Analogy between Windows (TM) and Cocaine!!!

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this post are my own and are not intended to harm anyone or to jeopardize interests of any company or organization, even Microsoft, since every company and individual has the right to protect their interests.

The Cocaine Analogy:

Imagine a govt making Cocaine or say any contraband drug available to anyone with the following condition:

1. Make the drug easily available Over the Counter from any medical store shop, legally, but at a very high price.

2.Make another channel for availability of drug, which is not legal, unofficial but known through word of mouth. The price should be substantially lower than the legal price and the quality of the drug, if you know what I mean, not as great as the legal one.

3. Make another channel for curbing the illegal sale of drug, say in the form of police. The intention is not to completely curb the  illegal sale of drug but only to curb it for those who are addicted too much to the drug.

In such a scenario, many people will first try out the drug, because it is easily available. Only when a particular product is easily available, even if not legal, ensures that the product has a larger user base. Over a period of time, they will get addicted. At the same time because of the curbing, people would be forced to buy the legal version but obviously at a higher price 🙂 Overall MS adopts the same strategy with almost all its products.

Analogy between Cocaine and Windows

To draw the analogy between Cocaine and Windows I list below what problem MS is trying to solve and what are the strategies that it adopts to solve those problems. For each strategy I mention what condition it fulfills in the cocaine analogy above :).

Problem: How to address piracy and at the same time make MS ‘Cocaine’ the most widely used platform.


Strategies fulfilling condition 1:

No strategy required. Simply make it available via partnered resellers.

Strategies fulfilling condition 2:

2.1 As soon a new version of MS ‘Cocaine’ is available, ensure that the Encryption Key for the ‘Cocaine’ is easily crackable / available.

2.2 Release a slightly modified version of ‘Cocaine’ (tagged as cracked with key / pirated) on various torrent websites.

This strategy fulfills the condition number 2 in the cocaine analogy.

Strategies fulfilling condition 3:

3.1 I prefer to write this as a pseudocode

os = check_for_installed_os
os = check_for_installed_os
type = check_user_type
if ( os == "pirated")
    if ( type == new )
    else if (type == not_too_old)
    else if (type == too_old)
    if ( type == too_old)
       virus_1 = download_low_damage_virus_from_ally_antivirus_company
       install virus_1
       virus_2 = download_low_damage_virus_from_MS_update
       install virus_2


Other Strategies for making ‘Cocaine’ most widely used drug:

1. During Installation


2. For programmers

2.1 Make all ‘Cocaine’ API specifications such that the code is unusable in any form; even copy_paste; for modifications when copied from ‘Cocaine’ to other platforms. Ensures that porting from ‘Cocaine’ to other platforms is too costly.

2.2 For big h/w companies: Pay them / work with them to make drivers for ‘Cocaine’.

2.3 For small h/w companies: Ask them to pay to provide support for writing drivers for ‘Cocaine’.

2.4 For big s/w companies: Ask them to pay to provide support for writing software for ‘Cocaine’.

2.5 For small s/w companies: DO_NOT_CARE

Note to Readers: Cocaine is a highly addictive substance. Please stop using Cocaine if you are addictive to it otherwise you might start showing ‘Cocaine bugs’ symptoms very soon. Chances are high that you are already addicted to Cocaine. In such a case, please visit a rehabilitation center ASAP.

I hope you enjoyed the read 🙂


3 thoughts on “Analogy between Windows (TM) and Cocaine!!!

  1. I was doing a course on Information Economics and I had to present a paper on Software Piracy. The Paper was probably published way back in 1991, when the software revolution was just starting. The paper has a stark resemblance to the model you proposed, in fact it is standard practice in software industry. Btw the language is different.. the paper talks about “Network Externality” due to signaling effect of quality and the barriers to change due to training costs…They also had suggested ways for the software firm to earn additional revenues. I think those of you who were interested by this post should definately read this paper.

    PhD student

    This is the paper mentioned…
    Software Piracy: An Analysis of Protection Strategies
    Author(s): Kathleen Reavis Conner and Richard P. Rumelt
    Source: Management Science, Vol. 37, No. 2 (Feb., 1991), pp. 125-139

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