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South Africa Gets an Offer Too Hard to Refuse, Taken Over by Microsoft Lobbyists

Hubris-infected anti-ODF brigadiers

The other day we mentioned South Africa because of its decision to embrace OpenDocument format. Shortly afterwards we spotted Microsoft's plan to pay a little visit to this country. Coincidence? Maybe.

Look what comes from Rob Weir at the moment -- or rather -- what comes from Microsoft lobbyists at this moment, specifically in South Africa. Andy Updegrove spotted this rather bizarre press release from the home of Mr. "you are well paid, shut up".

Another neo-colonialist press release from Microsoft's CompTIA lobbying arm, this time inveighing against South Africa's adoption of ODF as a national standard. One way to point out the absurdity of their logic is to replace the reference to ODF with references to any other useful standard that a government might adopt, like electrical standards.


Microsoft can never let things just rest, can it? Will someone be bullied again? We have already seen CompTIA and Microsoft doing their tag-team act in Malaysia, which is moving to ODF and OpenOffice.org. To be fair, even former Microsoft evangelist, Robert Scoble, is now dumping Microsoft Office, amid times of sinking sales for Microsoft's cash cows.

My Microsoft Office trial is over. I am not spending $450 just to get Outlook. Gmail and Google Calendar win this game: big time.


South Africa is not just being approached by Microsoft's lobbying arm. Sun has just offered South Africa StarOffice for virtually free (it's already free in Google Pack).

As government begins its move to the Open Document Format (ODF) standard, Sun Microsystems CEO Jonathan Schwartz has offered President Thabo Mbeki as many copies of StarOffice his office requires for a total cost of just $1.00.

[...]

Beveridge explains that the biggest implemetation project currently underway within the South African government is the move to ODF.


At the end of the day, it all boils down to choice -- the choice between applications and vendors based on price and value. It's not about choice of standards (which are about universality, not diversity of standards that basically beat their own purpose). The world already has a standard and it's called ODF. Perception and marketing play a role here and the false belief that Microsoft Office is indispensable is only further perpetuated by blind (or blinded) journalists like our 'old friend' Rich Tehranim who sill writes for TMCNet. Consider this old story a nice analogy.

In the May edition of CTI (Computer-Telephone Integration) magazine, publisher Rich Tehrani paints a slick, simplistic view of the CTI industry. He claims that CTI is moving from a proprietary set of vendor-oriented platforms, to an "open" PC-based architecture. He praises this supposed openness, saying, "There's open, and then there's OPEN!" However, Mr. Tehrani is hiding the truth. That depends on what meaning of the word open is.

[...]

With devious publishers like Rich Tehrani dominating the CTI magazine publishing space, forcing out writers that support real openness and real freedom of choice, most buyers of CTI technology have no idea that they are being maneuvered and hoodwinked into supporting a closed, choiceless world. It's coconspirators like Rich Tehrani and his TMC (Technology Media Publishing) that make Microsoft's greed and power lust work effectively to kill consumer and business choice.


How little things have changed.

"There will always be ignorance, and ignorance leads to fear. But with time, people will come to accept their silicon masters."

--Bill Gates

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