In a sign that Microsoft finally feels the faintest stirrings of an open source business model, Jeff Raikes has gone on the record as asking people to steal from Microsoft if they’re going to pirate/steal from anyone. Now, in the open source world we don’t call using software for free stealing. We call it seeding the market. Microsoft is starting to understand:
“If they’re going to pirate somebody, we want it to be us rather than somebody else,” Raikes said….
Raikes, speaking last week at the Morgan Stanley Technology conference in San Francisco, said a certain amount of software piracy actually helps Microsoft because it can lead to purchases by individuals who otherwise might never have been exposed to the company’s products.
“We understand that in the long run the fundamental asset is the installed base of people who are using our products,” Raikes said. “What you hope to do over time is convert them to licensing the software.”
You can almost see the lights coming on in Raikes’ mind. Now if he could just grasp that letting everyone on the planet have it for free, and finding other ways to charge them, is an excellent way to achieve World Domination Part II. I know at my company, nearly all of our customer leads come through free downloads of our product. They then return to pay us for additional services, certified binaries, etc.
It works. Even for Microsoft.