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Eh?

So, for example, the price that we pay for much of the software that we use represents a rent. Now that annual charging is commonplace the pretence that it is otherwise has been abandoned. Nothing about the pricing of these products accords with standard microeconomic theory on pricing: it is simply maximised in the interests of the greed of both the senior management of the enterprises involved, and their owners.

In what way does Microsoft 365 violate microeconomic principles of pricing?

It is the extraction of rents that is doing four things in our economy.

Third, it is destroying innovation of any sort, as the intention of the rentier is to protect what they have, not to create something new.

Whut? The last few decades have seen the internet, the web, mobile phones, smartphones, earch and email. We’re on hte cusp pof whatever it is that AI might bring us. And the fool says that innovation is being destroyed?

How does Spud remember how to breathe?

27 thoughts on “Eh?”

  1. Microsoft has held us back by decades with its crap software.

    If it wasn’t for them we’d all have flyng cars by now.

  2. Bloke in North Dorset

    Spud in 2017 after the demise of MS Mobile:

    “ I have, for a long time, been telling audiences that there is no new technology coming along to drive our economy along. ”

    He also decided that we didn’t need 4G and by extension 5G.

    So he’s saying there’s now new technology coming along and then saying we don’t need them. No surprise for Spud watchers.

  3. He might have a point for once. Inertia and repeated subscriptions for software are just bizarre. I used to be able to be an indefinite term licence, akin to a freehold, now I can only lease. And the prices charged are just bizarre. £6/pcm for office and way more than that for some hussle scanning app on App Store which they can then refuse to update to the next iOS version yet the subscription carries on?

    I don’t rent. I’m too irritated by it all.

  4. Does Spud not know that some of that money is spent fixing issues with the product and rolling out new features?

    In between the DEI hires and paying UI designers to move shit around so you can’t find it anymore in order to justify their jobs;)

  5. Microsoft 365…..

    Has the fool not heard of LibreOffice?

    It isn’t rent, it’s a tax on stupidity.

  6. @Agammamon
    “Does Spud not know that some of that money is spent fixing issues with the product”

    Someone who isn’t a crook gets their product to work BEFORE they sell it.
    Merchantible quality, and all that.

  7. What are these “annual software charges” he’s griping about? The only one for ware rather than service I know about is the M/S office suite, was turned into service. Like TtC, I have heard of Libre Office, so they couldn’t be catching me that way. However I do have a copy of MS Office from when it was bought as a product. There a copy installed on one of the old laptops. I’m sure that’d be functional if I could be arsed to use it. Same with the other ware I’ve bought & own. Sure they often come out with a new version which they try & flog me. But if the version I’m using does the job, why would I? I’m still using Photoshop 6. It does what I need & I know my way round it. No one’s on my ear’ole for rental payments for using any of it.
    Is this some Apple thing? I can see Apple users falling for it because they’re locked into that rather strange platform, where being ripped off by your provider is regarded as a status symbol.
    I’ve heard talk that W11 might be the last version of Windows & M/S might try their O/S as a service. I would think if they want to speed up the exodus to Linux to a gallop, that’d be the way to go.

  8. BIS,

    “Is this some Apple thing? I can see Apple users falling for it because they’re locked into that rather strange platform, where being ripped off by your provider is regarded as a status symbol.”

    I suspect it’s just laziness by Spud. You can buy Office 2021 outright, if you prefer. You can get things like Affinity if you don’t like Photoshop. Libre Office runs on a Mac. Google docs are pretty good.

    A lot of businesses prefer rented software. If you like to stay up to date, it’s easier to budget for £x/user/month than to pay out for new versions every 2 years.

  9. As usual the bloke has no idea. You can buy MS Office as an outright license and you’re not locked into it anyway. The software market is very competitive and there are commercial and free alternatives for most things.

    On the Apple thing, I’ve been a Mac user for a couple of decades now and buying/using software on that platform is no different from Windows really. It’s actually more like the old days of Unix and now Linux than it is Microsoft. There is a raft of open source stuff available for it that in a lot of cases means you don’t pay for much other than the hardware (the O/S has been free for years).

  10. @TtC

    Someone who isn’t a crook gets their product to work BEFORE they sell it.
    Merchantible quality, and all that.

    Lovely. Provided the software you’re selling isn’t going to be connected to the internet in any way. Because the threat landscape is constantly changing and user idiocy is forever plumbing new depths. No matter how good your pre-release testing is, something will always crop up in the wild. If any other product was held to the standard that ^ implies software should, nothing would be sold. Ever…

    Dear Tesco, on Tuesday I bought a litre of Crisp’n’dry from you because my car said “top up oil”. Now the engine is broken. I know that it said “not for lubrication purposes” on the bottle but I decided to ignore that. Now you have to fix my car.

  11. Bloke in North Dorset

    bis,

    However I do have a copy of MS Office from when it was bought as a product. There a copy installed on one of the old laptops. I’m sure that’d be functional if I could be arsed to use it

    Yes it will work. I used Office 365 when I was working because it was the easiest way to stay up to date and compatible with clients. As soon as I stopped working I switched back to my copy of Office 2007 and its still working nicely.

    I have tried Libra and Google docs but being lazy I prefer not having to go through another learning curve for the bits and pieces I use it for and I also like Outlook, or should I say I’m comfortable with Outlook.

  12. I pay Au$139 per year for Office365 which is tax deductible. For the convenience of being compatible with all my clients it’s hardly worth worrying about. I also have an AutoCad subscription, which ensures I don’t get sent a file that I can’t open because it was prepared on a later version.

    It always amuses me when tightfisted consultants distribute plans with a watermark saying: “This plan was drawn using the student version.”

  13. Microsoft 365….. Has the fool not heard of LibreOffice? It isn’t rent, it’s a tax on stupidity.

    Yeah, I must admit I haven’t used Micro$hit since I dumped Windoze 10 a few years back, but recently I needed to do some stuff with heritage word apps and thought “Oh, I’ll just install word, it’ll be easier than the hassle for a few bucks”.

    Few bucks my ass, it’s extortionate, so I did as others have and installed LibreOffice and it did everything I needed to do for free.

    Why people put up with Micro$hit is beyond me. It’s ghastly AND expensive, as well as financially enabling WEF globalist Bill Gates.

  14. I’ve heard talk that W11 might be the last version of Windows & M/S might try their O/S as a service. I would think if they want to speed up the exodus to Linux to a gallop, that’d be the way to go.

    They said the same about Windows 10, but it never happened because the vast majority got it for free anyway and there ain’t no way they’re going to pay a monthly rental charge for it.

    Software as a service might make sense for large corporates, but the plebs just ain’t gonna do it which is why you get the Micro$hit Home stuff with it injecting paid for crappola onto your PC at Micro$hit’s whim.

    I’ve got one Windows 10 PC which runs my Windoze only games (Red Alert 2 and Unreal Tournament GoTY 1999, UT 2003 and UT 2004).

    I dust it off occasionally, leave it on for a couple of hours to install the Windows Update crap and then run my debloater before playing. It’s tedious. Can’t imagine using one all the time anymore.

  15. Martin Near The M25

    You could stick “citation needed” on about every word of that. I bet he’s just had to pay a bill for some software. These rants usually get inspired by the terrible injustices the world inflicts on him.

    High prices / subs on stuff like Photoshop means people make lower priced products to compete, someone mentioned Affinity above (under £50, no subscription). Or you could use Darktable (£0) or a number of other free options.

    Even subscriptions have different models. The one for IntelliJ IDE allows you to keep the latest version if you stop paying (with some complexity not worth going into). So they can’t just collect what Spud calls rents, they have to keep developing it.

  16. I’ve no doubt you have him to a tee, MNTM25. He is your classic thickhead. He’ll be paying over the top for something because the promotional material says he needs it. He won’t have a clue whether he does or he doesn’t or whether there are cheaper alternatives for what he wants to do.
    But let’s not diss thickheads. Nature’s grazing material. Where would we be without them? A lot poorer, that’s for sure. And doubt they come any thicker than Spud.

  17. You can certainly make the claim that MS benefit from the network effect on calendaring and file format and application linking to get possible excess returns, undue economic rent underpinned by copyright in ways never expected and profitable links to other parts of their business. You can even raise an eyebrow in their approach to international standardisation which was very … odd and ended with two standards for the same thing which is not in theory allowed and a rather generous liaison agreement leaving control with the submitting trade body and a complex relationship with the actual implementation. OfficeOpenXML was clearly never intended to be confused with OpenOfficeXML no siree. There’s even a case to be made that some of the license restrictions on workarounds to software limitations are prohibitive and unlikely to be valid albeit enforcement is relaxed (a cynic might suggest that is so they don’t get tested in court).

    But its a service – most ways of turning software into a service without being completely contractually transparent were rightly banned as were various retail practices (including some tried by MS ). You don’t want the service don’t buy it. Nothing gives you the right to buy the underlying IPR if MS aren’t selling it the way you want it.

    Personally I think it’s a bloated mess and someone should do to them what they did to Lotus but that’s just me.

  18. @RaisedEyebrow
    Someone has, Google

    Google suite is pretty good

    Only problem is the price is completely free and unfettered access to all of your data

    The question is whether people really need access to the collaborative tools and environments that various Tech companies want to lock their customers into

    Difficult to prove that the post COVID everyone on MS Teams etc ebvironment is more productive

  19. Yeah, Office 2007 and PaintShopPro 4 still work perfectly fine for what I want and need to do. The only thing I’ve updated recently was puTTY, and that was only because after several hours of debugging some of my code trying to find a problem it occured to me that maybe the problem was in puTTY. And it was, getting the latest version and the problem was fixed.

  20. Google suite is pretty good
    Only problem is the price is completely free and unfettered access to all of your data
    The question is whether people really need access to the collaborative tools and environments that various Tech companies want to lock their customers into

    Now here’s a thought. If you wanted to build an AI would replace desk jockies, you’d need a considerable amount of data to train it on.

  21. Now here’s a thought. If you wanted to build an AI would replace desk jockies, you’d need a considerable amount of data to train it on.

    Didn’t you ever wonder why all those image captcha sites are using pictures from the point of view of a “driver” of a car, and asking about things a “driver” needs to be aware of?

  22. My Microsoft 365 Family subscription is £80 pa, for which I get the latest copies of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access, Outlook and about a dozen other apps, as well as 1TB of storage in OneDrive. And I can do all this on up to 5 computers, and the missus gets another 1TB of storage. What an absolute rip-off!

    Has the fool not heard of LibreOffice?
    It isn’t rent, it’s a tax on stupidity.

    LibreOffice (and the half-dozen other variants) are – like Linux in general – only free if your time is worthless.

  23. LibreOffice (and the half-dozen other variants) are – like Linux in general – only free if your time is worthless.

    Not really, you’re an office drone and need it so to you and wife £80 per annum is a reasonable price TO YOU.

    I ceased being an office drone nearly a decade ago and the use I have for Libre Office is essentially just helping out with some stuff for a local charity. I have no desire to foist unnecessary costs on the charity, so I use Libre Office for free and I’m covered.

  24. LibreOffice (and the half-dozen other variants) are – like Linux in general – only free if your time is worthless.

    And if you’re a retired accountant, part time professor of applied astrology & verbose internet blogger permanently grifting for grant money?

  25. Martin Near The M25

    I think the perceptions of Linux as difficult are getting outdated. I set up an old laptop (2010ish) with Ubuntu yesterday afternoon. It just worked. So far I’ve not done any manual configuration, though I can if I want.

  26. For people (the vast majority) who simply want to get emails, browse the web*, write the occasional letter and maybe have a simple spreadsheet to manage their accounts, any modern OS is likely to be good enough. (Their best bet is probably a Chromebook or a tablet, they don’t really need the added complexity of a PC. )

    Which is fine as long as it all works and can easily be kept up to date. But when things go wrong (as they generally will at some point), for those who aren’t comfortable grappling with configuration settings, software (re)installations and command lines, I’d say MS or Apple remains a safer, easier option than Linux. And £80 a year is probably a fraction of what they’re paying for their phone or TV.

    * you can do almost all of these things with no installed local software if you have a web browser.

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