I get so sick of reading columnists complaining about Windows XP now enforcing the fact that you have to buy separate copies for all of your computers. It’s the freaking law, people. Would Walt Mossberg’s employer be happy if brokerage firms got one subscription to The Wall Street Journal, scanned it, and provided it to all the employees online? I doubt it… yet that’s what he, and others, think people should be able to do with Windows XP.


Well, the way I see it is that I won’t buy the XP operating system. I have Win2k and Win98 working just fine. Also am a strong supporter of Linux, Mac, and anything else that would get me from under the Microsoft Thumb. Just like watching television, You can pick and choose what you watch.

• Posted by: Quinn Lacey on Oct 23, 2001, 1:54 PM

I agree that people need to buy copies legally but I’m troubled by the other side which isn’t followed - software vendors need to provide real products and real support. I’m a professional programmer - obviously I have nothing wrong with the concept of paying for software. I do find it disturbing that companies like Microsoft aren’t obligated to provide free updates to people who bought products which don’t do what they were advertised as doing.

Microsoft made most of the same claims for almost every previous version of Windows and now is more or less advertising that while they lied before, they’re telling the truth now. Can I get a refund?

Microsoft is by no means the only one that does this - in fact, almost every software vendor routinely lies about their products and services. If someone sold a “New, faster than ever” sports car which redlined at 45MPH and had a tendency to explode, the company would [justly] be put out of business. Why don’t we demand the same standard from the companies which run most of our society?

• Posted by: Chris Adams on Oct 24, 2001, 1:57 AM

Chris, what did Microsoft advertise Windows 2000, or Windows 98/ME, as able to do that it doesn’t do such that you feel that Windows XP should be free to you? I’m not sure that I can think of anything.

I can’t think why asking for payment for major upgrades is illegitimate. Windows XP does a lot more than prior versions of Windows, and it took a lot of development resources to make it so. You demand “real support,” but aren’t willing to pay for the product that then allows the company to AFFORD the support. Doesn’t make much sense to me.

• Posted by: Jason Levine on Oct 24, 2001, 12:00 PM

First, don’t think that I’m not willing to pay for software. Paying for new features is completely legitimate. The people who want to upgrade 5 computers to XP should either buy the licenses or find a different operating system.

The concern I have is that I think there’s also a responsibility on the vendor’s part to deliver on their promises. For example, Windows ME was not faster or more reliable than Windows 98, advertising claims to the contrary.

Similarly, the advertised multimedia capabilities really weren’t mature in the 95/98/ME tree. If you want to do video editing, you really need Windows 2000 to do it reliably - this has reached the FAQ level on some of the digital video lists I follow. When things reach this level, I think the vendor has to issue a patch or refund for the defective product or provide a discount on the working one to reflect the degree of misrepresentation in their advertising.

I also think support beyond “Buy the latest version” would actually reduce piracy. Most people understand the “Don’t pay and they’ll stop making it” concept but forcing people to buy bugfixes adds an otherwise absent legitimacy to piracy. For example, for most users the only significant 98 features which couldn’t be downloaded for free were the kernel fixes. Should someone who ran into the bugs in 95 have to pay just to get what was more or less the same thing plus some bug fixes? I’ve heard too many people who didn’t think so to believe Microsoft didn’t lose sales by annoying customers.

I can’t help thinking that they could have avoided some of the current fuss if previous versions hadn’t been oversold. I have yet to hear a single person who wanted XP because it has built-in CD burning or instant messaging - everyone I’ve heard is interested in it being faster and more reliable. (This is why none of the 2000 users I support have expressed interest in it - 2000 does what they need in a relatively stable fashion - my quibbles with it are mostly over style, not quality, which is a different issue)

• Posted by: Chris Adams on Oct 25, 2001, 4:32 AM

Chris, I don’t quite see how Microsoft’s misleading marketing (but XP for CD Burning and Instant Messaging) relates to the product activation and liscensing.

And Jason, while I worry about somewhat about Microsoft apply some of their bolder liscensing moves, I have to agree. It’s hard to complain about the law being applied. If you don’t like the law, then have it changed.

I have to buy who processors for my two home computers, why do people get upset that they have to buy two copies of the operating system?

• Posted by: Steven Garrity on Oct 28, 2001, 7:23 AM
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