February 20, 2007 Thus spake Ballmer.
First off, someone kill me if I ever talk about "sources of revenue growth" intead of "making really cool products that people actually, you know, like and stuff."
Second, how freaking out of touch is this guy? He told analysts 'the company might "dial up" the intensity of antipiracy technology baked into Windows Vista as part of an effort to squeeze more revenue from China, India, Brazil, Russia and other emerging markets.'
Damn, that's a fine idea, Steve! Those freaking Chinese are sitting on piles of gold! They pirate your software because they are a greedy, greedy people, not because Windows Vista Basic costs $295 in China and laborers rake in about $160 a month.
It's perfectly reasonable to expect people to save up for two months to buy Vista, Steve. Really. You'd be willing to spend $150,000 of your money on Vista Basic, wouldn't you? I'm sure all you need to do is tighten those screws, and the giant Chinese turnip will start squirting sweet, sweet blood to sustain you.
Seriously, did Ballmer even look at the names of the countries he feels are under-performing in the business of making him stinking richer? These guys have poor citizens. Microsoft makes more than these countries do.
If "poor nations" is really your target market, you've got a problem. Why not make "Microsoft Vista / Homeless People Edition" as well, genius?
Meanwhile, Mac OS X doesn't have anti-piracy measures, and yet, somehow, it fumbles along, continuing to gain market share. Funny dat. Some might say it's actually BECAUSE Mac OS X doesn't annoy, limit, and intimidate its legitimate users with crappy activation codes and automatic degradation of the operating system if it feels you are a pirate, or you've upgraded your machine, or it's a Tuesday.
Here's my announcement for analysts, as the CEO of an international software firm: I'm NOT going to spend any time going after pirates in China, India, Brazil, or Russia. It's not worth my time and effort, and it's not worth alienating my real, paying customers with clunky copy-protection. I'd rather add cool stuff to my software than add anti-piracy cruft. And the pirates ALWAYS win, anyways. Always. If you fight hard enough, you end up with a situation like we have in the online music industry, where it's more convenient for consumers to get an unprotected, pirated song than to get a legitimate one, and then you actually DO lose paying customers.
So I'm putting pirates on notice: Meh!
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