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Fears About Microsoft Return, in Mexico 238

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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  • ...foreign countries taking Microsoft to task now that the US DoJ has led the way.

    i hope they do it with more backbone than the DoJ showed.
  • Subscription (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jocks ( 56885 ) on Sunday April 28, 2002 @08:12AM (#3424175) Homepage
    This has to be a first step for Microsoft to move towards subscription based software.

    The administration sees its deal with Microsoft as a donation. The critics say the gift is not free: they estimate that the fees Microsoft will collect, which are not specified in the contract, will exceed $30 million.

    The fees may initially be just for consultancy to install their own software but I would be highly suspicious of Microsoft's long term intentions towards the installed software base.

    Once the software is installed and Microsoft has royalties, it would be almost impossible to bring in alternatives. The cost of a change to another product would be higher than the royalty and why would you want to when you always have the latest and greatest from Microsoft on your desktop.

    Unless this strategy is stopped in it's tracks, we will be facing an almost insurmoutable barrier to entry for any other system.
  • by DirtyDuck ( 540166 ) on Sunday April 28, 2002 @08:17AM (#3424183)
    It's clear that what Microsoft is doing is securing markets outside of the first world nations by giving away much now and reaping the benefits later.

    This makes perfect sense for Microsoft. After all, if they are forced to change Windows in the US marketplace you can bet that other contries which see IT as a way to improve their economic conditions and will gladly jump at the chance for some 'free' software from Microsoft will not sue them later for monopolistic practices.

    It also seems that these contries which are developing fast are almost dazzled by the Microsoft marketing and spin machine and don't realise the long term consequences of their actions.

    I suspect this is a slightly larger symptom of the same problem that some companies face. The high level executives are dazzled and wooed by Microsoft and the order goes out to use only Microsoft products.

    Also, don't forget that Vicente Fox has promised this will be complete by the end of his term in office and Microsoft proably swore that it would be done in time.
  • by rafelbev ( 194458 ) on Sunday April 28, 2002 @08:22AM (#3424189) Homepage Journal
    Microsoft have always used the tactic of making it a point to be the first thing the user experiences when computing. Thus, they get people hooked with the Microsoft way of doing things. Once you get people used to the system, it is highly unlikely that you move out.. for two reasons.

    1) It just works (TM) factor
    2) I already paid. Why switch ?

    This is probably one the few chances of experiencing an "alternative" product to a fresh group of people. Would be interesting to see how "easy" people would find it to use these systems, since, Microsoft technology would then be the alien product which you have to re-learn.
  • Ugh. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by digitect ( 217483 ) <digitect@DEGASda ... om minus painter> on Sunday April 28, 2002 @08:22AM (#3424190)

    I don't know if it's just me, or if I've been hanging out on SlashDot too long... this article makes me feel sick.

    Can it really be that we're the only ones who see Microsoft's business "initiatives" for what they really are--predatory monopolisitc struggles to rule the world? Or have we all become stained by reading SlashDot and they really mean well?

    IMO, Mexico is the perfect place for Open Source software. It's a real shame that portions of the Mexican government can't see their opportunity to leapfrog existing software technologies and jump into the first world.

  • by sweet reason ( 16681 ) <> on Sunday April 28, 2002 @08:37AM (#3424216) Homepage
    It's clear that what Microsoft is doing is securing markets outside of the first world nations by giving away much now and reaping the benefits later.

    M$ has learned from the purveyors of tobacco and infant formula.
  • by Thenomain ( 537937 ) on Sunday April 28, 2002 @09:13AM (#3424276) Homepage

    "Good for my business" can also be "monopolistic" and is often "manipulative". The valid points most people make about Microsoft is they give with one hand and take with the other. Or: They give with both hands, hang around and stop anyone else trying to help you out because only THEY are allowed to help you out, and because of that you owe THEM for all your independence and the better state of your life. And this is "good business move", but only for that business.

  • by joib ( 70841 ) on Sunday April 28, 2002 @09:53AM (#3424364)
    Well, it's like dope dealers: "The first hit is free". And tobacco multinationals giving free cigarettes to schoolchildren in countries where it's not forbidden etc.

    I don't blame Microsoft. It's a company after all. It's mission is to increase the value of its stock. Not to feel sorry for people without net access.

    The blame falls entirely on the mexican government. For _believing_ MS marketing bullshit and doing some shady backroom deal with MS. Instead of a proper public tendering where they could have compared the TCO of a MS solution with other solutions. I find it hard to believe that the TCO of a MS solution would be lower than, say, one using the linux terminal server project and second hand hardware.
  • by Phil Hands ( 2365 ) on Sunday April 28, 2002 @11:15AM (#3424595) Homepage
    If Microsoft sold fish, this deal would be equivalent to being taught how to fill out the MS order form for your next fish consignement, and being given a discount on your first order (but still paying enough to cover the cost of the training and the fish).

    If they kept their money, and spent it on training people as GNU/Linux trainers, they would have taught themselves to fish, and would soon be in a possition to export their fishing skills to the world, including the USA.

    I know which I'd prefer if I were Mexican.

    And of course, this is in a free software ocean that cannot be over-fished. It actually becomes more productive, the more people fish it.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 28, 2002 @11:25AM (#3424636)
    Just like the tobacco industry.

    - Hook 'em while their young.
    - The first pack is free. After that ...
    - The wealthier a country is, the more educated the average population is, the more choices they have. The less they will smoke. so move on to the 3rd world.
    - Convince people that using your product is cool through flashy marketing.
  • Re:Ugh. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by rnd() ( 118781 ) on Sunday April 28, 2002 @01:45PM (#3425130) Homepage
    Mexico is going to be paying a lot for their Microsoft brand herion

    That's rediculous. Once you have a PC you can load whatever OS you want on it. Microsoft has the mass appeal necessary to drive down prices and create the development of infrastructure.

    Linux is revolutionary, but not for the masses (yet). I believe the masses will embrace linux soon, but why boo hoo Microsoft's effort to open up a new market. This could be a win-win situation for Mexico & Microsoft.

  • by first axiom ( 311777 ) <slashdot@jorge-o ... inus threevowels> on Sunday April 28, 2002 @02:00PM (#3425181)
    Being a Mexican, a Windows user, and a Linux user, I think some perspective needs to be thrown into the picture.

    Most people in Mexico don't speak English, and don't know how to user a computer. In fact, this is what Fox's rival campaigned on: English and Computer education for everyone. He was basically laughed at by anyone with a clue, but it piqued popular interest, and he has the right intentions.

    What Mexico needs is education. The public school system is a farce. Most people don't make it to high school. Most of those who do probably haven't ever used a computer. This is unheard of in the US... Who doesn't finish high-school? Who hasn't used a computer by then? In the US, this only happens at the bottom rung of the socioeconomic ladder. In Mexico, the bottom rung involves living in a rock cave kilometers from any civilized location. Forget electricity, telephones, running water, sewage, or clothespins. They hang their clothes to dry on trees.

    If Microsoft offers to drop software and training to go with it, the software might be a leech intent on locking-down an already impoverished country on expensive monopoly-ware, but the training is essential. Getting people to learn and use computers should be the focus of the e-Mexico initiative. I agree free/open software is the better choice. I agree we shouldn't dish out money on a Microsoft-tax. But who is willing to teach Linux to the third-world masses?

    I believe free software will spread in Mexico in the face of all barriers to entry exactly because it's free. Training is essential, and if Microsoft gaining a foothold is the cost, then so be it. But once people learn Windows, they might have -personal- incentive (and the new technical know-how) to learn Linux, if it will save them $200. That's a big savings, in Mexico.

    Free software will come, but you must teach people any software first.
  • by elflord ( 9269 ) on Sunday April 28, 2002 @03:16PM (#3425494) Homepage
    Marx's theories were NOT that communism was an alternative to capitalism.

    The marxist position was really more like Capitalism is the problem, communism is the solution.

    capitalism would evolve INTO socialism/communism.

    Actually, I think he advocated a revolution and a "dictatorship of the proletariat" to bring about the change. This is a key point of contention-- a lot of others (including communists) foresaw the obvious problems with this. I think the seizing of the means of production was supposed to be abrupt and violent, because Marx didn't believe that a process of gradual reform was possible.

    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).

    This is nothing like what Marx proposed. Actually, it is these reforms to capitalism that demonstrate a major flaw in Marxs premise that capitalism is incurably evil.

    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.

    Reagen had little to do with it. The Soviet economy collapsed because that's what happens to communist economies. A thriving weapons production business is not detrimental to an economy. A Marxist economic model is.

The trouble with the rat-race is that even if you win, you're still a rat. -- Lily Tomlin