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Friday, February 02, 2018

Piracy built Microsoft

William "Bill" Gates III is one of the best-known entrepreneurs of the personal computer revolution. His company Microsoft launched its first retail version of Microsoft Windows on November 20, 1985. 10 years later on  August 24, 1995, we got Windows 95. To date, Windows 95 is the biggest Windows release ever.Next, there was Windows 98 which looked and felt pretty much like Windows 95.An updated "Second Edition" version of Windows 98  was released in 1999. After Windows 98 SE came the "millennium edition" of Windows, released in the year 2000.

In the middle of those releases, MS faced competition form the worlds first GNU/Linux distro called MCC Interim in 1992 and later form the likes of Slackware, The Debian Project, SUSE Linux Personal, and Red Hat Inc. To this day, Slackware remains the oldest surviving Linux. distribution.

Both GNU and Linux were released under what is known as the GNU General Public License (GNU GPL or GPL). It is a widely used free software license, which guarantees end users the freedom to run, study, share and modify the software. Version 1 of the GNU GPL was released on February 25, 1989, Version 2 was released in June of 1991 and Version 3 in June of 2007. Software under the GPL may be run for all purposes, including commercial purposes and even as a tool for creating proprietary software.

Linux distros like Debian and its free software license made Gates very afraid. The GNU OS was something people could get for free with little or no cost. Plus those users could even make copies for all their friends. It was then MS knew they had to join forces with underworld was its very survival.

"Although about 3 million computers get sold every year in China, people don't pay for the software. Someday they will, though. And as long as they're going to steal it, we want them to steal ours. They'll get sort of addicted, and then we'll somehow figure out how to collect sometime in the next  decade." -Bill Gates University of Washington 1998.

MS never fought pirates in the 90s as much as they claimed. The thing is if they took down pirates around the world, then millions of people would not have grown up with Windows and instead they would have grown up using some flavor of gnu/Linux. Most people would be using Firefox and LibreOffice today and not Internet Explorer/Edge and Microsoft Office. Microsoft’s ecosystem of software would have been much-much smaller today with most people using something like SUSE Linux instead of Windows 7 or 10. So like "drug dealers" Gates and Ballmer used piracy to prevent things like Linux from trimming away at Microsoft's monopolies, especially in poor nations

 "It's easier for our software to compete with Linux when there's piracy than when there's not," Gates says. "Are you kidding? You can get the real thing, and you get the same price." Indeed, in China's back alleys, Linux often costs more than Windows because it requires more disks." -Bill Gates, Fortune Magazine July 17, 2007.

If Microsoft sold Windows for, let us say, $ 5.00 or $10.00 U.S., they would lose money on every copy because the manufacturing, distribution and support costs would have taken its toll on their bottom line. However, piracy got Windows out to users who could not or would not pay, without undercutting normal prices. On top of that for years, Microsoft actively worked to suppress Linux, a computer operating system whose underlying code is freely available to the world at large. It once threatened legal action against businesses that used the open-source OS, insisting that Linux infringed on patents underpinning its flagship Windows operating system.

"If Microsoft launched a draconian crackdown", UC Berkeley's Varian said, it would provoke the obvious reaction: "People would just switch to open source."

They knew Piracy alone wouldn't work. The other arm of their plan was to spread lies about the opensource world.

"Linux is a cancer that attaches itself in an intellectual property sense to everything it touches," Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said in an interview with the Chicago Sun-Times on June 1, 2001. He went on to say "Our goal is to try to educate people on what it means to protect intellectual property and pay for it properly."

As you can see the second part of their scheme was to spread fear/lies. Brad Smith MICROSOFT'S top lawyer claimed back in 2007 that free and open-source software violated more than 230 of Microsoft's patents. He claimed the Linux kernel violated 42 Microsoft patents and that the graphical interfaces such as KDE violated another 65 patients. Of course, they never took those two projects to court, did they? Back in like 2001 Linspire and its Linux distro originally dubbed “Lindows,” was hit with a legal challenge by Microsoft over the latter’s “Windows” trademark. The fight was eventually settled out of court. Microsoft reportedly paid $20 million to Lindows, and Lindows changed its company and OS name to Linspire.

In an SEC filing in 2009, Microsoft warned that Linux distros such as Ubuntu's maker Canonical, and Linux distributor Red Hat as competitors meaning a true threat.

So guess what MS did again?

In 2015 Microsoft gave away Windows 10 to Pirates.

"If they're going to pirate somebody, we want it to be us rather than somebody else."
Jeff Raikes President of the Microsoft Business Division

"Anyone with a qualified device can upgrade to Windows 10, including those with pirated copies of Windows.”

"We are upgrading all qualified PCs, genuine and non-genuine, to Windows 10.
-Windows chief Terry Myerson, Reuters 2015.

We have always been committed to ensuring that customers have the best Windows experience possible,” a Microsoft statement notes. “With Windows 10, although non-Genuine PCs may be able to upgrade to Windows 10, the upgrade will not change the genuine state of the license. Non-Genuine Windows is not published by Microsoft. It is not properly licensed, or supported by Microsoft or a trusted partner. If a device was considered non-genuine or mis-licensed prior to the upgrade, that device will continue to be considered non-genuine or mis-licensed after the upgrade.

So, in other words, they know you "stole" WinXP but they will allow you to upgrade to Win10 so long as you understand the Win10 copy they gave you will still be considered non-genuine or mis-licensed prior to the upgrade and that device will continue to be considered non-genuine or mis-licensed after the upgrade. They are not stopping anyone from using their software for free.  True when you’re using a non-genuine copy of Windows, Microsoft also won’t offer you phone support and other help for Windows if you haven’t paid them for your copy. Also, you cannot use anything under Personalization e.g. change wallpaper, accent colors, lock screen, themes, etc. All options are there, they are just grayed out and inaccessible.

Was that just another olive branch to nations like China? Not really. Microsoft wants Windows 10 on every computer because it is the Store and their services that are important. They want to get as many users hooked on Windows 10 platform as possible so users can be "lured" into paying for premium services, such as apps at the Windows Store or a subscription to Office 365. The more users Microsoft gets now, the more services they can sell to them later.

"Microsoft benefits from piracy, then says, 'If you think prices are high, blame the Chinese, because they are the thieves,' " said Ariel Katz, a law professor at the University of Toronto.

See they like to make you feel guilty.  They want you to think that piracy is evil and immoral. Gates knew that wasn't true, he was making a pile of money, but the company "pretend" outrage resonated with a public that didn't know any better. Did you know that Microsoft and the Business Software Alliance rarely sued individuals? True every once in while they would make claims against distributors making a ton a money of bootleg copies.

Bottom Line...

William "Bill" Gates III has admitted, even while Microsoft talked tough about cracking down on piracy. They knew they had no chance against Linux distros like Debian and its free software license. "If Microsoft launched a draconian crackdown. People would just switch to open source." Varian-UC Berkeley. Jeff Raikes, head of the company's business group, said at an investor conference that while the company is against piracy if you are going to pirate software, it hopes people pirate Microsoft software. See they wanted to push hard for legal licensing but they didn't want to push so hard as to destroy a large part of their base. So make no mistake, when Microsoft talks about pirated software is equivalent to lost sales they would be telling people to pirate the software of their competitors. They would tell people to get Linux or something.


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