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A Look at XP Licensing Policy
Believe it or not, ZDNet (albeit the British version) has weighed in with a <a href="http://www.zdnet.com/zdnn/stories/news/0,4586,2815189,00.html">scathing critique</a> of Microsoft(There's a great little analogy comparing Microsoft to a blue whale and its users to krill.), its licensing policies and its treatment of customers. <span class="quote"><q>...XP Home Edition says that your computing experience will be made less pleasant because the operating system will turn itself off if you change your computer too much, at which point you'll have to go begging to Microsoft to be allowed to use it some more.</q></span> For corporate customers, the news is even worse. XP Professional has severely reduced licensing options: <span class="quote"><q>From October 1st, corporate licence holders will upgrade when Microsoft tells them to, not when they want. They either pay an annual fee for a two-year maintenance contract, or pay list price for upgrades. Or they don't have a license---and don't think that Microsoft has any compunction about letting people know about the consequences there. Just to make it an offer you can't refuse, existing options, which included a four-year upgrade cycle, have been withdrawn---people who were on that will pay between 68 and 107 percent more than before, according to the Gartner Group.</q></span> Yeah, any company can get away with that kind of treatment, not just monopolies. On other fronts, Microsoft continues to advance in other directions, most especially in areas of content or copyright protection. Read <a href="http://ads.enliven.com/tools/igen.dll?session=300638141;euid=290028043;type=iframe;cid=218704;sid=296911;xclick=http://ads3.zdnet.com/c/g=r005&c=a62333&camp=c20488&idx=2001.09.28.23.03.00/">this article</a> and tell me if it doesn't sound a little scary. This makes them the darling of large media companies and all of their powerful lobbies. From <a href="http://www.slashdot.org">Slashdot</a>: <span class="quote"><q>...by the way, the license agreement for Windows Media Player now allows Microsoft to disable any software on your computer - you do read those license agreements, don't you?</q></span> Seriously, before you ever click through another Microsoft agreement, <i>read it first</i>. <a href="http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=01/09/21/1438251&mode=thread">An article</a> at <a href="http://www.slashdot.org">Slashdot</a> tells that the agreement for FrontPage 2002 forbids you to use their software to create website that: <span class="quote"><q>Under Section #1, Grant of License, the second paragraph headed "Restrictions" states in part: "You may not use the Software in connection with any site that disparages Microsoft, MSN, MSNBC, Expedia, or their products or services, infringe any intellectual property or other rights of these parties, violate any state, federal or international law, or promote racism, hatred or pornography." (Not only a stunning example of legal overreaching, in my opinion, but very poor grammar as well.)</q></span>