Rupert Goodwins' Diary

Thursday 20/09/01XP fever strikes ZDNet! Actually, that's a little inaccurate.

Thursday 20/09/01

XP fever strikes ZDNet! Actually, that's a little inaccurate. We got XP fever months ago, recovered, had a mild relapse when Beta 2 turned up and now seem relatively immune. But that doesn't put Microsoft off -- it despatches a crack team of marketing managers to our offices today to demonstrate the operating system. A packed room gasps as the videoconferencing features fail to get through the ZDNet corporate firewall, but things soon settle down and we enjoy a relaxed romp through the pastel shades of the latest and greatest Windows.

And, as you can read in our XP spectacular, we think it's a good thing. It's fast, pretty and doesn't crash: everything else is icing when it comes to Windows. But that's a technical evaluation; the commercial side is a different matter. To be honest, we're miffed that it costs more than previous versions. It's stuffed full of antipiracy features such as Windows Product Activation that should make it far harder to use without a licence, so Microsoft will be getting tons more dosh overall. And can thus afford to drop the price a bit - but that hasn't happened. As WPA will be a pain in the backside when it goes awry, we asked MS why we're paying more for greater inconvenience. Here are the three answers we got.

1. It's a new product, so none has been sold. As none has been sold, no savings are possible.

2. Every time a new product is launched, it costs more to maintain the old versions.

3. While it's true that hardware gets cheaper all the time, that's because there are economies of scale. There are no economies of scale with software.

We are in awe of this logic, and can find no words worthy to contest the above. However, in the hope that we'll be blessed with even more awesome examples of Microsoft business logic we'll be asking the same question of any stray MS executives we happen to come across between now and the XP launch.

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