Fed Up

June 23, 2006

Last year, my computer crapped out, and I had to reformat the hard drive, get a new motherboard and a new CPU  for my 1.8 GHz eMachine.  Which means trying to reinstall Windows XP and Office XP and all my other programs.  Most programs, it is just a matter of putting the disc in and putting them back on the newly cleaned hard drive.  However, Microsoft put extra barriers to this process in the way of users in an effort to prevent piracy.


I have nothing against a company making money and doing what they can to copyright protect their stuff.  But because I had registered and activated this stuff before, I had to cal Microsoft's customer service in or to activate XP and Office.  It was highly painful and inconvenient finding the number, dialing and waiting.  Sure, Microsoft was friendly and courteous, albeit very nosily wanting to know why I was needing to install this stuff again.  I realized I was at this company's mercy in the future, because I did not truly own the software.  In the case of Office, I had laid down over $100 for it, but if I bought a new computer, upgraded my motherboard or CPU, I was at their mercy.  What if they decided I didn't need to use the program anymore?  What if they insisted I upgrade to their new version despite Office XP working just fine for me?  What if they didn't like whatever explanation I gave them for needing to install it?  Being Tethered to the Microsoft Mothership was not something I was looking forward to.  I liked the old days, where the company sold you a thing and then left you alone to do whatever with it as you please.  Then when you wanted more of their stuff, you went back to them and got it.

This is like having to get permission to use my appliances everytime I move to a new apartment or house. It's as if applaince makers want to make sure that I'm not letting anyone borrow my stuff, because that would infringe on their revenue stream. 

And what if I wanted to sell my copy of Office to someone after I upgraded to a new version?   Am I allowed to let my wife use it on her machine?


Being without and operating system and my major productivity tool was a scary prospect.  I bugged me that Microsoft didn't think they were getting enough of my money, or that my money didn't allow me to use their product as I saw fit without consulting with them first. It was here that I seriously started looking at alternatives.


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