Thursday, May 27. 2010
.............though the products of today's awful parents and almost as awful schools will not care.
As can be seen from today's share prices Apple has overtaken Microsoft in terms of the value it delivers to shareholders from its activities while Microsoft, still an immensely valuable company whose products are used by an ever growing number of people and entities, has demonstrated what thieves can do to your corporate growth. It would seem highly unlikely that Microsoft would have been overtaken by Apple if the huge/gigantic number of people and entities that steal its software products had actually paid for them. I suppose the situation of embedded thievery in poorly parented individuals has become endemic to the point that it has reversed to the point where today's thieves actually believe the only restriction on whether you should steal something rather than pay for it has simply become always steal as long as you think you won't "get caught".
I wonder where this will lead in the future?
The other aspect of the article that struck a very positive note was the fact that Apple had 'rescued itself' from its seemingly inevitable downward spiral into irrelevance and since the 'birth' of the iPod had rediscovered its ability to innovate and, even more surprisingly, how to 'mass market'. I find that much more surprising but it's really good to see. I have never bought an iPod or an iPhone and my current use of an Apple computer at work was totally due to its physical design advantage of no ugly and awkward 'box' with its mess of cables cluttering up my work space - I use the version that has all of the 'electronics' built in to a beautifully designed screen - which in itself somehow seems to be better than the screens we used for the office PCs. I actually find using an Apple less simple than using a standard Windows PC - undoubtedly that's because I use it in 'Windows Mode'.
The Apple 'story' over the past ten years or so has been very encouraging demonstrating that a seemingly doomed company can re-invent itself so completely that it becomes even more successful than its early boom days. So a very 'American' commercial success story where the 'good guy' battles back from being down and out to kicking the bad guys out of town and restoring peace and tranquility to the citizenry. I can't think of any Australian examples of this sort of turnaround but there are bound to have been some. I wonder whether this scenario can apply at Telstra?
Apple was always 'adored' by its customers which is something that can probably not be said for Telstra. I also understand that Apple's customers chose to pay more for its hardware products than the equivalent PC products because of a string of perceived or actual added values where that can seldom, if ever, be said about Telstra's services. Then again there is the gigantic difference between a slothful government monopoly and a 'start up' technical innovator. A lot of differences. But one big similarity - both companies have had to face up to 'seismic shifts' in their operating environments and both have/are facing the prospect of corporate annihilation and need to find a way past their ingrained operational beliefs to a new future.
Much as I really dislike many aspects of dealing with Telstra I think I would dislike, even more, dealing with an even more bureaucratic federal government replacement - which I had stupidly supposed had been the reason for privatising Telecom Australia in the first place. It's clear that, except in mobile telephony, only a little progress has been made by privatising the Australian telephone/data communications monopoly in Australia - but it is equally true that some progress has been made over that twenty years - there is, in some areas, real choice for residential and business end users and there is little doubt that there will be greater choice as time elapses. A Telstra that has a greater need to compete will, over time, become much more efficient and that, alone, would be the very best thing that can happen for Australian communications users. Killing off Telstra by either 'absorbing' it or destroying it and replacing it with a gubmant owned new monopoly would be the very worst thing that can happen to Australians. (if you think Telstra prices are bad and the services out of date you clearly weren't around in the early 1990s to use and pay for a Telecom Australia service).
The communications, and more general, media are suggesting that a 'deal' with Telstra about the 'NBN2' is close. For everyone's sake let's hope that isn't the case.
Copyright © Exetel Pty Ltd 2010
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Piracy has nothing to do with it. Microsoft just screwed up. They only have themselves to blame for letting Apple get ahead of them.
What percentage of users of their software products do you think are using them without paying Microsoft?
Do you think whatever that lost profit is would have affected their share price?
Do you think it's "OK" to steal someone else's property or do you have absolutely no morals or ethics and live your life taking anything you think you can get away with?
The market for legitimate Microsoft software is ridiculous. They dominate the business sector which can't get away with not paying for licenses and they make a sale every time a new PC gets shipped with Windows on it. It shouldn't matter how many people are using their software without paying when they have such a huge amount of people willing to pay.
You are assuming that a pirate copy is a lost sale... that is not the case. A lot of people, particularly in the Asian countries you refer to, can't afford the outrageous prices Microsoft charges. If they didn't pirate it they wouldn't have it at all. There is no 'lost profit'.
I am not trying to justify copyright infringement. It just isn't fair to blame it for Microsoft's failure to innovate. They haven't done enough to counter Apple and Google and now they are starting to pay the price for thinking their dominant position would keep them safe.
What a terrible job your parents have done in bringing you up.
Good luck with the society you, and people like you will create.
John, I think you may be being a little harsh on Nick's parents!
While I don't agree with Nick's sentiments of it being ok to steal because they can't afford it, he is simply reflecting a trend that society started when people got VCRs and cassette tapes. Technically copying windows is no different to recording a TV show - well until recently when the law changed to allow you to record a TV show and play it back ONCE.
The moral argument against copyright theft has little weight these days due to an ethical shift in society that in my view comes from a move towards each individual thinking they are the determiner of right and wrong.
Your point on the future is right though. Protecting software from breach of copyright is difficult and theft may well stifle creativity and innovation.
As for Microsoft, well I'm not so convinced there would be a marked change in their bottom line. In fact I suspect some piracy actually helps them! Why? Because the more people who use Windows (and related software), the more it is a defacto standard and the less people using an alternative. This means that in markets that can afford it, more legitimate copies are sold. If people in PRC had to pay for windows, they would have chosen open source instead. That in turn would have improved open source to the point it may have even become the platform of choice.
There are steps Microsoft could take to significantly reduce piracy. They haven't taken them. That makes me wonder why! I suspect because doing so actually would harm their bottom line.
Personally I'm too old to care about tomorrow's societies - I won't be here.
THe point I was making (obviously very badly) was that software thieves total lack of morality can damage the most important software company on the planet that EVERY human being currently alive needs to not be damaged.
Software theft will forever change the world's societies for the worse and the article just showed, unequivocally clearly, a tiny part of how this will happen.
As for parents - who else is to blame for turning out a thief without ethics or morals?
Parenting typically follows societal norms. My point is that the copying of software comes from an endemic disrespect of copyright. People have been copying without regard for copyright for 40 years - not just software but music, books etc. Tapes, VCRs, photocopying machines have all been used. It is the same thing and if you wanted to point a finger, it started with boomers and the young adults of the 1960s. They have shaped today's society to be the copyright infringing don't care less types that many are today.
Of course that's not an excuse for the copyright infringer, just an explanation of why they might think it is ok.
However I can't take a claim to have "never stolen any software" to be of any significance unless you can also claim "I have never infringed on someone else's copyright". There can be no moral distinction. And should anyone make that claim, I would suspect that rather than it being true, they simply don't understand the copyright laws.
I have never infringed any person's or entity's copyright.
When theft has reached the level where it restricts the world's most important software company from developing its products more quickly the whole world is affected.
The same rationale applies across all industries that have 'copyable' products.
I referenced the article simply to show the longer term effects of unbridled immorality.
Take it/reject it on that basis only.
There is a message in todays blog for Telstra'private trust:
coverage to "less than 90 percent" of the Commonwealth (NOT your bleeding wireless') is no longer "fit for purpose " and to dishonor the commonwealth, is to deserve your fate.
It is about ubiquitous access. just like the telephones. Duh - "Utilities" charges thanks.
So here's to the re-trial of open source 'Broadband; to benefit the enconomy, and to put Australia in the top 20 for this critical new benchmark.
PS: 'AUD300'-a-connection,25/2Mb? craps over "ADSL(1") .. therefore match it (please) or get out telstra :evil:
The referred news item doesn't mention piracy at all; there are other factors.
I do not support piracy at all, but at the same time, I am not impressed by the M$ lock-in and high per unit pricing -- although you still see gamers spending enormously on hardware and then stealing the software .... which is clearly wrong.
I myself own a range of computer equipment running all sorts of OS and software; I have have a Macbook Pro laptop that mostly gathers dust as it isn't all that it is cracked up to be.
The whole Apple vs Microsoft situation comes back to the fact that Apple can somehow get away with charging premiums for over-rated product and people still keep on buying it!
The main reasons I ended up getting the Mac were:
 Using Intel CPU, I can run just about any OS on the machine;
 To help me better be able to support customers with Mac computers.
My Macbook Pro btw was the fist laptop I got that cannot be easily upgraded -- I can't even replace the hard drive without voiding warranty and the screen doesn't even tilt back far enough. It is a nice machine, but it has it's problems, not least of which is a limited keyboard without pg-up, pg-dn, home and end keys.... and the idiotic single mouse button!
Anyway, the masses are suckered in to Apple products, including most significantly the iPhone at this time; I don't expect to ever buy an iPhone, but one day, I might. The only iPod I have is one that was "won" at an event through pure luck.
I hear people say all the time, that Mac is easier, but I don't buy that either. The hype has certainly won out for many.
The hype of 25GB Hel$tra plans also suckers in people, it's all in the marketing -- same with Apple. Heck I've seen many a customer whom has never downloaded more than 6GB get excited about 25GB, 100GB, 140GB plans which they will never get anywhere near close to unless they change their habits. Again this is the media hype, Apple has plenty of it in a positive way and Microsoft has plenty of it in a very negative way (deserved or not), they are the facts.
Apple vs Microsoft has little or nothing to do with piracy on the basis of the referred article at least. There certainly may be these issues as well, but the article did not allude to piracy issues at all.
It must be self evident that the fact that softtware theft is endemic means that Microsof's revenues/profit/investor value is severely diminished.
Hence, their share price is materially affected.
How could you possibly 'argue' that is not the case?
My point was simply commenting that thieves can't steal hardware without risking getting caught so Apple gets full value for its endeavours while Microsoft, beset by thieves, doesn't.
If my blog was not my own thoughts then I would simply publish URLs - not express my views.
Software thieves have affected Microsoft's revenues very badly.
Software thieves will change tomorrow's society in many really bad ways.
It is easy to argue with that.
Using a copy of some MS software without a license (what you and others call 'stealing') is clearly wrong (in juristictions that uphold US copyrights) but it does not follow that such use implies a lost sale and there-fore affects the net worth of Microsoft.
Certainly some unauthorised uses would equate to lost sales, but maybe not as many as you think.
That doesn't make it right, but I think it does very much weaken the arguement that "software piracy" is a big part of the reason that MS isn't doing as well as Apple. I think that is more likely to be related to the fact that Apple is doing interesting things, and that Vista wasn't much of a success for MS.
I actually think that software piracy hurts the open source movement more than it affects MS. If people could not pirate MS software, very many of them would consequently do without MS software and many of those would choose open source. And if just some of those contributed back it would benefit the movement.
MS is a bit like Telstra - it feels safe and doesn't see the need to innovate much. Apple is more like exetel - innovate or perish.
Regarding the piracy in Asia, Nick is quite correct: http://www.zdnet.com/blog/perlow/windows-7s-latest-fan-linus-torvalds/11403
I own two Windows XP licenses, thanks to Microsoft's forced bundling with new computers, increasing their cost unnecessarily. I use neither license these days thanks to the suitability of Linux.
Microsoft has always been an example of outstanding, overpriced marketing of the third best product, and that goes right back to the first MSDOS. It's not only Apple, with its well-designed hardware that they have to watch - it's also the open source software movement whose progress they can't even hope to keep up with.
The defects of closed source dependency are increasingly apparent to major users everywhere, and that must eventually affect their business model more than crackers and free downloaders. Exetel itself is based on open source, and properly so.
If it's "third rate" why bother to steal it?
Are you saying that it's OK to steal things if you don't regard them as "first rate"?
No. I wasn't commenting on the rights and wrongs of copying proprietary software. Microsoft has a bigger problem - the rapid growth, for very good reasons, of superior, open source, free software and operating systems, that makes MS's business model obsolete. You yourself use it - it runs the web. The most important piece of code in the world today is the Linux kernel, and anyone may use it without payment.
>Do you think it's "OK" to steal someone else's property or do you have absolutely no morals or ethics and live your life taking anything you think you can get away with?
I have heard that Gates and MS were notorious for examining the work of small developers, refusing a commercial agreement, then introducing very similar capabilities in their own applications shortly after.
Perhaps they are more ethical now - after some EU court cases.
Read this [just one example]:
Wouldn't mind being that Australian! ABC had a report on it too, perhaps Australian Story... not sure, but it's there somewhere.
What is it that should be called 'software piracy'? Is it the use of software outside of it's licensing conditions?
Is it not paying a licence fee?
Is it paying a lower fee for specific purpose, and then using the software for other purposes?
Would the last describe what Microsoft did to Gary Kildall when IBM were looking for an o/s for their new pc?
How about when some nameless individuals reverse engineered the IBM bios code in a slick ploy that gave the world today's cheap computers? (if they were still $10,000 per box, this forum wouldn't exist).
Did that hurt the world, or is it that step which made the pc ubiquitous as it now is?
Who are sofware pirates?
Probably just about every human who has used a computer, at some time or other.
Clearly your parents brought you up very differently to the way mine did me.
Personally, I have never stolen any software.
I doubt that I am unique in that - irrespective of your attempt at justifying theft.
However - my comment was simply to point out the longer term consequences of wide spread immorality in shaping future societies.
As someone who was intimately involved in the early days of PCs your views on today's hardware prices are as misguided as your attempts at defending theft.
Did they? I remember sampling a grape once when shopping with my mother. She apologised to the shopkeeper, walked me up the street a way, then belted the daylights out of me without warning. I remember being yanked backwards at what seemed a million miles an hour, followed by what seemed like a dozen or so good slaps. I was 5 at the time, and clearly remember this more than 50 years later.
No, you're not unique, nor was I trying to justify theft. I was pointing out that some companies who make much of their losses due to piracy are not above going there themselves. Here is one example: www.pcworld.com/article/99104/did_microsoft_flirt_with_piracy.html
One of the biggest causes of declines in social morality has to be the disappearance of discipline. Getting the do-gooders out of the school system would be a good start on the road to recovery.
Quote: your views on today's hardware prices are as misguided as your attempts at defending theft : Unquote.
How so? was IBM going to embark on a cut price pc sales blitz back in the early 80s? No, not until the Mac gave them a reason to.
Theft debases all society over time.
The fact that you raise issues such as "well xxxx does it so...." shows how endemic theft has become.
The "IBM" PC was 'designed' as an open source device built from 'standard'/off the shelf components from third parties - including the original opsys - a 're-engineered CP/M....or so it seemed to me at the time.
Itenabled the various diffferent 'proprietary designs of the 30 or so different manufacturers of the time to 'standardise' on one 'platform.
This drove sales which drove volumes which drove innovation which drove prices of the components down.
There is no way that today's PC prices would be anything other than they are today.
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