Buying from Microsoft and airlines without an option

By Mike Maddaloni on Wednesday, January 31, 2007 at 11:33 AM with 0 comments

It was not until 11:30 pm Central time yesterday, January 30, 2007, that I realized Windows Vista was officially launched. I only heard about it because Craig Ferguson, the host of The Late Late Show on CBS, mentioned it in his monologue. Maybe I saw headlines earlier, but note I have been hearing about this product going on eight years, back when it was code-named Longhorn.

As Craig continued to his punch line on Vista, and I paraphrase, he noted people will use it because they have to. Where the studio audience was laughing, I was not. It is an inevitable truth that at some point, I will be running Vista. For the Internet design and development I do at Dunkirk Systems, I will need to test Web sites and applications on Vista. Eventually all new PCs will be shipped with it as the only choice, with Windows XP going away.

As a result, Microsoft Corporation never does sell me, Mike Maddaloni, on their newest operating system. If I don't want to run Vista, I need a separate license for an older Windows version, or go down the Linux path. Yet Microsoft spends millions on marketing and selling Vista. Where it's easy to attack the giants, there are other products we buy where we really don't choose.

The first example of a lack of choice coming to mind is with the airlines, and maybe it's because I am planning a trip. This choice is different, as the entire industry is at a point where there is little differentiation between brands. The only news you hear about brand differences is when they cut snacks and olives in drinks and the like. If you are going to fly, you are more concerned with the price and maybe the number of stops, and only if all flights are the same price may you choose one airline because you have more miles with them.

Maybe it's a nice situation to be in, but I'd rather not be there. When something better, or different, comes along, as your customers have no loyalty to you, they will leave, with the speed depending on the level of difficulty in doing so.

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