[linux-elitists] [silk] a copy of windows costs $42725 in india (fwd from rishab@dxm.org)

Michael Herman michael-lists@thehermans.org
Sun Dec 7 06:55:16 PST 2003

On Sun, Dec 07, 2003 at 12:46:10PM +0100, Eugen Leitl wrote:
>I don't remember the source, but it seems Office was the only
>money-maker, everything else being a slight loss.
>I'm seeing lots of OpenOffice installs on new machines
>being sold nowadays. There are no software patents in the EU,
>so you can't patent a document format, so here's a migration
>path to open systems.

In the US, Microsoft hasn't patented their document formats.  If they had, the
formats would be out in the open.  Instead, Microsoft licenses the use of the
format and keeps it locked down.  If it were patented and therefore available
for all to see, they could loose their hold on the Office market share.

>Online activation is a very powerful means to combat piracy,
>so while this brings in some extra revenue it forces people
>to use alternatives. Proprietary software vendors in a monopoly
>position can't afford online activation on the long run as long
>as prices stay high.

True and eventually this may happen.  However, since Microsoft has >90% of the
users and proprietary formats and most people are not savvy users, people will
continue to pay.  It will take a very long time for alternative office
solutions to displace Microsoft without some sort of watershed event.  

Perhaps if Microsoft was found guilty of monopolistic practices and
governments could no longer do business with them? ;-)

It all comes back to the file formats.  If the formats were open, any
application could be enabled to open them and Microsoft would loose their hold
on the market.  However, people with years of Word, Excel and Powerpoint docs
would rather pay then convert.

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