Bonum Certa Men Certa

Cablegate: How Microsoft Apparently Attacked GNU/Linux Adoption in Turkey


Summary: A cable from around the same time of a government deal with Microsoft sheds light on what American diplomats were thinking or plotting

IN EARLY 2009 we showed that Microsoft signed a bizarre deal with the Turkish government, immediately harming the nation's adoption of GNU/Linux through government-funded efforts such as the Pardus GNU/Linux distribution. Now we have a Cablegate cable from around the same time. It says that Microsoft's deal "appears to be an opportunistic business development effort presented to President Berdimuhamedov in an attempt to solidify its standing in the local market (reftel). At the same time, the project will provide Microsoft with solid foothold in Turkmenistan's small, but grossly underserved market."

Here is the full cable:

VZCZCXRO7552 RR RUEHAST RUEHFL RUEHLA RUEHLN RUEHMRE RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSK RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG DE RUEHAH #0138 0290321 ZNR UUUUU ZZH R 290321Z JAN 09 FM AMEMBASSY ASHGABAT TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 2217 INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE RUCNOSC/OSCE POST COLLECTIVE RUEHLM/AMEMBASSY COLOMBO 0540 RUEHKA/AMEMBASSY DHAKA 0560 RUEHIL/AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD 2254 RUEHBUL/AMEMBASSY KABUL 1001 RUEHKT/AMEMBASSY KATHMANDU 0276 RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI 1047 RUEHCG/AMCONSUL CHENNAI 0188 RUEHKP/AMCONSUL KARACHI 0237 RUEHCI/AMCONSUL KOLKATA 0159 RUEHLH/AMCONSUL LAHORE 0173 RUEHBI/AMCONSUL MUMBAI 0198 RUEHPW/AMCONSUL PESHAWAR 0511 RHMFIUU/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC//DHO-2/REA/NMJIC-J2// RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC RUETIAA/NSA FORT MEADE MD RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC//J5/RUE// RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC UNCLAS ASHGABAT 000138 SENSITIVE SIPDIS STATE FOR SCA/CEN, EUR/ACE, EEB AID/W FOR EE/EA E.O. 12958: N/A TAGS: PGOV, PREL, EAID, ECON, ETRD, TX SUBJECT: MICROSOFT/POLIMEKS DEVELOPING TURKMEN DICTIONARY REF: 08 ASHGABAT 483 1. (U) Sensitive but unclassified. Not for public Internet. 2. (SBU) Post has learned that Microsoft, with support from Turkish construction firm Policom Istanbul (known locally as "Polimeks"), has apparently agreed to develop a Turkmen language dictionary and relevant software in cooperation with the Supreme Council on Science and Technology (SCST) and Turkmenistan's Agricultural University. The project reportedly will be funded jointly by Polimeks and Microsoft over a 20-month period beginning in May 2009. 3. (SBU) The local representative of an international donor agency told Post that President Berdimuhamedov approved the proposal for Microsoft, with support from Polimeks, to develop the dictionary and relevant software. He then sent instructions to the SCST to implement the project. The Academy of Sciences' Translation and Dictionary Department and the Agricultural University's International Relations Department will assist in the project. According to our source, a meeting to discuss the project took place on January 24 between SCST Deputy Chairwoman Akjeren Allanurova and the following participants: -- Isolina Pommier, Microsoft Strategy Manager (Redmond, Washington); -- Jim Levi, Microsoft Public Sector Regional Leader, Central & Eastern Europe (Germany); and -- Bora Kutla, Assistant General Manager, Policom Istanbul (Ashgabat). 4. (SBU) COMMENT: Our source, who maintains close contact with a range of government interlocutors, mentioned that the government partners for this project have questioned its potential value and the priority it has received. Taken in the context of Polimeks' business strategy and recent award to develop a "technopark" in Ashgabat, Polimeks' involvement appears to be an opportunistic business development effort presented to President Berdimuhamedov in an attempt to solidify its standing in the local market (reftel). At the same time, the project will provide Microsoft with solid foothold in Turkmenistan's small, but grossly underserved market. END COMMENT. MILES

"Translation" is a Trojan horse we've seen Microsoft use in south America and Africa (countries like Peru or Chile). Microsoft ignores markets and languages and when they start moving to GNU/Linux Microsoft suddenly makes some linguistics-esque announcement and roars very loud for those countries to abandon their GNU/Linux efforts. This usually works.

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