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 ) download_and_install_a_malicious_code_which_detects_user_behavior_and_submits_usage_information_to_MS else if (type == not_too_old) install_some_low_damaging_virus_partly_fixable_by_antivirus slowly_make_system_unusable else if (type == too_old) install_high_damage_virus_unfixable_by_any_antivirus immediately_make_system_unusable else 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 pester_user_to_buy_and_upgrade_antivirus_which_fixes_virus_1 pester_user_to_buy_and_upgrade_to_the_newer_release_of_os_which_fixes_virus_2 else inform_user_why_MS_cocaine_is_too_great suggest_user_to_buy_newer_cocaine_version suggest_user_to_buy_other_MS_products suggest_user_to_buy_antivirus_software
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 🙂