Counterpoint: Microsoft and Predatory Pricing
Written by Alex Eckelberry, 7/13/2006
Regarding the [EULA]: That definitely should not be in the product. It was in an earlier version and I thought it was long gone. I will make sure it's toast.
Regarding iHateSpam's need to connect through an outbound port, I do agree it's annoying and will talk to the team about that issue.
Regarding predatory pricing, a lot of people have focused on the consumer part of my blog posting -- where I talk about OneCare. In fact, the major issue is on the enterprise, where Microsoft has significantly underpriced the market.
I compete with free and inexpensive products all the time, and in fact, I have a free firewall myself that I give away. The point is not price -- the point is predatory pricing -- where a large manufacturer like Microsoft comes into a market and undercuts the incumbents.
Perhaps some may think it's nothing to be concerned about, and perhaps they are right. One might, however, propose that the security industry should be a vibrant, diverse one; and that the business should not be dominated by one vendor who can be taken down by attack; and to whom the majority of the community relies upon. If Microsoft wants to compete fairly, I have absolutely no problem with that. But if they want to undercut the market, it makes things a bit different.
The same goes for languages -- we had Borland and other really innovative companies. Now we have Microsoft as the dominant commercial language provider. Borland has finally given up and is moving into automated testing.
It's been the same wave in browsers, as well. The majority of the market moved to [Internet Explorer]. And after that, we had the massive wave of adware and spyware, directly targeted at IE. And on and on and on. Is this healthy in the security market? Will new companies be able to get funding for their products? Will businesses continue to invest in this space, given that Microsoft may dominate? That's the critical issue -- will companies go on cruise control in the security market because major investment just isn't worth it, while budding innovators put their efforts elsewhere?
At any rate, keep it up. I enjoy your site and you take a lot of people to task that deserve it (and if I'm in that line-up, I will work hard to get out of it). Many of your comments are spot on and you're making companies work harder for the consumer, which is a good thing.
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