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Microsoft eases hardware terms for XP on low-cost PCs

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| Microsoft has loosened the hardware restrictions that PC makers must adhere
| to in order to install Windows XP on ultra-low-cost PCs, according to
| documents seen by IDG News Service.


Still going for $18? For the least secure O/S in history?

The message is clear: Microsoft will do *anything* to stomp on competition. #1
competitor in this case. Acts of desperation and grounds for anti-Trust probe
(abuse of dominant market position).


Microsoft to limit capabilities of cheap laptops

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| Microsoft plans to offer PC makers steep discounts on Windows XP Home Edition
| to encourage them to use that OS instead of Linux on ultra low-cost PCs
| (ULPCs). To be eligible, however, the PC vendors that make ULPCs must limit
| screen sizes to 10.2 inches and hard drives to 80G bytes, and they cannot
| offer touch-screen PCs.
| The program is outlined in confidential documents that Microsoft sent to PC
| makers last month, and which were obtained by IDG News Service. The goal
| apparently is to limit the hardware capabilities of ULPCs so that they don't
| eat into the market for mainstream PCs running Windows Vista, something both
| Microsoft and the PC vendors would want to avoid.
| [...]
| Microsoft notes that the OSes under consideration for the devices include
| Windows and Linux. Some PC makers have expressed a preference for Linux
| because it helps them keep down the cost of the devices.
| [...]
| By offering Windows XP Home Edition at bargain prices, Microsoft hopes to
| secure its place in the ULPC market and reduce the use of Linux, according to
| an official at one PC maker, who asked not to be identified because he was
| not authorized to discuss the program.
| "[Low-cost PC makers] have made some good inroads with open-source, and
| Microsoft wants to put a stop to it," the official said.
| The official did not seem opposed to the program. It should stimulate more
| competition between Windows and Linux in the ULPC market, and it could
| invigorate sales because consumers who want an easy-to-use PC are likely to
| prefer Windows, the official said.


Microsoft U-turn to stop Linux dominating ultra low cost PCs

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| By offering Windows XP Home Edition at bargain prices, Microsoft hopes to
| secure its place in the ULPC market and reduce the use of Linux, according to
| an official at one PC maker, who asked not to be identified because he was
| not authorised to discuss the programme.


Feeling the heat at Microsoft

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| A couple of years ago you reiterated that IBM was Microsoft's biggest
| competitor and you said not just on the business side, but overall. If I ask
| you who is Microsoft's biggest competitor now, who would it be? *
| Ballmer: Open...Linux. I don't want to say open source. Linux, certainly have
| to go with that.



Microsoft selling hobbled software to poor countries

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| Surprisingly, no-one seems to have told Microsoft that it is not good
| marketing strategy to treat your customers as if they are stupid. Which
| is exactly what the company is doing with the release in Africa of the
| stripped-down operating system it calls Windows XP Starter Edition.
| Microsoft South Africa launched Windows XP Starter Edition (XPSE) into
| the African market last week with very little fanfare and market hype.
| Which is not surprising considering how the product was received by other
| media on its intial launch in 2004. Known for its straight talking, The
| Register labelled XPSE "crippleware". Analysts Gartner said the product
| had "good intent, poor execution".


The Problem with Crippleware

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| What Microsoft wants is that the third party products, whether written
| by hobbyists or professionals, serve Microsoft's business model, not
| their own.
| Microsoft has always had great developer programs, and even at the CEO
| level, they get why developers matter. (Can you imagine any CEO other
| than Steve Ballmer doing his famous sweat-soaked "Developers, developers,
| developers" chant? If you can, I apologize for the visual.) But I *
| think increasingly, Microsoft is running into the limits of its own
| model. It's seeking grassroots support to compete against the growing
| momentum in open source, and it's at a disadvantage.


Microsoft patent hints at pay-as-you-go OS

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| A Microsoft patent application from June 2005, published only today,
| titled "System and method for delivery of a modular operating system"
| may signal a fundamental change for what an operating systems stands
| for and how it is sold.

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