How do secure a market if you are a Microsoft, and your concurrence is starting to win the market ?
The answer is quite simple and trivial – release your project for free, to kill the concurrence. It was done in the 90s, when Microsoft started conquering the web, by releasing Internet Explorer free – and as a result Netscape was obliged to do the same. Besides the fact, that IE4 was better then NN4, the main reason the people made the switch was this one – it was FOR FREE. Now everybody sees Firefox conquering the market, gaining everywhere the percentages of the users, and as of now the most switchers are old Internet Explorer 6 users, who are ghm lets say have forgotten to pay for their Windows copy. They wish to gain access to the new functionalities – like tab browsing, RSS etc, but they are not prepared to pay the full price of a Windows to get it – so the only way is to get a Firefox, because a free upgrade to Internet Explorer 7 was closed by Microsoft.
Now Microsoft has realized once again – they cannot have the market without giving people something for free. In the ancient roman times the emperors were giving free entrances to the coliseum and free food in order to maintain people happy, now we have Microsoft giving its most important tool for free (few days ago the Windows validation check was required in order to download the IE7). No, i am not complaining because i have paid for Vista Business while some others are not – the reason the people pay for software is because they recognize the works of the others, and because they know how much it takes to create any small little insignificant piece of software, and what a monstrous effort it is to create something like an IE, even being crippled like it is.
Quite a smart move by Microsoft, which i welcome from the heart – we need to move on to the better quality browsers, IE6 have to die as soon as possible, and today in the morning my statistics for this site were telling me, that still 55% of the visitors are using it. All web developers will be jumping and throwing parties when IE7 will be the least available on the market – it is so far beyond the old crippled Internet Explorer 6.