Okay, this is kind of old news, but I have to mention it anyway. Microsoft apparently had a program that let Vista owners buy a couple of additional copies at a discount as part of some family plan. But as of June 30 that discount has gone away. See here. Honestly, I don’t get this. It wasn’t a great deal to begin with. You had to have purchased Vista Ultimate, and that allowed you to buy 2 copies of the lesser (brain-dead) Vista Home Premium for $50 apiece. Now Microsoft has decided even that was too generous. What the fuck are they thinking? Little news flash, Bill: Most users are scared shitless of Vista. (Rightfully so.) And most users resent Microsoft already for its price-gouging. (Rightfully so.) What’s the correct move in this situation? Hint: It doesn’t involve finding a way to gouge people a little more on the OS that they already don’t want.
Beastmaster Bill, you need to do some radical rethinking. Get rid of Detroit-spawn Ballmer and his constipated Ford Motor Co. worldview, first of all. (Because honestly, you guys sound more and more like that dopey fuckwit Bill Ford every friggin day, and it’s scary.) Make one version of your OS. If you can’t do that at least put one price on all the versions, and for God’s sake make it a low price. If you really insist on cluttering up Windows and Office and IE with a zillion features and pull-downs and tiny buttons, okay, we can’t stop you. But how about this. Take a dozen young kids in your engineering labs and start a skunk works team. Let them do a stripped-down lightweight OS and give it away free. Let people tinker with it, hack it, add to it, build on it. Create a stripped down version of your productivity apps too. Simple word processing, simple browser, simple mail. Again, make them open and let people hack them. Think of it as a hobby. Think of it as a way to buy some goodwill from people outside your walls.
Because you know what you’ve become? You’ve become the Grinch. You’ve become a tax collector. You’re the guy people hide from when you ride into town. It’s not good. You need to do something about that.