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RE: tlug: Can you believe this?

If I were Microsoft ...

>Linux with Microsoftware piled thick on top is going to look, feel and
>act like just another Microsoftware, except that Microsoft is going to
>treat you as a second-class citizen for refusing to use their

This is a tricky one for them.  Steve Turnbull referred to struggles
over design between the Word and OS divisions at MS, which left
the OS division with unhappy compromises on their hands.  The
worry I think is that a similar thing would happen with whatever
Linux distro they stack their applications onto.  User complaints
would get addressed, but (either by intention or out of benign
laziness) sometimes by strongarming things at the OS level
in ways that constrict its utility for other applications.

Stacking Office or whatever on top of a Linux distro would
present MS with a different flavor of a dilemma they already
face; at present, if things don't work in ways that cause lots of users
pain, MS can't blame the OS because they wrote the OS.
With Linux, they can't credibly scapegoat the OS because its
source is open and theirs is not; to make things stick, they would
have to get down to specifics, and then whatever problem it is
would be either fixed, or tossed back into their own court by
the community.

>Lastly, on a tangentially relevant issue, there is the question of
>cost: if Microsoft prices Office for Linux in line with other
>platforms, it is going to charge Y50000 or more for the
>package. (They're going to have to price Office for Linux the same as
>Office for Windows if they don't want mass exodus of Win98 users to

This is a tricky one too.  The temptation for the Word division
(or whatever) at MS would be to charge *more* for the Linux
version.  They might give the attitude toward copying among free software
fans as their reason, but in fact the core incentive is
to capture the value of the work that has gone into the OS for
themselves.  Software is not price solely on development cost,
but on what the market will bear; and if the user isn't paying
the community for the OS, he might as well pay MS.  Or so
I would reason if I were in their shoes.

Frank B

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