There is a fascinating economic war going on, that mainly people don't know about it!
In the beginning
In simple terms: Back in the early days of the personal computer several giants rose up to fight for the throne, mainly Apple and Microsoft. Both created operating systems to run on PCs (or Macs in Apples case) but these systems needed applications and programs to run on them. So many other firms set up to provide programs, for example: Netscape sold an internet browser for windows. However Microsoft (and Apple) did not want this, they wanted monopoly power! So they played a number of anti-competitive tricks to remove the competition, these included the infamous buy outs. Also a trick played by Microsoft was to offer equivalent software for free, thus totally wiping out the competition. So when Microsoft released its next operating system, it released it with Internet Explorer, for free included! Netscape was wiped out.. Over time the giants gained more and more control over every aspect of the market but then something happened there was rebellion!
The open revolt:
Around the early 2000s something appeared to nibble at Microsoft's and the other computer giants power it was called open source. Not a new concept open source is a philosophy, the idea is that computer code is left open, visible and editable for anyone to improve. How does it effect Microsoft? Well, open source programers began building programs and together over the internet improving them until with such a range of skills and backing they launched them to compete with Microsoft. How to compete? well they beat Microsoft at their own game! They offered it for free. They created Firefox that cut apart internet explorers market share and more importantly they created and give away for free Open Office. When Microsoft's latest version of office costs around £90, open office is near enough identical for £0 and it has rattled the USA computer giant.
The Empire Strikes back
Times seemed good, as an economist and fan of good free ideas, open source was fascinating and some what of a blessing. However one should never under estimate Microsoft! For they have now begun a damning campain to whipe out opensource!
The video above is a brutal assault on open office, while the points raised have some weight it is again an example of advertising power damaging an attempt to revive the free market. If open source is so bad then no one would buy it, the free market would take its course and people would pay Microsoft the full price. Clearly consumers value Microsoft's products cheaper than they are selling them or they would still chose to buy the official Microsoft office which is better, but its monopoly power keeping the price up not good value.
The video makes my stomach churn! Oh yes it is genius but dark. It portrays open source as evil, the feel of the advert looks more like an anti drug campaign or worse! All I can say is Microsoft has sunk to a new low, and after my opinions of them was improving.
Try open office for yourself: OpenOffice
Looking to get your own free open source software try: sourceforce
Thanks to: http://www.zath.co.uk/author/john-thompson/ - check him out for great tech news/reviews