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03.18.09

Microsoft Takes it Personally in Portugal, Dumps on India

Posted in Asia, Europe, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft at 4:25 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Man with big gun

Summary: Microsoft frowns upon FOSS advocate in Portugal and signs MOU/contract to undermine FOSS in India

Portugal has grown tired of Microsoft’s abuse of its people, so it spoke out [1, 2] and even complained to the European Commission.

A few days ago we wrote about a Microsoft CEO threatening to get a critic in trouble, maybe even fired. Well, we have just discovered that Marcos Santos, one of the ‘big’ guys at Microsoft Portugal, has come out with somewhat of a first challenge to FOSS advocates who quote him. It appears in a message that translates to: “But is Rui able to distinguish what is written professionally or a personal opinion?

“A few days ago we wrote about a Microsoft CEO threatening to get a critic in trouble, maybe even fired. ”“Then explain to me one thing: your posts in the free software blog are professional or transmit a personal opinion?”

This is already mentioned in Identi.ca under [1, 2, 3, 4] where more details are available in Portuguese.

What’s actually more interesting, however, is what Microsoft is doing in India at the moment. The opposition party is embracing a Free software policy, so as the Economic Times puts its, this may be trouble to Microsoft.

Leader of India’s main Opposition party BJP, LK Advani on Saturday said if his party comes to power, it will actively promote open-source software and internet telephony, a policy that could make Microsoft and some top local telecom companies see red.

While promising one crore laptops to students, the party said in its IT and telecom vision document released today, it would spend Rs 10,000 cr on buying top-of-the-line laptops with open source software. The party also plans to allow unrestricted internet telephony.

When contacted, a Microsoft India spokesman refused to comment. Experts, however, feel that this move might not have a major impact on the software giant.

How does Microsoft respond to this threat? As always, it dumps on local businesses and also signs contracts that may be illegal. We are seeing more of those notorious memoranda of understanding being signed to subvert ongoing adoption of Free software, this being the latest example:

Incidentally, the government had also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with software giant Microsoft to set up institutes for training teachers in IT. But the government is not clear as to how teachers trained in Microsoft products will be able to teach students in schools, which will use open source software.

The MOU is known internally as Project Marshall. In this case, some officials receive dumping offers to derail decisions and directions made by technical people. “It’s just a u-turn,” tells us someone from India who is familiar with the situation. According to him, it is a “conflict of interest between IT-department and Education department. NIIT is Microsoft’s puppet. These politicians don’t know a heck about FOSS [and] if some thing gives them money and publicity they go beyond it.”

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