Microsoft, crippleware and future licencing issues
Matt Buchanan at gizmodo comments the fact that Microsoft got a patent to “[…] making selected portions and functionality of the operating system unavailable to the user or by limiting the user’s ability to add software applications or device drivers to the computer” until an “agreed upon sum of money” is paid to unlock everything.” (full article at http://gizmodo.com/5261677/microsoft-wins-patent-for-crippling-your-computer-until-you-pay-up).
This doesn’t scare as much, because at this time if you want to pay for an OS you can pay, otherwise there’s a lot of free distros to run your home or your business computers. On this side patent and realted technology is correct.
What is really complex is the concept behind this: software companies can decide one day to disable part of an OS or other software you bought and reactivate it under the payment of an extra licence.
This reminds me somenthing very similar to some malwares or first day viruses or, more sadly, the payment of a ransom.
On the commercial side, this could be the first step toward a flexible licensing model for software in general and OSes in particular, allowing users to buy core functions (at lower price) and get the addons they really need.
But I’m quite sure ther will be no lower prices, just crippleware inside oses.
P.S. every software company (including Microsoft) is demanding more and more money and ask, correctly, for due protection of their intellectual property, but imposes us to accept malfunctions and bugs at no costs. Quite unfair, isn’t it?
This post also as a comment at http://gizmodo.com/5261677/microsoft-wins-patent-for-crippling-your-computer-until-you-pay-up