Bonum Certa Men Certa

Microsoft Breaks the Law, Then 'Settles' by Elbowing Free/Libre Software

Boxer



Summary: Santa Clara County schools will need to purchase more software (proprietary) after a settlement that's hardly a punishment for Microsoft's illegal activities

IT IS "FUNNY MONEY" season just before the year closes. Yes, a Microsoft victim is once again bragging about some so-called 'settlement' which leaves much to be desired. We have found many reports about it, mostly from California where schools were reportedly too slow (if not late) to claim Microsoft's debt to them.



Most headlines refer to the news as "settlement money" or "technology money" [1, 2, 3] while the headline from the Bill Gates-funded 'press' makes it sound like Microsoft does its 'donation' thing when it "Pays for School Tech."

Too much focus is put on the sum of money [1, 2] and too little about how it must be spent. As one report put it:

Funding for the first and second phase is used in the same manner. Half of the Cy Pres awards come in the form of general-purpose vouchers to reimburse school districts for the purchases of eligible computer hardware, information technology support services, professional development services for teachers and a broad array of computer software.

The other half comes in the form of specific category software vouchers that reimburse school districts for the purchase of only particular types of software.


What "particular types of software" would that be? It does not specify. For those in need of some background, here is a portion of another report:

The settlement comes from a 1999 lawsuit in which businesses and consumers charged that Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) engaged in unfair business practices in selling certain systems.


Microsoft basically broke the law to drive competitors out of the market and then hike the costs. Why is Microsoft even around after obviously engaging in illegal activity? Because the way the law works, if Microsoft can pay "settlement" money to the plaintiff, then the case goes away. It's just like a bribe, but they call it a "settlement" because it sounds so much more benign (like "licensing" versus "racketeering"). To put the scale of this bribe in perspective, we're talking about a rate of $5.31 per pupil in one case. What's the real toll of a kid being grown up to be enslaved by Microsoft software? This is surely disproportional.

Santa Clara County schools will receive nearly $821,000 for technology purchases, and San Mateo County schools will receive nearly $306,000, in the second phase of a settlement of an antitrust lawsuit against Microsoft.

The funds benefit schools that applied for a portion of the settlement. The awards, granted at a rate of $5.31 per pupil, range from less than $100 for small continuation schools to $18,141 for Independence High School in San Jose, which has about 3,400 students.

[...]

Schools receive the funding in the form of vouchers they can use for technology purchases -- and not just ones sold by Microsoft. Half of the value of the vouchers must be used for particular software.


And there are strings attached to it. As prodigy educator Diane Ravitch put it the other day (we'll come back to it later), "[i]nsisting on controlling the use of one's gift of money is another low form of philanthropy. Today's givers want to control others' lives." Ravitch referred specifically to education and added: "Insisting on recognition for philanthropy (cf. Mark Zuckerberg) is the lowest form of philanthropy. It is ego-driven."

Ravitch is critical of both Gates and Zuckerberg, but that is a subject for another day. The huge damage the Gates Foundation is doing to public education is a massively-underrated subject which is suppressed through actual control of the media (e.g. sponsoring journalists). In the case of the schools above, they can't use Free/libre software if a software purchase is strictly required. Coincidence? Maybe. This is is not mentioned by anyone and not even the self-serving strings are mentioned a lot of the time, with exceptions:

Schools that serve large numbers of poor children are getting new money to pay for technology as the state releases $25 million through the second phase of a legal settlement with Microsoft, the California Department of Education announced today.

[...]

The awards come in the form of vouchers to reimburse school districts for buying computer hardware, information technology support services, professional development services for teachers, and computer software.


As usual, the biggest winners in these cases are the lawyers. Moreover, Microsoft manipulates the settlement so as to make it self-serving (to Microsoft). It does not really pay fines if those fines have to be redeemed in particular ways.

Recent Techrights' Posts

[Video] Trainline Finally Issues a Refund, But It Took 9 Days and Showed How 'Modern' Systems Fail Travelers
They treat people like a bunch of animals or cattle, not like valuable customers
 
Links 12/04/2024: Big Brother in the Workplace and Profectus Browser Alpha 0.3
Links for the day
WIPO UDRP D2024-0770 Debian vendetta response
Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock
Links 12/04/2024: Reporters Without Borders Rep Kicked Out of Hong Kong
Links for the day
Gemini Links 12/04/2024: Funny Thing, Manual Scripts, and More
Links for the day
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
IRC Proceedings: Thursday, April 11, 2024
IRC logs for Thursday, April 11, 2024
DebConf22 Kosovo segregation of women exposed
Reprinted with permission from disguised.work
Links 11/04/2024: Web Diversity and More Crackdowns in Russia
Links for the day
Gemini Links 11/04/2024: Activity and Motivation in Geminispace, gwit Implementations
Links for the day
First They Came for Iranian Developers...
Red Hat/IBM and 'cancel culture'
[Video] A Debian Project Leader Needs to Also be a Technical Project Leader
We do not vouch for one (or none) horse in this race
Aggressive Efforts (and Threats) for Those Who Speak About What Happened in the Balkans
Acting in this way in an effort to censor people typically results in a second scandal on top of the original scandal
How Kosovo won DebConf21
Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock
[Video] How the Media Blamed SSH and Linux (for Nearly a Whole Fortnight!) Instead of Microsoft's GitHub and Systemd
Microsoft-connected sites have said a whole bunch of lies
Anzacathon: a hackathon for Anzac day at home
Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, April 10, 2024
IRC logs for Wednesday, April 10, 2024
On Julian Assange, Now 5 Years in Belmarsh Prison: The Good News, the Bad News, and Ugly Noise
Some time this spring (or summer) we'll revisit the Appelbaum case
Links 10/04/2024: Starvation as Weapon in Sudan, Sonos v. ITC Explained
Links for the day
Gemini Links 10/04/2024: JSON explore and geminiprotocol.net Downtime
Links for the day
Links 09/04/2024: Netflix Layoffs and Cox Will Try to Bring Copyright Liability of ISPs to SCOTUS
Links for the day
Links 10/04/2024: Biden Reportedly Considers Dropping the Charges Against Julian Assange
Links for the day
Wikileaks, Dickileaks & Ubuntu Underage girl
Reprinted with permission from the Free Software Fellowship
Gemini Links 10/04/2024: Tanana River, Picotron, and Citation on Gemini
Links for the day
Elio Qoshi & Redon Skikuli missing from OSCAL agenda
Reprinted with permission from the Free Software Fellowship
Links 10/04/2024: TikTok Trouble, East Asian Companies Receive Subsidies From American Taxpayers
Links for the day
This is What Techrights Would Look Like If We Participated in 'CSS Naked Day'
All cascading style sheets (CSS) should be optional
Microsoft Hiring People Who Attempt to Murder Colleagues
magnet for sociopaths
Francophone GNU/Linux
Moving in a positive direction
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, April 09, 2024
IRC logs for Tuesday, April 09, 2024
Over-Enforcement of a Code of Conduct (CoC) Would Ruin Events, Maybe Not for Corporate Posters, Sponsors, Posers, and Speakers
a shrine for corporate supremacy
The "F" in Free Software Doesn't Stand for "Censorship"; Attempts to Censor Mere Links to Articles About DebConf22 in Kosovo
It's about an article we'll reproduce here later this week
Daniele Scasciafratte & Mozilla, OSCAL, Albania dating
Reprinted with permission from the Free Software Fellowship
Gemini Links 10/04/2024: Notifications, Motivation, Profectus Graphical Browser for the Smallnet
Links for the day
Abuse & Sex Crimes at FOSDEM and Open Source tech events
Reprinted with permission from the Free Software Fellowship