05.24.09

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Microsoft Goes Political

Posted in America, Asia, Microsoft at 1:14 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Cuban transport

Summary: The importance of technological independence is demonstrated by Microsoft’s latest nationalist move

CUBA gradually moves to GNU/Linux and Microsoft may not like it much. But at a higher level there is also an embargo and fear, so it’s only natural to expect limited cooperation across the borders.

McCain was willing to make Steve Ballmer his ambassador in China (if elected) and Yahoo, like Microsoft, was cooperating with the Chinese government much to the dismay of some US politicians. Now there is this:

Microsoft blocks Messenger in US-embargoed countries

This issue is a very odd one: it’s not clear that Microsoft was ordered to make this change, so what made the company decide that US-embargoed countries aren’t worthy of Messenger? Why now? To my knowledge, other Microsoft applications and websites still work (and if they don’t, it likely isn’t Microsoft doing the blocking), so what makes Messenger special? It’s actually quite disappointing that a large company as influential as Microsoft would make such a controversial move: Messenger is a medium for communication, and the citizens of these countries should not be punished from such a basic tool because the US has problems with their governments’ policies.

Microsoft cuts IM service to five ‘hostile’ nations

Users in Cuba, Syria, Iran, Sudan and North Korea no longer have access to Microsoft’s Windows Live Messenger

[...]

Microsoft wouldn’t comment on why it chose to shut down the service at this time, or how long people in those countries had been able to access Windows Live Messenger. Microsoft said it does not currently do business with those countries.

Here is the discussion in Slashdot and the Microsoft-oriented Neowin or Mary-Jo’s blog. More information can be found in:

They might pretend that it’s just a glitch, but the lack of comment from Microsoft more or less refutes this. Here is a real glitch from the news:

Microsoft Warns Of SharePoint 2007 SP2 Glitch

Microsoft has discovered a major bug in Office SharePoint Server 2007 Service Pack 2 that renders SharePoint inaccessible after 180 days, and the company says it’s working on a hotfix.

Who ever said that software has no nationalist aspects to it? That, among other reasons, is why taking control of one’s computing is important (no proprietary software, no Fog Computing). IT independence can be even more vital at times of active confrontation. Some days ago we wrote about kill switches.

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