Who Is Microsoft Aiming At?

Lots of chatter is going on about the release of Equipt, the newest of Microsoft’s products to rent us our software. On one side there are the opinions of how it is about time, on the other the gasps of how it is finally, dreadfully, here.

In a small way, Dana Blankenhorn, on ZDNet weighs in, telling us that the real target of this is not Open Office, Sun Office, Google, or Symphony, but the antivirus, antimalware companies like Trend Micro, Symantec, Frisk Labs, etc.

That may perfectly well be true, but then the question is ‘Does the average customer want antivirus, and antimalware protection from the company who provides the products being preyed upon by the viruses and malware?’ Should it not be asked why the company doesn’t simply build this amazing technology called ‘One Care’ into Windows? After all, there is something called Defender that was supposed to do just that. After installing, or having (in Vista) Defender on the machine, how much more defending should it need?

I would say this is especially true of Windows Vista Ultimate. After all, how ultimate is it, if something like a virus can bring it down? Seriously, shouldn’t Vista Ultimate have a lifetime subscription to One Care, as part of its inflated price, and exalted status?

With the announcement from Microsoft, it is not so clear to this writer that the companies dealing with attack on the computer are the real target – if that was the point of all this, why not tout amazing rates of detection, and nearly 100% removal rates for the troublesome entities?

No, Microsoft is going after those who wish to bring down the largest cash cow the giant has – Office. The Microsoft juggernaut would not be nearly as menacing if it did not have that lock on many desktops known as Office. With Equipt, Microsoft is doing just what the neighborhood dealer does when he starts in a new neighborhood. Pass out a few free samples, get the user base addicted, and tighten the grip. If, by any small chance, Microsoft happens to cause grief to the Symantecs or Trend Micros of the world, that is simply gravy on the roast.

By rolling out Office in this software-as-a-service form, it does a few things. The sting of large purchase (>$400, 3 PCs) is mitigated, the beginning of the training to the acceptance of subscriptions is begun (can you say Pavlov’s dog?), and a swipe at all of free software is taken. After all, if ‘professional’ software is available for around $25 per seat, why bother with that ‘shoddy, poorly documented, and incompatible’ open source stuff?

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Quote of the day:

An effective way to deal with predators is to taste terrible. – Unknown

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