GPLv3 - Update was: Re: [LINK] the slow motion gpl trainwreck

Brendan Scott brendansweb at
Fri Jul 28 11:57:46 AEST 2006

Glen Turner wrote:
> Brendan Scott wrote:
>> Ballmer: Software is becoming a service
>> "Software is becoming a service," Ballmer said at the company's 
>> financial analyst meeting being held here. "Embracing advertising and 
>> subscription-based models and Internet-based delivery across 
>> Microsoft's product line is an important part of what we will do."
> Hi Brendan,
> Is this really so?  Or is it just a way for Microsoft

Is what really so?  I don't follow. 

> to move their revenue stream from depending on new PC
> sales and widely-spread product releases to depending
> upon the installed base of PCs.

Microsoft has been public about trying to move away from having their revenue tied to new product releases for some time. They are dogged by the customer mindset of perpetual licences (= one off cost) which is why they've been pushing Software Assurance (tm) over the past few years.   However, as I understand it, customers have called their bluff on SA.  (Between you and me, I also suspect that Microsoft is a little scared by the limitations in its development model.  Vista has been missing milestones and dropping major features.  Having a services based approach means they're setting different expectations about the release of new versions.)  

I guess we can also speculate that they are also concerned that having an upfront price so obviously higher than that of their competitors is like smacking their purchasers in the face with a wet fish.  It's hard for them to ignore.  If I were them I would prefer to have the costs hidden in a services stream (and therefore less obvious).

I would also speculate that it will provide a means for them to license/legitimate "pirate" copies.  However, if they did this, they would undermine their channels/cut off their resellers. 

I think their reading of what customers want/will tolerate is a little self delusional.  The whole model of controlling-the-platform-so-we-can-shove-stuff-down-their-throats is what got them into a mess with IE.  They will need to be a lot more subtle than they have been in the past for it to work.  Unfortunately for them, subtlety in their approach will reduce their value proposition to advertisers.  I think it will be a very tricky balancing act for them. 


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