[Wolves] Two things...

Simon Morris simon.morris at cmtww.com
Thu Nov 10 12:41:57 GMT 2005

Hash: SHA1

Peter Evans wrote:
> On Thursday 10 Nov 2005 10:27, Simon Morris wrote:
>>  >They are
>> > so used to using a particular product that they feel 'familiar' with
>> > it and this is where they (MS) then roll out the FUD card.  Thus, when
>> > the full product is needed people pay up...  You've got to admire
>> > their marketing skills if nothing else because they are good at that.
>> I believe a common analogy is "selling crack to schoolkids"!
> I'm donning the asbestos suit as I write this, and you have to
> appreciate that
> I am in no way a M$ fan, but I feel that the analogy is a little OTT.

Well - it's a common analogy and not one that I brought up in particular
reference to that article but I think it still stands....

> You have to appreciate that what follows is a personal opinion and is
> coloured
> by my own limited understanding of the current capabilities of the tools in
> question, so if I'm way off track then correction is both warranted and
> appreciated.
> It's a testament to the threat posed by the F/OSS community that the big
> players in this area have chosen to go down this path.  Unfortunately for a
> lot of companies the choice between selecting one of the current F/OSS tools
> (specifically in the database arena people consider My-SQL, Postgre-SQL) as
> opposed to a cut-down SQL-Server product then the latter is going to be
> very,
> very attractive.  The reason to my mind is that if you DO need the
> additional
> features then they're immediately available - no waiting for the next
> version, which may or may not be delivered in time to be included into their
> product in time for it to go to market.

This is aside from the "crack to schoolkids" comment but I don't
disagree at all with the above paragraph.

Microsoft were very successful in pitching their products on price in
the days of NT4 and the early days of Windows 2000. Remember all the
price comparisons of how cheap Windows was against Solaris etc (and it was!)

So they made big inroads on 2 fronts. Firstly being easy to administer
for people who don't know a lot about servers, or how to configure mail
and database services. Secondly being cheaper. It was a winning
combination really :)

Now that Linux is taking market share away from UNIX mainly at the
moment and gaining share generally I think this makes MS very nervous.

IMO they've always admitted that their products don't scale as well as
products such as Sun and IBM but their target market was organisations
that don't need enterprise scalability.

But now they can't be as good as Oracle and they also can't be as cheap
as Linux. Notice how most of their TCO comparisons include the cost of
migrating away from Windows to Linux. Not a fair comparison of cost.
Their argument (and I heard this from MS themselves at a conference) was
(paraphrased) "Well you are already using MS products - the cost is so
high to migrate and retrain staff you are better off sticking with us"

There is also the fact that MySQL plainly isn't as good a database
system as MS-SQL for complex applications

MySQL has some design "features" that are outlined in documents such as


> M$ may also be re-acting to those people that do adopt the F/OSS
> products and
> realise that if they're going to use a product like My-SQL to underpin their
> work then their next question may be something like "so this free database
> doesn't actually need my Windows infrastructure to work? Hmmmm".  Another
> threat to the bottom line of their license sales.

Yes - this is more along the lines of the statement I made originally.

"Selling smack to schoolkids" is an analogy to describe the MS practice
of only developing products for the Windows OS. If you want MS-SQL you
*need* to invest in Windows.

If you want Oracle (or MySQL for that matter) you can choose your platform.

MS make very addictive products (hence the "crack" analogy). If you buy
into one product you are pretty much buying into at least one if not
more products.

My argument generally is that Operating Systems are boring :)

It's the applications on top that drive organisations - which is why
applications such as OpenOffice, Apache, MySQL, Firefox, Oracle, DB2,
Lotus Domino etc are good for businesses.

If your choice of Operating System doesn't make sense after a few years
you can change it without changing your investment in applications. Try
that with Exchange.

> What will be interesting is although we are hearing that the SQL-Server
> (Lite/Personal/Express/Whatever) will be free to download I wonder what will
> be the capability that it comes with (i.e. what features are
> missing/crippled) and what will be the terms of use attached to it.  For
> example, for a number of years now another major database vendor has offered
> all of their products for free download with the full capability intact, but
> you were restricted in how you could use it.  Non-commercial use, internal
> education only, etc, etc.

I don't know but I would guess the limitations will be things like the
maximum size of a database, either in size or number of rows in a table.

And also I doubt replication will be supported in the free product.

> I don't see that what M$ are doing is a bad thing, it's only commercial
> sense. 
> After all other - products that you purchase allow you to select from a
> range
> of options and you purchase according to your needs and to your pocket
> if you
> want SatNav with your car - it's a cost option (and yes my analogy can be
> broken because you can choose to purchase an non-factory add-on later, but 
> it may not be integrated nicely and won't be supported by the
> manufacturer). 
> As I said at the beginning, it's a personal opinion, but I certainly don't
> see this as being an evil act; perhaps a challenge possibly even a threat to
> F/OSS databases development on the Windows platform at most, but not evil.

"Bad thing" is a subjective phrase I guess.

The actual "real life" act of selling crack to schoolkids is obviously
fairly evil and I wasn't making that kind of comparison... It was a
statement on how they are going to offer a free product in the hope of
getting you addicted to the commerical version and then your business is
locked into the subscription licencing model where you pay year on year
for the technology.


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