Saturday, February 19, 2005

Free, is all you wanna be!

Is free bad? Its not bad but it does kill competition. Here is how.

Lets take the Microsoft Anti-spyware tool as an example. Right now, it is free! Frankly, the general public does not think beyond that. Its free and its Microsoft (so hopefully its good). Lets download it and use it. As a matter of fact I was hit by spyware sometime in October and I got a copy of the GIANT anti-spyware and it got most of the spyware out (I say most since I feel there might be some more, but I dont have any proof). Coming back to the free software part. One side of the coin is that Microsoft wants its users to experience a malicious code free environment to operate on. Hence the spyware removal tool is given off for free.

The other side of the coin (which most might not notice) is that smaller companies who made spyware removal tools might suddenly find themselves out of business.

Microsoft took over GIANT. What GIANT used to sell, Microsoft is giving off free. They have the financial backing to do so. What they lose financially by giving out free anti-spyware can be easily made up with their profits in X-Box, Office etc. But a company whose bread and butter is the sales of its software which happens to be a spyware removal tool will suffer in this case.

One can argue back with a "Make your tool even better than Microsoft's and people will buy it." But still.... u see the point I like to make. Ones food is others poison. But thats what the market is all about. And Kudos to Microsoft for getting in the spyware removal tool for free.... but then, just like how IE put Netscape out of commission, lets hope Microsoft Anti-Spyware tool does not put other tools to rest but brings out healthy competition amongst them!

And please, no arguments about other free tools which are better than the ones sold, I know about them. Its just that spyware is an area I feel we cannot compromise on and we rather fight it together than individually!

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