News.com is reporting that Microsoft’s CEO says the market is ready for a $100 PC. Really? Which market, you ask? Not yours or mine. Don’t look for a $100 PC at Wal-Mart anytime soon. Well, not one that runs Windows.
Market researcher Gartner sponsored a technology conference in Orlando, FL this week. One of the attendees was CEO Ballmer, or his look-alike, Peter Boyle (Frank of Everybody Loves Raymond). Not content with worries of Windows piracy, eroding marketshare to Linus and Mac OS X, a years-late Longhorn upgrade to Windows, more security holes than Kerry has flip-flops or Bush has slip-ups, Ballmer simply changed the subject.
Looking for marketshare love in all the wrong places, Ballmer told the audience of technology executives, “The biggest problem we have right now is that people who should be paying for software aren’t.”
That sounds like a piracy problem to me. How about you? What’s the solution to software piracy? More laws? Lawsuits? More cops? A bounty? Nope.
Ballmer’s solution to stem piracy is to make sure consumers in emerging countries (where most of the piracy apparently occurs) a low cost PC. How low? There’s that $100 price point again.
We Mac users often feel we pay a premium for the benefits of Macdom. Windows users only think they pay less, when they actually end up paying more (no flames for details; it’s just a broad stroke statement—of fact!).
To quote News.com:
So make them pay $100 for a cheapo PC (which includes Microsoft Windows, natch) so users in China and India will have their own and won’t need to go to the neighborhood Internet cafe, right?
Why does Microsoft want to do this? For the same reason MS bundled Office back in the 90s to every PC maker’s PC you could see. Market share.
It’s all about market share. And money. Often, they’re the same, of course.
How big is the PC market potential in India and China? Isn’t that about half the world’s population?
Quoting Ballmer via News.com again:
Microsoft has already announced plans to introduce a low-cost starter edition of Windows XP into large population, emerging countries such as India, Russia, Thailand, and others.
Would a $100 PC catch on? Well, many would say that’s what the $1,000 PC is really worth these days. Without Windows, of course.
Could it be that Microsoft fears a continued Linux spread and will do anything to stop it—including lowering of prices for Windows and Office?
Click Here for the latest news from Microsoft’s CEO, Steve Ballmer.