back to article Microsoft celebrates a bumper financial year ... by making stuff pricier

Microsoft has announced tweaks to its Volume Licensing programmes from 1 October, under which existing plans will be renamed, discounts removed and prices "changed". For "changed", read "increased". In a blog post published by Microsoft during the excitement over previews of its on-premises server applications, the money- …

  1. a_yank_lurker Silver badge


    So Slurp has forgotten a couple of key lessons for a monopolist. You can squeeze blood out of turnip. And what John D Rockefeller noticed that only way to sustain a monopoly was with reasonable quality products sold at relatively low margins while wringing out as much cost as possible to keep the overall prices low. Raise prices too a high level allows others to enter the market even if their initial margins are not as good. Low margins and low prices with large scale make it hard for competitor to enter a market and be viable.

    1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

      Re: Marketing support

      Decades ago manufacturers were tired of paying Microsoft tax so the created their own compatible alternative to Windows. Microsoft's response was to put up their prices by a large amount and offer "marketing support" funds to OEMs who bought a Windows license for every computer they made. This brought the effective price most of the way back to where it had been for OEMs who paid the tax (all of them). The other options would have been to distribute their OS, maintain it at their expense an pay Microsoft for the privilege or to lose most of the customers because they would not be able to supply Windows machines at a competitive price.

      Intel tried the same trick with AMD, but it did not work so well. There is no Intel data format that locks your data to their CPUs. Intel did put an AMD detector followed by some random crash code into the output of their compiler in the hope that programmers would ignorantly make their software Intel only. This trick got widely publicised back in the day and might make a come-back now that AMD have competitive CPUs.

      Microsoft will price their software just below the perceived cost of switching to Linux and their users will pay that cost every year. I have not seen any reason for that to change.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    MS price increases, no lube provided

    Bend over.....

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: MS price increases, no lube provided

      Well, that's the result. Tthe question is: after bending over, will everyone get kissed?

      They're really the only player as far as desktops go. Any other competitors were wiped out decades ago and so Linux* and the rest are all small time for us techies to play with. Joe User hasn't a clue and same for the companies. They know how to use Windows and the built in reluctance to change along with all the embedded support structure for Windows will mean that they'll pay the ransom.

      If I were a betting man, I'd bet that the price increase is only for the profit and bonus lines on the spreadsheet. No real change, no added value. Nadella has made the profit point very clear when Windows became "Windows as a service" with ads, etc. for home users instead of a onetime purchase. He's feeding the investors and the board's greed not the needs of the customers.

      *Most places will sell a Linux PC but because of the grip MS has, you still end up paying for Windows even if the box is delivered without it.

  3. adnim Silver badge

    Ease of exit

    I don't use any cloud services personally, I look after an Ubuntu instance on AWS and some S3 buckets for CD for a client. It was set up by someone else.

    All my eggs are in one basket on a server in my garage (next to some old rags and cans of petrol). Backups are cool, I have heard of them. I think I have some somewhere.

    My point is that once one starts to rely on a third party, more and more of ones business systems tend to become dependant on that third party. Eventually the cost of transition may become prohibitive.

    MS know this as do Google and Amazon.

    Now if MS, Google and Facebook can work together to find a nice file format to download all ones social media outpourings in order to import into another social media service. Why can't the big cloud/SaaS providers do the same?

    I might then consider their usefulness for storing, deploying and serving information that I don't mind finding its way into the public domain.

    As a kid I got stuck in a clothes spin drier, I was on the verge of panic before I escaped.

    I don't like being trapped.... Cloud SaaS all stink of entrapment.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      'once one starts to rely on a third party'

      Its not hard to imagine that once a critical mass of services have been migrated to the Cloud, Govt and vulnerable business (SME's) are going to be 'taken to the cleaners'. What's the origin of that saying???... What I really mean is, the Big-3 Cloud firms will send in the 'cleaners' to collect - mafia style!

  4. bombastic bob Silver badge

    "It's a trap" - Admiral Ackbar was/is right!

    Micro-shaft's strategy seems all about "the trap" and/or "the lock-in". It's followed up by subscription pricing, where you must pay annually for 'whatever' rather than one-time only.

    Transparent, obvious, and (unfortunately) not very customer-friendly.

    It goes hand-in-hand with 'Embrace, Extend, Extinguish'.

    IBM - you guys used to be ALL about the customer, so maybe it's YOUR turn to show them up?

    1. Teiwaz Silver badge

      Re: "It's a trap" - Admiral Ackbar was/is right!

      Transparent, obvious, and (unfortunately) not very customer-friendly.

      This is Ms version of Customer Friendly*.

      They're helpfully removing some complexity to the licence for customers convenience by upping the prices evenly across the board presumably.

      * Well, as friendly as your local blackmailer can get.

    2. TheVogon Silver badge

      Re: "It's a trap" - Admiral Ackbar was/is right!

      "Micro-shaft's strategy seems all about "the trap" and/or "the lock-in". It's followed up by subscription pricing, where you must pay annually for 'whatever' rather than one-time only."

      But subscription pricing is the opposite of lock in. You can scale it up and down on demand and if you don't need it anymore you can stop paying with no loss of upfront investment.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: "It's a trap" - Admiral Ackbar was/is right!

        "But subscription pricing is the opposite of lock in."

        Not really. Lock in is about making it difficult to move because of things like data format compatibility and the cost (and difficulty) of migrating (just ask TSB). Subscription vs one-off sales is about how you collect the proceeds.

        MS painted themselves into a corner on the data formats issue by getting themselves ISO Standardised; regular changes to formats kept customers locked in to an upgrade path so they could be milked by having to buy the latest version of what they'd bought before. Now customers who've bought anything that opens the standard formats can just keep using it or even worse (from the MS PoV) they can use LibreOffice for free.

        Cloud, however, is a great lock-in mechanism against migration. If you can get a customer locked in to your cloud stuff you have them by the balls ("their hearts and minds will follow") and they just have to keep paying month after month, year after year.

        1. TheVogon Silver badge

          Re: "It's a trap" - Admiral Ackbar was/is right!

          "Lock in is about making it difficult to move because of ... the cost"

          And subscription makes it cheaper to migrate as you don't have to write off an investment in licenses. So as I said, that specific aspect is the opposite of a lock in.

      2. Peconet57

        But subscription pricing is the opposite of lock in.

        EXCEPT then you have no operating system OR any kind of software related stuff to run your pictures/text/emails/printers/on-line banking/ etc, etc.

  5. ashdav

    Windows as a service

    In the agricultural sense.

    You were warned.

  6. oldcoder

    It is about the only way Microsoft can keep the stock prices up.

  7. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

    Microsoft is getting less releveant for "workstation" use

    Maintaining a Microsoft Winstallation in a company is a horror trip as it hits the "Problem Spot" of high maintenace, high exposure to security problems, high fragility and utter loss of control over price and future evolution, like exactly a woman you *don't* want to marry. (And then you get high with a "license audit". Great stuff.)

    Office people need a dumb, easily managed, easily wiped and reinstalled stateless station on which they can admire their useless and bug-ridden Excel sheet, browse YouTube and sometimes read "rally the troops" e-mail from the inner boss sanctum. Sounds like something Google could offer.

    Hey Google, make yourself useful for once. Pseudo-intellectual mendacious arseholes, you.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I predict more of this with the cloud

    I can see this will be the cloud industry's way going forward, the old "bait & switch".

    Attract the punters (especially the big, resource heavy"anchor tenant" brand-names with deep pockets), offer them low prices to lure them in. Incentivise them spin up resources and deposit large quantities of data.

    Then, "oh sorry mate, upwards price sheet revision for next year".

    Then just as the clouds have competed amongst themselves with the "chase to the bottom", once the first one blinks and starts hiking their prices, the rest will follow.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: I predict more of this with the cloud

      "once the first one blinks"

      I was with you until this. But blinking implies they never intended to hike prices. You didn't really believe that, did you?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I predict more of this with the cloud

        "You didn't really believe that, did you?"

        No, I didn't mean it. But you certainly make a fair point about the implication of using the word "blink".

        The intention is always there, no doubt about that. I think its more a case of "blink" = who makes the first move. And perhaps we're seeing Microsoft dipping their toe in that water here (not a full move, but just gauging reactions).

        Right, that's enough blinking toe dipping analogies for one day ! ;-)

  9. deadlockvictim Silver badge

    Your choices are this

    It seems to me that your choices are this:

    1. Buy a laptop with Windows 10 installed, don't deviate from defauts and do everything Microsoft tells you. Result: you'll have a slow machine, probably infested quite soon with some delightful piece of software (although Windows Defender and Firewall aren't bad) and you'll be storing lots of stuff in the Microsoft or Amazon Cloud quite soon. Backups? What are they?

    2. Apple — enter the Apple Garden and never leave. Be seduced by gloss, relatively easy-of-use and be prepared to fork out for lots of gadgets in the coming years. Think of Hotel California. Backups? Time-machine is not at all bad.

    3. Build your own machine and learn how the damn thing works. Run OSs of your choice. It doesn't really matter as long as you know how to bend it to your will. Keep everything at home. Invest in a NAS. Take regular & frequent backups. Invest in a proxy server/firewall to control what goes in and comes out to da Internet.

    Have I missed any?

  10. hmas

    Get used to it

    With the departure of Steve Ballmer, Microsoft has significantly changed its attitude towards what it deems old fashioned products such as Windows Enterprise and Office. It's less effort and more profitable to push customers towards Microsoft 365 F1 or E3.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019