Microsoft lashing out at "naked PCs"
Microsoft is urging PC
vendors in the UK to stop shipping machines without operating systems.
The company says the percentage of "naked PCs" is growing, and that it
is expected to hit 5% of total British PC sales this year. In an article
published in Microsoft's Partner Update magazine, which the company
distributes to PC vendors, Microsoft Head of Anti-Piracy Michala
Alexander attempted to make a case for vendors to continue bundling
Windows with their systems. The top reasons users buy naked PCs, she wrote,
are to install their own software, transfer software from an old
machine, install Linux, or take advantage of a volume licensing
agreement. She claimed this was a "costly, missed opportunity."
It is a missed opportunity not only to sell-in software revenue through
the latest version of Windows, but also to sell support, plus a wide
range of spin-off solutions and services.
We want to urge all system builders – indeed, all Partners –
not to supply naked PCs. It is a risk to your customers and a risk to
your business – with specifically 5 percent fewer opportunities to
market software and services.
Alexander added that investigators taking part in Microsoft's
anti-piracy controls would also "provide assistance during customer
visits, and help [vendors] get the value proposition for pre-installed
software and related services." When quizzed by ZDNet, she retracted that
statement, saying it was an "error in the copy" and that investigators
were not in fact participating in customer visits. A British PC vendor
that sells some machines without operating systems was also interviewed
by ZDNet, and claimed it had not received pressure from Microsoft "yet."