Now that George W is Acting President, Microsoft is confidently returning to its old business practices. Like every successful monopolist, they’ve decided that it’s time to bleed the customers dry.
There are apparently two main components to this strategy:
If you don’t upgrade to Windows XP or Windows 2000 and Office 2000 by October, you’ll have to pay full retail price for future Windows and Office upgrades. Yes, they’re coupling Office with Windows—be running the latest version of both by October, or pay full price for upgrades for both.
New Windows XP licenses will require that you pay every year that you continue to use the software, even if you don’t upgrade. If you want the old kind of license where you can keep using the software for as long as you like once you’ve paid for it, that’ll cost you extra.
It’s an interesting strategy, because it suggests that they’re taking no chances with regard to their office software monopoly. Obviously 96% market share isn’t enough—they don’t want anybody buying their OS but then running StarOffice or SmartSuite.
Will they get away with it? I’m betting they will. Windows users like to whine, but they won’t actually do anything principled that might inconvenience them, like running MacOS or Linux. Bill Gates could announce the new Microsoft Dildo, and they’d all be bent over and greased up on launch day.