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InfoWorld: Readers ascribe devious motives to Microsoft's policy to withhold OS CDs

Jun 07, 2000, 00:09 (18 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Ed Foster)

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"Some victims of the medialess policy ascribed darker motives to Microsoft. "If I had known in advance that I would be short-changed this way, I would have ordered my PC sans OS, then purchased Windows 2000 Pro separately," wrote a reader who just received a CD-less PC with Windows 2000 on a drive partition. "As it stands, there is no way to recover this machine from a disk failure, nor can I upgrade to a larger disk drive without PartitionMagic or some other utility to copy the NTFS boot partition. Seems to me this is an MS ploy to keep folks from experimenting with alternate OSes, as the penalties for destroying the MBR [master boot record] are severe."

"In fact, a number of readers believed Microsoft's real intent is to discourage customers from trying alternative operating systems. "It might be said that this has more to do with monopolistic anti-Linux behavior than with piracy," wrote one reader. "The lack of a CD-ROM will clearly serve as a disincentive to anyone wishing to experiment with Linux."

"An IT manager at a large manufacturer says that's exactly what Microsoft officials told him. "I spoke to some of my contacts there, and found out that the medialess format is primarily designed to be a firewall against competitors like Linux," he wrote, explaining it will make it harder to have a back-out strategy in place if an experimental Linux deployment gets into trouble. "Now I don't have any Windows CDs for the backout. What would you suggest I do if problems with Linux cause me to want to revert back to Windows? To discourage corporations and consumers from changing, they are no longer distributing CDs with every machine, in the hopes that fear of change without any practical possibility of return will discourage most users from even looking at other systems."

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