back to article Indian dealers are squealers over Microsoft piracy raids

Computer dealers in Gujarat, India held a one-day strike to protest ongoing anti-piracy raids from Microsoft. India news portals itVARnews and CIOL report about 350 dealers joined in a statewide bandh (that's a general strike) initiated by Surat-based South Gujarat Information Technologists Association (SITA). This month, …

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  1. Morely Dotes

    Benefits of original software, eh?

    Since when has anything from Microsoft been original? Even their DRM is a lame attempt to re-engineer someone else's product.

    If you want "original" software, regardless of your geographic location, Microsoft is your worst possible choice. Try BeOS, Mac, Linux, and old copy of OS/2 Warp, Digital Research GEM, CP/M-86, BSD, or such.

    And what ever happened to the Microsoft "Windows for poor people (who don't need anything that actually works anyhow)" initiative? Seems to me that if they can sell a full copy of WinXP to Dell, Gateway, etc. for US$30, they could sell it to the guy on the street for the same price *IF* they wanted to reduce piracy. but that's not really what this is about, is it? It's about creating "customer lock-in" by twisting the vendors' arms, just as they did to US computer OEMs (and for which they were given a slap on the wrist in US courts - but they *were* found guilty of unlawful stifling of competition).

    So, give me a break, Brian Campbell. If that's your real name, and not simply a copy of someone else's name.

  2. Ole Juul

    Linux anyone?

    Did anyone else think this was funny?

    "For us this is just a sewa (selfless act) that we are offering to our customers."

    You gotta love it. Actually, many other companies would consider themselves lucky to be getting that kind of distribution... even for a better product. <g>

  3. Ben XO

    "We are not against piracy" ?

    Does that mean they're for piracy?

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ Morely Dotes

    You honestly think Mac OS would allow THEIR products to be installed gratis?

    Why do you think MAC doesn't make it in that market, because their ENTIRE product line is PROPRIETARY!

    Microsoft atleast does not force their OWN hardware nor force you to use THEIR stuff (excluding large amounts of ram and cpu...)

  5. Jeremy Chappell

    This IS stealing

    Well it's hard to love Microsoft - but it seems to me that if you WANT to run Windows, you should PAY for Windows. Customers cannot decide prices (I'd have a Ferrari if they could). If a price is "unfair" then you don't buy the product, do you think I can walk into a store decide their prices are unfair, then decide that gives me the right to fill my pockets?

    Do I think Microsoft's prices are fair? No. Do I think that gives ANYONE the right to steal their software? No. If you can't afford something, you can't have it. I strongly believe that - even if it means I can't have that Ferrari ;-(

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Mac and Linux are not even a option!

    the avarage computer user in india cannot afford to buy MS OS... so why whould they have the money to buy grossly over priced hardware that is TIE to an extremly bad OS (Yup a mac).

    As for linux... you can compete with FREE.. then again if a product is FREE and almost no body is using it.. there must be a reason? don't you think?(here a hint... User Interface. may in 10 years)

    The practice of "installing" windows on a computer when it is sold is common. But attacking india is not very bright! USA/Canada/England/France there is a lot of big "market" where peoples can actually afford to pay to high price MS is asking. why don't they start there

  7. Morely Dotes

    Free Mac OS?

    No, of course not. But I don't know how to buy a Mac without an OS, do you? A PC clone, on the other hand, is easy to get in bits or assembled, without any OS.

    My point was that MS products are *NOT* original. They're bad copies of other people's software.

    And as for forcing people to use their hardware - I can't remember ever seeing a Mac salesman with a gun pointed at my head. Perhaps you have, but if not, then there's no one *forcing* you to use a Mac, is there?

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oh yes, Microsoft hardware does exists

    Ever heard of the Wintel architecture? I seem to recall that sometime in the dim and distant past Microsoft and Intel colluded in bringing out the 80286 to give Windows multi-tasking capabilities (sort of). As far as I know the partnership hasn't waned and the current Intel processors are designed very much with Windows in mind. Try running Windows on a Mac and you will see what I mean (you can't!), on the other hand, Linux and Unix run on Macs and I believe the Mac OS X is in fact Unix?

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    um... actually

    I'm reading this in Vista 64, on a MacPro....

  10. Doug Bird

    Title

    When did Windows become the industry equiv. to a Ferrari??

  11. biswas

    Copying is not stealing.....

    .....because the originator DOES NOT LOOSE ANYTHING. If I make a patio, or a sculpture and you copy, then I still have my patio or my sculpture, I have not lost by your copying of it.

    The microsoft argument is that "because you are not giving us your money, you are stealing from us" Lets try that argument now, Jeremy. I claim the right to the word "the". I have used it often enough, maybe hundreds of times in a day. So it is mine, dammit. You have used it in your post too so I think you should pay me to use it. You have not paid me so therefore you are a thief. Huh ?

    Also, Microsoft clearly ALLOW piracy to keep market share. If it is possible to make an ATM work securely, it is possible to make an OS that only works for verified payers. Suppose MS do that. Then the non-payer *majority* can't use windows so they learn linux of neccecity. MS will then have lost majority user-market share and so the majority will be experienced linux users instead who can help everyone else to migrate. Windows would become the new mac, expensive and only of special interest with a pitiful market share.

  12. Brett Brennan

    re: Title

    Windows *IS* like a Ferrari: it's too expensive, looks flashy, but only goes 10kph in bumper-to-bumper traffic (just like the Yugo next to it) and requires a LOT of time in the shop being fixed for all the minor problems that prevent it from running. That's why Ferrari owners usually have more than one - so that they can *drive* one while the others are being fixed!

  13. Andrew

    Re: Copying not Stealing

    biswas, according to your argument - if I copy a few exam papers and get a better grade than you - there's nothing wrong with that. Microsoft spent thousands of man years developing Windows - now you believe they should give it away for free? How will they pay their workforce? Should the pensioners who invested in Microsoft live their retirement in poverty? Should the sandwich man who delivers food to the Redmond campus lose his income so that some rich (pc-owning = top 5%) indian kid can install windows without paying a penny for it? Patent and copyright date back to the industrial revolution - you should think very carefully before dismantling a system that has worked so well for you.

  14. marytee

    Piracy IS Stealing

    If an individual wants/needs something he/she buys it. The creator of goods receives compensation for the product sold. Copying and distributing without compensation to the originator deprives him of receiving it for the goods created. Sorry but that IS stealing--upheld in any court of law.

    I am no fangirl of M$ but I am ethical. I left the Windows world have have not looked back.

    The best approach is to stop using Windows and move to Linux--Ubuntu/Kubuntu gets my vote (Feisty Fawn rocks).

    marytee

  15. Natxo

    that is fair enough

    if the rest of the world has to put up with ms licensing schemes, why wouldn't India have to?

    And if they do not want to, well, there *are* alternatives out there. Get ubuntu or freespire or fedora for that matter, linux for the masses.

    As for the comment : "As for linux... you can compete with FREE.. then again if a product is FREE and almost no body is using it.. there must be a reason? don't you think?(here a hint... User Interface. may in 10 years)";

    sir: I do not know when you have used linux, but it sure has not been in the last 4 to 5 years. People use Windows because it comes bundled with their pc's and because everybody has it. It really is a chicken-egg situation. The only way to break this dynamic would be ..., exacty, if the shops started pre-installing linux for the clients because it would otherwise cost the customers loads of $$$. Then people would start using it, the handy neighbour could also help you if you had problems with it and the circle would be round again.

    I know plenty of people who just use our linux without even realizing that it is linux. Once they know they feel stupid: "I thought linux was difficult". Well, some things are, but they do not need to those, just like they do not need to do the hard parts with their windows pc's. There is always someone else who does that for them.

    yours truly.

  16. Michael J Evans

    Double standards......

    "Moreover, if they want to do business in India then they should change their prices and policies according to the Indian market." said the SITA president. A pity the Indians don't follow their own advice when hosting westerners in their country.

    Last year when I visited on holiday they charged me, as a western tourist, twenty times the local rate for entry to their cultural sites. When I tried to book a low cost internal flight which would have been much less then £100 for a resident Indian, it suddenly shot up to £450 when they found out I was a westerner. I have no doubt that should a westerner try to purchase a PC in India, every attempt would be made to charge them a western price.

  17. Jan

    Copying IS Stealing

    particularly if you are making money from the copy and I am losing revenue.

    biswas: If I copy your sculpture and sell 100 copies of it, you lose 100 sales. Think about it - if you spent 2 years making your sculpture, and I copy it in 2 days, and sell 100 of those you lose a lot.

    Jan.

  18. andy

    Title

    "Try running Windows on a Mac and you will see what I mean (you can't!)"

    Umm, where have you been for the last year...

  19. charlie wallace

    paying for services

    biswas, so can i come over and have sex with your girlfriend/wife, since its just a service you're not really loosing anything ?

  20. eric

    Did I read this right?

    They are actually threatening to stop stealing the software unless MS stops trying to keep them from stealing the software? For little guys, their balls are huuuuge!

    If you want free, put Linux on the machine. If enough of them do that, then MS will lower their prices, like they are starting to do in other markets, like China.

    Linux has email, web browser and office suite. And don't tell me Linux lacks the applications. We know those are just going to be stolen on the windows platform also.

  21. This post has been deleted by its author

  22. Steve Evans

    Hang on a second...

    "Those participating in the strike agreed to stop all purchases of Microsoft products for this quarter."

    Errrr... If I read the article correctly, the problem *was* that they weren't purchasing Microsoft products! lol!

  23. Warren Zeek

    This is absurd!!

    Ok granted that in 3rd world countries there is a lot of piracy and it is costing MS a lot of grief. But this News makes no sense. Few days ago, MS has announced to sell MS Windows and Office for $3 to the 3rd world countries, including India. So this open covert operation is a waste of resource, money and time. Why not go to those dealers to ask them stop the piracy and ask them to sell legal copies for $3? Its ridiculous that they create all this noise just to under-sell the software?

    --> http://blogs.zdnet.com/BTL/?p=4877

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Reply to Eric

    Linux does no lack application, it lack user friendlyness, a interface, easy installation (of both the OS and the application), Also put it any way you want.. you cannot really play games on Linux. Once you put togetter all the stuff you need to have Linux work for everyday use, like wines, the games emulator, paying a nerd to help you install and configure etc... The "FREE" OS start to cost pretty close to a MS OS

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Brian Campbell of Microsoft India

    doesn't sound very Indian to me.

    This is symptomatic of Microsoft's patronising attitude to any country that isn't the USA.

    In Europe, they think it's perfectly acceptable to charge double for Vista.

    Then they wonder why people pirate stuff? LOL

  26. Steve

    Piracy ISN'T stealing, but...

    ...on the other hand, to say that copying something does not deprive the originator of *anything* is sophistry at best. Apart frm the possible loss of revenue (cue vast argument about X would never have bought Y from Z provinding them with the revenue in the first place because Y is to expensive), the originator is denied the very real right of control over their own invention/invention.

    These kinds of ridiculous arguments are almost universally parroted by people who believe it is their right to own any piece of software, any piece of music, any film, any kind of digital medi at all, without the inconvenient necessity of having to pay for it (cue vast, tedious and repetitive argument about evil corporate profit mongers).

    It isn't, and nor should it be, and if the proponents of such weak arguments actually had any understanding of the economic framework that underlies the creation, production and mass market ing of any digitial media, from software to movies, or perhaps if they were content producers themselves, I;m sure they would feel differently. Instead they blithely parrot the same tired 'piracy damages no one' arguments they read on slashdot, while stuffing their external HDs with the fruits of other peoples labour.

    Have I ever used pirated sodtware ? Yes. Have I ever downloaded a track from the internet that I have not paid for ? Yes. Do I think that this is somehow legitimate, that is is my right to do so ? No, I do not.

    While it may not be a crime (although watch this space), each of these is an actionable breach of copyright law, a civil tort at the very least. It is wrong. It is bad behaviour. and anyone who thinks otherwise is either stupid, deeply naive, or exceptionlly skilled at kidding themselves. At the end of the download or install, you still have a product that is worth money that you did not pay for, perhaps not exactly stealing, but not far off, no matter how many rationalisations you throw at it. If you can live with this, then fine, please carry on. Otherwise, bugger off and uninstall your Bittorrent client right now.

    I see the popular misconception that MS allows or encourages piracy has been raised here, I feel I must debunk this myth. Historically, Bill Gates has been one of the most hysterically outspoken people in the industry on the subject of piracy, MS contrbutes heavily to the coffers of the BSA et al, and recently, have tied updates, installs and security patches to a new validation architecture which will indeed have prevented some (although not all, or perhaps even many) pirated copies of MS software from propogating. Surely no one missed that ?

    A few years ago, I did some database work for Microsoft's EMEA anti piracy operation, and I can assure the "MS loves piracy, true" crowd, that contrary to what you may believe, MS does not like, allow or encourage piracy, it's just that it's such a massive problem that they simply can not afford to pursue every single case, particularly true for individual users. It is not tolerated, just beyond economic repair (Hence the new set of activtion and OS nobbling features incorporated in the new generation of windows software).

    Any business which ships hooky copies of windows anywhere in the world can expect a knock at the door sooner or later, MS probably spend far more money actively combating piracy than they would possibly recover if all the people they pursued actually paid up in full.

    Not a popular opinion to be sure, but it does have the advantage of being true.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Free as in Freedom

    Hello people,

    So let me ask, if i reproduce or copy the design of a chair am i infringing on Ikea's copyrights for that design ? . Maybe . But this is not really the issue at all or at least this argument is just an effect of of a much bigger issue . Those of us working with the FSF believe in the idea of 'community' of software that is free and open . The truth is the proprietary model is anti-democratic and anti community. It enslaves the user . I would just use Linux myself. But for a great deal of people this isn't possible.

    The point is in a society based mutual cooperation IP rights wouldn't exist and even money itself would become de-emphasized over the commodity of services.

    Maybe the real point is that in democracies where freedom of information is key and in a world that relies on computing surely it is up to the government to provide free software and services if that means forcing Microsoft to release its code and file for bankruptcy then so bit . I'm sure all those U.S. PENSIONERS with stock options in Microsoft would gladly accept losing them and gaining instead a community based government with real state services and support for the elderly of all financial backgrounds.

    The real point here is not piracy its about community. If anything Microsoft et al are the criminals here. when it comes down to ethics its people are more away of infringements of physical materials and less aware of the infringement of freedom and the right to better ones community .

    If just one pirate copy of windows help someone change their life in some small way for the better that out ways any negligible loss to Microsoft.

    You might also argue; what about the employees of Microsoft they won't get paid and their families will be destitute all because of Piracy . Well the simple answer is they don't get paid that much by uncle Bill anyway especially in the lower ranks. However the real solution is that if Microsoft wants to survive and also stop piracy it will have to become an open source service and support based

    company. If Red Hat can do it, then why not Microsoft . After all something which is so heavily anti community and selfish will eventually become intolerable to people.. perhaps this is what the Indians are getting at.

    Was it not Gandhi who went to the sea to collect salt in contravention of British law that dictated that it was an offence to freely collect salt (as it was damaging the salt selling companies). Now that was unlawful and it was stealing but was it wrong ? No it wasn't it was because the British were making laws in order to privatise the Indian commons. When people in India saw this law not as fair but oppressive they refused to obey it.

    The point is Software has always been free since its creation in the 50s . It was Microsoft who changed that and privatised it. Surely it is time for us to realise that its our right to use Altair Basics (Microsoft Basics) source code freely as it was itself derived from the freedom of software in the 70's without that freedom Microsoft could never of made Altair Basic.

  28. Lathem Gibson

    Clearing the strawmen with a flamethrower....

    1) Stealing: I take your wallet, I've stolen from you. I copy your term paper, I've plagiarized from you. If I make mass copies of software you've written, and sell them for profit, then I've committed fraud by misleading the consumer and screwed you out of profits.

    2) Copying: If I make a couple copies of your software for my use, or my friend's use, assuming that neither of us would have ever bought your software at its market price, you have lost nothing, and you've actually gained some advertisement. (If your software is useful enough to make a copy of, even for educational purposes, then at least you're creating mindshare when people swap it around.) Assuming that no one made money, and that all the originals remain with their owners, this is not stealing. If you listen to a song on the radio that you normally wouldn't listen to, and then turn it off before the ads come on, did you steal that song?

    3) Corollaries:

    People are basically lazy. As long as something works reasonably well, people will continue to do it, as opposed to inventing a new solution.

    Counterfeit software works reasonably well, and requires less work for the average person than buying legit versions, and much less work than learning an entirely new OS.

    Poorer counties cannot afford the same price plan as richer countries can, and even the richer countries break the rules all the time. Coming down like a ton of bricks on smalltime locals in client states is a well established trait of hegemonic organizations, and is seldom morally defensible. Recall the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company? How about Dow Chemical?

    If it weren't for the ease with which early versions of Windows and Office could be copied, it's extremely doubtful Microsoft would have as large a market share as they currently enjoy. Bill Gates may be an outspoken advocate against software counterfeiting, but in practice his company has only recently stopped accepting it with a wink and a nod.

    Finally, software companies should watch themselves when dealing with India, or they may soon find themselves in the same position as the American drug companies-- screaming bloody murder (ineffectually) that the Indian laws permit reverse engineering of foreign patent medicines.

    The days of artificial price control are nearing their end, and companies that realize this will be the megaliths of the future. The 2/3rds of the world that contain 90% of the poor people have a lot more problems than trying to go against the ancient principals of supply and demand to please the Microsofts of the world.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Don't like it? Then use something else.

    Their intense desire to use Windoze actually supports M$FT's argument that their software has a high value and therefore should be paid for. If they don't like it, they have a clear choice; start using Linux. Then perhaps Linux would get better more quickly!

    The thing that kills me is that the minute people in these 3rd world countries actually begin to produce original material of their own, can you guess which side of the piracy argument they're on? Yup, thought so. Can you say Double Standard?

    The sooner we can stop the "race to the bottom", the better it will be for everyone.

  30. daniel Silver badge

    Free as in Freedom - but who knows about it...

    People want what they know, and do not always want a steep learning curve.

    If getting what they want involves theft, then it will, especially as there is no real physical "presence" against it.

    If you drive after drinking a pint or two over the limit, you will pray that the Local Law are not a mile down the road doing breath tests, but you can download a copy cracked copy of Photoshop with absolutely no second thoughts, guilt or remorse...

    Even though The GIMP is free...

    Everything is about choice... Why drive when you could have walked? or called a friend for a lift? or not drunk at all?

    Same goes for software. Do the users know about FOSS alternatives? Can they use them as easily? do they even *want* FOSS alternatives? (any Voyager fans should remember the episode where an ex-borg community finally decided to be re-collectivised to find peace and tranquility again).

    If FOSS is to become a serious alternative, the end-user needs to be able to make that choice, and as for "all software should be free"... remember the Soviet Union:

    1) Not everyone wanted to stay in the Land of the Free Worker.

    2) Not everyone wanted to leave.

    3) Some people wanted the Tsar back

    4) Some people never knew that there was a better alternative

    5) Some people were happy

    Remember also that when it fell,

    1) Some people want Communism back

    2) Disorder broke out

    3) Some people were happy

    4) Some people never saw the difference in the end...

    So in short, Is FOSS good? bad? is commercial software good? bad? It's the end user who decides at the end of the day.

    And if commercial software is still being ripped off, that means that there is still a problem somewhere with FOSS...

  31. James Cleveland

    Re: This IS stealing

    But the point they were making is that the prices are not suitable for Indias market (or debateably even for our markets) - if you put the prices more than people can afford, people are going to pirate, there is no way you are going to stop that. If MS can afford to flog it at 30$ to Dell etc, they can afford to reduce highstreet prices drastically (I'd probably windows if it was £60) and would probably make a lot more money due to reduced piracy because us nerds sat home in our basement with shitty part time jobs due to education and whatnot could actually afford to fit having a legitimate OS into our lifestyle. Why would I deprive myself of entertainment for months saving up for windows when I know that it isn't going to affect them either way? Should I just go out and buy a dell instead of building my own PC? What is the option here? Should I drop college and get a job so I can afford these greedy prices? Not all of us have rich parents or good jobs and can afford to waste money on overpriced necessity which is otherwise obtainable. Fair enough, you can look at the hard reality of it - it is stealing...but it is far more useful to study the reasons why, and better solutions for preventing it rather than alienating the people you wish to change.

    Thank you for your input, Jeremy.

  32. Ole Juul

    What learning curve?

    What's all this stuff about a learning curve to use linux? I'm sitting here with an average computer running linux and all I did was stick in a live CD and wait for it to boot. I tried different versions and when I liked what I saw, then I clicked on "install". That's was it!

    I didn't have to answer a bunch of cryptic questions about product code or stuff like that which I don't fully understand. It just worked. Perfect for old farts like me.

    Unless you choose a unix like version, I can't for the life of me imagine what you would need to know that is so different from MS-windows. If I want more/new software, all I do is click on the name and it happens... no questions asked. I know that's different ... but is it difficult?

    I've tried a bunch of distributions and settled on Kubuntu. If you can download, or get hold of, a CD and figure out how to boot from it, you're on the air. Even if you are familiar with MS-win, linux has got to be easier.

    Things were different in the old days, but I figured it was time to see what the kids were up to these days.

  33. Henry Wertz

    No excuse

    There's really no excuse for giving people free copies of Windows any more in general. We sell lots of PCs with blank hard drive where I work. People ask me for Windows CDs like constantly, I'm like "nope, but I'll burn you an Ubuntu disk." So far, no PC owners have taken me up on the offer, but several Mac buyers did. (Ubuntu 6.06, 6.10 was buggy on Mac, and I haven't tried 7.04 Mac yet.) On the older models like G3s, a few of the people that got Ubuntu CDs from me commented they got OSX after that, put it on, and still ended up using Ubuntu because it was faster.

    There's a lot of languages listed in the installer, something like 90 or so. The poor CD drive has to load in about 30 fonts to show the first screen of the installer, language selection. If some local languages are not supported, that support certainly should be added.. Ubuntu's web site appears to have a pretty organized and easy method to add new support for apps and languages.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Indian takeaway?

    Well this was an eye-opener - this'll be the first time I've sided with Ballmer, Gates and co.

    Sorry, Indian "dealers" what you're doing is clearly theft - okay, you're not making money from the sale of the software directly, but it's obviously a crucial factor ("adding value"?) to the sale of the hardware - so to say that bundling it is a "unselfish act" is just rubbish. It's as if a car dealer pops next door to siphon petrol from a supermarket's tanks to run his business.

    As to the argument that "we're stealing software because it's too expensive to buy in this country" - well, welcome to the "wonderful" world of US-lead capitalism... I'm sure there's plenty of folks in the EU and UK who would argue that their local prices for Photoshop, Office, Vista, etc are wrong for the local conditions, but we just either pay up (and grin - grimly) or find something else.

    As I'm sure others have pointed out, there's plenty of versions of Linux and probably a few that support the various language conventions in place in India. I also would have thought that if the trade body concerned came out with a press release that said something like "we're recommending dropping XP/Vista in favour of Ubuntu" then not only would they get offers of help for Linux, but also they might find the MS price would drop. ;-)

  35. biswas

    The borg requires you continue to service it........

    Wow, loads of replies and some warm flames. Thanks for the interesting comments, and no thanks to the idiot who made the comments about my wife/girlfriend and thereby devised a new debating fallacy lower and cruder than the ad-hominem attack. Shame on you.

    To answer some of the the real points.

    Andrew, the smiling food delivery guys and little old pensioners who are working for MS are in a position rather analogous to that of hostages or kidnap victims. The hostage-taker might say somthing like "give us $10,000 per day and we will feed the hostage, otherwise she will starve" but the 99.99 of the money will go to fund the hostage takers evil, and not to feed their victims. BTW, Who says the system has worked well for me ? Even if it had (which is very debatable) the wider issue is wether it ,serves the greater good, which i think it does not.

    Maytee, You are contradictory. You said "If an individual wants/needs something he/she buys it" O.K. And then you declared that you are a linux user. Errr ? What ? As an aside, I tend to believe that all our earthly wants/needs are provided for us by the beneficence of the flying spaghetti monster (may his name be blessed) and the fact that this beneficence is stolen near source for sale by profit seekers is a reflection of our fallen state.

    Jan. Whoever said I was doing the sculpture for money ?

    Steve, Thanks for an intelligent post but I must respectfully disagree with your conclusion. If M$ truly wanted to restrict access to its products to the payer-minority, then I think they they would have done it. It is a technically feasible task. I truly believe that if M$ managed to restrict use of their software to payers they would be a struggling minor player in the software world within 3 or 4 years. Even supposing they really do hate piracy and supposing that it really is just too damn difficult to stamp it out, does anyone really believe M$ would remain dominant if their mindshare was reduced to only the payer-minority ? They should be careful what they wish for.

    Finally, they have too much already money. People shouldn't give them any more.

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Handy

    "Brian Campbell of Microsoft India sees the raids as a firm, but loving hand ..."

    Oh dear, there goes my idea of the Evil Empire!

    So ... Microsoft is cuddly after all!

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Title

    in all developing countries, it is a custom among all bookpublishers like penguin that the prices are kept as low as possible and to maximise sales . its pure economics lower prices and maximise sales. In india cars are sold for less than $4000 and mobikies for less than $2000 and the volumes are huge. coke and pepsi cost $0.20.

    In india one can get a brand new machine assembled for less than a price of XP or VISTA. here the average people salaries are peanuts compared to their counterparts working in developed worlds. so why oh why cant microsoft price their products more competitively like every other industry.

    i for one would happy buy my first legal microsoft product if that happens.

    till then piracy rules!!!!!

  38. daniel Silver badge

    Re: What learning curve?

    Ole Juul,

    I know that there are tons of Linux distros out there, and none are equal.

    The one that works fine for you will not even boot on another machine.

    Linux installations are getting better, but not all will "just work" for certain things... so you find a different distro and try again...

    Once again, things are getting better, though recently, I have had a Ubuntu Live CD not want to boot on one of my older PC's, and a T2 install not provide a French keyboard driver during the install. Or the stock kernel does not include ACL's for building a Samba server. Or that you have to play around with circular inter-dependancies when installing MySQL/Apache/PHP from RPM's... (can't install PHP without MySQL. Can't install MySQL without PHP...). Or a library is missing after installing a program that you need to find and install (if you are lucky, you will not have to compile it yourself). Or that your sound card does not work, but you can download, compile and install a new offering from kernel.org if you want.

    Other people just may not like the look of the interface or not get to grips with the program manager.

    That is the learning curve.

    And as long as people percieve that Linux is this - be it true or not - , Microsoft will continue to make money, selling to people who prefer the percieved path of lesser resistance, and people who cannot afford Microsoft will steal it.

    To end, Linux does not need work in the technical department, but in marketing... and maybe a hand in designing consistant and convival user interfaces. When that is done, then the Penguin can give Redmond a run for their money.

    Cheers,

    Daniel

  39. Mark Randall

    Piracy IS stealing, software piracy IS NOT.

    Piracy is violent robbery. Is is also often property destruction and murder. Software "piracy" is copyright infringement. The "piracy" term is used by the BSA / RIAA / MPAA / etc to make the offence seem worse than it is, and by geeks who have watched too many movies to feel cooler.

    If software "piracy" is stealing, then parking in disabled spaces is rape. I personally don't approve of any of these activities, but at least I know which is which. Please call a spade a spade, and not a bulldozer.

  40. Paul

    maybe it's marketing?

    Could this be part of a push to get people in India and other low-cost markets to BUY the low-cost, low-functionality version of Windows?

    Then the users/dealers can apply the patch (which will soon appear) to convert it to the real thing, and everyone can claim victory (unless you look too closely, or want software to be free, or something).

  41. Chris Bradshaw

    reverse piracy

    If piracy is using something without paying for it, then 'reverse piracy' is being forced to pay for something without using or wanting it. Every one of my PCs and laptops (for personal use and for work) in the last 10 years have had Windows preinstalled on them, which was paid for (the system was not offered without it) but I do not use or want.

    I MAY start to feel sorry for Microsoft and the piracy problem when I can easily buy the pre-built computer of my choice at a store without paying for an installation of Windows on it (and before you ask, sending something back to MS to get a refund is not an acceptable alternative).

    But there is another thing - If I buy a piece of software and it has a bug, I consider that I am entitled to a new version of the software with the bug fixed. I think even Microsoft does this. When almost every computer comes with Windows pre-installed, a 'pirate' installation of Windows is just an upgrade to an older, buggier piece of software. And this will be true be for a very long time, if current trends continue... :-P

  42. Karl Lattimer

    There was a time...

    Where microsoft were happy about piracy, thems were the OS/2 days where microsoft couldn't beat them on price AND features, so the beat them on one simple thing, enabling piracy, in fact, actively encouraging it in some ways.

    The reason microsoft got ticked off enough in the first place to crack down on copyright infringement was that they saw themselves actually loosing market share, in a big way. Entire governments moving over to Ubuntu or redhat making microsoft consider capitalising on the piracy market they originally made flourish.

    They did this with fear uncertainty and doubt (FUD) fud is microsofts way of making people remember they are in control, but what we have to remember is that all other operating systems have much more civil EULAs, in point of fact take MacOSX, when you buy a boxed copy of it, there is no serial number and no individual product identification, moreover, it comes with 4 licenses for a single copy. This is apples 'family' license concept, which basically means, people will buy the new OSX at 90£ if they can use it on all of their families macs, and people do. Its not one copy per machine, it doesn't cost 400£ and apple have really out done themselves with such a social licensing model. Of course, they do lock down other packages (final cut as one example) but iLife, iWork, OSX and a bunch of other products actually come with the 4 'software vouchers' which are the equivalent of licenses.

    On the other hand, ubuntu is free, share it PLEASE SHARE IT! :)

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Reply to Steve (Piracy isn't Stealing, but...)

    Talk about double standards:

    1. http://www.computerworld.com/blogs/node/2803

    2. Microsoft doesn't encourage piracy?! Well, let me quote from Bill Gates' address to B-school students at the University of Washington way back in 1998:

    "Although about 3 million computers get sold every year in China, but people don't pay for the software," he said. "Someday they will, though. As long as they are going to steal it, we want them to steal ours. They'll get sort of addicted, and then we'll somehow figure out how to collect sometime in the next decade."

    You'll find the full text here: http://news.com.com/2100-1023-212942.html

    So, Mr. Steve, does that debunk the myth YOU are trying to propogate? Do you

    know how easy it would be write a program that checks an online Windows

    computer to find out if the OS is not pirated? You can also record the IP

    address, and with the ISP's help, find out the exact person to whom that IP

    belongs. You can not only launch remote code to disable or destroy the system, (especially with the amount of viruses freely availble to do this on windows!)

    you can also directly sue the offender for copyright violation. Catch a few

    hundred offenders like this, and you can have just one all-encompassing lawsuit

    against them. Remember american music companies doing this? Was it not too

    costly for them? No, because it was a matter of desperation, as they were

    suddenly staring at bankrupcy in the face of sweeping changes in technology.

    For someone with pockets as deep as Microsoft, surely this won't cost more than

    "the amount of money they would possibly recover if all the people they pursued

    actually paid up in full." Especially considering the shivers it would send

    down the spines of future pirates.

    And yes, i definitely cannot agree with the dealers' on this. It is stealing no

    doubt. Probably what many Indian pharma companies do is stealing as well (it's

    a different matter that reverse engineering costly patented drugs and selling

    them cheap has probably helped save thousands of lives in poor countries). And

    yes, the example about the difference in prices of books is apt ("The C

    Progamming Language" by K&R, indian edition costs Rs. 95. The original US

    edition? About Rs. 2700). If not for publishing companies selling very cheap

    technical books in countries like India, the developing world wouldn't have

    produced so many skilled engineers at 10% of the cost of the "developed" world.

    And companies like Microsoft would not have so many employees in these

    countries as cheap labour. In fact, if not for pirated Windows they used as

    teenagers, most of them would not have been skilled enough for any IT job!

    And yes, what royalty does Microsoft pay to AT & T for using C/ C++ ? Is there

    *any* guarantee that microsoft itself doesn't freely copy code from free

    software and violate the GPL? Even if it is just a conspiracy theory, can there

    ever be an independent code audit of microsoft products to verify this?

    Sorry, but i can't agree with either party on this; especially because the american capitalistic model doesn't look for just "adequate compensation" of effort, it looks more for creating *one* good thing and then milking it till eternity.

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Its really just a repeat of history from the USA

    where we first get the Indians complaining about the Cowboys.

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The common denominator is laziness

    These people would prefer to drag the developed world down to their level rather than put out the effort required to bring themselves up to the rest of the world's higher standard. Using their logic means that no one makes any money - we all happily copy each others' work and no money ever changes hands. Any hint of Capitalism goes out the window.

    Perhaps they'll post the source code for the software that they're developing on these windows machines somewhere on the web so we can all download it.

    NOT!

    They have a clear choice between being legal and illegal, there's no question about that. They choose illegal. In my opinion that makes them common criminals. While I hate M$FT just as much (if not more) than the next guy, I do not steal from them, because I don't want others stealing from me. It's called respect for the law. Can we have some respect for the law, please?

    To the people in India: Switch to Ubuntu Linux. Now.

    Thank you.

  46. M Howlign

    Do I just have bad luck with Linux??

    Am I jinxed where linux is concerned or do I have bad luck? I've installed Linux loads of times through out my life from early versions of Red hat to the latest envogue Ubuntu and it's never been straight forward, even now. I've always had problems with linux not recognising my hardware, forcing me to spend time finding out manual ways of configuring them. In the past it was always my graphics card or monitor that cause the problem forcing me to use substandard resolutions. Now it's wireless networking that always causes me problems. None of the distributions I've tested (using Live CD's) have ever detected my wireless card. I've got to the point now where I really can't be bothered to go through the hassle that Linux always causes me. My laptop came with a legit copy of windows, and as most of the Open Source software available for Linux is also available for windows why should I bother??

  47. Stephen Bungay

    Can't BUY it? Then don't USE it...

    This is a no-brainer. You want to steal MS's stuff then you pay the penalties, else you use FreeBSD or Linux and tell Mr. Ballmer & Co. to take a hike.

  48. Element

    @M Howlign

    Do you have a windows driver for your wifi card? If yes, some of the newer linux distros (Mandriva Spring 2007 Edition for example) will use 'ndiswrapper' along with your windows driver to make your wifi card work flawlessly in linux. And yes, its a wizard interface :)

    As for the issue with Microsoft, yeah software piracy is wrong blah blah.

    Go Mandriva.

    The End.

  49. M Howlign

    @Element

    yes I know about ndiswrapper (although it never worked for my netgear pcmcia card). I never said I couldn't fix these problems just that I couldn't be bothered with the hassle. Especially with my latest laptop which has the almost standard Intel PRO/Wireless, which windows will use straight from the install.

  50. James Cleveland

    Personally

    I think India's IT skills would benefit amazingly if they were all forced to use linux - their minds would expand and they would become far brainier than us fat bastards on our win32 with simple everything.

    However, linux does have a learning curve - it works fine if you have normal hardware and don't care much for customization or anything, but the minute you want more interesting programs, have slightly odd hardware (a usb wifi adapter, for instance), or want to configure something that someone hasnt written a UI for, it gets much, much more complicated.

  51. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Strikes are go!

    I totally support on the strike. I totally feel that Microsoft software is grossly overpriced. If it wasn't for the fact that some hardware I have doesn't work on Linux and that all the best games only comes out for window$ (and that I'm forced to use this OS at work), I would've totally moved on to Linux by now.

  52. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Mandate Preloaded, Factory-Supported Linux Option on ALL Notebooks

    Laptops should come preloaded with Linux with factory-supported drivers supported by the factory, not the consumer. Any PC seller offering a laptop with no factory-supported Linux drivers should be imprisoned for aiding and abetting the illegal Microsoft monopoly. Most consumers are not smart enough to choose Linux and then write their own drivers. It is the obligation of the manufacturer. Microsoft's Ralph Reed and his business partner Jack Abramoff and George Junior want to make sure that laptops are sold without factory-supported Linux preloaded. That is predatory and monopolistic.

  53. Jon

    Cost of Vista

    In France you have a legal right to refuse the preloaded Windows OS and ask the shop to deduct the true cost of the software from the PC price. The shop can't refuse to sell you the PC without Windows. That said, only a few diehard Linux enthusiasts have ever exercised this right because it is easy to buy a PC without Windows from an assembler.

    Personally, I am quite happy to pay 100 euros that MS charges for Vista Home Premium OEM in France. For me it represents reasonable value for money when compared to the total cost of a modern PC system. Especially Vista seems a bargain compared with the prices that some charge just for an anti-virus or DVD program (and then they expect more cash every time a minor update is issued). How some firms can think that their DVD software is worth at least twice the price of a DVD player (hardware, firmware and MPEG licence included) is a mystery to me. Perhaps someone should start a campaign aginst the likes of Cyberlink, Nero and the like.

  54. Jon

    Windows is value for money

    In France you have a legal right to refuse the preloaded Windows OS and ask the shop to deduct the true cost of the software from the PC price. The shop can't refuse to sell you the PC without Windows. That said, only a few diehard Linux enthusiasts have ever exercised this right because it is easy to buy a PC without Windows from an assembler.

    Personally, I am quite happy to pay 100 euros that MS charges for Vista Home Premium OEM in France. For me it represents reasonable value for money when compared to the total cost of a modern PC system. Especially Vista seems a bargain compared with the prices that some charge just for an anti-virus or DVD program (and then they expect more cash every time a minor update is issued). How some firms can think that their DVD software is worth at least twice the price of a DVD player (hardware, firmware and MPEG licence included) is a mystery to me. Perhaps someone should start a campaign aginst the likes of Cyberlink, Nero and the like.

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