Good for the Goose, Bad For the Gander? . . .

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I asked a few days ago if people thought I was crazy for thinking MS’s efforts to ram Vista down everyone’s throats stunk.

Well, most of you didn’t think so. There were a few MS defenders, though (they tended to be snarky, asking me if I still wanted DOS to be sold), and more who sought to at least tentatively justify the decision.

Their main argument went like this, “If MS continues to sell XP, won’t it cost them extra to sell two products, and won’t that extend the time they’ll have to support it, and isn’t that expensive?”

It’s a fair enough question. Well, maybe not the first. I’m sure it costs Walmart extra money to sell more than one kind of anything, and they’ve managed to survive. Not too many places sell just one thing, or just one kind of a certain item.

I’m not suggesting that XP remain available on OEM machines forever or for years. I am suggesting that pulling the plug on consumer OEM XP sales when its replacement is only three weeks old is more than a bit hasty, especially when the surrounding software infrastructure (both drivers and apps) are decidedly incomplete.

More importantly, it’s not like MS has stopped all sales of XP, not even OEM sales to computers.

Take a look at Dell and at HP and at Gateway and at Lenovo and at Acer. None of them seem to have the slightest problem selling a business computer with XP.

If MS can keep selling XP on business machines (with all the support consequences of that action), what’s the problem with selling the same to the consumer?

The answer is there is none. XP will be sold on business machines for quite some time to come, long after the current half-baked mess with Vista is cleaned up.

And why is that? That’s because the IT people in businesses set their own upgrade schedules, not MS. If any or all of the abovementioned companies told business owners, “Sorry, Vista or nothing,” those businesses would say, “Nothing,” and find someone else who’ll give them what they want, and at least a few might decide, “It’s Penguin time.”

So, you see, it’s simply a matter of who can be bullied, and who can’t.


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