The Endemic Problem with Free Products

Rob Enderle is an interesting character. He writes diatribes of various sorts, most of which appear to be works for hire. His latest example is The Endemic Problem with Free Products. In this diatribe he tries to show that “Free” products won’t be supported properly, and won’t deliver the value that “Expensive” products will.

The problem from his point of view, is that there is a damned lot of free products out there, and they are often better than the paid products. Linux, BSD, and Open Solaris are all superior to Windows in performance and capabilities. In fact Windows greatest “Expensive” rival Mac OS X is built on one of the BSD variants.

So why, when he is so demonstratively wrong, did he write this? I believe it’s because he was paid to write this, to try to make sure that those who don’t know any better, never learn about the free alternatives. Note that he didn’t attack OS X. OS X isn’t free. It’s not an alternative to Windows, because you have to buy a Mac to get it.

But it isn’t operating systems that Enderle is really trying to protect. What he’s trying to protect is Microsoft Office.

Microsoft Business Division, which includes the Office product line produces 32.33% of Microsoft Corporation’s revenues. But it produces 59.62% of Microsoft’s Operating Income. Go look for yourself if you don’t believe me.

So what happens if more people adopt Google Apps or Open Office? It attacks Microsoft’s most profitable products. Microsoft is attempting to cut unlicensed use of Office by extending Windows Genuine Disadvantage to Office. This has been covered by several reputable news organizations.

If you are one of those who is using an unlicensed copy of Microsoft Office, why not get legal? It won’t cost you anything. Open Office can legally downloaded and used by anyone. Or you can use Google Docs with their collaboration features.

Of course Microsoft won’t like this. But Microsoft liking things is not a major concern to most of us. What is a concern is getting things done, and getting things done legally.

SCO Train Wreck still occuring in slow motion – molasses would be quicker

Oh dear. The total idiots at The SCO Group finally had a court decision that fell partly in their direction. Partly. The Appeals Court has decided that Summary Judgment was the wrong way to deal with the case, that it should have gone do jury trial, as there were facts which a jury was best able to address. This of course happened just as the trustee was appointed taking control of the company away from management.

What will happen next? It’s hard to tell. So far nothing has happened the way I thought it would, when I thought it would. But at present SCO looks like a Zombie from one of the Living Dead films.

Even mostly dead though, they still called an Investor Conference Call, which seems rather silly. Who is going to invest in a company that is in such bad financial shape.

Well, they have one true believer. Maureen O’Gara continues to sing the company theme song. You have to wonder why she is doing this? It gives the impression that they are either paying her (or she has invested heavily in SCO Group stock).

So we’ll have to wait and see. But it’s in the hands of the Trustee now, and unless someone (possibly from Redmond) is willing to put a lot of money on the line, it looks like the train wreck is nearly over.

Gartner tries for Asshole of the Month club

Yep. The head of the Microsoft fan club is trying for Asshole of the Month club. Networkworld received an email from Gartner stating that:

Per our Copyright and Quote Policy, available at the link below and at any time from Gartner’s home page, other companies may only externally quote, mention, reference or display the Gartner name or Gartner research after first obtaining approval in writing, in advance, from my department. In violation of this restriction, your organization has been using Gartner’s name and research as shown in your blog entry at this link.

Now this is pretty stupid, even for Gartner. Right now the word is spreading all over the internet that they are a bunch of fools and idiots, and quite frankly, I don’t think that they’ll ever be able to live this one down. Techdirt has a somewhat politer comment on this, if you are interested.

Trolls, trolls, trolls

I’ve been busy for the last week or so, holidays. But I just ran into something I had to share. It’s a post on the VisInsights blog titled Buzz Marketing techniques to become illegal in UK?

Why am I pointing this out? Because of a statement near the end:

Marketers globally are continuing to understand and embrace transparent conversations with consumers – it is the only way to have dialogue otherwise governments will begin to regulate as we are seeing happen in the UK.

If you are operating in an ethical manner, why would you be concerned about regulation? Based on that statement, they aren’t operating ethically. And we wondered where trolls came from.

ARM Netbooks Soon to Arrive

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And AMD netbooks will follow shortly after.

Qualcom built ARM unit displayed in Taipai

AMD Dual Core Neos Arrive

Nvidia Firefly Windows CE Netbook

Now my personal opinion is that the ARM netbooks are going to do really well, if running Linux. In fact if some smart cookie adopts one of the lighter distros such as Crunch Bang that’s solidly designed, in place of Xandros and Linpus, they could be killer.

Of course then you’ve got Nvidia using WinCE on ARM. My first response was to ask how much Microsoft paid Nvidia to use it, as I couldn’t think of any other reason to use WinCE (I have two mini-laptops here that use WinCE, and the OS is a freaking disaster. Which was a real disappointment because the hardware was actually quite nice). And then of course there’s the name. Firefly was one of the best TV shows in ages, and Nvidia decides to use the name on a piece of junk (no, I haven’t seen one, but I’ve never seen anything running WINCE that was worth the cost).

And last but not least, you’ve got AMD. Based on what I’ve read it looks like the Dual Core Neos could be the black horse in this race. They have a lot of raw processing power, but they use more electrical power than the Atom, but a lot less than a Core 2 Duo. Think of a Dell Mini 12 netbook with an AMD dual core Neo. You’ve got something that has the power for low level media work, but with battery life that’s a lot better than a normal notebook. It could be the basis of a whole new niche, the Super Netbook. Install DellOS on it instead of Windows, and Dell’s exit strategy from the Microsoft meltdown is assured. This of course assumes that Dell has the guts to actually let the world know that DellOS, a BSD based imitation of OSX exists. My bet is that they don’t, Microsoft still has too much hold over them.

Options

I ended up moving most of my stuff to Facebook. Facebook is great for things like keeping in touch with Auntie Sue (who lives in France).

Doing this I ignored the fact that Livejournal is also great for other things. So I’m back. And I’ll try to drop in at least once per week.

Meantime, we have a wild thunderstorm, so I’m going to shut down, before we get another lightning strike.

Smart like a fox or dumb like an ox – Rupert Murdoch

It’s been all over the news, and the blogosphere. Rupert Murdoch plans to put all of his News Corp. assets behind pay walls. Wikipedia describes News Corp as one of the world’s largest media conglomerates. It includes Books, Newspapers, Magazines, Music and radio, Film Studios, Broadcast TV, Satellite TV, Cable TV, Internet sites, and Other assets. This years sales will probably be around $30 Billion US.

The question is – what does he hope to accomplish by doing this? He says that its to increase sales. The problem is that he’s got competition that isn’t going pay. So what does he have to offer that will make his value proposition such that he can compete with free?

We don’t know. We do know that Rupert Murdoch is a very rich man. He didn’t get that way by being stupid. Either he’s got some plan to add value, or he deliberately wants to Chapter 11 all of his businesses that currently are offering free online content.

Time will tell.

Microsoft Promises to Never Talk About Windows Mobile Again

Microsoft is not even going to talk about WinMobile in future according to a statement issued by the company:

No more blind cheerleading from Redmond: Microsoft (MSFT) finally admitted that its mobile business needs some work.

At Microsoft’s analyst day in Seattle, Robbie Bach confessed in his finest business school jargon that the company hasn’t “done as good a job as I would like building relationships and getting the right integration with our hardware partners,” according to the WSJ, and vowed to improve: “You’re going to see dramatic improvement in integration.”

He added, “You’ll see our execution rhythm pick up and the quality of our execution improve.”

Based on the quote, the only option they have is to NEVER talk about WinMobile, because blind cheerleading is your only option, when your company is incapable of producing quality software.

For anyone who wants to read the article, it’s titled Microsoft Admits Its Phones Are Crappy, Vows To Improve.