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Windows 10 Likely To Go Freemium, Analysts Say
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acrowland
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acrowland,
User Rank: Apprentice
12/12/2014 | 5:23:41 AM
Re: As long as it is done right...but will it?
We're getting off topic here, but the trouble with Microsoft Office is that it has had such a stranglehold on the industry that even the alternatives -- like Open Office -- just ape it, faults an' all. Microsoft Word has effectively prevented any innovation or improvement for two to three decades. I want a word processor that lets me indicate the function of a section, e.g. chapter, section, sub-section, footnote, figure (picture + caption) etc. and apply a style to it, which includes not only the paragraph style but also the layout of the section. For example, a chapter would have a paragraph style for the heading and a style for the body, plus attributes that show whether the heading is above the body, at the left of it, separated by a rule, centred over a multi-column body or part of the first column...

Instead we get Word's terrible decision, taken when styles were first introduced (Word 2?) to kludge them to act as a proxy for structure, so we choose a style 'chapter heading' and apply an outline level to it, which is totally the wrong way round. We should tell Word what the structure is and styles would be applied from that. And this mess was just copied by OpenOffice despite their using an XML format that would have lent itself to proper structured documents very easily.

PedroGonzales says he goes back to Office because OO lacks features. I find that 50% of the time if I start a long document in Word I get frustrated with it and continue in LibreOffice, or if I start in LibreOffice I switch to Word. The usual cause is an inability by one program or the other to format as I want or makes doing that too long-winded. It may be LibreOffice's not including tabs in paragraph styles, so that applying a style doesn't have the desired effect without manually changing tab stops in every paragraph, or the mess Word makes of material pasted in from a web page, or ... well, you get the picture. I have tried using Lyx but the learning curve is steep. Seems to me that Microsoft has neglected the basics because it got the revenue anyway. Here, competition just isn't working.

The question is (coming back to the article's topic): is the competition in OSs sufficient to keep Microsoft on its toes? Would switching to a subscription model insulate it from the need to keep improving? Hard to say. Most users don't upgrade unless they buy a new computer anyway (and people now use computers till they drop rather than upgrading every two or three years). The big Windows 8 experiment was a response to changing hardware as much as it was the threat from Android, Apple and Linux. Microsoft keeps getting criticised for the radical departure of Windows 8, but compare it with Ubuntu, for example. It also needed to respond to tablets, mobile and touch screens and its Dash was also controversial, but it is only by experimenting that we can find the best way forward. The OS we need to learn from is XP. Microsoft ended up servicing it with patches and security updates for up to 13 years from a single purchase payment, and still people don't want to upgrade. How can that business model be sustainable? Only a rapidly expanding market can support it, with new sales subsidising existing owners. But this pyramid model is on the way out as the PC market has flattened out. Business software includes an annual maintenance fee -- but as other people on this forum show, selling that to domestic users is a tough one.
PedroGonzales
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PedroGonzales,
User Rank: Ninja
12/11/2014 | 5:39:42 PM
Re: As long as it is done right...but will it?
 I think in the end people will play to use office becuase it is just the default office application.   Even with some basic features. There are just some things you can do with word that other don't.  I tried using open office, but there were some features only available in Microsoft Office, so i went back to Microsoft. 
moonwatcher
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moonwatcher,
User Rank: Ninja
12/11/2014 | 3:20:40 PM
As long as it is done right...but will it?
OK, I get it. Microsoft wants a steady cash stream coming in to pay Satya Nadella's salary.  But they'll need to differentiate very finely what is considered "premium" features.  Come on, playing a DVD or a Blu-ray shouldn't cost extra.

I am a consumer, but I run a license of Solidworks at home for learning purposes and occasional work, so I need to run a Pro copy of Windows due to that one reason alone.   I am not interested in paying Microsoft a yearly fee just for that privilege.

If they start nickel and dimeing consumers, many are going to balk at it, and be pushed into the arms of Apple (at least those running software that can run on OS-X), or even the underdogs Linux and Chrome.
moonwatcher
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moonwatcher,
User Rank: Ninja
12/11/2014 | 3:02:23 PM
Re: I greatly prefer one-time fee
I agree.  It would be very beneficial for XP users to move up to a stripped down Windows 10, assuming Microsoft relaxes the requirements for motherboards to support a feature called Data Execution Prevention.  Many circa 2006 Core 2 Duo PCs are still going strong running XP, but they currently can't be upgraded to Windows 8 because the motherboard lacks the hooks in the BIOS to support DEP.   I sure wish they'd consider it. Getting rid of XP on all those older PCs would go a long ways toward making the Internet a safer place from malware transmission.
jries921
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jries921,
User Rank: Ninja
12/11/2014 | 12:47:36 PM
Re: in other words...
The maxim that "there ain't no such thing as a free lunch" still holds, but what that means is that everything worth having is paid for one way or another (usually by more than one person); but as long as that is understood, then providing a service free of (direct) charge still may be the best way to go.  Broadcast television and radio have always been supported by advertising, taxation, or voluntary contributions; and most roads are still paid for in the same way; simply because it is not economical to directly charge for their use.  And even many cable TV stations still operate in much the same way.

Proprietary software has historically depended on the upgrade cycle, involving meant efforts to persuade people to repeatedly pay for incremental improvements to the product; often under the threat of withdrawn support for the software one already has.  One of the consequences of this is that perfectly good hardware ends up being thrown away because it can't run currently supported software (something I think most economists would call "inefficient" on its face).  And the business model is increasingly being challenged by open source, which allows for free distribution of the software, source code and all; affording users the opportunity to maintain the software themselves or paying someone else to do it for them.  I think the model will survive, but reliance on planned obsolescence to make people upgrade probably won't.

Given that's the case, what then would be wrong with MS selling preload licenses for Windows to OEMs and then promising to support those copies of Windows for the lifetime of the computers with which they were sold?  We have already seen that withdrawal of support for old versions of operating systems (not just Windows) often means that people continue to run their existing unpatched systems until the hardware dies; with the result being that secutiry holes never get fixed, negatively impacting the security if the Internet as a whole; and worse, the still supported versions often run slowly, if at all, on old hardware; so owners of that hardware have to pay for both new hardware *and* new software.  *My* traditional solution to this dilemma has been to replace unsupported Windows releases with Linux, but I don't think that is something that MS really wants to encourage.  And if MS doesn't want to go that far, then I think it would be economical to charge a modest annual fee (something on the order of $20-$50) to support old Windows releases; it's certainly friendlier than withdrawing support outright and avoids giving customers an incentive to defect to the competition.

 

 
Todder
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Todder,
User Rank: Moderator
12/11/2014 | 12:44:40 PM
Re: in other words...
The shopping cart model works well for many products, but for an OS it can be daunting since Windows users aren't the same brand as Linux enthusiasts who understand package management. I'd hate to see a fiasco like the 7 flavors of Vista which was just confusing & obviously failed miserably.


I suggest a single version, Pro as it were, with a simple licensing message.
Brian.Dean
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Brian.Dean,
User Rank: Ninja
12/11/2014 | 12:22:54 PM
Re: in other words...
For consumers Windows 10 can be free, either through the cloud or a downloadable package, and it will be nice if a free version is available with a reasonable level of functionality.

The business side is more interesting, for instance, it would be nice to switch to a subscription service for Windows, as this would allow the return on capital employed ratio of a business to increase and it will set in motion a situation where the business never has to scramble to upgrade their systems because XP is being discontinued -- the system will always be on the latest version.
Somedude8
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Somedude8,
User Rank: Ninja
12/11/2014 | 12:07:45 PM
I greatly prefer one-time fee
If they go the freemium route, I hope they still offer something similar to the current one-time 'purchase' of a license. It seems like everything these days is a monthly subscription. I don't want my OS to be.

The free version could be a smart move on their part, maybe get some XP users to upgrade, as it does remove what can be a massive barrier in some cases.
mhinut
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mhinut,
User Rank: Apprentice
12/11/2014 | 11:47:29 AM
What will this do to OEM licensing?
My concern is what this will do with OEM OS licensing on business laptops and desktops. Many in the SMB market don't bother with Enterprise agreements for Windows, for features that we don't need or don't want. We buy laptops and desktops with Windows Pro OEM versions/licenses, and then we don't pay another dime for them until the hardware is retired and we repeat the process. It works for us.

It'll be interesting to find out what is considered a "basic" feature vs. a business/enterprise feature. I'm not particularly inclined to purchase new laptops and desktops with Windows 10 if I will then need to add an Enterprise/business subscription to get the same core features we can get for free in Windows 7/8.1, included with the OEM license. That would seem like a major step backwards. The end result is that we would keep using Windows 7/8.1 as long as we could find hardware that still had OEM licenses available, or stretch the Win 7/8.1 hardware out even longer than I would have before.
twilliamson423
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twilliamson423,
User Rank: Strategist
12/11/2014 | 10:28:55 AM
Added Features
I see this being a lot like Windows 8 not having DVD support but being able to add it for $10. Most people with tablets or laptops are not going to be using DVDs but if you want that support to build a home theater then you will probably be willing to spend money to make that happen.
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