Free?

I don’t get it. Are these people completely intoxicated by Communism or something? They are suggesting that Microsoft should give away the Windows Phone 7 Series O/S I’ve been working on for over a year.

They say we should do it to gain market share. Yeah, that makes sense. We would lose money on every item but we would make it up in volume I guess.

I’m open to alternate business models but I’m not seeing a good alternate at this point and they don’t have any plausible suggestions either.

8 thoughts on “Free?

  1. Well, Joe… you have to admit… that is the way Microsoft won the browser wars… by giving it away. Probably the OS wars, to. Don’t get me wrong… I love MS (mostly). Sure, they may or may not be a hegemonic monopoly, but whatever they are they consistently turn out good products (MS Bob and Office 2010 “Starter”/ad-ware not withstanding) at an ever-declining cost to me (the consumer). That is pretty much all I care about.

    Meanwhile… will that snazzy new Phone OS work on my Samsung Blackjack?

  2. The browser was threatening to be the O/S of the web and that threatened the desktop O/S market. They sold more desktop O/Ss by owning the browser market.

    No. It won’t run on your Blackjack or any of the older phones. Sorry about that. By only supporting a fairly narrow set of high end devices we could speed up development and supply a richer feature set.

  3. Joe, did you see th piece on lifehacker about WM7? They were positively gushing, and they are mostly iphone fanboys. I’m really impressed by what I hear about it and I can’t wait til it comes out. I was going to replace my 3 year old HTC Kaiser with the sorta new HD touch pro 2, but now im going to wait until I can get something with WM7. And I’ll pay more for it if I have to, because I WANT IT. Capitalism FTW!

  4. Wizardpc,

    No I had not read that until just now. Thanks for the pointer.

    That is very interesting. It worked!

    Sorry. I have to be cryptic on this last point.

  5. For anyone who thinks (fill in the blank) should be free; You have every right to make that happen. Just get some of your like-minded friends together, go college or where ever, to get the necessary skills, spend the time it takes to develop and test the product, and when you’re all done, you can give it away. No one has the right to try stopping you, so long as you’re producing your own product. Alternatively, you can buy up several million of said product and give it all away. Go for it and godspeed, bitches.

  6. Lyle,
    Sounds like the same attitude tat Robert Heinlein had in several of his books:
    =Building and making a second subway line (“The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress”)
    =Shipstone batteries / power supplies (“Friday”)

    If you want to give it away bad enough, then work for it until it’s yours. Then you can do what you like with it. But if it belongs to someone else, keep the mitts OFF.

  7. Lyle, just becaue some people have a different business model doesn’t make them bitches. Google, for example, has made a choice about their business model, wherein they have chosen to use their various platforms as essentially delivery vehicles for acquiring other revenue streams. It appears to work for them. What some folks might not know (even, perhaps the writer of that Gizmodo piece) is that they cannot sell the core OS they’re using for their mobile products. Android is built on the Linux kernel. The license terms for the Linux kernel don’t allow selling it. I don’t know how much of the rest of their toolchain is built on the various Free Software products that are typically included with most Linux-based OS packages, but I suspect a fair amount. Part of the thinking there, I suspect, is that it’s much easier for company which is not, primarly, an OS company to tweak a free system for their hardware platform than it is to start from scratch building a kernel.

    Other vendors who have used a similar philosophy for at least some product lines include IBM, HP, and Novell. Last I checked, RedHat hasn’t gone under — don’t know how much money they’re making, but it must be enough to keep them afloat.

    So, Microsoft has a different revenue model, succinctly stated by Ballmer. Time will tell how successful that is in the face of competition. The handset market is very competitive, and I doubt that MS is stupid enough to price themselves out of it. The end users won’t care much, if at all, about how much of the price of the phone is OS licensing. They’ll care how much the phone and plan cost compare to other phones / plans with similar features. I think the Gizmodo article pretty well fails to recognize this point.

    Joe> We would lose money on every item but we would make it up in volume I guess.

    Uh, isn’t the X-Box hardware sold at a loss, in order to capture revenue from games? Not saying the new phone should follow a similar model, but I doubt it’s possible to consider only the amortized cost of OS development in the profit/loss equation. (Okay, it’s possible, but I can’t think of a business planner who would.)

    BTW, since at least 1 other person involved here knows I’m a user and advocate for Linux-based operating systems, I’ll mention that I have no dog in this fight. Neither a Google phone, nor an iPhone appeal to me at all. Not the newest Blackberry either. I use my mobile phone to make [gasp] voice calls.

    Does this new MS handset thing do that? 😉

  8. The article titles were kinda snarky, but I saw a lot more reasonable discussion of business models in them than pseudo-Communist ranting. They correctly point out that Windows Phone 7 will be competing against the free and already established Android OS, and that any reasonable license fee is not likely to lead to a significant revenue stream for MS. So the question is, does Windows Phone 7 have enough going for it to gain significant market share against Android (and iPhone, Blackberry, Palm, etc) despite license fees? Or would MS ultimately be better-served trying to get money out of their phone OS some other way like (copy and pasted directly from the second article) taking a cut from selling mobile applications, subscription fees for Xbox live and Zune music accounts, or mobile search and display advertising, via Bing and potential ad network acquisitions?

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