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07.12.08

ISO Deals a “Blow for the Emerging Markets”

Posted in Africa, America, Asia, GPL, ISO, Open XML at 2:40 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Yesterday we wrote about Microsoft's major attack on GNU/Linux and ODF in South Africa. It’s being portrayed in the local press as something positive, as if non-Free software for young people is a bonus as opposed to digital imprisonment. GNU/Linux was already free (in all senses of the word).

The press in South Africa has also just published a response to ISO’s latest and very controversial deeds [1, 2, 3]. ISO refuses to confirm these, but the Shuttleworth Foundation has responded as though it’s inevitable. [via Andy Updegrove]

In April, SA became the first country to appeal against the widely criticised process to fast-track OOXML as an international document standard. India, Brazil and Venezuela joined SA to successfully prevent the standard being fully ratified.

Shuttleworth Foundation fellow Andrew Rens says the recommendation is a blow for the emerging markets and could well destroy the credibility of the ISO. “The CEOs of these organisations have failed to acknowledge the gravity of the situation.”

If ISO permits the GPL-hostile OOXML to pass, it then becomes a foe of Free software and defender of unreasonable, discriminatory RAND terms.

The attempt to fight Free (libre) software in education with free (gratis) software is not unique to South Africa. Microsoft appears to be trying this everywhere, assuming the educational system puts Windows on the rocks. They already try the same tactics in India. They donate money, arguably in order to subvert ICT proposals.

Here are, specifically, a couple of examples from Kerala:

1. Indian state takes on Microsoft.

He said Microsoft executives were seeking to meet the state’s chief minister this week. Kerala state is a potentially strong market for the company, with a population of 32 million and a 90.9% literacy rate – far above the national average of 68.4%.

2. IT Giants Train Students And Faculty of Kerala.

This program allows universities and colleges to get latest Microsoft software available in labs, classrooms, and on student PCs. MSDN AA is an annual membership program.The membership allows an enrolled student to take home the complete microsoft products, except products for office productivity.

Also Microsoft has offered to asist the universities to customise their carriculam and claims that the Microsoft range of products are suitable for CS and IT syllabus of Indian universities.Also Microsoft has started .Net user groups in cities like Cochin. Also Microsoft is selecting student ambassadors from various institutions and conducting programming contests.

How long before they try to reverse Brazil’s decision?

Deploying KDE to 52 million young people

[...]

By the end of this year 29,000 labs serving some 32,000,000 students will be fully deployed and in active use.

By the end of next year (2009) those numbers will have swelled to 53,000 labs serving some 52,000,000 students.

Only BECTA is silly enough not only to pay Microsoft but also to keep it secret.

“The danger is that Microsoft is using strategic monopolistic pricing in the education market, with the government’s asistance, to turn our state university systems into private workforce training programs for Microsoft.”

Nathan Newman

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4 Comments

  1. Lol said,

    July 12, 2008 at 4:00 am

    Gravatar

    I wonder how long can MS keep fighting like this…this is going to get worse everyday…

  2. Roy Schestowitz said,

    July 12, 2008 at 4:06 am

    Gravatar

    Their margins are declining. They can’t carry on like this forever.

  3. Lol said,

    July 12, 2008 at 4:22 am

    Gravatar

    hum…this is the first time they are facing competition in their own market. Hope they are enjoying every bit of it…they really enjoyed destroying other companies using their desktop monopoly…now I guess its their turn to face some competition.

  4. Roy Schestowitz said,

    July 12, 2008 at 9:45 am

    Gravatar

    Keep a close eye. There’s another big blow coming, according to a source of mine.

    People will find out how they messed up.

    Here’s the golden rule: the more embarrassed they, the more likely they are to give up and criticise themselves.

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