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06.22.09

Microsoft Brings ‘American EDGI’ to Illinois, Virginia, and Indiana

Posted in America, Asia, Deception, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft at 5:41 am 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: Microsoft is dumping software in American states in order to avert Free software competition

“Elevate America” strikes again. This is the American equivalent of EDGI and we mentioned it a few times earlier this year [1, 2]. Microsoft and its collaborators are dumping proprietary software on young people in states that don’t obey the Microsoft route. For background on EDGI, which bears similarities to “Elevate America”, see:

Microsoft brings more or less the same tactics to Illinois. The governor got bamboozled, probably without even realising it.

CHICAGO–(ENEWSPF)–June 18, 2009. Governor Pat Quinn today joined Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer at the Chicagoland Chamber’s Annual Meeting to announce a major public-private partnership between Microsoft and the State of Illinois to provide free technology training for up to 51,000 Illinoisans, starting July 31.

[...]

The Microsoft Elevate America initiative will provide up to 1 million vouchers nationwide for Microsoft e-Learning courses and select certification exams. The program is part of Microsoft’s overall efforts to provide technology training for at least 2 million people during the next three years.

More information can be found in the local press.

The program is called the Microsoft Elevate America. Here’s how it works: You get a voucher from the state’s Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. The vouchers are good for free online training in Microsoft Office 2003 and 2007. Advanced-level training is available for technical professionals.

“Elevate America” is a textbook example of Orwellian language in action. If digital slavery is elating, then fine, it has an element of truth to it.

Illinois is not the only new victim though. Microsoft seems to have embarked on some kind of American tour, so the next victims are students in Virginia.

Working with the Virginia Community College system, Microsoft’s “Elevate America” program will provide 5,000 vouchers for online training, 5,000 vouchers for online testing and 1,250 vouchers for advanced training in one of the programs in the Microsoft Office Suite.

More information about it can be found here.

Next target?

Well, the next one is particularly disturbing because a lot of recent news talked about Free software adoption in Indiana University [2,4,5] and Indiana in general [1,3,6] (references are at the bottom). Microsoft wants to put an end to all that, so watch what it’s doing:

IU, Microsoft expand partnership

Indiana University’s new enterprise license agreement with Microsoft Corp. will expand the path-breaking 1998 strategy to provide popular Microsoft products to all students, faculty and staff on IU campuses by including unlimited licenses and software maintenance to IU departments for server software such as SQL Server, Windows Server, SharePoint Server, and Configuration Manager Server.

[...]

Since 1998, IU’s agreements with Microsoft have provided exceptional value to the institution with nearly $200M in software use by the IU community.

This is also done in other countries [1, 2] and the new example is Pakistan, which Microsoft may have exploited for OOXML a year ago.

Microsoft and the Aga Khan Foundation in Pakistan inked an agreement to establish the country’s first pilot Community Technology Learning Centres in the remote northern areas of Gilgit and Hunza.

Watch out and pay attention to what Microsoft is doing in Russia as well. From Reuters:

Microsoft plans to double Russian sales in 3 yrs

[...]

To help achieve the target, Microsoft plans to promote its software among telecom operators’ subscribers — the company said it had appointed Sergei Korovin as director of telecom sector relations.

The U.S. company is the subject of a probe by the Russian anti-trust regulator over whether it broke competition law by holding back supplies of its Windows XP operating system to the Russian market.

This is a subject that we covered very recently in [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]. When will they learn?
______
[1] Indiana District Funds Classroom Makeovers with Open Source Savings

Indiana’s Michigan City Area Schools is in the midst of renovating hundreds of classrooms at fourteen school sites. Through a new technology initiative, called HiTEC (“High Technology Educational Classroom”), the district is outfitting its classrooms with a wide range of interactive A/V technologies and control systems and funding the whole thing through savings realized through an open source initiative.

[2] IU hailed as IT pioneer in CIO 100 Awards

“In 2003, IU set a strategy to begin building some of its essential systems by pooling resources with other institutions,” said Wheeler. “We saw that the Internet could reduce coordination costs of working together. The sharing of open source application software could deliver essential features while reducing year-to-year costs, and avoid the future risks of large licensing fees and escalating maintenance costs.”

[3] University of Georgia Announces uPortal-Based MyUGA Student Portal

According to Rehan Khan, associate CIO, University of Georgia, the uPortal open source solution provided the University with a secure and scalable enterprise platform with the capability to evolve and expand online services in the future.

[4] Open Source Digital Music Library SW from IU

Indiana University has released open source software, called Variations, that allows you to create a digital music library system. College and university libraries may digitize audio and musical scores to provide to their users in an interactive, online environment, including streaming audio and scanned score images.

[5] Indiana U offers open source digital music library software

Indiana University today announces the release of open source software to create a digital music library system. The software, called Variations, provides online access to streaming audio and scanned score images in support of teaching, learning, and research.

[6] Linux Makes the Grade

Today, more than 100,000 Indiana school kids (in all, 300,000 high schoolers are slated to receive one) have their own $298 computer and monitor with numerous free software applications, and, in turn, schools across the state have secure, reliable, sophisticated server systems thanks to Linux-based open source technology.    

[7] New Chicago-Indiana Computer Network Plugs Into Open Science Grid

The Grid uses Scientific Linux CERN 3 (SLC3) for most of its operations which is a derivative of ScientificLinux. ScientificLinux is based on Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

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7 Comments

  1. Charles Oliver said,

    June 22, 2009 at 8:52 am

    Gravatar

    Microsoft must surely, at some point in time, reach a limit on the amount of cash they can spend on attempting to push out free software.

    Historically, Microsoft might well have destroyed competition by short term tactics like this but that won’t work with Linux, they will have to keep their corporate foot on the gas peddle forever. As soon as they stop free software will come bouncing back to the surface. The longer they continue freebies and giveaways the more they will need to charge for their software to pay for it.

    I don’t see how, in the long term, this can be a winning formula for Microsoft.

  2. Roy Schestowitz said,

    June 22, 2009 at 8:59 am

    Gravatar

    I don’t see how, in the long term, this can be a winning formula for Microsoft.

    Neither can Microsoft, which is why it considers Free software the #1 threat (for many consecutive years).

  3. twitter said,

    June 22, 2009 at 9:28 am

    Gravatar

    I’d like to add this Indiana reference I captured seven months ago. It is very funny that M$ is touting a 1998 agreement as “ground breaking” when it was clear in 2001 that public school computer labs were a wasted investment. Average students got less than an hour a week using them. Pity such a scare and expensive resource would be used to train people in M$ Word. Indiana has saved tens of millions of dollars by using free software while moving to more useful one laptop per child programs. They are an example to the rest of the country and world. Why is it that a program that can save the US schools billions of dollars a year is not front page news everywhere?

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Who would make money from such news?

    Andrew Reply:

    Probably somebody’s relative(s)/friend(s) is getting “vigorish” for under the table kickbacks. Business as usual (sic).

  4. Sean Tilley said,

    June 22, 2009 at 6:08 pm

    Gravatar

    I honestly fail to see the problem here.

    “Governor Pat Quinn today joined Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer at the Chicagoland Chamber’s Annual Meeting to announce a major public-private partnership between Microsoft and the State of Illinois to provide free technology training for up to 51,000 Illinoisans, starting July 31″

    Microsoft, as corrupt as the FOSS community likes to label them, is spending money on helping people interested in pursuing technology development by giving them free training. It might not be beautiful training, but it’s free training nonetheless in technology development. Honestly, Microsoft could donate food and shelter to starving people and you’d claim it were some horrible ploy.

    pcolon Reply:

    Free Training? It’s written off in taxes. Microsoft never does anything without an angle. After all, they must look out after the shareholders.

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