Hi Charles,
Believe it or not Microsoft was actually considering something like
that back in 2001 just before Windows XP was released. The roomer was
that with XP you would purchase the operating system and then pay a
monthly or yearly subscription to the Windows update service.  I don't
know what changed, why they changed their plans, but before XP finally
came out they went back to their previous business practice of selling
you a Windows release with x years of free upgrades before you had to
buy a completely new version of Windows. So as far as why Microsoft
doesn't have a paid update service like they originally planned with
XP I can only guess.
For one thing if you are a corperation it is better to pay up front
for x copies of Windows and then apply any and all free patchs and
upgrades as needed rather than have some kind of subscription service
and have to pay to upgrade each and every PC the business owns. That
could end up costing the business more money in the long run.
Another reason is as a private individual I can imagine a case where I
would purchase a Windows operating system, and find out there is some
critical error in the os. Now, I have to sign up for the update
service pay say $99 per year just to apply the latest security and
critical updates that is their fault to begin with. I wouldn't be a
happy camper, and feel those upgrades should be free. However, since
they have to make money somehow they would charge me for them to
correct their mistakes. You could see how that could become a point of
contention between customers and Microsoft.
As far as your point about sales Microsoft is constantly selling their
Windows software. Everytime you purchase a new PC with Windows already
installed on it that company had to purchase an OEM copy of that
software to install on that PC.  While you don't think about it much
Microsoft is always making money hand over fist inbetween major
Windows releases through OEM sales, upgrade cds, replacement licenses,
and of course their paid technical support services. Oh, they aren't
hurting to bad financially.
To give you an example how much Microsoft is making it might help to
look at what I've paid Microsoft over the past ten years or so. Back
in 2000 I purchased Windows Mellennium to upgrade my Windows 98
desktop to Windows Melllennium. In early 2003 that desktop broke down
and I purchased a brand new desktop with XP on it. In 2005 I purchased
a new laptop that also had XP on it. So right there is two copies of
XP I purchased through OEM sales.
Well, in 2006 or so I upgraded my desktop PC to a 2 GHZ system and had
to purchase another copy of XP, because the new process or and
motherboard invalidated my license. In 2007 Vista came out and I
purchased Windows Vista. As it happened when I moved for some reason
the motherboard failed in my desktop and i ended up having to replace
it. I would have had to pay for another Vista cd, but decided against
buying one and found a crack to just unlock the thing since I had just
purchased it six months earlier.
Well, in 2008 I purchased my new laptop that, of course, had Vista on
it. So weather I wanted to or not I just gave Microsoft more money for
Vista. A Windows version I have never really liked, but was stuck with
Now, this year I have purchased Windows 7 and installed it on my
desktop, my new laptop and on my wife's laptop. That's three licenses
I have spent money for this year for the new Windows operating system.
So Microsoft has got lots of my cash for Windows, and multiple times
for the same exact version because of one reason or another.
I realise my situation might be a bit unusual as I tend to upgrade
more than most people, like keeping my equipment and software up to
date, but still even if you consider the average person buys a new
computer every three or four years they will continue poring money
into Microsoft's treasure chest.
That in of itself is part of the cycle we are caught in. Microsoft is
the largest software manufacturer in the world. Most of the computers
you buy have Windows already installed on it. Even if you intend to
take it home and install something like Linux on it instead you still
end up paying Microsoft for an OEM version of their software up front.
The more people who buy and own Windows causes software developers to
say it is not worth supporting Linux, Mac, or something else and make
the lion's share of cash by developing software for the latest and
greatest Windows releases.  Since most developers only design software
specifically for Windows it makes it less desirable to go to Linux or
Mac, and thus the cycle starts all over again.


On 7/7/10, Charles Rivard <woofer...@sbcglobal.net> wrote:
> Wouldn't Microsoft make more money if they would quit reinventing the
> automobile and charge a small fee for adding spokes or tires with different
> tread patterns to the wheels, improving performance, while cutting down the
> expense of development?  This is, for the most part, what Freedom Scientific
> does with their products.  While I don't mind paying for upgrades to their
> existing products, I will say that I would like to see more improvement with
> each upgrade than we get, but their approach is good.  Build onto, or
> enhance, a good solid program rather than chucking it for all new.  Charge a
> smaller amount for the enhancements than you would for a whole new product.
> I would not pay $995 every few years for a new screen reader or an OCR
> program like OpenBook, but I don't mind $75 a year for upgrades.  I would
> think that, as a developer, I would rather get 500 payments of $75 every
> year than far fewer payments of $1,000 in that time period.  A steady income
> is better than an occasional bonanza..
> ---
> Shepherds are the best beasts!

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