jeudi 20 novembre 2008

Microsoft: Included with the purchase of the hardware

III – 1.1.2 Included with the purchase of the hardware

The most distribution channel used by Microsoft in order to sell the Operating System is through hardware(desktop or laptop computers as well as mobile devices such as cell phones).
You have of course here then several ways of distributing the final product but it depends of the partnerships you made with the hardware manufacturer.
For example the final product can be sold through: supermarket, special stores, online, partnership with public institutions such as schools etc...
It may surprise you but the way Microsoft is distributing his Operating System is totally illegal because in fact when you buy a computer it is always sold with Microsoft Windows included in the price. The distributor is hardly ever giving you the possibility to opt for a different Operating Systems. The only way to do so is to build your own computer, to go to court or to find very specific computers.
We could think that this distribution is fair because there is no alternative for the consumer but what about:
if you want to go for Linux rather than Windows, why should you pay 179€ more for a software that you do not want and/or that you do not need, Linux being free that is a chance but in some cases it is not so you are paying for two Operating Systems;
if you already paid an Operating System, the classic example is when you have another computer that you do not use anymore, you could easily uninstall your software from one to install it in the new one;
if you receive the software from a donation or if you only want the hardware for any kind of reason;

As you can see the way Microsoft is distributing his product is very special and should be analyzed very well in order to understand how Microsoft can be nowadays so profitable.

I mentioned previously a very interesting distribution channel that I would like to emphasize, the one of government and public administration such as schools.
This is a very strategical way of distribution. People have two ways to be familiar with the operating system: or they buy/use the computer or the product within their own circle(family, friends)or they are familiar to the computer/product outside their own circle(companies, schools...).
In the first case they have more or less the choice they want but in the other case it is more or less imposed by the company or institution.
As I said this is a very strategical approach because the strength of the operating system is the dependence it is going to provide on the long run. More particularly if you have been raised with this technology. For example when Microsoft has a partnership with a school and sell 500 computers with Microsoft Windows on it, it is not only 500 licenses that it is selling but the number of students who will use those computers and so raised with this technology who will buy Microsoft products and be dependent of them. The more people use the technology the more they get addicted and the least they are going to be ready to try another one.

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