Harassing Customers

I have written this before but it bears repeating. A business that harasses customers will soon lose customers. M$ has repeatedly violated this rule by suppressing competition. The result is a huge body of customers/consumers who are ready to bolt at the first sign of an alternative. Witness the avalanche of consumers who have chosen Android/Linux smart phones instead of stupid phones with M$’s stuff on board. Larry Page commented on that when he discusses Google impressive growth, “Rather than seeing, for example, Microsoft compete in the marketplace with their own smartphones, they’ve really continued resorting to legal measures to hassle their own customers, right? So it seems kind of odd. And we haven’t seen the details of those total agreements, and I suspect that our partners are making good deals for themselves there.”

Android/Linux is on most smart phones these days and Phoney “7” is on 5%, the opposite situation we see in the retail shelves of personal computers. The difference is consumers have a choice in smart phones. They soon will have the same choice in all personal computers because the suppliers who are making money using Android/Linux are not beholden to M$ and can make personal computers of all kinds to compete with M$’s legacy stuff that’s too bulky, hot, noisy and unreliable. Folks who love Android/Linux on smart phones know there are better ways to compute. That knowledge is spreading quickly. This Christmas we will see Android/Linux taking up lots of space on smart thingies and notebooks and desktops in retail shops.

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.
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26 Responses to Harassing Customers

  1. Contrarian says:

    “I mean places like this school:”

    I don’t know that is all that typical in China. Certainly there are the one-room schools scattered about rural regions of the US. If someone in China said the USA was backward and showed a few pictures of the West Virginia mountain towns where the coal mine had closed in the 70s as being typical, the wrong impression would be made.

    I would accept that there are a lot more people, as a percent of total population, in the rural category in China although I do not know that for a fact. however there are hundreds of millions of fairly sophisticated Chinese, too, and they are an obvious target market for US technology.

  2. Contrarian says:

    “we do know the Chinese government now advocates GNU/Linux and that China plans to become independent in IT ASAP.”

    How do we know that, #pogson? Apple and Microsoft are both expaqnding their Chinese operations. Don’t they know the game is over?

  3. Phenom says:

    Nice. No data source can only mean that data is in your favor. Really convenient.

    Of course, after Linux wins in China, China will be absolutely free. Free of AutoCAD, free of ArcGIS, free of Photoshop, free of ArchiCAD…

    They have it in Russia – hungry, but armed. China will have it – incapable, but free.

  4. Source? Not NetApplications again?

    In 1998 that was true. That other OS had 91%.

    Today, it is hard to find stats from China as there is a language barrier and CNNIC quit publishing that information but we do know the Chinese government now advocates GNU/Linux and that China plans to become independent in IT ASAP.

  5. Amen. Literacy is a challeng in isolated regions. I worked in fly-in communities and my server would have more books that the rest of the community combined, all fully indexed. IT is a powerful tool in education. Too bad so many use that other OS that provides few tools. People have to go out and buy apps that don’t work with the next version of the OS. With FLOSS, a school gets to own its hardware, data and software and is not the puppet of megalomaniacs like the steves.

  6. oiaohm says:

    Phenom a school like that is what the one laptop per child is targeted at. Particularly the new dual screen no keyboard.

    Reason cost of books. To give students electronic copies of books can be cheaper than given them the hardware. Arm devices last quite well.

    Android is also growing very well in China. Phenom. Again it the same thing in china as a lot of third world. Students need resources they need as much as the dollar can give them.

    Density of information IT hardware wins over all other models.

  7. Phenom says:

    Contrarian, I speak of the rural and industrial China, not the white-collar workers you depict. I mean places like this school:

    Now, I do not doubt that Pogson would recommend ARM + Linux as the best computers for that kind of school.

    Pogson, I give you the simple facts of intereconomics, in an attempt to widen your view beyond computers and software. But lets go back to your niche – statistics has it that China uses mostly pirated versions of Windows, and about 1% of Linux. So much for your hopes.

  8. Contrarian says:

    “The Chinese do produce their own hardware and software with a goal to be free of US hegemony within five years.”

    Do they? Do you any reference for such a thing?

    “China can manage without USA.”

    We are a big customer, #pogson. I think that the Chinese have become as dependent on the world economy as most other nations. Certainly the Chinese Communists that I have met are eager to visit the US and see Disney World and Las Vegas and Hollywood and get a prime steak at Ruth Chris. Of course all the ones that I know are Windows users, too, and maybe they are not as eager for austerity as your own experience suggests.

  9. Contrarian says:

    “you write of people, who actually work and live in the US.”

    Certainly they are living in the US temporarily, but they are citizens of the PRC and go back and forth for vists or to return for good sometimes. They talk about rural Chinese a lot like we talk of the rural south. I don’t remember the exact names used, but it translated into “hillbillies” just like we city folk speak of the rustics out in the countryside.

    The vast majority of the Chinese who do not move to the US and write software for American companies live in cities and have jobs a whole lot like the people in Toledo. (The ones who are not unemployed, that is.)

    I do agree that their wage rates are somewhat lower than in the US, or so many people have said, but within their own culture, they range from wealthy to poor and middle class in-between. Certainly they consume a lot of cell phones, buy a lot of cars and produce a lot of consumer goods sold throughout the world. They seem to like Windows for their PCs as well.

  10. Check your brains. I think they have fallen out. Where the Hell do you think most hardware is produced these days and where the software is installed? The Chinese do produce their own hardware and software with a goal to be free of US hegemony within five years. I would bet on them rather than a country with low growth and paying taxes to M$ instead of collecting them. Very few PCs are manufactured in USA lately. There are a few Debian developers in China. China can manage without USA.

  11. Phenom says:

    Contrarian, if I got it right, you write of people, who actually work and live in the US. I meant people, the majority of people, working and living in China. These poor people are easy to manipulate, easy to control, though lately rumors has it that social tension in China is rising.

    The difference between China and USA/EU is the capacity of the internal market – what Pogson actually contemplates. China’s is small, very small, and can’t possibly sustain the huge manufacturing industry. While USA/EU are both able to perfectly consume their own production (if they have to), China is absolutely unable to do that, making it heavily dependent of USA/EU as partners.

  12. Contrarian says:

    “The latter, however, is dangerous – middle-class people are not willing to listen to and obey the Party.”

    That is an interesting situation, I have found. Where I worked, there were as many as 10 H1B visa developers from the PRC. Needless to say, they made much more than the $20 a month you mention, 500 to 1000 times as much as that. They held titles ranging form Senior Software Engineer to Software Architect and were very active in the patent filing process, not at all embarassed to submit disclosures for everything that they did and eager to collect the few thousand bucks paid for each successful filing.

    They did a lot of day trading, too, on E*Trade and other sites. They were on both sides of the political scene, with some being actual party members and others not. One thing that I found is that they actually do vote. The national elections are pretty well fixed, but there is a lot of local government, akin to state and city stuff in the US, that is very contentious along the same lines as in the US.

    Did I mention they were all Windows developers?

  13. Contrarian says:

    “Yep. About now, China is a larger market for personal computers than USA and the margin will increase.”

    A two-edged sword at its finest, #pogson. Statistics show that Linux use in China is on a par with the rest of the world, so rapid increases in sales in China will benefit Microsoft substantially more than anyone else. Whatever is being paid for Windows there is just more profit for them than there would have been had the Chinese stuck with their abacuses and eschewed the PC altogether.

    All that Linux could ever hope to do is limit the size of the actual market for PC OS software in terms of the money being paid by consumers. Today the market is around $20B annually worldwide and Microsoft gets about 98% of that money. Most of the balance is Apple’s sale of upgrades to Macintosh users.

    And the market is growing, if less rapidly than in the past. Microsoft is not going to abandon that business because some cranks are fussing around about thin clients and trying to use the previous generation smart phones in lieu of a personal computer.

  14. Phenom says:

    Pogson, markets are measured by their purchasing power, i.e. the money value of goods, traded on the market. China can hardly be a great market, not until most of the population there gets month salaries of 20 USD.

    Probably that would change, but not any time soon. In order for China to get that rich, it will have to do many things, but most importantly: improve the efficiency of its economy, which is terribly low resource-wise, and, create a middle class. The latter, however, is dangerous – middle-class people are not willing to listen to and obey the Party.

    Further, when salaries in China get an increase, their export will get more expensive and will sequently decrease in volume, and have a negative impact on the Chinese economy.

    I guess we need to postpone the imminent death of MS one more time.

  15. Yep. About now, China is a larger market for personal computers than USA and the margin will increase. Also, many Chinese are first-time buyers and are not locked-in to M$, nor particular apps, nor malware, nor re-re-reboots,…

  16. Contrarian says:

    “Does Samsung care if it’s Google? Nope.”

    Have you asked them? It would be rather astonishing to learn that Samsung would be comforted by the notion that a key supplier is now a direct competitor.

    “Google has committed to sharing the code.”

    And the check is in the mail and the government is here to help you.

  17. Contrarian says:

    “How much longer will it be before a Shenzhen manufacturer takes up the challenge?”

    What difference would that make to me? Or you for that matter? Do you have a lot of money invested in something that would profit from such an event? You need to explain how this is connected to anything useful.

    #pogson lives and breaths the notion that Microsoft will crumble and fall some day, the sooner the better. I am not sure just how he hopes to benefit from that, of course, but he has added Apple to his wish list as well and presumably has something in mind. I suspect that it is just a sort of self-satisfaction sort of feeling.

  18. Contrarian, you must live in a very small world. Think big, branch out and expand your mind. The future is BRIC. Microsoft is so 1980’s. Don’t live in the past. Embrace the future. Hint: How much longer will it be before a Shenzhen manufacturer takes up the challenge? As hungry as those folks are, my money’s on them.

  19. Custer was glad he found Indians. He had been hunting them for weeks. He was glad they were all in one place. He even divided his forces. etc.

  20. Think. How many producers of Android/Linux smart phones are out there? Does Samsung care if there is one more? Does Samsung care if it’s Google? Nope. Google has committed to sharing the code. That’s all Samsung needs. Even if Google stopped sharing the code in the future, Samsung and others could still develop their own thing upon the current build. Nope. Samsung is far ahead staying on Google’s team.

    Android/Linux on smart thingies is characteristic of businesses cooperating for the greater good. Some businesses are willing to compete on price/performance and are unafraid to share some inputs. All hardware makers are like that. They rarely demand an exclusive deal. It makes sense to share R&D costs.

  21. Contrarian says:

    As to your main idea, I am somewhat dismissive of what Larry Page might have to say. Google’s purchase of Motorola puts them squarely into competition with their partners who make Android phones or tablets and that is much more of a rebuff, it seems to me, than any sort of license fee extracted from the likes of Samsung, HTC, Sony, or other maker due to Android’s infringement on MS patents.

    The good news for Microsoft, of course, is that vast majority of Android phone sales are now returning a few buck to the Redmond treasury regardless of how WP7 may fare in the future.

  22. Contrarian says:

    It looks to me that this Robert Thompson is pulling your leg, #pogson. But maybe that is just my jaded impression although I somehow doubt that Google’s “OEM partners” would be thrilled “about bringing Motorola ARM-powered PCs to market” on the part of Google. That is along the lines of George Custer wishing for a few more Indians to show up at Little Big Horn.

  23. “Early this year, Honeycomb (Android 3.0) launched for tablets. Although Honeycomb remains tablets-only, the upcoming Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) release will support big screens, small screens, and everything in between. This is the way Android will stay from now on: the same version runs on all screen sizes.”

    Here’s a link:

    Preparing for Handsets

  24. Great! Even better! The review I read must have been in error.

  25. Android 4 should work on any screen size.

  26. Amazingly, I’ve never seen anyone write about this, but: Just wait until Motorola gets back into the personal computer business! I’d be willing to bet that Google is already talking with ODM/OEM partners about bringing Motorola ARM-powered PCs to market! They should come in Chrome OS or Unbuntu configurations. Note that they would not run Android, since it only supports screen sizes to 10.1 inches.

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