Microsoft may not have succeeded in persuading OEMs and system builders to "decline politely" all perverse requests for PCs lacking a pre-installed (preferably Microsoft) OS, but it's shifted to a new approach. It's now bribing system builders to turn in anyone who bids on naked boxes, ostensibly so it can harass these poor, twisted madmen directly from Beast Central.
Through the new Microsoft OEM Western Region Pilot Program, the company is offering glamorous prizes to anyone who sends in any of their RFQs (Requests For Quote) that don't include an OS for each machine.
The glittering booty on offer is five Microsoft game titles for grassing out a bidder on 250 machines; that plus a Fossil Big Tic watch for 500 machines; and those plus a Fast Cook and Grill Combo and Travel Chair for 1,000 or more.
Noted MS watcher Andrew Grygus, who we thank for bringing this to our attention, has a somewhat more skeptical assessment of the MS rat-squad's true purpose.
"What will happen to companies that submit the RFQs? I suspect they will be subjected to one of Microsoft's fearsome license audits, and will probably end up paying many thousands of dollars in fines," he says.
Not surprisingly, according to Microsoft, the whole scheme is an exercise in selfless public service. "We strongly advise that each new PC that will be running a Microsoft Operating System be pre-installed with an OEM version of the Operating System. The alternative would be to purchase the retail product, at greater cost and inconvenience to your customers," the company humbly notes.
The benefits to mankind here go on and on. The rat-your-buddy program "helps you help your customers to be compliant," the company trills.
We always thought 'compliant' had decidedly negative connotations, as in: 'a spineless, compliant little boot-licker'. Leave it to Microsoft to sell submissiveness as a virtue.
While stopping just short of claiming that anyone buying a PC without an OS is a de facto criminal, MS obviously reckons that doing so would be outré enough to qualify one for suspicion, or referral to a shrink. After all, no sane person is going to muck up a perfectly good new box with BeOS or Linux or something freaky like that.
The MS bribe courtesy of Andrew Grygus