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Microsoft Teaches the Public That Free is Illegal

Summary: Shameless tactics from Microsoft describe Free software as "piracy" and now an "endemic problem"

THE PREVIOUS POST showed that Microsoft is hoping to eradicate software which is available free of charge. Specifically, it was about Free software. The freedom enabled by this software is less relevant to Microsoft and is therefore less of a concern. Microsoft must introduce scarcity, or else people might -- God forbid -- realise that they do not need to pay for an operating system and office suite.



Get legal. Get OpenOffice.orgA disinformation campaign seems to be a weapon of choice. Microsoft's "Delta Team" presentation still requires a point-by-point rebuttal. "It's telling that slide 2 shows the definition used by Microsoft, and thus F.A.S.T. and B.S.A., for piracy means any and all non-Microsoft software," tells us one reader. We have already shown examples where the BSA is doing this. Another person writes:



Seems obvious to me what's going on here, but I'll bite.

They're simply trying to make it seem like using anything for free (in their terminology, pirating) is wrong. They want to create this (false) impression that all software directly has some form of strictly monetary value because when people realize that there's no sensible reason to pay for basic software (like operating system, desktop environment, productivity apps), they'll all of a sudden realize how (stupid) it is to pay hundreds of dollars when it's so easy to make. So they try to brand it as badly as they can by calling it pirating so they can hang on to their outdated business model.

It's not the first time MS has used this truth-distorting tactic. They've also tried to redefine open standards to allow for patent-protected software. See: http://politics.slashdot.org/story/09/08/03/130254/Micro...

Of course, even they know that it's wrong, but the audience they're preaching to is probably too dumb to realize and/or enamored by those dirty marketing bastards. And if it were actually true, it wouldn't be so vague anyways


Similarly, Microsoft seeks to create confusion by substituting cost with suitability for work. It's the old "commercial" versus "proprietary" lie, which is spread by Bill Gates.

“This also leads to locking down of the Internet and banning of media/protocols that are used for perfectly-legitimate purposes like distribution of Free software.”The FSF complained about these tactics in a recent RIAA case, saying the people were (mis)educated so as to believe that sharing was inherently wrong. This also leads to locking down of the Internet and banning of media/protocols that are used for perfectly-legitimate purposes like distribution of Free software.

Guess who else has just joined this campaign against "free" -- one that portrays "free" as bad? It's Microsoft's mouthpiece [1, 2] Rob Enderle, who says that there is an "Endemic Problem with Free Products."

It's important to be aware that Microsoft is knowingly engaging in this type of propaganda whose aim is to daemonise not only "libre" but "free of charge" too. The same applies to Microsoft's own ecosystem where inexpensive applications are now frowned upon.

The Inquirer writes about Microsoft's rather suicidal move. It will start charging more British people for the use of Office. For a long time, Microsoft has relied on illegal copying as means of spreading its software even amongst impoverished populations, but not anymore, apparently.

The benevolent programme (*cough*) will see the firm offer Office users in the UK and twelve other countries the chance to validate their copy through official sources, while also regularly asking whether that's something they would like to do, you know, just in case.

[...]

The upcoming release of Microsoft Office has additional anti-piracy measures designed to stop over-licensing, including volume activation tools for IT managers. This is pitched as better enabling firms to manage their applications software inventories, but we all know what the Vole means.


It's not really "piracy", which means something else altogether. And based on coverage from The Register, John McCreesh rightly suggests that this is a huge opportunity for Free software. [via Glyn Moody]

Microsoft reveals huge potential market for open source



According to Microsoft anti-piracy guru Keith Beeman quoted in El Reg:

In 2008, 41 percent of software on the world’s PCs was obtained illegally or used without a license… That equates to more than $50bn in losses for the global software ecosystem.



Microsoft makes a mistake by "cracking down" right now. As Bill Gates put it, "It's easier for our software to compete with Linux when there's piracy than when there's not." The same applies to OpenOffice.org.

"OpenOffice.org has long campaigned for Microsoft to put more effort into stamping out software piracy, especially through effective anti-piracy controls in its software," concludes McCreesh.

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