It's probably too much to hope for a nuclear first strike against Redmond, but the Russian Deputy IT minister, Dmitry Milovantsev, had a go at Microsoft recently:
He said the low average income of people in Russia is one of the factors in the relatively widespread use of cheaper pirated copies of software. But he also laid some of the blame on the behavior of the large software vendors for their restrictive and expensive licensing policies.
In particular he singled out Microsoft for its policy of not allowing partners to sell computers without copies of Windows pre-installed in Russia.
"If you want to install Linux you have to erase Microsoft, and that increases the cost of each computer by $50."
Microsoft sure have got the distribution channel locked up tight: it costs more to not buy their product than to buy it. I feel like Captain Spaulding (Groucho Marx) must have felt in Animal Crackers listening to Ravelli (Chico Marx) play the piano:
[Warning: May Contain Puns]
Spaulding: What do you fellas get an hour?
Ravelli: For playing, we get-a ten dollars an hour.
Spaulding: I see. What do you get for not playing?
Ravelli: Twelve dollars an hour.
Spaulding: Well, clip me off a piece of that.
Ravelli: Now for rehearsing, we make special rate. That's-a fifteen dollars an hour...That's-a for rehearsing.
Spaulding: And what do you get for not rehearsing?
Ravelli: You couldn't afford it. You see, if we don't rehearse, we a-don't play, and if we don't play (he snaps his finger) - that runs into money.
Spaulding: How much would you want to run into an open manhole?
Ravelli: Just-a the cover charge! Ha, ha, ha.
Spaulding: Well, drop in some time.
Spaulding: Well, we cleaned that up pretty well.
Ravelli: Well, let's see how-a we stand.
Ravelli: Yesterday, we didn't come. (To Mrs. Rittenhouse) You remember, yesterday we didn't come?
Spaulding: Oh, I remember.
Ravelli: Yes, that's three hundred dollars.
Spaulding: Yesterday, you didn't come, that's three hundred dollars?
Ravelli: Yes, three hundred dollars.
Spaulding: Well, that's reasonable. I can see that alright.
Ravelli: Now today, we did come. That's-a (pause)..
Spaulding: That's a hundred you owe us.
Ravelli: Hey, I bet I'm gonna lose on the deal. Tomorrow we leave. That's worth about (pause)..
Spaulding: A million dollars.