware Server (free) to run trial or beta versions above or an XP-SP2 VPC image which Microsoft lets you download.



    Thats exactly my point.  If there are free ways to run windows, why doesn't Microsoft embrace it.  Lets face it, the non-business world is tipping towards free OSes.  Maybe its a value-added business.  Buy the XBOX360 and get Vista Free Edition, Buy a Zune get Vista Free Edition, Buy a one year subcription to Microsoft Live Spaces which gives you email, a webpage and blogging capabilities and get Vista Free Edition.   Buy a Microsoft Mouse, get Vista Free Edition. 

    There are tons of ways to make huge money off of this.  And microsoft can make the rules such as OEM's like DELL, Lenovo cannot ship pcs with Vista Free Edition.  Government, Businesses, and Institutions are not supposed to install it on their computers.  Microsoft is spending millions policing this stuff.  Cut that budget in half and use the half to ship Vista Free Edition.  In the long run, it will pay for itself. 

  • User profile image
    Bas

    pathfinder wrote:
    Lets face it, the non-business world is tipping towards free OSes. 


    Wait, what? I never heard that.

  • User profile image
    pathfinder

    Bas wrote:
    
    pathfinder wrote: Lets face it, the non-business world is tipping towards free OSes. 


    Wait, what? I never heard that.


    Okay, its speculation, maybe I spend too much time on Slashdot and Digg.  Although here is a funny quote I came across on a youtube comment somewhere.

    2000: "Remember when we used to pay for our email accounts?!"
    2010: "Remember when we used to pay for our internet access?!"
    2020: "Remember when we used to pay for our operating system?!"
    money talks. only a matter of time.

  • User profile image
    RandyRants

    Holy crap, I hope you share whatever it is you're taking for such ideas Smiley

    Why wouldn't they offer it for free?  The biggest reason I see is that of customer service, specifically the cost of CS.  Right now if people that pirate Windows don't get support - sure MS loses the sales $ but it doesn't cost them a dime in support... can you imagine the costs if the OS was free AND it included support?  You're basically suggesting that they stop making ANY money on the OS, simply for the current [estimated] 10% of non-Windows marketshare, and add all of the costs of supporting that expanded user base.  Why on earth would any company do that?

    Now you'll say "charge for support, then" - but that will lead to the users saying "oh, why should I pay for help with free software" - that's a monster headache and a bad PR and/or image problem that has no upside: it would come out as "MS is bilking customers for service".

    Further, what about the last ten years of WORLD litigation, saying that Windows is dominant already?  In an environment such as that you're suggesting that MS drops the price to $0, which is exactly what Netscape cried over during the [first] browser wars???

    It would be easier if your little brother just use Linux or spent $100 for an XP disc Cool

  • User profile image
    RandyRants

    [deleted as duplicate]

  • User profile image
    Bas

    pathfinder wrote:
    
    2000: "Remember when we used to pay for our email accounts?!"
    2010: "Remember when we used to pay for our internet access?!"
    2020: "Remember when we used to pay for our operating system?!"


    Remember when we used to pay for our cars?


    I don't know, I don't see it happening. Wink Interesting idea, though.

  • User profile image
    RandyRants

    Bloody hell... triple posts?!

  • User profile image
    Angus

    I doubt giving any form of Windows Vista away would be popular, but I like the idea. I suppose one of the older operating systems such as Windows 2000, or even Windows 98 could be slightly adapted to limit software use, and also to be able to run most of the average applications, i.e. give newer compatibility.

    I doubt it would be accepted at Microsoft, but it is an idea.

    Angus Higgins

  • User profile image
    Bas

    I wonder, by the way, what the EU would say about Microsoft giving their OSes away for free, thus binding customers even more easily to their platform.

  • User profile image
    RickH

    I wrote a bit about this here:

    http://onemanshouting.com/tech/ShouldMicrosoftOfferWindowsStarterEditionEverywhere.aspx


    "Ed Bott thinks that Microsoft "should sell Windows XP Starter Edition everywhere" in order to help alleviate the problem of Windows 98 & ME going out of support. 

    I think they should take it one step further and give it away. Include an automated, credit card purchased, upgrade to XP Home edition for a reasonable fee (With an option to have a CD mailed for folks on dialup) .  By giving Starter Edition away, you help out the security of the internet, you allow people on limited incomes to use your products, and you give the "free software" people something to chew on.  Microsoft has always provided deep discounts to college students, in a "get em hooked" kind of marketing scheme.  Giving away Starter Edition would provide the same benefit in the general population, it would offer some insulation against the free software movement, and it would be good PR."


    And Stephen Broadwell (He's a MSFT guy, but not in the Windows group) wrote a bit of a reply at the end of this post:

    http://blog.360.yahoo.com/blog-ID6XjIs2KP68usOtMaEuBw--?cq=1&p=19

    (Updated to add text from my post)

  • User profile image
    pathfinder

    Angus wrote:

    I doubt it would be accepted at Microsoft, but it is an idea.


    Lately, it doesn't seem like much is accepted at Microsoft until another company has already proven that there is a successful market for it.

    They no longer are a company that will "bet the entire company" on one idea.

  • User profile image
    Xaero_​Vincent

    rcardona wrote:
    Microsoft spent five years and hundreds of millions if not billions of dollars...


    I believe it was $10 billion for development costs. Microsoft is planning to spend billions more to mass market Vista next year.

    http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/businesstechnology/2003460386_btview04.html

    Well at least Microsoft keeps legal tenders circulating with all this spending. Global treasuries don't have to work so hard printing more money. Smiley


    Regards,
    Vincent

  • User profile image
    eagle

    RandyRants wrote:
    

     The biggest reason I see is that of customer service



    That and the fact that Microsoft doesn't sell software, Partners do.

    Good to see an old 9er back!

  • User profile image
    RandyRants

    pathfinder wrote:
    

    Lately, it doesn't seem like much is accepted at Microsoft until another company has already proven that there is a successful market for it.

    They no longer are a company that will "bet the entire company" on one idea.


    Again, what's the successful market?  Linux?  Unix?  OSX?  All of them together are still outnumbered 8:1 if not 9:1.  And like Bas said: What would the EU do?  What would Korea do?  Could you imagine the outcry at Apple if they couldn't charge $129 for each new dot release?  There's no way the governments of the would would idly sit by and allow a free version of Windows... I believe the term is price-fixing or even product dumping. 

    Show me the business case for it and I'll be happy to read it.  Honest!  So far, I'm just not seeing it.  Also, as a stock holder, I agree: they aren't going to bet the entire company on any one product, simply because they don't have to - Microsoft has products in retail channels, business channels, enterprise channels in software and hardware... I wouldn't invest in a one-pump-chump.  Not these day - not after the bubble burst.

    @Eagle: I'm still around lurking about... just takes a bit more to pull me out of shadows these days - too much code to test! Wink

  • User profile image
    geekling

    You know what?

    I'd develop one small but quality freeware Vista-only application using the latest and greatest Microsoft development tools in exchange for a copy of Vista Ultimate Edition.

    I think that'd be a great idea, right there. No a freaking *competition* or anything, where there's prizes and a life or death struggle between two or more murderous developers, but a simple Microsoft(-sponsored?) program:

    "Develop for Vista?
     Get Vista free."

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