back to article Microsoft's Vista push probed by Fair Trade Commission

The Taiwanese Fair Trade Commission is investigating a complaint against Microsoft made by the Taiwanese Consumer Foundation, which claims the company is effectively using its monopoly to force sales of Vista. The Foundation claims its research shows 56 per cent of people buying new machines, with Vista on, would later put XP …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Competition Laws

    "But an anti-trust lawyer speaking to Bloomberg said it would be a strange interpretation of competition law to say that a company had to continue selling a product for ever."

    I think the point is that if there were real competition then MS wouldn't withdraw XP for fear that consumers would turn to the competition rather than Vista.

  2. censored

    I don't get it...

    If people want to buy something, why won't MS sell it to them?

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Halo

    I can see it now...

    FTC: We find you guilty, that's 25m Taiwan dollars.

    Bill (fumbles in pockets): Cash or cheque?

  4. Graham Dresch

    With any luck

    This will make it easier to buy a PC without Windows

  5. Steve

    Anti-trust lawyer

    "But an anti-trust lawyer speaking to Bloomberg said it would be a strange interpretation of competition law to say that a company had to continue selling a product for ever."

    They don't sell - they license. No-one's saying that they have to keep supporting it, just that they don't force people to stop using it and buy a shitty OS that they don't want instead.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns

    @censored

    >If people want to buy something, why won't MS sell it to them?

    Because MS want them to buy something that allows them to control the end users activity even more. XP is thoroughly compromised in terms of people being able to hack it so that it does what they want (e.g. play movies without DRM getting in the way), and Vista represents a huge step towards them controlling you.

    What people want is *not* what Microsoft want.

    What people want is free, stable software that "just works" and you can't get that from anyone - Apple is close on "just works" and stable, but fails on cost. The flock (hurd ;-) ) of variegated penguins hit free and are mostly stable, but let themselves down on "just works". XP represents a good balance between the three, and Vista is an Epic Fail.

  7. Gordon Pryra

    If found guilty Microsoft could be fined 25m Taiwanese Dollars or £427,000.

    sigh..........

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Linux

    wrong law

    Being a fully qualified armchair lawyer (i.e. no legal training whatsoever), this seems like the wrong law to use in this case as surely it is only anti-competitive to MS themselves.

    Surely a better law would be one that related to having to pay an OEM cost for Vista rather than getting a bare bones machine and legally using their existing XP licence.

    Its not like they are short on technology in Taiwan they should be able to find something else if vista bundled new machines are not for them.

  9. Mark

    re: competition laws

    Correct, AC. And worse (for the law) is that MS still have the sole copyrights (the rights AND the secret sauce of the code and build process) so you can't get someone along to make a replacement and let the free market work.

    PS: re "I can see it now":

    FTC: We find you guilty, that's 25m Taiwan dollars.

    Bill (fumbles in pockets): Cash or cheque?

    FTC: Now see if you can find five years in there.

  10. Chris

    I ain't no Microsoft fan, but...

    They don't sell XP anymore, they sell Vista. XP is over 7 years old, Vista has been out for well over 18 months...

    IMO, it's just like saying to Intel "Hey, we don't want these Core 2 CPUs, you're using your position to push these onto us, we want to continue to use Pentium 4 chips instead!!"

    I do think the downgrade rights should be more lenient (you can only downgrade to XP Pro, and only if you're running Vista Business or Ultimate), but the point is you are able to (legally) run XP if you have a licence for either of these Vista versions.

    If they hadn't included all the DRM stuff in Vista... it would have been orders of magnitude more successful and well regarded than it actually is.

    But I don't agree that the FTC should be involved. Otherwise there would be no advances in technology from major vendors for fear that they are using their monopoly position!

  11. James Bassett

    Strange

    Surely Microsoft are doing almost the opposite to taking advantage of a dominant position. If you believe all the MS Bashers, they have swapped a popular and dominant product for a crap one that no-one wants to buy. Certainly no-one is forcing people to buy a Windows PC anymore. There are plenty of places where you can buy a PC, a laptop or a MID (?) with Linux installed.

    If stopping the sales of the worlds most predominant Desktop PC Operating System is "anti-competitive" then you really have to wonder if MS can ever do right for doing wrong?

    If you want anti-competitive, see if you can find a company that sues anyone selling PC's with their OS installed unless THEY made the PC.

  12. Tom Ince
    Gates Halo

    DRM.....

    What an utterly useless arguement for the anti-Vista stance. All i hear is, "Wahhhhhhhhhhhhhh, my asshole is too tight."

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    This could set a bad precedent

    Forcing a company (even MS) to continue to sell and support a product that it no longer wants to sell is not a good thing to be doing. Continuing to support legacy products is a drain on a company, and diverts resources from innovation and other areas where energy is best spent.

    I would be very angry if a government started trying to force my company to sell older versions of a product, and, like many companies, we rely on the upgrade cycle to stay in business, and to free up resources from legacy support in order to develop new product.

    So while I dislike vista, I believe it should be Microsofts choice regarding what they do and do not sell.

  14. Geoff Mackenzie

    Software that 'just works'

    Linux isn't a terrible option for this, depending on what you're after. Ubuntu is pretty usable out of the box without much setup effort (installation is easier than Windows XP). I'm drifting away from Ubuntu at the moment because it's not so great for software development (in my experience; might just be me, but I'm switching to full-caffeine Debian instead). Mind you, if you're developing on Linux you probably don't mind a bit of tinkering to get things going.

    Windows does get to cheat a bit on the 'just works' front by being installed before people even get their hands on the machine. If people had to install XP themselves I think they'd realise that the average home user can't do a decent job without some head scratching and web searching.

    The way I see it the real problem is that on Unix-like systems there's a long tradition of system adminstrators not being ordinary users; life is very easy for the ordinary user, but the traditional administrative tools are more 'techie oriented'. This obstacle is gradually being overcome by most of the more popular distributions with friendlier admin tools.

    Windows has a much more serious corresponding problem, in that it has a long history of being used by ordinary people and administered by nobody, just degenerating into an unusuable state over time and then being reinstalled (usually by the next owner of the PC). Looks like MS are combating this by trying to be everybody's system administrator now, which is progressively removing the option of being your own. Bye bye choice and privacy in other words.

  15. Tim Spence

    McDonalds

    A year or two ago, McDonalds stopped selling the Chicken Premiere - God's own burger, in my opinion - and replaced it with some shite with nasty mayonnaise or salsa in it. Ergh.

    This is exactly the same situation, and so how ridiculous would it be for me to sue McDonalds for not selling my favourite chicken burger anymore?!

  16. amanfromMars Silver badge

    License or Dodgy Ransom Danegeld Demand?

    ""But an anti-trust lawyer speaking to Bloomberg said it would be a strange interpretation of competition law to say that a company had to continue selling a product for ever."

    They don't sell - they license." ..... By Steve Posted Monday 18th August 2008 14:41 GMT

    Steve,

    Surely tying their software products into a hardware product creates an anti-competitive, captive trust fund for Microsoft, especially whenever there are free OSOS available which offer comparable and even Better services which can be upgraded at will, with a whole Plethora of Suppliers able to Offer Upgrades, to a constantly improving Customer led Operating System rather than feeding a Closed Shop Corporate Operation ......Trojan Horse Trials.

    Seems like Real Hands On, Heart Felt experts at Resolving Troubles are Pioneering another Core System for their Beta Value for Money and Power to the People Paths ..... http://www.theinquirer.net/gb/inquirer/news/2008/08/15/northern-ireland-plugs-open. And they know QuITe a bit more about Trojan Horses/Spies in the Camp/Collusion than probably anyone else you could mention being Grand Past Masters at the Game ....... and as they Move On to a New Titanic Era in which they have Popular Control, Tying Controls to a Proprietary Closed System is never ever Going to be an available Option after what they learned over four centuries/decades of such Use/Abuse/Control/Power.

    It's a Hot Bed of Innovative Governance Initiatives is that Green and Pleasant Land and it doesn't Suffer Fools at All..... at least not for long. Of that you can be sure to be sure.

  17. Mark

    Re: McDonalds

    a) make your own

    b) go to Burger King

    c) don't buy

    But you can't get away with not buying MS software on a computer.

  18. Mark

    Re: This could set a bad precedent

    So if MS don't want to sell, why do they have the copyrights? If they don't want to sell, what loss is there if I pirate a copy of XP?

    It doesn't work.

  19. Mark

    censored

    >If people want to buy something, why won't MS sell it to them?

    Because if they sell XP then only those people who WANT Vista will buy it. And so they won't be able to get those people who aren't upgrading their computers to buy Vista. If they can get everyone over to Vista (or lots of them, anyway), they can get all the application developers to write for Vista only. And after some years, those on XP will be unable to use their computer to talk to people on other computers. And so they will have to buy Vista.

    Without this forced change, there is no need to buy a new OS: it already does what you need it to do.

  20. Hugh_Pym

    Not sold, licenced

    I think a lot of people feel that they bought XP for their old PC so why can't they continue to use it on their new one. If they read the EULA they would find they are not allowed to do much. They can't sell the PC with their windows XP licence and they cannot wipe the old machine and install it on the new machine (as most people get windows OEM). So what you get is a lot of disgruntled people who thought they owned something and don't.

    It's like if you bought a nice economical little family saloon from you local Ford dealer and after a few years you went to sell it and buy a new one but the dealer said. 'you bought the car but only leased the ms-engine(tm), you can only sell it if you take the ms-engine(tm) out and throw it away. You can lease the new ms-engine(tm) which is much bigger and thirstier but no better than the old one or you can fit a different engine yourself but we will use any means fair or foul to stop the new owner using it including vague legal threats and abuse of market position to force all accessory makers to all dealers to only sell cars and parts for ms-engines(tm).

    Anyway as we only make executive limousines to go with the new ms-engine(tm) you will have to buy one of those. What? you don't one of those? What does that matter?

  21. Nic Brough
    Gates Horns

    @Tom Ince

    >What an utterly useless arguement for the anti-Vista stance. All i hear is, "Wahhhhhhhhhhhhhh, my asshole is too tight."

    It's just one reason people don't like Vista, there are plenty of others.

    The fact is, people don't want DRM, not particularly because it tries to block pirates, but because it's so badly implemented, it affects what they perceive as legitimate use. It doesn't matter whether the license says what's legitimate, it's what people feel is legit - and that means "I bought a film, I can play it on my damn microwave if I feel like it".

    Vista has (or had, if they've fixed it without me noticing) a "feature" that throttles the network connection while video is being played. That alone was proof that Vista DRM was designed by clueless idiots.

  22. Neil Greatorex
    Gates Horns

    Re: McDonalds By Mark

    "But you can't get away with not buying MS software on a computer."

    Oh yes you can, go to novatech.co.uk , I haven't bought a computer with an MS infection for years. :-)

  23. Michael

    Mmmmm, cereal...

    >>>If people want to buy something, why won't MS sell it to them?

    Because if you sell it, people will expect you to support it.

    To put it in perspective, I own Kellogg (the breakfast cereal company). In addition to making Rice Krispies, I decide to begin making a new cereal called "Rice Crunchies". One day, I decide I want to stop making and selling Rice Krispies. I have every right to do that. I'm even being nice enough that if you buy Premium Rice Crunchies, I'll give you Premium Rice Krispies if you really want it.

    I also have a deal with the Dairy company that says you get a box of Rice Crunchies with every gallon of milk. This deal used to be for the Krispies variant, but as I don't make that anymore, you now get Crunchies. The Dairy company could have said no to my agreement to supply their customers with cereal at the same time as milk, but their customers value not needing to go out and get their own cereal, so it benefits the Dairy and most cereal eaters to have this deal.

    Sure, some cereal eaters want Cocoa Puffs instead of any kind of Rice cereal, but they're a small minority, and of course, they could still go get their own cereal. Perhaps the Dairy company should offer milk with no cereal at all, but that's really up to them, and economies of scale may make it an unprofitable move.

    If customers don't want Rice Crunchies, they can take advantage of the option to get Premium Rice Crunchies (and the deal to get Premium Rice Krispies instead), they can buy "standalone" milk, with no included cereal, or they can go get some cows and "build" their own milk from scratch and put whatever cereal into it they prefer, even if it's original Rice Krispies. We don't really care what milk you put our cereal in. Just be aware that as we don't make Rice Krispies anymore, we can't help you with your complaints that it doesn't snap, crackle, and pop in quite the right way.

    Naturally, we suggest you avail yourself of our newer Rice Crunchies product.

    See, folks, if it's anything but software, it sounds ridiculous to suggest that a company must sell (and therefore support) a product forever. And before you say "but I don't mean FOREVER!" then where's the line?? At what point is it acceptable to stop selling and supporting an OS? Should MS still support 3.1? Should Apple still support you on your ][e? It's a silly expectation, and if the expectation isn't justified, then suing them for punting their current offering instead of their old one is just idiotic.

  24. Charlie van Becelaere
    Alien

    @ amanfromMars

    > and as they Move On to a New Titanic Era in which they have Popular Control, <

    shouldn't that have been a New tITanic Era?

    my God, I'm reading posts from amanfromMars far too closely.

    Help!

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    @Mark, Re: McDonalds

    --quote--

    But you can't get away with not buying MS software on a computer.

    --end quote--

    You are not looking hard enough, then.

    I bought my last machine without any OS on it whatsoever. The option to buy an OS was there, if I had wanted it, but I took the choice not to (I had an XP license already available)*

    So I find this particular argument by the people pushing hard for Open Source a bit hard to swallow. If your vendor insists on selling you Windows - go to someone else.

    * And no - there was no "Windows Tax!" or anything else of that nature. To get the OS installed would have been a line item: "Windows XP Professional Retail"

    I left it as "No Operating System - $0" - of course, they won't support any OS-related issues I have. Shucks.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ AC - Ref: This could set a bad precedent

    You (AC) said: "Forcing a company (even MS) to continue to sell and support a product that it no longer wants to sell is not a good thing to be doing."

    But MS do want to keep selling XP. Have they not announced that they are dumping, sorry licensing XP Home for the Sub-Notebook range of computers?

    You also said: "Continuing to support legacy products is a drain on a company ..."

    This would be true if they were boxed products as Microsoft support them. However, the majority of computer buyers are forced to buy Windows pre-loaded, and this would mean the support would fall into the hands of the OEM, not Microsoft themselves, so it would not be a drain on Micosoft themselves. Microsoft just want to force Vista onto people because they make more money from it.

    The 'Downgrade rights' are allowed because Microsoft effectively get even more money from the stupid users. First they pay for Vista and then they pay again for XP, assuming that they do not already own a copy or have not pirated it!

  27. Mark
    Gates Horns

    Great. Now get MSOffice working on it, Neil.

    Because you must interoperate.

    Get your ISP to support you when your cable is down and you answer "linux" when they ask you what OS you're using.

    Play DVD's on there using WinDVD.

    Yes, I know you can get around these, but it is something you pay because you have not sucked of the Teat Of Microsoft (it's those pointy things either side of Bill's head).

    Hell, you can do without a computer if you have to, but you're kind of stuffed applying for a job if you don't use email nowadays.

  28. Jodo Kast
    Alert

    Why Microsoft won't sell XP:

    There is no DRM for XP. DRM is built into Vista.

    That's the only reason.

    It's the same reason why you could watch the Olympics via BBC, but if you are in America, you are blocked out.

    There is no live coverage of the Olympics in the USA. NBC does not provide it, and they locked everyone else out.

    Greed? Yep.

  29. Steve

    @ Amanfrommars

    I would respond, but I'm not reading through that crap. Capitals are for proper nouns and starting sentences.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @McDonalds and @Re: McDonalds

    @Re: McDonalds

    As the other guy said, plenty of places you can buy a PC without MS software, Overclockers, Dell, probably eBuyer, even PC World have some.

    And you can't make your own McChicken Premier without McChicken, which isn't available in shops due to borderline legality issues.

    @McDonalds

    I completely agree, we should start a class action suit against McDonalds for depriving us of the Premier.

  31. Geoff Mackenzie

    @Chris

    With reference to your comment about it being like asking Intel to still supply older CPUs... the difference is that if you need a 486, you can still buy one (new), even now. They have certain advantages if you really don't need much performance. Admittedly last time I saw a new DX33 (with 8Mb of EDO and a suitable motherboard) the price wasn't particularly tempting - over £100 if I remember correctly.

    But still, if you want one, you can have one. If MS don't want the support burden of their older systems, they could release them open source (or, more realistically, public domain, since a lot of the source is probably too embarrassing to release) without support, rather than cutting off supply entirely. That would still leave people with a choice. Perhaps support could be handed over to another company under license.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Shouldn't you lose copyrights on a product you no longer manufacture?

    Doesn't it seem that if you stop making a product, other people should be able to reproduce it?

    I mean, look, let's say you own an old Mac Plus and you want to give it to some starving student just for word processing. You install the Mac OS 6 and look to find MacWrite Pro.

    But MacWrite Pro isn't being made anymore. So doesn't it seem like it should be legal to copy MacWrite Pro (if you can no longer get a new licensed version) for your own use?

    I think if copyrights and patents aren't being used by the holder they should default so others can use them.

  33. Neil Cooper

    @Chris

    Chris you wrote:

    >> IMO, it's just like saying to Intel "Hey, we don't want these Core 2 CPUs, you're using your position to push these onto us, we want to continue to use Pentium 4 chips instead!!" I do think the downgrade rights should be more lenient (you can only downgrade to XP Pro, and only if you're running Vista Business or Ultimate),

    Wrong. Your analogy is exactly the opposite of whats actually happening. Unlike most people have realised already, You have yet to also make the connection that no matter what Microsoft like to pretend, Vista is actually a downgrade to XP.

    Your analogy should be more like:

    Intel releases a pentium 4 as a new product to replace Core 2, except that now each time the user wants to run a program the P4 has to tell intel what the user is doing and get permission from intel first before it will actually do it. Then Intel stop selling Core2's and make those already out there not work as fast by using some built-in remote control. (read: Windows update).

  34. kain preacher Silver badge

    HMMM

    So can I force adobe to sell me photo shop 5 ???

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Unhappy

    Vista & XP

    Vista isnt just about the DRM. Vista was supposed to drive the PC market. Because Vista needs a more powerful PC to do the same work as XP, people were meant to upgrade, buy more & more powerful PCs with faster CPUs & video cards (with HDCP), more RAM and bigger hard drives.

    MS is also switching from a 'buy your license' to a 'lease your license' model. The MS Tax will be replaced by a MS Rent. That way, even if you dont upgrade your PC & OS you're still paying them money. When that happens, most people will automatically run the latest version of their OS (which will force more upgrades).

    Then as soon as OSX & Linux start to gain a serious foothold in the OS market, Microsoft will give away the basic version of their OS for free. Of course by that time all the hardware will have TPM bits embedded requiring the use of an 'authorized' OS. The non-TPM hardware will cost more ensuring the MS/Media company hold over our computers.

  36. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

    Most vendors still pay the MS tax on Linux machines

    That is why Dell Linux machines are a lower spec then Windows machines in the same price bracket.

    I think some countries have an interesting bit of copyright law: If you do really cannot buy copyright material because the owner will not distribute it, then you can legally make a copy for yourself. Do not take my word for it as I am not a lawyer. While you are at it, be prepared to pay a ridiculous licence fee if the copyright holder chooses to re-enter the market.

    MS have side stepped this detail by selling XP - at a high price with some bundled crapware.

    I wholeheartedly support Bill's right to rent out third rate software at exorbitant prices. I do not want to use it, and I certainly do not want to pay for it. To get real competition in the market, manufacturers should not be permitted to pay license fees to Microsoft. They should be able to install deactivated windows for free and XP/Vista addicts can pay an activation fee to MS if they choose.

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Boffin

    Ok... lots of people apparently lose their memories on an assortment of things

    Since there is almost no actual functional difference between XP and Vista (aside from the loss of rights to the computer from the user in an assortment of aspects mentioned a thousand times already [bells and whistles don't count!!]), and since not everyone wants to buy a new computer every 2 years when their current one is working fine. Vista is still way too expensive to justify "upgrading" from XP. In fact, XP pro is still way too expensive to justify upgrading from 2K (in case all those who are too young, or too old, to know which windows actually does what, NT is NT and can run just about anything any other NT can run [this is from the everyday home/office users perspective, I'm not including .net developers], as long as you can get DirectX and other windows addon's to work, the major differences are the hardware supported by the included drivers or the manufacturers). What annoys those of us with a clue is that MS changes little things in the OS which almost forces developers (yes I can program and keep up with their gripes too) to redo everything and users to pump out cash for something they don't actually need. This has thankfully mellowed out in recent years only because so much attention has been drawn to it, but there are those of us that remember the "progression" from MS-DOS to OS/2 to Win95 (screwing IBM and us right in the ass with the worst OS ever made [What, not MS!!]) to Win98 to WinME to WinXP (where they finally got it right since 2k wasn't intended for the home users). Doesn't anyone else remember that the promise of windows Vista is the same promise they've been "trying" to give us since Win95 / OS/2? But they didn't because they were too busy destroying their competition and funding it with consumer's (YOUR) cash? It's not like this is ancient history!

    Of course I don't have any right to say anything since I don't own a Sega Dreamcast, er! I mean X-Box! And I'm not a huge fan of Unreal... er! I mean Halo!

    They weren't the first to make an OS, they weren't the first to make a game console, they weren't the first at anything they did, not even WYSIWYG development tools (and weren't that great at them either; takes them years to destroy the competition that actually do it better, and being stupidly rich helps a lot). Though they are very good at how they compete and support the new monopoly system that's taking over "our free" capitalist society.

    PS. I don't hate MS, just how they do business

    PPS. I'm also not interested in how wrong I am about the lack of differences in NT. Design models, and function call processes aside, if they run the same programs, as far as I, a consumer, am concerned, they are the same. I'm not going to buy a new car after a couple years because a new one came out with square headlights instead of the boring old round ones, it's still just a car. Even with the bonus version with an extra layer of paint giving it a 3D look and feel, but as an aside the bonus version is 1-ton heavier, but look at the way the light shines off it and the round headlights! So what if it's inefficient as hell. (<- behold! A working analogy for Vista vs. XP everyone with a brain can understand)

    PPPS. Ok I'm done, everyone who recalls things where MS is the victim can go shoot yourself now please and save us all from your ignorance. MS bashing is like bashing racists, with the right arguments (facts, not just being argumentative), it's not bashing, just stating it as it is... It's also too easy. (or should be, would someone PLEASE read up on IT related history that isn't written by an ex employee from some company like MS???) Again, having owned an x-box or having only used XP or later doesn't count as having "IT related experience", no matter what the current IT/help desk recruiters would like to think.

    PPPPS. I apologize in advance for all the hot air, just sick of people making comments with absolutely no real historical background on MS other than from MS themselves. I mean, remember that time MS was the underdog? Oh wait! That never happened! And court cases don't count or every murderer and rapist (sorry to go to such extremes) would also be underdogs.

  38. Fihart

    Stop blathering. Act.

    The reason bastards like MS and Apple get away with murder is amply demonstrated here. Good men debate, bastards just do what they like.

    Microsoft uses its monopoly position to bully hardware firms into installing Vista when it cripples their machines and the customers don't wantt it. End of story.

    Get your politicians to jail them -- like any dictatorship would do.

    Apple ? Try taking a failed ipod back to the Apple Store outside one year warranty and they will either charge to fix it or offer you a 10 per cent discount on a new one. Any Trading Standards Officer will tell you that a product like the ipod should last up to 6 years -- if it fails in 2 the retailer only has the option to repair for free, replace or refund a fair percentage of purchase price (66% ? in this case).

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Linux

    Vista preloaded ?

    The only reason anyone would want to do that would be to play a practical joke on someone !

  40. CTG
    Gates Horns

    Support? That'll be the day...

    "Continuing to support legacy products is a drain on a company"

    Really? Given that MS make you pay for support, I don't see how it is that much of a drain. The only free support you get from MS is the Knowledge Base, and it doesn't cost them any more to keep the old articles relating to XP as well as the current ones for Vista.

    Especially as they don't seem particularly bothered about making the KB articles accurate anyway. Just the other day I was searching for something relating to Vista, and the article I found had instructions that talked about a menu option that didn't exist. Providing that kind of support must be really draining.

  41. Claire Rand
    IT Angle

    over a year ago i asked on a forum...

    why buy vista? as in actually buy it?

    i normally use a mac, but thats not relevant here (I also have a nice XP machine) as in I hand over some cash.. what do I get exactly? as in what can I now down that I couldn't before?

    not too bothered about old programs not running as well etc, but i'd like stuff to at least run prior to software being updated.

    as yet been told I get widgets... umm no thanks I already have a clock, i don't need another huge one I'd prefer to have the screen space. fancy visuals? well I have xp running looking like win 2000 for speed.

    my machine would run vista, apparently reasonably well though not stellar.

    but not yet had a convincing answer to the question of what I get for my few hundred quid?

    thats whats hurt vista, there is no obvious point to it.

    if they had bundled a version of office in with it maybe, even just word and excel, even toe 2003 versions (though it would be a good way to get 2007 out there). then there is a reason to buy it, it not does something.

  42. Matt Woolley
    Gates Horns

    I own a computer shop and my customers want XP

    I want XP. Most of my customers want XP. In fact most of them want office 2003 so that the kids have the same software as thier school. But no. We can only have Vista and Office 2007.

    I can see why M$ are doing this. I sit here with my 6 year old PC with XP and Office 2000. I use it for 10 plus hours a day and have not paid a bean since I got it. A bargin, and it might last me another 10 years. I doubt it as M$ updates will kill it in the end.

    A tip to M$. Look at what your customers want and sell it to them. Home users using Vista and office 2007 will not make business upgrade. Wait, it just might, what a good idea.

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @McDonalds

    The equivalent here would be if McDonalds still sold the Chicken Premiere but only to people also ordering Big Macs. Thus forcing you to buy a Big Mac if you want a Chicken Premiere.

    Of course they would then need to find a way to stop you teaming up with people who actually want Big Macs and passing your BM on to them but I'm not entirely up to speed with the minds of people who actually choose to eat those things to know what would be done in that case.

  44. Wayland Sothcott Bronze badge

    Well duh?!

    Ofcourse you use your monopoly to force people to buy your greatest product.

    I have set up quite a few Vista computers now as well as Apple and Linux. I would say that XP just works, as does Linux and Apple. The only one causing problems is Vista. I struggle with it's WiFi capability. I struggle with users installing some silly bonus disk supplied by Microsoft that makes it run really slow.

    I cannot see what advantage Vista offers over XP, it all seems to be disadvantages. I know that once they make important programs that can't run on XP then Vista will have an advantage based on XP's contrived disadvantage.

    Currently the only way you can get people to switch to such a pointless (from the users perspective) product is to do it for them. Vista is crap but not worth my time and money to switch my users to XP. I just sell them more RAM and they never know the difference. Honestly most don't care what OS is running and those that complain usually don't know it's because they hate Vista (what's vista?).

  45. rick buck
    Gates Horns

    Rusty Chrome

    It may look Shiny, all Chromed and New, but underneath it is still MS BS, > RUSTY!

    Analogy> A 1950s Buick is still with us, but a 1995 GM is a piece of crushed crap!

    And I agree that if "they do not make anymore, and they do not support it anymore, they have no rights to control it anymore.

    I can but aftermarket parts for the car that GM does not sell, or make parts for, and they can not do anything about it! That is free market baby! SELLER BEWARE!

    And it is time for a "Consumers- EULA-TOS Agreement" ...I bought it, I own it, I can sell it, or set it on fire if I want!

    Bill, 'cause he calls it "Creative Capitalism." Visit www.creativecapitalism.com

    and voice your opinion!!!PLEASE!!!!!

  46. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    What about...

    all hose windows alternatives to the PC. All those superiour OS´es. Surly they are soo superiour that people are just gona buy those instead of XP.

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If you don't like it don't buy it. Simple

    @Graham

    It's already very easy to buy a PC without Windows. It has been for a few years now. It's just that most OEMs think their buyers want an easy life and will want windows pre-installed. But many do give you the choice, if you ask or look at the options when buying online.

    It is surprisingly hard to buy a Mac without OSX, though...

    Or a Ford car without a Ford engine...

    @Hugh_Pym "If they read the EULA they would find they are not allowed to do much. They can't sell the PC with their windows XP licence..."

    Actually, if you read the EULA you will find that is just about the only thing you _can_ do with it - you can't sell the licence without the PC, but you can transfer the licence with the machine it is tied to.

    @CTG

    "it doesn't cost them any more to keep the old articles relating to XP as well as the current ones for Vista."

    It costs nothing to leave old ones there, but to write new ones which also cover XP then of course it does. Every time there is a bug found, or a problem running some MS or third-party application and they post a new article explaining when the problem arises and how to resolve or workaround it, they would have to also test the same scenario for all OS versions they still sell and support. This makes no sense, I don't expect them to tell me whether or not a particular registry fix to get something working also applies to Windows ME, or would not work on that OS, or would toast that OS. I don't think it is reasonable to expect them to test and document all those possible combinations.

    If you bought XP yesterday and a bug was found today, you would expect them to test, document and provide a fix for it. They don't want to do that, so they choose not to sell XP (generally).

    Why do people think Vista is all about a shiny Aero interface (note: TV adverts are aimed at consumers, not corporate users) and DRM (frankly I don't care)?

    What about security (new firewall, UAC, DEP, file and registry virtualisation, BitLocker, loads more Group Policy controls)?

    A totally new network stack with native IPv6?

    What about power management?

    A proper model for offline files that 'just works'? (rather than the XP per-computer implementation that was slow, prone to crashing and completely unworkable for large volumes of data)

    These are all good reasons to consider Vista if these issues are important to you. If not, then don't upgrade, or go get a free OS if you think that will do everything you need instead. Open source is a great idea. Support is probably better than on a three-year old OEM licence for an MS / Apple OS.

    If you don't want Vista, I'm not bothered. I have no MS shares. I really don't care if you don't think it is right for you. But stop whinging about it and simply vote with your wallet by not buying it.

    I don't think Hummers (or most large 4x4's) are a particularly good choice of vehicle for the school run, so I choose not to buy one, but I don't think they should be banned or should be forced not to make them, or insist that if I buy one I am allowed to drive away a top-end saloon from the same company instead. I buy the car I think suits my needs.

    (By the way, there is an anti-competitive analogy in there, when you look at how many second-hand cars are bought by main dealers as part-exchanges, and then never sold on. There are huge fields of unused second hand cars in Europe, because allowing them to be sold depresses the second hand market prices, which means people lose more in depreciation if they buy a new car, which means they won't pay as much in the first place, or they keep it longer. Either way, this means less sales for car manufacturers, so they help fix the market by part-exchanging above market rates and then keeping or scrapping the second hand cars)

  48. Allan Rutland
    Flame

    Re: Flocke Kroes

    "That is why Dell Linux machines are a lower spec then Windows machines in the same price bracket."

    There is no Windows tax as the Freetards keep putting it on non-Windows machines. The simple fact is that a company has a set price, and need to also balance its sales of something against the hassle of doing it. Shipping Linux on a cheap machine is all well and good, except how many will they sell? if it was to be the same as the equally specced Windows box than yes, it would be cheaper, but it's not the same price as its paying a Windows tax, its the same price as very few (in comparison) people buy them.

    Also look at Asus and the eee's (where's the eee lady icon reg?), they sell the Linux machine about the same as the XP box....but they actually throw in more hardware. Why? because once they sell a machine there is no incentive for a user to buy another for many years to come. Thats it, you sold it, the end. This isn't a printer where they can screw you month after month on ink. Selling a dirt cheap machine is utterly useless to them for the margins involved. So they fiddle the specs to keep the base price up a bit. Is this a Windows tax? no it's not.

    You want a machine with no tax? Get one with no OS. It's your choice, no one elses. They are available, and just because you prefer to whine and bitch when you can't be bothered actually looking if you problem. Not the worlds. If HP can bang out (no idea how considering the specs) things like the OS less, dual core Opteron boxes with DVD writers, and a so so amount of RAM and HDD for under £100 they are available.

    People expect a huge discount for using Linux. The fact of the matter is that Linux isn't free, that is unless you or your companies time is worthless, which for many people, it isn't. Thereby you still need to charge for it. Linux has it's place, and it's coming along nicely. It's not there yet, but it's getting there.

  49. Mark

    @Allan Rutland

    The EEE PC linux is the same price as Windows. However, the Windows machine is under-specced. E.g. 20GB storage for Linux, 8GB for Windows.

    "Get one with no OS. It's your choice, no one elses."

    It isn't their choice only. It's their limited choice. They can't BUY from Dell the same machine with no OS on it. When Dell did, it was the same price. Which would indicate Windows is worthless, but you try pirating it and suddenly it is worth beelions.

    You're not 100% wrong in what you say about the situation, you ARE 100% wrong in saying that they are wrong.

  50. Mark

    "Or a Ford car without a Ford engine..."

    WTF????

    Yes, but you CAN buy Chrysler. Or Toyota. BMW. Rolls Royce....

    IE YOU CAN STILL BUY A CAR!

    MacOSX can be bought separate from a computer and installed on a barebones Intel PC. But in any case, Apple Macs aren't a monopoly.

  51. Mark

    @kain preacher

    "So can I force adobe to sell me photo shop 5 ???"

    Yup.

    Bring a lawsuit against them. Demand either the ability to get a free copy from the internet, the release of the product from abandonment, or monopoly abuse (copyright is a monopoly).

    If you can get enough people to join you, maybe your government will take it up for you, or the monopoly commission. Just like is happening here.

    Twat.

  52. Lager And Crisps
    Jobs Horns

    ...same as it ever was!

    When Microsoft has to use it's billions to enforce acceptance of it's latest product, something somewhere is very wrong.

    Nobody wants Vista except Microsoft and the hardware vendors you need to buy from to upgrade to Vista in the first place.

    Am I one of the few people to realise this sad state of affairs?

    ...same as it ever was! ...same as it ever was! ...same as it ever was!

  53. Mahou Saru

    re: If you don't like it don't buy it. Simple

    Not as simple as that. To me it is _all_ about choice. I want to have the choice of what OS I purchase with my PC. Yes I am willing to pay extra for a nix or bsd variant that has been specifically customised for a box. Right now HW suppliers in many cases (especially with laptops) will only release drivers for Windows, so then I can't splash out on bleeding edge unless I am a hacker. I'll have to wait to see if that bit of kit is adopted by the community and people with the right stuff are willing to develop for it.

    With MS doing their shady/cunning business tactics to ensure that their OS is on by default, that gives manufacturers the excuse to only support for Windows.

  54. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    Upgrade this...

    "Nobody wants Vista except Microsoft and the hardware vendors you need to buy from to upgrade to Vista in the first place.

    Am I one of the few people to realise this sad state of affairs?"

    Ahh yes the old 'we'll write a bloated OS, force people to upgrade to keep you in business' relationship between M$ and hardware vendors.

    In a few years most apps will be written for Vista not XP, then we will all be forced to join the train. Getting my coat already.

  55. Sally

    @Tim Spence

    "A year or two ago, McDonalds stopped selling the Chicken Premiere - God's own burger, in my opinion - and replaced it with some shite with nasty mayonnaise or salsa in it. Ergh."

    But if the only place open in your town selling (arguably) food is McD's and they change their range so that everything contains mayo which makes you sick, you are in serious trouble. No you can't sue them but you may well make a fuss to try to make them reintroduce something that you can eat.

  56. Mister Cheese
    Linux

    McDonalds

    "Chicken McSandwich please, but no mayo". Sorted. Believe it or not, they are assembled fresh. Course, the discount for not having mayo is the same as the discount for not having Windows on a Dell.

  57. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: McDonalds

    I really want a Chicken McSandwich now. Damn you all.

  58. Jon Kale
    Flame

    @Mahou Saru

    "Right now HW suppliers in many cases (especially with laptops) will only release drivers for Windows"

    And this is Microsoft's fault how? Could it instead be that the hardware vendors have worked out that they can hit 95% of the market for (say) 20% of the effort, and that investing huge chunks of change in making sure that their hardware works with MacOS 9 & X, Linux, xBSD, Solaris and openSolaris, AIX, HP-UX, OpenVMS, ReactOS etc isn't really a worthwhile investment of cash? You want drivers? Either a) write 'em yourself or b) pay someone to write 'em for you.

  59. Mark

    @Jon Kale

    '"Right now HW suppliers in many cases (especially with laptops) will only release drivers for Windows"

    And this is Microsoft's fault how?'

    You don't get access to MS Windows internals if you help their competition.

    Duh.

    Look at what happened to Wordperfect when they moved to Windows: Microsoft changed the API before release and after WP had created their application for Windows.

    WPfW was a buggy terrible piece of cack but not because WP couldn't write the product but because MS changed the API.

  60. Mahou Saru

    @Jon Kale

    Try considering what you are saying in context of the article. If MS continues to use their monopoly to force sales of Vista then the majority of vendors will only support Windows.

    Let me give you a better example of how MS's actions affect the market.... Did you try to use Vista when it first came out? How hard was it to get drivers for it? One of the reasons why is exactly what a lot of people are concerned about. Basically MS's own tactics bit them in the arse with Vista. They pushed so hard in ensuring that XP was the main OS on the market especially in the vendor's eyes that when Vista came out, the vendors used the exact excuse that you gave to not develop support for Vista. Now the thing is Vista has MS's monopoly to drag it through, but it is not so easy for others neh?

  61. Goat Jam
    Gates Horns

    Forcing companies to "sell" old products

    I've read the comments and i agree, forcing companies to continue selling products is a ludicrous idea. If Burger King want to stop making Whoppers then they have that right. I'll go buy something else elsewhere.

    I think there is a distinction to be made here though. Most people don't "buy" Windows, they buy *computers*

    Microsoft have spent the last 2 decades ensuring that people have no choice but to buy that PC with Windows on it. From the perspective of the end user Windows is *free*, which is precisely how Windows retains its dominant position in the market despite the existence of truly free alternatives.

    If Microsoft didn't put so much effort into ensuring that vendors do not sell competing products then I could see a valid argument against forcing them to sell XP with PC's.

    If a PC vendor could sell Linux PC's with the same shelf visibility as Windows PC's you can bet your bottom dollar that MS would whip XP out of the fire quicker than you can say "Don't look over there, I have the version of Windows you want here!"

    We have all seen them do that with the eeepc. First, we are told that Windows XP is dead. Along comes the eepc with Linux and it sells like hotcakes. Sudden;y MS tell us that XP is back from the dead and now it's getting harder and harder to get hold of the Linux version of the ee.

    That's just how Microsoft works.

  62. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Old software

    If it's not supported or sold by the original company, then it should become public domain one yaer after support ends. Auto manufacturers can't stop third party manufacturers from making parts that work in their cars (or replica vehicles), so why should software companies me immune.

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