Subject: Re: Take this analogy and fix it (car repair? _not_)
From: "Stephen J. Turnbull" <turnbull@sk.tsukuba.ac.jp>
Date: Mon, 7 Jun 1999 23:58:09 +0900 (JST)

>>>>> "Brian" == Brian Behlendorf <brian@hyperreal.org> writes:

    Brian> On Fri, 4 Jun 1999, Stephen J. Turnbull wrote:
    >> Does Microsoft really make money on service contracts?

    Brian> No, but if they've got two braincells (which I think they
    Brian> do), I'm sure they're ramping this up as fast as they can.
    Brian> [...]

    Brian> The fact is that there is no such thing as perfect
    Brian> software, and, at least for the time being, companies would
    Brian> rather pay to have an expert at the other end of an 800
    Brian> number 24/7 than to train their staff internally to do the
    Brian> same thing.

And this in the "wax-and-shine" industry.  So open source is really an 
emergency measure when you're talking about routine maintenance.

Thank you!  We can now say, "Good-bye, auto repair analogy."

    >> I would think they make a lot more money on turning out
    >> "Microsoft-certified" tekneeshuns than they do on service.  And
    >> in fact they seem to be quite happy setting up lots of
    >> competition in the repair business.

    Brian> Microsoft has a history of being friendly with an industry,
    Brian> only to move in and become one of that industry's chief
    Brian> competitors overnight after having learned from their
    Brian> "partners" how the game is played.

True, but if you want that analogy to hold here, you'd have to be
agreeable to the idea that Microsoft has, in some sense, pioneered an
open source[1] business model.  They really are losing control of all
that trained brainpower, and unless they're going to hire it back, it
will be out there to compete with them.  And those brains will have
the advantage of knowing their hosts' businesses as well as the
Microsoft software, which may be enough to offset MS's advantage as
new products and versions are released for quite some time.
(Microsoft could refuse to do any further training, but I think that
would make their customers _very_ angry.)


Footnotes: 
[1]  Don't take this word too seriously; it isn't meant that way.

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