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03 July 2007

FUD and Mirrors

To some, this will be a repost as I originally wrote it for an internal MySQL mailing list but I have had much positive replies to the posting, I thought I should share it with a wider audience.
Windows Vista will be successful irrespective of any comments Microsoft
makes about Linux and Open Source software purely because of a few
simple facts.

  1. Most people do not care about Linux/OSS/GPL/etc. To them, their
    computer is a single monolithic device - they do not separate the
    hardware from the software - it all came together in the one box. It
    never occurs to them that the operating system can be changed or that
    there is an alternative to Microsoft Office - in fact to them, all
    software is Windows. It was common to hear people discuss that they have
    Windows 97 PC or XP 2003 computer when they really meant that they had
    "Windows with MS Office 97/2003 on their PC from Dell/Acer/etc".

  2. Most people want what everyone else has. Why do you think
    advertisements focus on how popular a product is as a reason why you
    should get it too. Think about car advertisements saying that XYZ is
    voted "Car of the Year 2008" etc. The best way to promote any product is
    by saying how popular it is. I am sure that MySQL benefits from this
    effect too - we promote ourselves as the most popular free database and
    people are drawn to that.

  3. Games + Drivers. Like as like not, all the game publishers and all
    the hardware vendors will fall over each other to make sure that their
    stuff will work for the majority of people.

Most importantly - the average consumer does not hear any of this news
about the patent posturing that MS is making with regard to Linux/OSS.
It will not affect their purchasing decisions - partly because they
don't know that there is a decision to be made nor will they choose
otherwise if the option was presented to them.

In my opinion - Microsoft's "237 Patents infringed by OSS" statement is
not aimed at the Open Source community, nor is it aimed at the
consumers. It is targeted for the ears and eyes of the ISVs and IHVs to
help ensure that they do not stray from the fold and dip their toes in
supporting alternatives to the Microsoft offerings.

Windows Vista will be hugely successful. More PCs are sold every month
today than 5 years ago and they need an operating system. I would be
very shocked if Vista's launch sales did not outstrip XP's launch.

Like as like not, we will have to ensure that we play well in a MS Vista
world. We would benefit by being the "Most popular database" on the
"Most popular operating system".

Just my 2¢...

1 comment:

Sheeri K. Cabral said...

Also, any mention of the name of Microsoft is publicity. Considering the fact that my country's president is in his 2nd term, most people tend to believe what they read without thinking much further -- so reading an article in US News and World Reports about the claim of patent infringement is a double win for Microsoft:

1) It makes OSS look like the "bad guy" trying to steal Microsoft's business

2) It makes Microsoft look like the underdog, which makes people feel better about putting money into Bill Gates' pockets.

The fact that the claims have no substance is not the issue -- most people will never think that far or see those articles, and if they do they're more apt to trust Microsoft than these other bad guys that have a product they've rarely or never heard of.