10.03.08

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Microsoft is Exploiting Portuguese Taxpayers to Build Nation of ‘Addicts’

Posted in Europe, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Steve Ballmer, Windows at 12:56 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Steve Ballmer’s visit to Portugal was foreseen (but expected) quite a while ago, later to be analysed further. Very memorable were also the OOXML scandals in that country and the possible AstroTurfing. There’s lots more to be said about evidence that has already been covered, but fresh from the news we have another new and disturbing development that may or may not explain Steve Ballmer’s sudden visit, which we suspected all along to be a move against Free software in the country.

According to the following text, Microsoft wants children of Portugal to become dependent on Windows and Office. A partnership with Magellan is being touted.

Microsoft’s investment in the Magellan Learning Suite is designed to encourage targeted, international adoption of the Magellan educational computers by addressing the need for relevant software and content, user support, digital literacy, and broad scalability…

Reread the quoted text if necessary. There is a cash infusion and Microsoft’s talk about “digital literacy” is mostly a reference to GUIs, including the start menu, security ‘skills’, Word, and perhaps services like Live@edu. “Portuguese Prime Minister Jose Socrates and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer announced significant Microsoft investment in the Magellan Initiative through the Microsoft Unlimited Potential program,” it says. As we stressed many times before (e.g. here and here), “Unlimited Potential” is more of an anti-GNU/Linux program, operated under the guise of ‘helping’ poor children.

Here are some pictures from the visit and here is an article from Reuters, which describes this latest development in English.

Microsoft launched on Friday a software package for a Portuguese ultra-cheap laptop for school children that the government hopes will boost the country’s technological edge in education.

Portugal started rolling out the “Magellan” computer at schools last month. It aims to hand out a total 500,000 of the laptops, which cost just 50 euros ($69.29) for school children, at home and export it to countries in Latin America and Africa.

What about those 1 million laptops that shall go to Venezuela and are said to be running GNU/Linux? The initiative above may have a ‘domino effect’ that transcends Portugal’s borders. It’s all just intended to put Microsoft’s proprietary software on low-cost notebooks, which, at least for students, are funded by the government (i.e. taxpayers).

Steve BallmerYes, that’s people’s tax money going into the funding of children’s addiction to Microsoft so that Microsoft will be paid by them when they grow up and only recognise one brand of software.

Some people might say that GNU/Linux is still available as an option, but it’s not even being mentioned, no manual is provided for it, and as this recent post stated, “[t]he software “choice” is false.” It’s part of the diplomacy.

One comment which out readers have highlighted is this one:

“curiosamente, é também hoje que se a inicia a Semana do Open Office em Portugal, com uma apresentação da versão 3.0 no Forum Picoas, em Lisboa; mas a essa não se dá destaque – não é “Microsoft driven”.”

More information (in Portuguese) can be found under:

  1. 1 pergunta a… José Sócrates
  2. Ballmer formaliza apoio ao Magalhães
  3. Magalhães é excelente oportunidade de negócios para Portugal – Steve Ballmer
  4. Steve Ballmer em Portugal a propósito do Magalhães
  5. o grande golpe à Microsoft !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thanks to all those who provided valuable tips to make this post possible.

People do not require Microsoft for their education; they require education to better understand how Microsoft is exploiting them.

“They’ll get sort of addicted, and then we’ll somehow figure out how to collect sometime in the next decade.”

Bill Gates

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4 Comments

  1. ricardo nunes said,

    October 4, 2008 at 3:36 pm

    Gravatar

    i’ve been writing about this issue for some time now in my blog, in portuguese.

    here in Portugal we still don’t know how much does all this propaganda attack to FLOSS and OLPC will cost to portuguese taxpayers.
    i’ve been telling in my blog that Portugal is being used as a proxy for intel and m$ attack of FLOSS and OLPC, since Portugal has several historical connections with Africa and South America.
    http://ovigia.wordpress.com/2008/09/30/portugal-a-ser-usado-como-cavalo-de-troia-pela-intel-e-pela-microoft-no-ataque-ao-olpc-e-ao-gnulinux/

    does anyone know something about the costs of m$-xp and m$-office for classmate?

    rjnunes

  2. Roy Schestowitz said,

    October 4, 2008 at 4:07 pm

    Gravatar

    It’s $3, IIRC.

    What does this mean for the laptops exported to Venezuela?

  3. ricardo nunes said,

    October 4, 2008 at 4:25 pm

    Gravatar

    well that means about 1M €, if they put all that money in the development of Alinex, a portuguese distro Debian based from Universidade de Évora, that would be the right choice, and the Administração Pública (government) would not be lock in to m$.

    in Venezuela classmate will be using a GNU/Linux dsitro Debian based, Canaima, so i do believe that only intel and jpsacouto would gain from this mess.
    although i believe that Venezuela would be better served with OLPC, because of it’s mesh network, but since Portugal has been engaging with lots of contracts with Venezuela, mainly oil, i believe that this business is some kind of reward to the money expended by Portugal in oil.

    rjnunes

  4. Roy Schestowitz said,

    October 4, 2008 at 4:29 pm

    Gravatar

    Judging by what I’ve seen in Brazil, Microsoft won’t let Venezuela deploy GNU/Linux without a fight. Keep a close eye on that. They typically attack this by proxy, i.e. you are unlikely to see Microsoft intervening directly.

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