Preloading is unstoppable!

Story: Congress: Clear the Air and Stop PreloadsTotal Replies: 4
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sxf

Dec 17, 2005
5:30 PM EST
The series of articles you recently wrote on the subject are really interesting, with all the information they contain about the MS court cases, questionable practices and lobbyist activities.

The only problem I see with this last piece is that point 3. (prohibition of preloading) feels perhaps a little utopistic and at the same time a little naive. The same naivite' of some intellectuals that we saw in Europe in the twenties: they sincerely strove for a better society, but ended up unwittingly serving the purposes of the current or next generation of oppressors. Let me explain my point.

I do not think that the preloading of MS OS is realistically going to disappear. Ever. Not even if RMS stages a coup and becomes the first dictator in the history of the USA (note for the NSA: it's a joke, folks!).

The economics of the PC industry to would make it impossible. Currently all PC manufacturers make money out of preloading agreements on third-part software installed on top of the OS. Unbundling everything could make clueless users bungle their installation and get frustrated, but more importantly would cause a rise in the price of a PC. Result: consumer outrage, and massive PR gains for MS , which would look like a customer-friendly, almost philanthropic company that actually benefits the consumers (the irony!).

However, I think that more limited, non-threatening changes could be (sort of) acceptable for everyone (even in the short-term), promote choice and make life easier for the consumers:

1. Mandate that a full copy of the OS preinstalled is packaged with the PC. No recovery disc or similar rubbish, a full working copy, that has to be identical to the unbundled product with the same name. And no license sticker preapplied, but to be applied upon registering the key. So, even if MS refuses a refund, one can always sell a high-quality CD, unregistered serial key and COA on ebay and run Linux. Smaller system integrators, like the local computer shops, which do not enjoy bulk discounts from MS, will be able to obtain cheaper licenses and will love us. Or alternatively, they could offer cheaper PC's with the same specs, but Linux preloaded.

2. (as discussed in a another thread) separation in the invoice between the cost of the PC and the cost of the bundled OS. A separate invoice, even. This is similar to what happens in the US for restaurants: the bill is food&drink + service + tax, so the consumer would hardly get upset. If anything, they would like this increased transparency.

No pain and maximum benefit for the consumer!
tadelste

Dec 17, 2005
6:14 PM EST
Quoting:The economics of the PC industry to would make it impossible.


I appreciate your biting on the subject and offering your point of view for consideration. I can see where others might subscribe to similar ideas.

Sure the economics of a Microsoft industry would make it difficult - but not impossible to stop preloading. I spent a good year working with Jim Von Holle, at Gateway. He's the executive who testified against Microsoft in the US v Microsoft anti-trust case. The economics of the industry would favor a ban on pre-loading. OEM's would save money and time if they didn't have to preload an OS. That's from the floor of one of the big 5 manufacturers. I also see it applying to other OEM's because several steps related to the manufacturing process would disappear.



Abe

Dec 18, 2005
7:30 AM EST
The economics of the PC industry to would make it impossible. Currently all PC manufacturers make money out of preloading agreements on third-part software installed on top of the OS. Unbundling everything could make clueless users bungle their installation and get frustrated, but more importantly would cause a rise in the price of a PC. Result: consumer outrage, and massive PR gains for MS , which would look like a customer-friendly, almost philanthropic company that actually benefits the consumers (the irony!).

The pre-loading doesn't have to be totally eliminated, it can be made more consumer friendly without OEMs losing any revenue while keeping the consumer happy. Here is how

1) Make the OS a line item in cost list. Some hardware peripherals are treated this way, why not OS?

2) Give buyers a choice of what ever they desire. Windows, Linux, or FreeDOS (no OS). Supply CD(s) for OS and apps purchased by buyer. Charge for license, media and documentation when ever they apply.

3) Charge for installation services for OS and whatever other services apply if buyer requests it.

What is wrong with this senerio?
helios

Dec 19, 2005
3:29 AM EST
What is wrong with this senerio?.....

Dell fears Microsoft. Gateway fears Microsoft....everyone who is in the computer manufacturing business fears Microsoft. At least the ones that have OEM agreements with them. Wait...maybe I mis-spoke. They do not fear Microsoft. They fear losing the Microsoft License. I would be willing to bet that many manufacturers are secretly praying for the success of Linux. At least the dictator of Iraq was a known murderer and rapist. MS hides the fact they do the same thing in a business sense behind legal incorporation. Getting out from under The MS Thumb would be a dream come true for many.
Abe

Dec 19, 2005
9:47 AM EST
There are many other outfits that don't have agreements with MS, so what is stopping them? Also, Red Hat, Novell, IBM etc. could offer PC, as resellers, not as OEMs, with the options I outlined, that might be a good start to help Linux gain wider adoption and eventually, the OEMs will start breaking away from MS lock-in and Linux will have a more of a fair chance of being pre-loaded. This approach will require some resources to start, but what chance do they have right now? If they don't do something about the status quo and invest into getting Linux a better chance than what it has now to be pre-loaded, they might never be able to move ahead.

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