Signaling confusion

Wall Street Journal article headline:

Microsoft Windows 7 Price Cut Seen As Good Strategic Move

First sentence of same article:

Shares of Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) fell a day after the software giant said a price cut will be offered as part of its impending release of a new version of Windows.


Microsoft's situation is far from rosy. Cutting prices for Windows 7 may be a good tactical move. But on the whole after Vista's ... modest ... to say the least performance Microsoft's situation on the consumer OS market is far from rosy. They are a company with a flagship product that does not sell (Vista), an another one which is still to prove itself. In essence they still have to rely on their 8 yr (a whole era in IT) old XP for their market share.

Furthermore they are only now beginning to feel the bite from the crunch in the enterprise market. Enterprise software projects have far longer turnover times, so there is a significant lag.

In many cases it's the speculative articles they write that causes them.

Speculating about price elasticities is tricky given that there are numerous free operating systems. Clearly the cost (in time and effort, perhaps) in switching is substantial.

In fact, considering the cost of switching from the Windows environment to *nix, Windows 7's greatest competitor is Windows XP.

Windows 2000 seems to work fine for me.

The future of MSFT Windows is price discrimination: cheap versions for users who can easily switch away, and more expensive versions for users who are more locked in. You'll pay much less for a bundle of OS and basic apps preinstalled than for a version of the OS on which you can run your expensive third-party apps.

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