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Old July 11th, 2002, 08:55 PM   #1
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Mirco$oft Product Assurance Begins July 31st

CNet carried a story today saying that Microsoft will **REQUIRE** most of its user to pay a monthly fee for use of its software. This will cover the cost of upgrading s/w. Somehow this is suppose to save you money in the long run.

I do not know if this applies to XP, but it might. I have read account that MS has experimented with this concept in some select countries.

The program begins July 31st. According to story, MS expects it sales to up this quarter as users make their s/w purchases before the deadline.

Nathan Gifford
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Old July 12th, 2002, 04:46 AM   #2
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I don't see how they can force me to pay something for something
I already bought. Especially since my own pc's are not linked to
the internet.

Rob Lohman, visuar@iname.com
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Old July 12th, 2002, 06:33 AM   #3
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I do not know all the details, just the PDA report I read from CNet.

MS does not HAVE to have the Internet to make the Assurance program work. One way, without the Internet, could require the use of lock or rather unlock codes. MS could decide to put something in that would shutdown the program say after a year unless you secure a new unlock code.

We have had similar locks installed on mainframe systems. After a certain date the program fails to run. One program that had such a lock created quite a surprise when it activated.

Nathan Gifford
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Old July 12th, 2002, 06:58 AM   #4
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Old July 12th, 2002, 05:25 PM   #5
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There is considerable debate reguarding this "feature". One theory has it that you'll buy software by the use. An example, a very high end animation program i use, Maya, costs thousands. Most can not afford it. Solution, sell a 30 day version for the specific project that requires. After 30 days renew or leave it inactive until your next project that requires it.

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Old July 12th, 2002, 08:39 PM   #6
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With most server operations moving to free operating systems like Linux (or the more secure OpenBSD) en masse, I suspect that entering a subscription license model might be death throes for MS. Some people don't mind not upgrading for years and years; many computers still have Windows 95 on them and run just fine for the internet and word processing applications that their users limit themselves to. They are these market segments that Microsoft will meet the most resistance to.

The internet as a whole seems to be moving towards "subscription" models. My favortite online news and literary site, Salon.com, made most of its content "premium" last year; Hotmail now sends you daily death threats if you don't cough up $20 for a measly 8 more MB of space; even starwars.com is running a poll right now to assess the marketability of premium content. Most middle-class Americans have six or seven subscription services: water, electricity, phone, and gas utilities, the daily newspaper, perhaps housing and car payments, and maybe cable TV and internet service. I wonder if American budgets and psyches will withstand the subscription pressure in the online world that comes from all directions? It seems as if we're expected to have hundreds of subscriptions, or even thousands. The music industry wants us to pay $20/month for access to download their crappy pop songs; we're supposed to cough up dough to find our long lost classmates that if we really cared so much about we would have kept in touch with anyway; there's even an immense pressure to buy pornography on a subscription basis. What if you had to lease everything you owned? Nike says the tennis shoes you're wearing are subscriber-only. Can you live without the swish?

It seems to me that all of this subscription pressure will only lead to the silent revolt of mass intellectual property piracy in future America like we see in China and the Phillipines today. Crackers will get more clever, but more problematic will be that more average folks will become crackers. Moral relativism will overtake old-fashioned honesty. IP legislation will always lag a decade or more behind technological trends, or will be unenforcable/unrealistic. (A current draft of legislation meant to replace, and one-up, the ridiculous Digital Millennium Copyright Act intends to require copy protection schemes in every electronic device sold, even every loudspeaker, a proposition which neglects elementary physics. How do you copy-protect an analog signal flowing through a pair of conductive wires?)

I suppose now that I've come this far, I should take the argument to its extreme but logical conclusion. Eventually, neural prostheses--brain-implanted microchips that interface directly with our minds--will give human beings perfect digital memories, like computers. Everything we ever see and hear will be recorded, kept inside our heads for perpetuity, posterity, pomposity, etc. Once this happens, what is the meaning of intellectual property? When anything perceived is necessarily copied, then just what is at issue?

Whatever. The question everyone will have to ask themselves come July 31st is, why should I start feeding Microsoft when I can run Linux or OpenBSD for free, and have superior support and superior security? A few years ago, I would have said, "But all my software runs in Windows. I can't get Adobe After Effects for Linux." But that condition is changing, and will continue to change.
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Old July 13th, 2002, 08:17 AM   #7
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Well, *these discussion boards* will always be free, as long as I have anything to do with them. Hope this helps,

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Old July 13th, 2002, 10:03 AM   #8
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I doubt these are the death throes of MS. MS is merely copying what many of their competitors are doing with their s/w.

The bucks presently are in services. IBM, for example, is giving away Linux for some of their servers. IBM then sells a customized package that they will maintain for a fee. Its a good deal for the customer, because it is a good deal cheaper then the MS solution. Not only that, your wagon is not hitched to the MS company which is another plus (so called 'strategic alliances').

According to another story carried by NPR last week, Wally World is marketing their first Linux ported with Lindows (or Lindos?). The Lindows people are also marketing a service. They give you Linux for free but contract you for other services...continuous cash for Lindows.

Frankly, I regard that as a bad deal. You end up being nickel and dimed to death. The vendor hopes you are more than willing to pay $5 and $10 monthly charges without realizing how big the bottom line is.

As long as the public keeps buying, MS is happy.

Nathan Gifford
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