CyberTech Rambler

April 6, 2006

Sell Naked PCs (PC without Operating System), or risk losing customer …

Filed under: Uncategorized — ctrambler @ 6:26 pm

An interesting article on ZDNet UK, about Microsoft urging PC sellers not to sell Naked PC. A naked PC is a PC without operating system.

Their arguments that PC seller is losing opportunity to make more money on software on the sales is reasonable and true, but had forgotten one important cruel fact of business, PC sellers who do not want to sell naked PC might just simply lose the sales altogether. Which is worse? Not earning a penny or earning less per sale?

The cartoon in the Microsoft article strongly suggests that "naked PC" will lead to software piracy. But none of the top four reasons Microsoft says is the reason customers request for naked PC implies that selling a naked PC means the buyer is very likely to commit piracy or indeed any other crime later.

In fact, the fourth reason "To take advantage of a volume licensing agreement" suggests that they already hold a valid Windows Operating System license for the new PC. How can Microsoft now justify that they pay twice for the operating system on that PC?

Moreover, the four reasons stated suggest that customers that request "Naked PC" are competant customers who knows about PC sufficiently to do the stuff suggested in the reasons. These customers are less likely to be sway by anything PC sellers can throw at them, unless, of course, the PC seller sweethen the deal considerably.

When they say selling naked PC is "a risk to your customer and a risk to your business", I take it as a veiled threat. Does this means they are going to harrass PC sellers and customers who buys Naked PC?

Although Microsoft UK says that they are not going to be paricipating in "customer visits", i.e., dispatching operatives into the premises of customers who attempted to buy a naked PC, the mere suggestion of this is a cause of alarm. It looks like a hard sell technique, possibly with veiled threats. Nobody like a hard sell. The next time any service providers pays me a visit, I really have to check the credential of everyone to ensure I do not have anyone sneaking into the premise. If I were a customer who my PC seller trys to bring someone outside the company for the "hard sell", I will, in no uncertain terms, tell him that I am not happy about the disclosure of my purchasing intention to a third party. Of course I will phrase it diplomatically, something on the line that I thought my initial enquiry are private communication with their company. I am surprise that they brought a third party in and I thought we have developed a trust over the conversation. The fact that they feel necessary to bring a third party violate the trust. I may have to reevaluate our relationship. The last line is of course an attempt to get a better deal from him.

Microsoft UK confirm in the ZDNet article that it is concerned that the sales of naked PC may be linked to the use of counterfeit software. While this is true, it has nothing to do with PC sellers and it is a solely Microsoft problem. There are a lot of legitimate use for Naked PC and the PC Sellers are NOT even participating in illegal activity with the sale. Microsoft will have to use legitimate means to stop piracy of their software, harassing PC sellers and their customers is unethical if not illegal.

Let the market decides whether is there a place for Naked PC Sales. May be there is no place for it but I doubt it. If any, the existance of the article is a piece of evident for such a market.



  1. Anyway, it’s not going to work. There are just too many dealers in generic PCs nowadays. Plus, if “pressured” (by threats of withdrawal of preferred status, etc), a savvy retailer can always say “ok la, we won’t sell naked PCs, but we’ll give buyers an option – Windows or Linux/BSD/etc” – then MS no longer has any excuse to complain.

    Comment by karipuf — April 7, 2006 @ 2:26 am | Reply

  2. […] Michala Alexandar, head of Microsoft UK anti-piracy says “Customers have been crying out for a tool which could tell them if they have been duped”. This daft arguement is the second amusing comment coming from the person with the “Please Don’t Sell Naked PC” fame. [Note: I normally do not like personal attack like this one. I am sure Ms Alexandar is simply repeating what she was told to say by the PR department. However, she did it twice now.] […]

    Pingback by CyberTech Rambler » WGA: Cost for users and Microsoft’s claims that users want it — July 5, 2006 @ 8:07 am | Reply

  3. […] reduces admin cost on administering refund. It can even fit well with Microsoft’s marketing (who appears to dislike unbundling) strategy: It could simply give out free operating system disk to every vendor and allow them to […]

    Pingback by Should Europe Unbundle Windows? How about trialware to include Operating System? « CyberTech Rambler — October 1, 2007 @ 6:24 pm | Reply

  4. The two main reasons why people want to buy a “naked PC” is:

    1. They want to use Linux /BSD /Solaris /whatewer instead of Windows. If they don’t want to use windows,they of course don’t want to pay the “Windows Tax” that normally comes with a PC.
    A PC with for example Linux is still hard to find in most parts of the world so buying a naked PC may be the only way of getting one, which is really bad because of sales and market shares statistics. It doesn’t show up as a “Linux pc” but as a PC sold whitout any Operating system at all.

    2. They already have a Volume licence agreement with Microsoft and don’t like to be screwed twice.

    I don’t buy the hole software piracy thing, its just Microsoft that is scared of any competition from FOSS/Gnu/Linux
    most people I know reinstalls there newly bought Windows computers whith there own copy of windows anyway as son as they have unpacked it because of all the bundled crappware that comes whit them.

    Comment by pcfixer — May 31, 2008 @ 7:47 am | Reply

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