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Fears About Microsoft Return, in Mexico 238

Posted by timothy
from the but-what-is-that-in-pesos dept.
Z` points to this New York Times article, which begins: "While Bill Gates, chairman of Microsoft, defended the company against charges of monopolistic practices before Congress this week, legislators in Mexico City prepared their own attack against a new agreement by Microsoft and the Mexican government that could drive millions of new Internet users into Microsoft's waiting arms by the end of the year."
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Fears About Microsoft Return, in Mexico

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  • Re:Open Source (Score:2, Informative)

    by mxpengin (516866) on Sunday April 28, 2002 @09:07AM (#3424260) Homepage
    Yes, But If you read with attention it's "Mexico City" who adopted Linux. And they did it fine( I live in Mexico City and have looked at it :) ).
    Mexico City is ruled by a different political party (PRD [prd.org.mx])than the hole country (PAN [pan.org.mx]). And the deal is about E-mexico [e-mexico.gob.mx] , A program to put on-line all the Federal Government, and to privide on line access to ALL the mexicans.
    As a mexican Its a shame that Fox accepted this deal, and there a lot of people here trying to push this back.
  • Re:Contraband (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 28, 2002 @09:13AM (#3424275)
    I wonder if the future will find Mexican copies of Windows, sold for pennies on the dollar.

    Here in Nuevo León in the North of Mexico one of the richest states, this is commonplace already. In a poor state in the South finding a legal Windows copy would be like finding a needle in a hay-stack I figure.

    Also, I've heard of business here that were being visited by the BSA and were faced fines if they didn't get licenses for the software they were using illegaly. Licenses were offered at far below market prices. I don't have to tell you what tactic some businesses have adopted as a way of getting legal software...

  • by alexhmit01 (104757) on Sunday April 28, 2002 @09:24AM (#3424299)
    Communism fell for two reasons.
    1. It can be (in all but the most theoretical case) less efficient for consumers than capitalism.
    2. It was adopted by agrarian societies.

    Marx's theories were NOT that communism was an alternative to capitalism. Just as capitalism evolved out of mercantilism (which evolved out of feudalism), capitalism would evolve INTO socialism/communism. Marx NEVER advocated that poor countries should become communists. The problem was that poorer countries have people that are less inclined to believe in capitalism, and get more focused on grabbing and taking the little wealth that is there for themselves. Capitalism takes a long time to reach the mature point that the US topped off in in the mid-late 20th century. Its only then that there is heavy upward mobility available to all.

    Western Europe and to some extent the United States supports this theory. As countries develop stronger economies and wealthier societies, they start deciding that the capitalistic reality of winners and losers is "bad." You end up with ridiculous crap like national health care or other instances of a welfare state (socializing parts of the country).

    When enough members of society decide that they would rather eliminate winners and losers by all being losers, you drift into socialism.

    Marx inspired soviet communism, but their command economy functioned more like fascism. Compare the US and Russia in 1917, then look at how well the Soviets kept up for the next 60 years.

    A simplified explanation: An economy can spend money on capital goods (which help you produce more goods in the future) or consumer goods (which are consumed now, making people happier). The US economy is somewhere on the order of 90%-95% consumer goods. The Soviet Union did something like 30% capital goods. They forced a growth of industry. The problem was the lines for food; 10 year waits for cars, etc. They under produced stuff for their citizens. Additionally, production wasn't focused on the Darwinian process of capitalism (where production is normally demand focused, though advertising can be used to try to shift demand), but on the whims of the central command. This is where communism is VERY inefficient; people produce what a committee tells them. In a capitalistic world, every company has its own committees. Those that produce the wrong stuff suffer, if they produce the right stuff they do well. That's the capitalism advantage.

    The issue of success motivation is a more minor point though it makes a better "US-vs-THEM" split in the American mind. It does retard the efforts of SOME of the top brains/innovators who don't think/innovate without a profit motive. However, most talented people try to succeed, regardless of the incentive, so this is more of a minor point. OTOH, without the profit incentive, it's a lot harder to think that we'd bust ass 60 hrs/week instead of just getting by like everyone else. So you definitely lose something there.

    Communism was never intended to "replace" capitalism by the violent revolutions that it was. It was supposed to be the workers throwing down their chains in DEVELOPED countries and seizing control. They would remove the capitalists from the equation (investors who just provide money) and let the people own their own means of production.

    To do so, you NEED mean of production to seize. Therefore, you become communistic AFTER the capitalists build in the economy. In this scenario, there are already lots of things for people. If the US were to become a Marxist state right now, we'd probably all be less upset. We'd have our current standard of livings. Sure we'd stop the improvements in our standard of living, but we'd be doing so now, not with the standard of livings that the Czars left their people with.

    I do not, BTW, advocate communism in the least. I'm thrilled that Reagan discredited it by showing the Soviet Union's economy to be a farce. The military buildup and arms race forced a growing percentage of the economy to be for the military and military industrial complex. The strong American economy could weather this, the weak paper economy of the Soviets collapsed under the pressure to produce more military goods, further stifling the consumer "economy" leading to massive dissatisfaction. The lack of profit incentives (that do affect medium sized business, though larger businesses tend to become really bureaucratic empire builders) masked a lot of corruption that caused the economy to be much smaller than the planners envisioned.

    However, in being an unabashed capitalist, I do read. You should know the positions of others and their role in history. Simply writing comments like that indicate a lack in education. Try to study the liberal arts more and you'll be a more well rounded person (and in a different way that most techies become rounded over time).
  • by greg2000 (558606) on Sunday April 28, 2002 @09:30AM (#3424310)
    Although I'm from the UK, a developed country. I, a school student couldn't help but notice that the sheer volume of M$ software in the schools is phenomenal. It seems only fitting to expose another one of their abusive stunts they pull in this thread. The tactis they seem to deploy is "Give it away cheap to all of the educational institutions so they don't know how to use anything but M$ products when they leave". I wonder if they'll try and pull a stunt like this in Mexico. My School, for example, has an M$ windows NT workstation with every app that Microsoft has made. I (foolishly) tried to bring in an Open Office document to use on the School's network and I had to go to the Sysop who had a computer with it on (his own, the only .nix box in the school). When I asked him about it he replied "Because it's cheap and nowerdays nobody knows how to use anything but it, neither are they willing". If they do something like this in a developing country (which they undoubtably will and are probably doing now) I can only inagine the damage it could do, especially when the BSA scumbags start putting the Kybosh on unlicenced software users.
  • Re:Ugh. (Score:2, Informative)

    by rnd() (118781) on Sunday April 28, 2002 @09:51AM (#3424361) Homepage
    stop being so idealistic. Mexico will benefit from Microsoft technology. Microsoft has the leverage ($$) to enter into the software business in Mexico as a business investment. You don't see OSS doing that on a large scale.

    Increased awareness and familiarity with software & technology will make Mexicans more likely to embrace OSS in the long run, for exactly the reasons you mention, and for the same reasons that most of us embrace it.

    This kind of OSS elitism is really absurd in this case b/c Microsoft products generally have better UI standardization and they are generally easier to learn/integrate, plus they are embraced by more businesses, which makes them more valuable for those seeking (mostly non-technical) jobs.

    The creation of jobs and economic development (creating a new market hungry for Windows, X-Boxes, and Office 2004) is what Microsoft's initiative is all about.

    Let's not lament this. It is a Good Thing. More software --> more nerds --> better /. discussions. Comprende?

  • by Reziac (43301) on Sunday April 28, 2002 @10:46AM (#3424497) Homepage Journal
    Mexican justice tends to be somewhat more draconian than U.S. justice. If M$ pulls anything illegal while M$ personnel are in reach, said personnel could find themselves chucked into prison for some indeterminate period, and a judicial system that runs on, um, grease can be quite immune to any external influence it feels an urge to ignore.

  • by Abreu (173023) on Sunday April 28, 2002 @12:16PM (#3424831)
    That's pretty frightening. He really sounds like the Mexican Microsoft only with his hands much much deeper in the country's life. It seems that, at least until Vicente Fox came on the scene, nobody has been willing (or more likely able) to do anything about it.

    We mexicans would wish Fox would do something about it. But they (Slim, Fox and Gates) are actually on very good terms.

    Slim, besides having an iron grip on the fixed line and cellular telephony, owns the largest ISP in Mexico (prodigy.net.mx), a conglomarate of the largest mexican supermarket chains (Walmart Mexico, Aurrera, Superama and Sam's Club Mexico), 3 restaurant chains, several mining ventures, a large copper alloy foundry, an aluminum foundry, a copper wire manufacturer, a rubber and tire manufacturer, the largest tobacco manufacturer (making, amongst other brands, Marlboro cigarrettes for Latin America)... the list goes on and on.

    He is also on the board for the national petroleum and electricity companies (which are state-owned but receive advise from private businessmen).

    In short, this guy is not only the richest guy in Latin America, but one of the most powerful people in Mexico. All for a guy who has publicly said that he has no use for email or for a computer on his desk...
  • by jamirocake (456380) <mgarcia2 AT binghamton DOT edu> on Sunday April 28, 2002 @01:40PM (#3425113) Homepage Journal
    His name is Carlos Slim [google.com], and he actually owns the only Phone company in Mexico -Telmex [telmex.com.mx]- (there is another one Avantel [avantel.com.mx], but they only offer long distance) and he owns as well the biggest ISP (Prodigy [prodigy.com.mx]) and as well is the major head at CompUSA [compusa.com] (funny: CompUSA is actually a Mexican company!).

    To close the circle look at the Prodigy [prodigy.com.mx] website! Now the relationship between Slim and MSN is clear and that this whole thing is being played by "special intersts".

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