Slashdot is powered by your submissions, so send in your scoop

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Microsoft IT

Microsoft Ties $235m IT Aid To Use of Windows 214

Posted by Zonk
from the developing-countries-just-the-way-you-want-them dept.
E5Rebel writes "Microsoft will spend $235m in schools worldwide over the next five years, part of a plan to triple the number of students and teachers trained in its software programs to up to 270 million by 2013. 'Microsoft's investment shows how important it views developing markets to its future business. Last year, Microsoft introduced the Student Innovation Suite, which includes the XP Starter Edition plus educational applications, for $3 for qualifying countries. Microsoft faces heated competition from companies supporting the open-source OS Linux and associated software in developing countries. "I think as a company we welcome choice," [Orlando Ayala] said. "Frankly, we welcome the competition." The company's educational funding comes with a hitch: "Of course, that includes the fact they [the schools] use Windows," Ayala said.' If you don't use Windows you don't get the cash." Microsoft has long been interested in the education of children.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Microsoft Ties $235m IT Aid To Use of Windows

Comments Filter:
  • by mr_resident (222932) on Tuesday January 22, 2008 @12:06PM (#22139406)

    it's where they get all their best ideas!

    (calm down modders - it's just a joke)
    • Actually... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Mongoose Disciple (722373) on Tuesday January 22, 2008 @12:11PM (#22139490)
      Isn't this pretty similar to what Apple was doing with schools back in the 80's?
      • by peragrin (659227)
        If true then MSFT is even copying the one application at a time by using windows starter edition.

        i say if as I don't know apple's eduction history.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by blueZhift (652272)
        Actually, this is similar to what Apple did to get the strong foothold they once had in the education market. I don't know what the balance is these days, but it is a good move by Microsoft to get better established in an important market. I'm not a huge Microsoft fan, but there isn't anything evil about this, other than the usual profit motive which may or may not be evil depending on who you talk to. In my book, if it helps increase computer literacy then it's a good thing, especially if it increases that
      • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

        by johannesg (664142)
        What is it with americans (sorry, I don't see anyone else doing it) that you always feel the need to point out that [some unrelated entity] has done the same in the past, or might do the same in the future if it had the chance? Especially considering that it is invariably a wildly inappropriate comparison?

        Don't you find it incredibly tiring to hear this tireless propaganda? Does anyone honestly believe that Apple back then can be compared to Microsoft now? Or that the lies perpetrated by Bush, that led to t
        • In case you hadn't noticed, the post I was responding to was making a joke that Microsoft gets all their best ideas from their competitors. I find it hard to justify your description of my response that, hey, didn't Apple do something similar to this a while back as wildly inappropriate.

          For the record, I don't see Microsoft pushing Windows in schools as evil, and I didn't see Apple pushing IIe's in schools back in the day as evil either. Both companies were making smart moves for the future of their busin
          • by johannesg (664142)
            In case you hadn't noticed, we don't do threads anymore: slashdot now shuffles all messages into utter randomness. So your post was the top post for me, and without any quotation or other meaningful context it is just another piece of spiteful Microsoft propaganda. The kind that makes me sick, because it just sounds so incredibly righteous, and yet we all know it is so incredibly fake. So maybe you made a fantastic joke (although I doubt it) but you still come across as a Microsoft shill.

            And I stand by my c
        • by Intron (870560) on Tuesday January 22, 2008 @02:51PM (#22142198)
          I'm pretty sure that Europeans did these kinds of comparisons first.
      • Re:Actually... (Score:5, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 22, 2008 @01:28PM (#22140684)
        It's similar but different. Apple sold hardwares at a steep discount to schools, but they don't offer money to school to be used only to buy Apple hardwares. Sometimes they donated hardwares too. The distinction is important since the school aren't under any obligation to force Apple's platform on students. OTOH, schools are obligated to force MS solutions on students. Of course, you may argue that the schools are not under obligation to receive the cash, but do you know what school refuses cash? Once a monetary donation is given, schools are free to appropriately use the fund in any way they see fit as long as it doesn't violate the general guideline of the donation. Dictating a specific solution as a condition of a donation is inappropriate. It violates the principle of academic freedom.

        IMHO, these platform wars has no place at schools. Students who work for a computer degree should understand computer basics and a little bit of each major platform. Then they can specialize in a platform they are interested in. It's still called computer science and computer engineering, isn't it? Not Windows science and Windows engineering. If students aren't interested in the basics and the other platforms, they can just go to a vocational school specializing in Windows softwares. There is no need to waste time with other stuff.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          One thing that isn't clear in the article and seems important is whether schools need to agree to exclusively use Windows to receive the cash.

          If it's the case that a school can take this money to provide some Windows machines and still provide other OS machines normally at their expense, I can't see how this would be anything but good for the students. If it's an exclusive deal, I'd agree with you that that really isn't good for the students, unless the school is so poor that this is the only way they're g
    • doubletake (Score:3, Funny)

      by Speare (84249)
      I hate it when I glance at something and read it slightly wrong. Ever happen to you?

      If you don't use Windows you don't get the crash.
    • It has to be said (Score:3, Informative)

      by guisar (69737)
      Last year, Microsoft introduced the Student Indoctrination Suite, which includes the XP Stuckwithit Edition plus educational applications, for $3 for groveling countries. Microsoft has avoided competition from companies supporting the open-source OS Linux and associated software except in countries which can be bought off. "I think as a company we welcome choice," [Orlando Ayala] said. "Frankly, we welcome the competition, we just don't like other people trying to take our business." The company's education
  • Subsidy not aid (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MosesJones (55544) on Tuesday January 22, 2008 @12:07PM (#22139428) Homepage
    This isn't aid, its a subsidy to grow the Windows market. Aid would be focused on the end-goal of the people, not on the end-goal of the company.

    This is a blatant case of a monopoly subsidising to establish itself in emerging markets.

    The NYT has a page that is still up [nytimes.com]
    • Re:Subsidy not aid (Score:5, Insightful)

      by jorghis (1000092) on Tuesday January 22, 2008 @12:23PM (#22139700)
      Free training is not monopoly subsidising. Its just a different business model, they charge for the software and give free training. Other companies give away the software and make their money on support and training. There is nothing wrong with giving away free stuff (like training) in order to grow your market share.

      I would like to see more competition in the consumer OS market as well and MS may have crossed the line in the past, but screaming "monopoly abuse!" every time MS makes any kind of business deal is just silly.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by ronadams (987516)

        The problem here is that I don't pay taxes to fund public schools so Microsoft can go advertise their products. Enhancing vendor lock through targeting public institutions is not cool with me. OTOH, maybe open-source advocates should just offer free training and resources of their own.

        Withholding judgment...

        • Re:Subsidy not aid (Score:4, Interesting)

          by hansonc (127888) on Tuesday January 22, 2008 @01:56PM (#22141180) Homepage
          If your school district were properly funded through your tax dollars they wouldn't need to take Microsoft's money to fill out their budget needs. Until people figure out that they should be voting for every single school bonding issue, schools need to come up with funds somewhere. They might as well take Microsoft's money and provide education in the software the students will need to know when they get out of school.
      • Re:Subsidy not aid (Score:4, Insightful)

        by cHiphead (17854) on Tuesday January 22, 2008 @01:45PM (#22140996)
        Thats the problem, the training isnt free, its SUBSIDIZED. You HAVE to use MS products in exchange for their 'free' training. There is an ethical line you can cross by using a monopoly position coupled with free training to grow market share. Not mention possible tax fraud if MS is writing off all of this money spent and in turn getting a kickback in the form of new sales and other market growth factors.

        Cheers.
        • Wow. You people make absolutely no sense. In your world, Microsoft should provide free training for its competitors' products? What's amusing is you probably seriously think that's rational. Wake me up when Redhat donates money to train school IT staff and trains the ones using Windows as well as the ones using Redhat.
      • by jimicus (737525)
        Free training is not monopoly subsidising. Its just a different business model, they charge for the software and give free training.

        It is when they're not charging for the software either.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by FireFury03 (653718)
        Free training is not monopoly subsidising. Its just a different business model, they charge for the software and give free training. Other companies give away the software and make their money on support and training. There is nothing wrong with giving away free stuff (like training) in order to grow your market share.

        This isn't "free training" - Microsoft are trying to shape the existing educational system to push their agenda. IMHO *no* company should be able to influence the direction of general educati
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by smilindog2000 (907665)
      Wow... I didn't see this coming. I figured it was impossible for Microsoft to undercut free software... guess I was wrong! I'm teaching my kids Ubuntu, however, I can be bribed to switch :-) If Microsoft would like one less slashdotter bashing Windows, a promise of free lifetime software and maybe a few hundred bucks would do the trick.
      • by AoT (107216)
        i don't know. I think that being forced to use windows for y entire life would make me complain more, not less.
    • Re:Subsidy not aid (Score:5, Insightful)

      by natenovs (1055338) on Tuesday January 22, 2008 @12:34PM (#22139862)
      When I was in elementary school none of our class rooms had computers. My fifth grade teacher when to the Microsoft Technology training course and was able to get our class room 5 computers. This was my first exposure to computers. I don't care if you hate Microsoft, the fact that they put a keyboard in my hands got me interested in computing. I would not be where I am today if that did not happen. To this I am grateful to Microsoft, and more accurate probably, my fifth grade teacher.
    • This is a good thing for all of IT. I learned Microsoft as a kid through DOS, Windows in all its forms, and their servers. Proficiency in computers translates to all systems. OSS is a heavy hitter in the server market, so anyone going into a serious career with IT is going to have to learn to deal with it.

      In other words, this will help grow the Microsoft user base, but only for people who will get functional with computers and won't excel. For those who want to excel, they'll learn alternatives as natur
      • I agree that OSS will play a significant role in servers and enterprise in the future. This does not mean one has to be proficient with OSS to work in the field. People specialize in one or two niches in a field. They may be very very good at what they do and get paid well for it, without ever mastering OSS.

        I am personally a Jack of All Trades, with the required "Master of None". I have not specialized, and enjoy learning technology, not excluding Microsoft products. I actually enjoy integrating OSS an
    • Microsoft providing free Microsoft software for lock-in reminds me of infant formula companies providing free formula to developing countries so that people won't realize that there is a free, superior and natural alternative: breast milk. It took a great deal of initiative to overcome the powerful propaganda machine of the wealthy companies.

      Nowadays people recognize issues behind a company trying to give "aid in the form of free infant formula" to poor countries, and no longer say, "Wow, what an altruisti
  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn@nOsPam.gmail.com> on Tuesday January 22, 2008 @12:07PM (#22139430) Journal
    I saw something similar to this this weekend as I was riding a bus to NYC. A billboard in Delaware or some other state said "FREE $50 When You Join!" referring to a casino membership. But in very fine print (hilariously fine for the size of the billboard) it said, "Money must be spent inside the casino within a half hour of joining." I remember thinking to myself, that sure is free.

    How free is something when you're told what to spend it on? How free is money when it goes into a fund that invests in the United States companies and stock markets and you can't control that fund?

    My answer would be 'not very' but, you know, when you see these 'donations' from the rich like Bill Gates, that seems to be the case every single time. I'm glad they're getting something, I'm upset about the strings attached. Better than nothing, yes. But sounding more and more like a fishy tax loophole or legacy purchase (he'll go down in history as a philanthropist no doubt) every day.
    • How free is something when you're told what to spend it on? How free is money when it goes into a fund that invests in the United States companies and stock markets and you can't control that fund?

      My answer would be 'not very' but, you know, when you see these 'donations' from the rich like Bill Gates, that seems to be the case every single time. I'm glad they're getting something, I'm upset about the strings attached. Better than nothing, yes. But sounding more and more like a fishy tax loophole or legacy purchase (he'll go down in history as a philanthropist no doubt) every day.

      It's a way to screw with sales numbers. They give away money it looks good. They sold another 50,000 copies of windows it looks good. If they just gave away Windows, it only looks half as good since the sales numbers won't increase from the donation.

    • You're dead wrong about one thing: Bill Gates has generously donated billions to great causes in ways that do not benefit Microsoft products. We can all say that this is no big deal for a billionaire, but the man's done some good no matter how you slice it.

      Yes, I know it's lame that MS "helps" schools by giving them money for Windows. That's just marketing in disguise and probably hurts schools. After all, if you can use Ubuntu competently, you are probably not going to have any problems with Windows. T
  • by houstonbofh (602064) on Tuesday January 22, 2008 @12:08PM (#22139436)
    It looks like they are giving free software and support valued at the overinflated prices Microsoft gets for there product. Using this metric, Ubuntu is also donating $235 million to schools, students, businesses and people. (Support via Ubuntu Forums)
    • Yes, it is. (Score:2, Insightful)

      by smitth1276 (832902)
      It doesn't cost Ubuntu anything (in practical terms) to do that. It does cost Microsoft to do that. Microsoft pays people to work for them. Time absolutely is money.
      • You're right. So in order to compete with Ubuntu, Microsoft
        should fire most of their staff in order to reduce their costs.
      • Ubuntu, Redhat/Fedora, and even Novell/Suse all offer a free product that have much more than just an OS all of which required coding, testing, packaging, distribution. In addition, they have on-line support that costs money. ALl of this involves LOADS of time. And you say that the linux distros, which have OS, Apps, etc are not worth at least as much as a free OS from MS packaged with a small amount of support? Hmmmm. Have you considered working at MS? I will bet that they would love you to be on their acc
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by nick.ian.k (987094)

        It doesn't cost Ubuntu anything (in practical terms) to do that. It does cost Microsoft to do that. Microsoft pays people to work for them. Time absolutely is money.

        It absolutely does cost Ubuntu/Canonical, and in very practical terms. The entity controlling the distribution *does* spend money to pay some staff to make it all go, from development to marketing to professionally producing install/live cds to hosting and administration of their central repositories, forums, etc. The "time is money" argumen

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Technician (215283)
      It looks like they are giving free software and support

      What's very funny is Microsoft had a 10 question quiz in an ad here on slashdot. The quiz was to "test your knowledge of software licensing". For grins, I took the test. It will not let you go got the next question (training maze) until you got the current question correct. If they just scored it, I would have done poorly as I chose what a consumer friendly answer should be. Taking the quiz fully convinced me that with GNU style licenses out there,
  • Here's the story, Yahoo! [yahoo.com]

  • by iONiUM (530420) * on Tuesday January 22, 2008 @12:09PM (#22139464) Homepage Journal
    Maybe they're giving out, oh I dunno, licenses for Windows and free copies that amount to that much money? What the fuck do you expect them to do, buy the equivalent value of Macs and give that instead?
    • I expect them to give out that much money in hardware, training and then throw in all of their software for free.
      • by plague3106 (71849)
        Sounds like a homeless guy demanding new clothes and a place to sleep in addition to the free meal.
        • by TheMeuge (645043)
          This isn't a free meal for a homeless guy. This is akin to Madonna tossing the homeless guy a free copy of her latest CD.

          It costs microsoft nothing, they get a tax writeoff, and it's either useless to the target demographic, or will perpetuate microsoft's monopoly and later charge them their left nut.
          • licenses for Windows and free copies that amount to that much money? What the fuck do you expect them to do

            As previously stated, it costs nothing to give out licenses. What is more significant is that if people have nothing to run the software it doesn't matter how many licenses you give them.

            This isn't a free meal for a homeless guy. This is akin to Madonna tossing the homeless guy a free copy of her latest CD.

            No, it's even worse, this is more like Madonna telling a homeless person that he has legal permission to download her new album even though he has no way to even utilize it (not that I think many people do)

          • by plague3106 (71849)
            This isn't a free meal for a homeless guy. This is akin to Madonna tossing the homeless guy a free copy of her latest CD.

            So schools don't need OSes for their computers? Huh.. pretty neat.

            It costs microsoft nothing, they get a tax writeoff

            The same can be said for free support given by RedHat to a school, should they choose to do so. Does that invalidate the gesture? Also, last I checked, sending someone to teach does in fact cost something.

            it's either useless to the target demographic

            You may not like Wind
        • by Man Eating Duck (534479) on Tuesday January 22, 2008 @01:08PM (#22140376)
          More like giving the homeless guy drugs when he needs food, knowing that he'll come back to you for the next hit. They're "developing markets to their future business."
      • by DaveV1.0 (203135)
        Show me where a FLOSS company has done similar.
  • by jorghis (1000092) on Tuesday January 22, 2008 @12:11PM (#22139482)
    Why is it a surprise they would only fund free training for their own software? I mean isnt that kind of a duh thing? Are linux companies sinister too now because they dont pay for free windows training for people who dont buy linux?
    • by osgeek (239988)
      Careful, dude, this is Slashdot. Special pleading for open source software is allowed and even encouraged.

      I mean, what non-zealot could even half take the premise of this article/editorial seriously?

    • Why is it a surprise they would only fund free training for their own software? I mean isn't that kind of a duh thing? Are Linux companies sinister too now because they don't pay for free windows training for people who don't buy Linux?

      It's no surprise. The disappointment is the requirements.

      From TFA:

      "Of course, that includes the fact they [the schools] use Windows," Ayala said.' If you don't use Windows you don't get the cash."

      It doesn't matter what the intentions are.

      That makes so much sense to me. It wouldn't be logical for Microsoft or any company to donate money for their competition (i.e. donate money for computers to run competing software). I would not suspect anything else from a for-profit company. I'm sure Microsoft's shareholders would agree. Nothing new in this news.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by kebes (861706)
      MS can go ahead and fund Windows training... but they should call it 'funding Windows training' or 'advertising' or 'market capture' (depending how honest they want to be). Calling it 'foreign aid' is a stretch, and part of the problem.

      There is also the fact that MS is, apparently, only offering free training to schools that agree to be purely Windows institutions. If a Linux outfit offered free support, but only on condition of NOT using any non-Linux software, you can be sure that the community would c
      • by jorghis (1000092)

        Providing support only to purely Windows institutes? Nasty
        Where did it say this in TFA? You and several others seem to be assuming that this is the case. TFA says only that they provide free training to schools that use windows. It says nothing about a requirement that the schools use no non-MS software. It seems like everyone is assuming something that isnt true.
    • by matt4077 (581118)
      Please don't confuse this with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. I dislike MS like everyone else, but his personal foundation seems to be quite seperated from Microsoft. It's focus is more on health than IT anyway.
    • I read the article to see if this was spelled out. Nowhere did it specify whether the schools just had to have the required software needed for the training, or could not have anything else.

      Do you suppose the trainers will show up, find an old computer running Linux in a back closet, and immediately pack up and leave?

      • by jorghis (1000092)
        I really doubt it. A lot of people on here seem to be jumping to that conclusion even though TFA said nothing like that. If it actually was true dont you think it would have been mentioned?
  • by LWATCDR (28044) on Tuesday January 22, 2008 @12:15PM (#22139546) Homepage Journal
    Why wouldn't Microsoft offer support to Schools that teach Windows and not offer support to schools that do not?
    This isn't some foundation it is a company. Sorry but this isn't shocking or news. Do you think Novell or Redhat would donate money to schools that teach Windows?
    • by Entropius (188861)
      The trouble is, Microsoft does "aid" projects like this, and then wants to be treated as though they've just committed some great act of charity.

      They can't have it both ways.
      • by plague3106 (71849)
        All acts of charity are acts of selfishness. Would you donate time / money to any cause if it caused you some kind of pain or made you feel bad?
    • I don't think a convicted monopolist should be allowed to do this at all, and should have some substantial fraction of its net worth seized as punishment.
      • by LWATCDR (28044)
        Well that is for the courts to decide.
        The end result is that Microsoft wouldn't donate any money for IT projects and just donate the software. That couldn't be considered anti-trust since it isn't undercutting the cost of FOSS.

    • I know your type. MICROSOFT KILLS BABIES!!! Yeah, well, they're a company, don't act like you're surprised.

      News flash: Incorporation does not automatically remove ethical responsibility.

      Aside from that, in case you're the cynical type who views "doing the right thing" as a bleeding-heart, touchy-feely concept that has no place in a cold, capitalist world, try this: Free press and goodwill.

      I should also point out that there are corporations which genuinely do just give, without necessarily a direct ulterior
      • by LWATCDR (28044)
        "I should also point out that there are corporations which genuinely do just give, without necessarily a direct ulterior motive. Google's Sumer of Code is a good example."
        Yes they do but Google's Summer of code isn't a great example. It is a recruitment tool and does buy them a lot of good publicity.
        The company I work for does donate to a charity that helps disabled children. We don't publicize it because the owner thinks of this as an act of charity.
        We also give away our software to school that in our indu
  • Water is still wet.

    It gets dark at night.

  • by hawks5999 (588198) on Tuesday January 22, 2008 @12:19PM (#22139618)
    Can I mod an article -1 Troll?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 22, 2008 @12:21PM (#22139654)
    ...Microsoft to pay for future customers.

    Which means they would have to increase prices for their software, which makes more people decide to use the free open source alternatives instead.

    I just love it when a plan comes together. ;)

    muhahahahaha!!!
  • by saterdaies (842986) on Tuesday January 22, 2008 @12:22PM (#22139686)
    In 10 grants contingent on recipients of said aid only use it to purchase special Educational Grant Editions of my Ubuntu clone at a cost of $600,000,000,000 a piece. That way, I'm donating a huge amount, but I don't actually have to donate a penny (unless I'm off by a decimal place there).

    On a more serious level, I could donate $1,000,000 to schools that could only be used to buy licenses of my slightly modified Ubuntu clone and never have to spend money - if they don't buy my licenses, they don't get the money; if they do buy my Ubuntu clone, I get the money back and maybe have to eat the cost of some CD-Rs.

    "Donating" money that can only be used to purchase an intangible good (and software, other than the physical media, is intangible) from yourself is like donating nothing - especially when you're donating to people who wouldn't buy your product if it weren't being given to them.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by arivanov (12034)
      You missed one point. You also write it off as a tax deductible. If you try to write off $600,000,000,000 as a tax deductible expect black helicopters and men with assault rifles as a responce to your tax return. If a company with a turnover bigger than some nation's GDP does this, it gets an applause in the press for its enormous charitable contribution. Which is a pity - it should get the same treatment (scaled for size - cannons instead of assault rifles).
  • What's going to really cook the noodle is how they came up with 'spending' 235Mil. Why not 250? How about 500? Did they calculate how many versions of Windows each potential customer will purchase in their life time and take inflation into account. Then figured that a 1 to 4 or 5 return value over 25 years isn't a bad investment after all.

    I don't care for M$ either (while typing this on a M$ platform, necessary evil..blah,blah,blah), but you have to give them credit for trying to continue growing their cust
  • Wrong! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by goldspider (445116) <ardrake79 @ g m ail.com> on Tuesday January 22, 2008 @12:31PM (#22139818) Homepage
    Microsoft faces heated competition from companies supporting the open-source OS Linux and associated software in developing countries.

    Microsoft isn't confronting competition in these targeted regions, they're confronting rampant piracy of their OS. They figure it's better to get $3.00 per copy than nothing.
    • This would be true with Windows XP, not vista

      Microsoft has two opposite target now

      • Squeeze as much cash from the West by having a secure ans strong antipiracy system
      • Keep the "new markets" seeded for windows by allowing them "cheap" (once upon a time pirated) copies of windows

      The solution...

      Is to "give away" windows copies, after all one dollar is the true cost fo Windows, all the rest is just profit (How do you think Microsoft manages to have such obscene cash reserve ???)

  • by ral315 (741081)
    The writeup leaves much to be desired. Microsoft is giving free support for its own software -- certainly not a crime, and certainly something they'd be interested in doing (I somehow doubt they'd give support for Ubuntu and OpenOffice). This is no different than Norton offering free support for their product, but not offering it for AVG. No, it's not a humanitarian effort, it's them trying to lock in their monopoly -- something that most of us don't like, but something that's in their best interests, an
  • With this, as long as they don't add stipulations that exclude other applications and OS's. As long as the aid moneys/software/training is not used to finance other applications and such, then this is not a big deal, but if they say you can only get the "aid" if your environment consists only of MS products, then I have a major problem.
  • Ayala said.' If you don't use Windows you don't get the cash."

    I wonder whether slashdotters know that western governments' dollar aid to needy countries is tied to these countries purchasing hardware and technical services from corporations in their countries. It does not matter whether the beneficiary country has better technocrats who know the [local] language and are ready to deliver cheaply and immediately.

    I guess Microsoft borrowed a leaf from the USA. Sadly, the results of this practice have been very dismal and not those one can be proud of. They continue t

    • by jorghis (1000092)
      What is wrong with that? The third world countries get free goods/services and the western governments get to stimulate their own economy. If someone gave you a free car would you get pissed that the car wasnt the one you wanted?
  • by mormop (415983) on Tuesday January 22, 2008 @12:50PM (#22140088)
    I seem to remember that along with using an existing monopoly to leverage one of the illegal sides of monopoly is the concept of predatory pricing, i.e. deliberately pricing a product well below it's market value in order to strike down a competitor.

    With the cost of Windows as it is, "giving" software to schools along with a condition that they must be using Windows is about as predatory as you can get. What's the EU's phone number again?
    • by jimicus (737525)
      I suspect that this is being driven as a reaction to the OLPC project, and therefore will only be made available to developing nations - nations unlikely to have much in the way of antitrust laws and even if they did they'd be unlikely to look such a gift horse in the mouth.
    • No, it's not illegal. Thanks for playing, though.
  • by mlwmohawk (801821) on Tuesday January 22, 2008 @01:06PM (#22140354)
    This is an example of how evil Microsoft is. They'll donate some "thing" only as long as it contributes to their business. Why this is wrong is pretty subtle. They have no intention of saving anyone any money. Typically with contributions, the outcome is a net gain for the organization receiving the contribution. Not with this deal, this will be a net loss for the schools receiving the "grants." Only the costs will be differed.

    The "training" microsoft is talking about is their typical "training" where general concepts and understanding is not part of the instructional course except where necessary to use their product. If you have ever taken any Microsoft training courses you'll know what I'm talking about. A networking class is not about networking, but about "their" networking tools.

    I have taken a couple Microsoft courses for various reasons, and have always come away saying (1) that was a huge waste of time. (2) It was like a big commercial for Microsoft products. (3) It was useless in any practical sense.

    Now, all these nicely trained people aren't going to be looking at the cost-saving alternatives like OpenOffice and/or Linux, nope, they'll be revved up to buy MS Office and Windows (because that's what they were trained on!)

    My Advice, when Microsoft offers you anything for free, turn it down, because it will always end up costing you.
    • by robertjw (728654)
      As far as being Evil, this isn't much different than what Apple used to do back when I was a kid in the 80s.

      Don't know how bad their training classes are, but weaseling your way into schools is a time tested marketing strategy. It's probably the only thing that kept Apple going for years.
      • by mlwmohawk (801821)
        As far as being Evil, this isn't much different than what Apple used to do back when I was a kid in the 80s.

        I never said it was original. Microsoft doesn't know how to be original. Everything Microsoft has ever done has been stolen, copied, or bought from someone else.
        • by robertjw (728654)
          So was it Evil when Jobs did it?
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by mlwmohawk (801821)
            So was it Evil when Jobs did it?

            Of course it was, but when a small marginal player does something "evil," it's impact is mitigated by its ability to capitalize on it. When a convicted monopolist does something evil, everyone suffers.
  • by Comboman (895500) on Tuesday January 22, 2008 @01:23PM (#22140592)
    While slightly off-topic, the end of the referenced article is far more interesting:

    While Microsoft is nudging consumers and businesses in developed markets to use its latest Windows Vista operating system, XP will remain the OS the company supports for low-cost laptops such as the Asus Eee and Intel's Classmate PC, Ayala said.

    The reason is XP has a smaller footprint than Vista, Ayala said, referring to factors such as how much memory the OS uses and the size of the OS on a PC's hard drive.

    Microsoft is still working through some of the "technical limitations" that remain in putting XP on the XO, the green PC from the One Laptop Per Child project, Ayala said.

    Considering MS is already talking about Vista's replacement next year with Windows 7, is anyone else shocked that they are continuing to put development resources into XP?

  • by walterbyrd (182728) on Tuesday January 22, 2008 @01:24PM (#22140624)
    I am reminded of that Simpson's episode with the Oscar Myer periodic chart with "bolognium" and "delicium."

    I think schools should turn this msft "gift" down. There is nothing that msft is offering, that does not have a free alternative.

    I am sure a lot of people will label me a linux zealot. But the truth is, I completely understand that linux is not for everybody. But schools are a different matter. Schools should teach vendor-neutral concepts. Students should not be taught that vendor specific jargon and standards are somehow universal. For example, what msft calls a "domain" is different than what is commonly understood. I already notice a lot of students thinking that anything non-msft is non-standard.

    Unlike commercial institutions, students do not have the same concerns about the acceptance of vendor specific document formats. For example, some accountants will only accept Intuit formated income statements - so some small businesses have to use Intuit, but students should be able to learn the concepts of accounting, and accounting concepts, without being tied to a specific vendor.

    Again, I want to emphasize: students should be taught *concepts* then those concepts can be applied to software from any vendor. Schools should not be in the business of promoting a particular vendor - especially if that vendor does not offer anything that is that freely available anyway.

    Sometimes it is very difficult to avoid vendor-lock, but for students, it's easy. So why be vendor locked if you don't have to be?
  • Let me see now. 270 million newly trained people for Microsoft applications. $235 million dollars being spent to train up said people. Cost of training 1 person $870 thousand US dollars.

    I prefer alternatives to Microsoft applications, but if Microsoft would just pay me the $870 thousand US dollars to me directly I would gladly learn all the Microsoft applications. No one said I had to continue using them after I learned to use them.
  • The best customers money can buy.

    Anyone else notice a pattern here? Microsoft has to buy the votes of standards committees, now Microsoft has to buy customers for its software.

  • Microsoft has long been interested in the education of children.

    The correct term here is indoctrination [wikipedia.org] not education - fixed that for ya.

    Indoctrination is the process of inculcating ideas, attitudes, cognitive strategies or a professional methodology. It is often distinguished from education by the fact that the indoctrinated person is expected not to question or critically examine the doctrine they have learned.

    I believe the strategy here is to get them started on Windows when they're young, so they'

"'Tis true, 'tis pity, and pity 'tis 'tis true." -- Poloniouius, in Willie the Shake's _Hamlet, Prince of Darkness_

Working...