Windows XP -- digital camera/photo features

Started Apr 23, 2001 | Discussions thread
Daniel Lauring
Daniel Lauring Veteran Member • Posts: 9,263
Beating the horizontal horse.

Thanks for airing your viewpoint as well, Rick. I appreciate that, while you can't speak for Microsoft, you do speak as someone who has time and sweat invested into the product.

Please view these comments in the constructive way they were meant to be aired.

Rick Turner wrote:

Daniel --

Thanks for the feedback. And, yes, I think you've correctly
identified how things work currently.

A couple of counter-points: if a person is installing one copy of
Windows on more than one computer, then they are violating the
licensing that they accepted when they installed the computer.
Whether it is convienent to do so is a separate debate -- it is a
violation of the product license that they have to accept to
install the OS. There is no debate about that.

No debate whatsoever. But it is totally legal, as I understand it from the licensing agreement, to uninstall Windows in one machine to reinstall it in another. In fact, this is Microsoft's and most software companies argument for the way software is to be sold. One copy for each user. The user is free to install it where they want. Users are following the "spirit" of the agreement but not the letter of the law because that would be horribly inconvenient.

Having said that, it should also be noted that no one even reads those horrible legal documents called license agreements, that come with software, anymore. Microsoft can not assume because the customer clicked the "AGREE" box that they agree or even understand the 4 pages of verbage that they entail.

What is strange to me is that the arguement used to support
installing one copy of Windows on more than one computer completely
falls down if we aren't talking about software. It's seems obvious
that hardware vendors wouldn't allow multiple free "copies" of a
computer in the house, as long as they aren't used concurrently. I
don't mean any disrepect by phrasing my argument this way, but why
should software be different than any other thing that you buy in
this regard? If you want a TV in the den and in the bedroom, and
you don't want to disconnect it and move it, you have to buy two of
them, right?

While analogies are great the hardware/software analogy doesn't really fly well here. Producing a second copy of software for the owners convenience is, orders of magnitudes, less expensive than producing a second TV or lawn mower. After all, software is modeled after copyright laws and I can carry my music CD to any player in the house anytime I want. Heck, I can even burn a second copy of the CD for my own use...all perfectly legal.

Software is more akin to the convenience of offering cable TV to a second TV in another room. Given that it costs much less to add a little convenience perhaps the software companies need to develop a model closer to what cable companies do...charge a small additional fee for a second box in another room.

A similar model already exists for licensing software to large companies. Microsoft, and other software companies need to rethink their policies and come up with a way to offer this same service to home users.

As for alienating and "punishing" power users, I see your point.
However, the goal is not to "milk" more money from established
users. It is only to get compensation for each unit of Windows
that is installed. Every other company who sells any kind of goods
tries to do the same thing.

But my point is Microsoft, or any software company doesn't deserve the additional full price for each copy installed in each machine. Because people have an innate sense of fairness, they know this and won't stand for paying these charges.

If Microsoft pushes this they will be cutting off their nose to spite their own faces, not to mention putting a serious damper into the hardware industry.

If people think they will need to buy a new full priced copy of Windows for each machine they have laying around they will seriously think twice about buying a new machine or keeping old machines in service. The cost of ownership is too high.

But, if it were only to cost, say $10 dollars, to use Windows on a second machine, you'd have a lot more chance of bringing people to the table. Now when a customer goes to the store to buy that new copy of Windows he might consider paying $20 dollars more for the right to install it on the other two machines he has in his house.

Please note -- none of this is my area of expertise or
responsibility in WinXP. However, I will pass along the comments
on this site to those who are responsible for this feature of
Windows XP.

I do appreciate that, Rick. Thanks for airing your side, none the less.


Software licensing, copyrighting and use is still in it's infancy. The industry has to sit down with the hardware manufacturers and customers and think through a fair and acceptable solution.

I have faith that it can be done but understand that it will be a major undertaking.

I also feel very strongly, with my own innate sense of fairness, that the solution Microsoft has chosen for Windows XP is not fair to customers with multiple machines...cutomers that have been loyal to Microsoft for years and have provided Billions and Billions of dollars of revenue to Microsoft.

If Microsoft thinks they can drive against popular opinion by the shear force of their size and inertia, they need to take a history lesson and look back at Sony's Betamax, IBM's personal PC, or closer still, CP/M....or a hundred other cases in history. Software companies, if anything, have even more fragile positions.

Good luck,

Daniel Lauring wrote:

First let me welcome you to dpreview, Rick. I know it can get
dicey at times trying to walk that fine line between interaction
and support. I wish you the best.

I'd like to make a comment regarding the registration. There is a
truth out there that Microsoft and pretty much anyone who builds
and tinkers with computers knows. That is, one copy of Windows is
often used multiple times by home users. We can debate back and
forth the morality and legality of this, but we all know it happens.

From a user standpoint, many people purchase multiple computers and
end up with more than one copy of Windows. I would estimate that
I've paid for 20 copies of Windows in the process of buying
machines and probably another half a dozen copies outright as
upgrades. Microsoft is definitely making money off me and others.

People, justify using one copy of Windows on multiple machines by
knowing they won't be using more than one machine at once. It is
perfectly legal to move the single copy of Windows from machine to
machine but incredibly inconvenient to be uninstalling and
reinstalling it so they leave the copy on the other machines when
they aren't using them.

Combine that with the fact that tinkerers are often moving video,
sound and network cards around and the complexity of the situation
becomes even greater.

Now enter Microsoft's new registration scheme. Will it stop the
big pirating companies or will it punish "power" users.

I believe, and I'm not alone here, that piraters will quickly find
ways to hack WindowsXP so that they don't have to register it.
Meanwhile, power users will, have to buy multiple copies of Windows
(Microsoft would like this), constantly be registering their copies
of Windows, or be forced to side with the piraters and hackers.

Additionally, Microsoft is greatly underestimating the populace's
fear and paranoia of "Big Brother" and the huge backlash that will

As an aside (this can lead to a whole huge debate like I mentioned
in the beginning) there is a legal/moral reasoning on both sides of
the multiple installation debate. Microsoft will argue that every
machine should have it's own licensed copy of Windows installed on
it. On the customer's side people have been forced to buy multiple
copies of Window's that were not needed because Microsoft created
licensing agreements with companies that required them to package
individual copies of Windows with all their machines (For example
if I'm buying a new machine to replace an older, outdated machine
that fried its hard drive why should I have to buy a second copy of
Windows for it? Why can't I take the copy from the trashed machine
and install it on my new machine.)

In conclusion this new registration policy will punish and alienate
Microsoft's longstanding customers while only acting as a temporary
diversion for hackers. Perhaps Microsoft thinks it can recoupe the
massive losses from the millions of pirated copies of Windows
floating around foreign countries by milking more money from it's
well founded user base.

I hope this helps you understand a bit of the customer's perspective.


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