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Microsoft Describes Latest Anti-GNU/Linux Push as “Charitable”

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 2:54 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Bad cigarettes

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

Bill Gates

Summary: Beware of the Microsoft bearing “addictive” gifts

THIS is not another post about EDGI, but it sure illustrates how Microsoft spins its “addiction” trips (see quote at the top) as something of charitable value. Todd Bishop captured the situation pretty well under the headline:

Microsoft: Sorry, you can’t use these vouchers to learn Linux


The vouchers are being made available as part of Microsoft’s Elevate America retraining program, announced in February, which aims to train up to 2 million people over the next three years.

They also neglect to comment on one crucial ingredient: competition. It’s not about training; it’s about training for Microsoft, turning civilians into customers.

This “Elevate America” scam is a subject that we remarked on before and we are finding a similar scam in the Australian press right now. A fortnight ago we saw Microsoft exploiting poverty in east Africa to turn people into agents of the company. Now there’s this:

Microsoft Corp. announced Monday it would be giving away more than 30,000 vouchers over the next 90 days to help unemployed people in Washington state get new computer skills.

By “computer skills” they mean Microsoft products. It’s about “Microsoft skills”. It’s a good time to stare again at the Gates quote appearing above. Microsoft did this in Africa too — using financial distress to spread Microsoft software even more. The sad thing is that the press usually parrots Microsoft press releases that spin anti-GNU/Linux dumping as one of a variety of benevolent euphemisms. This is very typical and there are many examples, e.g. [1, 2].

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  1. NotZed said,

    April 14, 2009 at 5:25 pm


    ho hum, another un-authored press release masquerading as ‘news’.

    shame on AP for publishing it at all, and SMH for copying it whole-sale. all the local news services are going to shit, filling their pages with cheap newswire material.

  2. Roy Schestowitz said,

    April 14, 2009 at 5:28 pm


    Yes, it does look as though it was ghost-written, doesn’t it?

  3. Ed Landaveri said,

    April 14, 2009 at 8:58 pm


    This sound like the “software university” that they run at low cost on some Latin American countries. Sadly coming from MS the majority says “Oh it’s from Microsoft, It must be good” when the contrary it’s truth! Let us keep on colonizing these countries and strip them out whatever gold is left on them. Fist the Spaniards, then came the Standard Oil && United Fruit Company lastly comes Microsoft and Gates Pharmaceutical Ventures” disguised as “CHARITY” A few moths ago the Peruvian Press published something as the Gates Foundation thinking on doing investments on the beleaguered Peruvian economy. This would give them a foothold as to influence on software contract with the government, something that few people recognized. I hope this won’t happen but seeing the history of corruption on these countries there’s little hope.

    The “good” deed on teaching unemployed people Microsoft skills only it’s going to do good to Microsoft that there will be a more “analysts” that will recommend it’s products to small && medium sized companies knowing that the future is FOSS.

    Even if those people go after those skill they’ll find out that there are millions of MS proficient people. If people are looking for lucrative computer skill they MUST look to Linux and FOSS. In the US when you respond for a job that requires a MCP or MSCE you find two or three blocks line of applicants, if they’re looking for Linux/FOSS skilled people you find no more than a few. That’s the opportunity, better skills, fewer people, more money. Anybody can be a MCSE (just braindump) but to be Linux/FOSS proficient requires work and guts! Yes, guts! Dump MS altogether and your life will be better!

  4. mike said,

    April 16, 2009 at 9:44 am


    So what’s wrong with short term? dont flame me but if you put your bias aside you will see there is no harm in helping computer illitarate people learn computer skills that are up to date.

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