Cnet author advocates theft

I’m simply stunned by a recent article written by Cnet columnist Rafe Needleman.

In his post, he blatently advocates buying “lesser” versions of Microsoft products to take advantages of the discounts available to certain classes of users, regardless of whether you actually fall into that user class.  His cavalier attitude towards the vendor (telling his readers that Microsoft probably doesn’t check up on usage) and the user (suggesting that users who pay the appropriate price for their user class are “suckers”) is abhorent and I’m frankly disappointed that the editors at Cnet allowed this garbage to see daylight.

I’ve responded twice in the comments (as “negot8or” if you care to read them… once on page 1 and again on page 2).  The general gist of my response is that if you don’t like the pricing for a particular product, don’t buy it.  Vote with your pocketbook.  Vendors who don’t sell enough software will either drop their price or drop out of the market.  But buying something you’re not licensed to use and using it anyways is a form of theft (“software piracy” if you will).  Software has historically been sold on the basis of end-user value.  It’s the right of the vendor to charge whatever they want.  Stealing, in any form, isn’t justified because there exists a cheaper price somewhere else – or for someone other than you.

As much as I advocate for better software licensing terms and more transparency from vendors, I do not believe in taking what isn’t yours.  I hope you agree.

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