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Capitalism doesn't work when legislation doesn't limit greed: Microsoft

How Microsoft's Office software, which used to be permanently licensed, may now expire while you are using the computer you bought if for, because the user has no control over Microsoft versions. The result is that the buyer is greatly disadvantaged, but Microsoft makes money hand over fist for a self-limiting product.

I went shopping recently for a new notebook computer.

Microsoft shares are rising steeply and it's easy to understand why. They use to sell MS Office for life. I have the CDs for MS 2003.

But if you have a PC with Windows 10 operating system you cannot load the software you already have the right to use onto that PC.

And now the Microsoft software is also leased to consumers, or does not outlive the life of the PC onto which it is uploaded after paying Microsoft for this limited right.

So Microsoft has finally got its business model "right". Lease instead of sell.

But who really needs the latest version of Office? I certainly don't. It really doesn't do much more than the 2003 version.

But the consumer no longer has the right to decide. Aging users who are very fluent in using the old software are forced to change due to Microsoft's planned obsolescence.

They have no option. They have no freedom to decide.

But leasing is exactly the Duke of Westminster's time proven strategy for retaining ownership and building wealth. Vast tracts of central London remain under his and his descendants exclusive ownership because ownership is only leasehold. As the lease expires the property value for the leaseholder diminishes to nothing on the last day of the lease and ownership reverts to the Duke.

Microsoft is now doing the same.

But what of Australia? Vast tracts of mining licenses are sold to foreign mining companies. Those companies then own the mineral rights outright. The only revenue stream available to the Australian government, which is supposed to be acting on behalf of the Australian people, is then taxation and/or royalties. But these can be manipulated by accountants just as companies like Google, EBay, Microsoft and Starbucks do.

An analogy to this lease versus buy strategy can be seen when comparing Australia's attitude to citizenship.

Most countries do not grant citizenship to foreigners unless under exceptional circumstances.

Most countries grant work visas on a temporary basis with no consequential rights to permanent residence or citizenship as the normal progression.

Australia also sells permanent residence, and consequential citizenship, to the highest bidder.

For example two foreigners with equivalent skills may apply for residence. One has US$300,000 and one has nothing. Australia actually operates a points system to compare these two applicants and has a track record of accepting the one with the money!

Australian citizenship can be bought and the Australian government is selling it.

What is Australia doing?

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Comments

and the one with $300,000 is the one who can put a deposit on a house, competing with Australians of similar means who are also in the market for a house.