Free is Better

It is always difficult when you are working on something new at Microsoft.  They company is so big, it can choose to cancel projects that it has invested millions in, and never even flinch.  So when you are developing a product you are never quite certain of the ground you are standing on.   On the other hand, the bankroll here is so big, we can afford to staff huge development teams that build products that we basically give away.   For example, the latest VS2005 beta 1 that is soon to be available to early adopters is chock full of 'Express' units, that are individually packaged language components that are free.  Did you hear me right?  Free!

Of course, the act of packaging 'free' products inside larger 'paid' products has gotten us in to a bit of hot water in the past, so we've come up with ingenious new ways to disguise our dastardly deeds.  We take the same amount money, the same number of people, the same time line we would have dedicated to building a free product, and we apply it to a product that we don't actually give away.  That is, we don't give it away, we let someone else do it.

You might be thinking, that's a really stupid idea.  The customers will see right through that ploy.  That's just Microsoft XXX being 'sold' by MiniSquid.  Of course, we are more crafty than you'd ever imagine.  I'm not talking about some sidekick add-on accessory being 'supplied' by a unknown vendor.  I'm talking about the main attraction, the real deal being 'supplied' by one of the industry leaders. 

You don't think Microsoft can pull it off?  Who would work with us on that scale? 

Did you see the Apple OS X Tiger announcement?  See, we are giving away Longhorn already!

But I digress


Comments (8)

  1. BillG says:

    Yeah, I’m going to need to see you in my office. Don’t bother with anything on your desk. That’ll be boxed up for you.

  2. Sam says:

    According to the express Faq (

    Are the Express Edition products free?

    We have not announced pricing and licensing and will not do so until next calendar year. For the time being, we can tell you that the Express Editions will be low-cost and will continue to be easy to acquire.

  3. Jazzy says:

    Don’t be too hard on the dude BillG… I understand the situation, but it is all togune and cheek to me… 🙂

    Besides, I know MS is better than that to respond to the rumors… it is just sometimes nice to poke fun back at all the conspiracies…

  4. Matt says:

    As if bill would send me that note via a blog comment as opposed to just sending security to my office to round me up for interrogation and torture.

  5. Westin says:

    What are you talking about? Collaborating with Apple on Tiger? Give it away for free? There is no technology congruity with Longhorn. Widgets use JavaScript, not XML like XAML does. Are you just complaining that they shipped this stuff and others or are you claiming that Apple is testing the waters for these scenarios for Microsoft with Microsoft?

  6. Matt says:

    Everything is free for us ’emps’ when we only use MS software and live in our offices.

  7. Sam says:

    I’m not arguing that, I’m just saying that everyone thinks this express stuff is going to be free, and it won’t be.

  8. Matt says:

    Well, if you are feeling inclined to pay someone for it, you can always send me some money via PayPal.

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