Jamie Thomson

Thoughts, about stuff

Will Windows one day be free?

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[This blog entry was originally published here]

That’s a question I started asking myself yesterday as I read this post from Yaron Goland. Here’s a sprinkling from that entry:

Sigh…. I know… I know… Microsoft… evil… proprietary… no cross platform… Windows über alles… etc. Whatever. Look folks, this is really easy. I work for Windows Live and my mission as handed to me by my boss, his boss and his boss’s boss is simple – Make money on services.

That’s it. It’s not ‘make money on services and sell Windows’ or ‘only make money on services running on Windows’. Bzzz…. it’s ‘make money on services’, full stop. This distinction from Windows isn’t new to Microsoft. Office, from what I can tell, has run itself as a separate company for years. Nevertheless, there is this expectation that everyone in Windows Live is spending their time thinking deep thoughts about how to sell Windows. Um.. no. I know, with a name like Windows Live you would think Windows Live is all about Windows but 1) I don’t do our branding and 2) See the previous mission statement from the first three levels of my management chain.

So with this in mind let’s get a few things out of the way. Do you like OS X? Great. Are you a FireFox user? Outstanding. Does Java make you Joyous? Wonderful! I don’t care. Seriously, I don’t. What I care about is making Windows Live’s services successful and for the short and probably medium term that means ads.

Compare this with a quote from about two years ago from someone who shall remain nameless (but whom I have utmost respect for):

"My job is to sell [productX]. It is the job of [productX] to sell SQL Server licenses. It is the job of SQL Server to sell Windows licenses."


Pretty clear distinction there isn’t there? Windows is Microsoft’s number one moneyspinner and yet here is someone who carries a lot of favour and is playing a large part in driving Microsoft’s future saying "I don’t care about Windows – that’s nothing to do with me". It made me wonder how far Microsoft’s ambitions with Windows Live actually go – do they foresee a time when the bulk of their revenue is not from Windows but actually online services? In that scenario its not hard to envisage Windows being given away free in order to drive people to the monetised live services.

Just a thought.

By the way, Yaron gives a fascinating perspective on machinations at Microsoft/Windows Live due to his non-Microsoft pedigree. His blog is well worth a read.




Written by Jamiet

August 14, 2007 at 2:26 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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