Is Microsoft Pushing Customers to Linux?

Vista versus Linux

With all the recent publicity regarding Windows Vista, there has been not only praise for the new operating system but criticizism as well. Many critics of Vista have focused on negative features such as restrictive licensing which restricts the end user from moving the Vista O.S. from one PC to another more than once. Others have claimed that the EULA (end user license agreement) hasn’t changed from that of Windows XP and you should be able to utilize the license in the same manner.

In a previous post I listed what I felt were the Top 5 Reasons NOT to Upgrade to Windows Vista. Some readers have agreed and some disagreed with my findings. Is it my imagination or does it seem as if Microsoft is pushing the limits and testing the waters to see how far its end users can be pushed? Now if Microsoft wanted to retain its enormous, current customer base it would not place so many restrictions on the use of its operating system. This especially holds true when rolling out a new product such as Vista.

Why would one create a negative buzz about a product before its release? That just doesn’t make good business sense. With the recent releases of Ubuntu 6.06 LTS Linux Desktop, the alternatives to Windows based operating systems are becoming quite attractive. This is especially true if you are a business owner with multiple PC’s. You have to ask yourself, “Is Microsoft Pushing Customers to Linux?” Surely not intentionally. That would be business suicide, but in a way by placing too many restrictions especially in the form of licensing on their products they are paving the way for open source products to gain market share.

There are definite advantages to running Windows based operating systems such as universal hardware compatibility, a huge base of compatible software applications and ease of installation to name a few. Within the last several years there have been several disadvantages as well, including security issues and increased licensing costs.

Will Microsoft push its entire Windows user base to Linux? No. Is it possible that Microsoft will lose market share to thousands of business customers over the years as they switch to open source Linux operating systems? Yes. © 2006


20 thoughts on “Is Microsoft Pushing Customers to Linux?”

  1. I am mostly a Windows user and a .NET developer. I disagree that one of Windows’ advantages is that it is easy to install. Many modern Linux distributions are as easy if not easier.

    I use Debian Sarge and Etch as well as Windows XP, and Debian’s main drawback is that you need to tweak the Xfree or Xorg config file by hand after an install. This isn’t ideal, but it is far less painful than the usual driver hunt on an XP machine that may or may not be usable enough to connect to the Internet after a fresh XP install.

  2. My laptop HD died. I installed a new drive and tried to re-install XP. It said that I was “over the limit” of XP installs from that disk. I called MS to explain my predicament, but without avail. After 14 days, the laptop just stopped working per the licensing agreement.

    I had never installed Linux before in my life. Want to guess what’s running on the laptop now? Ubuntu and I LOVE it. It’s easier and WAY faster than XP ever was. If, as a home user, I had been able to install XP on my laptop, I would never have know how easy Linux was. Now I know. The cat is out of the bag. I tell everyone I know, too.

  3. Yes they are. I have 4 machines running XP Professional, all legal bought and paid for, and have upgraded to every new version of Windows released (save Windows 98 Me).

    First, spending close to $700-$1000 to upgrade these to Vista? Forget it, XP is good enough. Second, I continuosly upgrade my PCs over time, I’m supposed to shell out for a new copy of Vista just because I change some hardware? Screw that. It’s a Mac or Linux next for me.

    Microsoft is imposing these restriction at exactly the moment they should be loosening them, they now have competition with Mac OS and Linux (which is very near to being able to be installed by Grandma)

  4. I dont understand the premise behind individuals constantly making in issue about Linux being slightly more difficult than Windows to configure, but at SOME point in every investment we make, we have to take the time to do some work with it in order for it to properly function in the way we’re going to find efficient for our needs.

    Linux is no different than Windows is under this logic. Windows has one method of configuration, Linux has another. I think that if anything, we have been spoiled by the Windows automated functions of networking and such, so that when/if one should move to Linux, they’re stumped. If more individuals used open source software and operating systems like this, some of which require technical understanding of the software packages, as a technological culture, we’d be better off.

  5. yup, did me about 6 months ago (was primarily the WGA crap they kept pushing as ‘updates’ in XP that did it for me), and seems to be the same for everyone ‘into’ tech I work with, can’t be long berfore the masses start to follow.

  6. A neat idea for an article but there is one glaring thing he didn’t take into account, all the bad news about the EULA, licenses and that have all been proved to be INACCURATE and actually BETTER than with previous Windows operating systems.

    First, VM usage:

    Same XP so you’re allowed to run it in any VM just not use the VM on Vista with the same license though with other versions you CAN (This has NEVER been allowed before) and with some you can run up to 4 (Business) or more.

    Second, transferring licenses:

    You can change your CPU, RAM, video card and other ‘small’ (Network cards, etc) parts WITHOUT having to re-active Vista.

    You will have to reactivate if you change the primary HDD + 1 other component (Like a motherboard) which you are able to do 10 times.

    So, this whole little article is silly, inaccurate and useless since those 2 points where cleared up days ago. I recommend the author of this blog to do research first.

    Good luck with those thousands of people switching due to problem(s) which doesn’t exist and where Microsoft has improved upon previous offerings.

    Also, Microsoft isn’t the one creating the ‘negative buzz.’

  7. I recently migrated my home computer to Ubuntu, and I was surprised at how smoothly the process went. I expected something would come up that would force me back to Windows, but not only has that not happened but I’ve found that Ubuntu actually seems to be easier to set up than Windows. It’s also dramatically less sluggish, though that may be because it has been 2-3 years since the initial Windows install. We’ll see how well my system runs in a couple of years.

    The WGA fiasco left a bad taste in my mouth, but the main reason I migrated to Ubuntu was the endless drip drip drip of Windows security updates, virus scanning, spyware scanning, and eventual manual removal of malware once these precautions fail. I don’t think it should be so much work to maintain a computer.

    Finally, I realized that upgrading to Vista would cost more than what I paid for my monitor(!), and I decided that I wasn’t going to do it this time. Sorry, but no. Not this time.

    So, goodbye Windows. At times our friendship has been rewarding, but you’ve been abusive to me, my feelings about you have changed, and I think it’s time to see other people.

  8. I need to respond to Anonymous Coward: A fellow Digg user who read my post found a nice link to article on zdnet :

    This clearly blows your theory out of the water that you can transfer Vista to 10 times. Not true. I think that Microsoft has worded it’s EULA in a manner that is so confusing that nobody really knows what the hell you can or cannot do when it comes to licensing issues and Vista. It just shouldn’t be this way.

  9. I’ve been using computers for some 20+ years, but the machine I’m typing on is the first PC I’ve ever bought new. I’m running XP, and whenever I re-install it, it takes me around 5 hours to get it all working properly.

    By contrast, it took me 30 mins or so to install Ubuntu onto my second hand laptop. It’s not fast, but Ubuntu is still snappy. I tried the live CD on this PC, it saw everything, even the obscure hardware mpeg decoder. Much like QNX on my inherited DX266, which thought my ZIP disk insider card was a SCSI adapter, Ubuntu, “just works.”

    If I’m lucky, Vista might run on this machine, (not that it will ever get the chance, I hasten to add.) Even if they were giving it away free, hell, even if they paid me, I will not submit to being treated like a criminal, and to the endless patching, if nothing else, Microsoft have succeeded in turning what used to be fun into a chore.

    “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.”

  10. Just activate it and then image the drive or download the corporate version. Every PC in my house has a license of XP pro however I stole the corporate version form work and use it. I doubt Microsoft would say that is within the terms of their license agreement, but I doubt they would ever pursue me or anyone else doing something like that.

  11. I first saw a live Linux CD at work 3 months ago. It was Knoppix. Then I downloaded Ubuntu Dapper and decided never to return to Windows at home, after using Windows XP Professional. What helped me a lot into taking this decision was the excellent forum and site support for Ubuntu, Kubuntu and co.
    And yesterday I found out that Microsoft has postponed XP service Pack 3 until … 2008 ! How about the users who paid for their licenses ? They are ignored in what concerns security updates. And there are many more disappointments on my list. So goodbye Windows, whatever Windows, even Vista.

  12. I think that MS marketing orientation is still back in the 1980s. Users are becoming much more sophisticate (in gerneral), the free software alternatives (Linux, FreeBSD, etc.) are getting better and more versatile, and the availablity of Word, Access, etc. work-alikes on the web are reducing the importance of the OS for many applications and many users. I keep a copy of a MS OS on my machine, but I very seldom have a a reason to use it. Penetration into the MS product sphere (OSs and IE) has been amazingly slow (bad habits die hard), but the $800 price tag and related bullshit should accelerate the trend substantially.

  13. I use windows xp, virtual xp, windows 7, vista, mac osx, and now Mandriva Spring 2010 linux, awe heck people they are all great machines it depends on how you use them. I have been using all systems for about twenty years my self and I love them all! In my eyes its all a matter of preferences! What you like etc… I like them all!

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