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Microsoft Education

Microsoft to Build High School in Philadelphia, PA 615

LynchMan writes "According to the The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia is too be the home of a Microsoft funded High School. While having an inner city public school with a large tech fund ($46 Million) will be a great asset to those young students interested in technology, is the Philadelphia School District selling out to Microsoft really the only way to achieve this? Especially with all of the negative press that Microsoft has had recently, is this an attempt to do some good and help out those who cannot afford private school? Or is Microsoft just making sure that they secure themselves another generation of coders/admins/users? This being the first school of it's kind, will a Microsoft high school be coming to a town near you?" This looks very much like the Microsoft buses that toured from school to school a couple years back, but much larger and much more stationary.
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Microsoft to Build High School in Philadelphia, PA

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  • by kfg ( 145172 ) on Friday September 05, 2003 @08:03AM (#6878019)
    "Why do you people always assume the worst?"

    I think it's called "experience."

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 05, 2003 @08:04AM (#6878034)
    3. Apple? Who?

    A doctor a day

  • by robbway ( 200983 ) on Friday September 05, 2003 @08:04AM (#6878035) Journal
    The biggest barrier with a school like this is the incredible cost of keeping it state-of-the-art. The budget will have to be very high and have a swap-out plan to bring in faster systems and the latest software. If the money and/or support for such and upgrade plan is there, it can survive. However, some politician will probably see this as a pork barrel for some other politician and leave the school in some sort of "Beta version."
  • Does it matter? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ncmusic ( 31531 ) on Friday September 05, 2003 @08:05AM (#6878036)
    I for one could careless about who's footing the bill? Whether or not the school creates loyal MS users is irrelevant in the face of providing a quality education.
  • Inner City (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SilentReproach ( 91511 ) on Friday September 05, 2003 @08:07AM (#6878049)
    IMO, forget the technology. Anyone who has seen the kind of life students have in the inner city can appreciate that a top notch new facility is a blessing, Microsoft or not.

    Now, if they were plunking a school in a suburb that was doing just fine without them, I'd question their motives. But, in this case, I'd have to think this is at best, altruism on Microsoft's part, or at worst, advertising money well spent.

  • Re:Blinded By Hate (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 05, 2003 @08:08AM (#6878052)
    Slashdot Double Standard #1431:
    When Apple did this, it was praised and lauded as good move to provide computers, and help kids, and maybe also build potential customers.

    When Microsoft does this, it's pure evil, the administrators have been duped, sold out, stupid. Suspicions of some nefarious larger purpose are raised immediately.
  • It smells... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by nycsubway ( 79012 ) on Friday September 05, 2003 @08:09AM (#6878061) Homepage
    Any corporation who funds an entire new school, or part of a public school is not a good idea. I would say it is ok to have a company DONATE money or resources to a public entity, but not to let them have any influence on the desicions that are made at the institution.

    Microsoft has a record of using 'donations' and grants to its complete benefit, not the benefit of the people they are donating to. Microsoft is different than other companies in that it does it so blatently.
  • by localghost ( 659616 ) <> on Friday September 05, 2003 @08:13AM (#6878078)
    At least in my experience, the more one uses Microsoft products, the more one does not want to ever use any again. If we force kids to use nothing but Windows for 4 years, surely they will look for an alternative the moment the opportunity arises.
  • Grammar Natzi (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Andrewkov ( 140579 ) on Friday September 05, 2003 @08:13AM (#6878082)
    Comon, editors, let's use the proper grammar, at least when talking about schools! To vs Too vs Two [].
  • Corporations (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SuperBanana ( 662181 ) on Friday September 05, 2003 @08:13AM (#6878086)
    Especially with all of the negative press that Microsoft has had recently, is this an attempt to do some good and help out those who cannot afford private school? Or is Microsoft just making sure that they secure themselves another generation of coders/admins/users?

    Like every other corporation on the face of the planet, they don't blink unless (they think) it's in their best interests.

    I hate it when people "support"(buy from) a corporation because they get warm fuzzies from that company "supporting"(tossing a measly hundredth or thousandth of a percent of their profits to) a cause. Does BMW give a crap about breast cancer? No. Like all the other corporations that support "breast cancer research", they're basically just looking to get women to buy stuff from them.

    "Buy ________, we support ______ by donating* to the __________ foundation of America!"

    (*1/10th of a percent of the net profit of this product, minus taxes, executive bonuses, kickbacks, and of course some good old fashioned book cooking)

  • Re:Blinded By Hate (Score:2, Insightful)

    by PainKilleR-CE ( 597083 ) on Friday September 05, 2003 @08:14AM (#6878091)
    Branded products in general should not be sold on school premises. Schools should not take money from corporations under any circumstances.

    Yeah, because the government gives them enough money, riiiiight

    When I was in high school (~7-10 years ago), we had Pepsi machines, and the school sold Taco Bell and McDonald's food on certain days of the week. Not to mention that Little Debbies snacks had the in-road on the grade schools.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 05, 2003 @08:20AM (#6878133)
    There are so many things that schools need more of... dicipline, respect, reasons to have respect, learning to learn, learning to like to learn, reading, math... Will computers give the kids this?

    Gee, how did we ever survive school without computers? I feel like I need to do it over again, and get it right...
  • by loveandpeace ( 520766 ) on Friday September 05, 2003 @08:24AM (#6878151) Homepage Journal

    Bill Gates can build all the schools he wants to and Linux can't for one reason and one reason only: Windows makes an offer. Bill and Melinda have built a foundation with grants galore [] for the implementation of the Windows system. Whether you see it as gifting technology to the masses or corrupting the youth to the product, the point remains that public schools would gladly take the technology no matter who offers it. And these days, it's not as though anyone in the non-Windows world is giving the schools a whole lot of alternatives.

    The solution: quit complaining about the philathropic efforts of Windows and start an Open Source Foundation. Have an endowed fund and accept grant applications. Built it. They will come.

  • by FunWithHeadlines ( 644929 ) on Friday September 05, 2003 @08:30AM (#6878184) Homepage
    " How could anyone have any question about this being a good thing? The mob is not building the school nor is it paying for the school to be built. The local school board is building it and the mob is contributing technology and services to the school to see what happens to education when the school is afforded every technological luxury possible."

    See what nice guys those gangsters turned out to be? Sure, they knock off businesses and rub out people now and then, but they sure do throw nifty block parties and now they are even helping pay for the new school. How can anyone hate them?

    Microsoft is hated for good reason (many of 'em), even if they occasionally decide to do a good PR turn to make themselves look decent and caring.

  • No Logo (Score:3, Insightful)

    by pr0nbot ( 313417 ) on Friday September 05, 2003 @08:34AM (#6878214)
    Go to your local book shop and read chapter 4 of Naomi Klein's No Logo; in it she describes the myriad ways in which corporations have infiltrated schools. In that context, this is a very logical next step.
  • its certainly good (Score:4, Insightful)

    by asv108 ( 141455 ) * <.asv. .at.> on Friday September 05, 2003 @08:40AM (#6878267) Homepage Journal
    I grew up with TRS-80's, then Mac's, then Windows 3.x, for the past few years I've been using Linux. People often assume that just because a student uses a specific OS in school that they are going to use it forever, this is obviously not the case otherwise Apple for have a much larger share of the market.

    While its certainly a good idea to have kids exposed and trained to use Linux and other oses at a young age, people must consider the rebellion factor. A lot of kids will hate whatever the school endorses. Considering this is an inner city school, I would just be happy that they are getting the money.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 05, 2003 @08:47AM (#6878315)
    According to the article, MS is not donating money. Philly is building 11 new high schools, each costing about $46M. They asked MS to partner with them on this one, to donate consulting services. MS is going to help design an electronic school; they're not going to be buying the school, or even the computers. There isn't even an indication that MS will be "donating" software!
  • Re:Blinded By Hate (Score:3, Insightful)

    by NineNine ( 235196 ) on Friday September 05, 2003 @08:52AM (#6878350)
    In what way is this such a beutifully good thing?

    Because in most inner city, US schools, kids have no access to technology at all, asshole. This is without a doubt, a good thing. Or maybe you just like the idea of kids growing up with no technology education?
  • Re:Blinded By Hate (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Eric Ass Raymond ( 662593 ) on Friday September 05, 2003 @08:53AM (#6878359) Journal
    Now, who do you see trying to outdo Microsoft in the 'we supplied all this shiney new kit. Aren't we great?!' stakes?

    What's your point?

    Hey, if Red Hat can't compete with Microsoft in this fashion and IBM doesn't bother, why the hell should Microsoft stop (or be stopped) from sponsoring schools in any way they want?

  • Re:Blinded By Hate (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BJZQ8 ( 644168 ) on Friday September 05, 2003 @08:55AM (#6878379) Homepage Journal
    Being in education, I think it's wonderful that Microsoft is handing out some technology...but it is the "catches" that worry me. You can be guaranteed that no computer in the district will be allowed to run ANYTHING but Microsoft software...anything else will be a breach of the Terms&Conditions that everyone will be forced into signing. This is just a ploy to draw mindless Technical Directors and Coordinators into the false sense of security that Microsoft offers...since these people, with the backing of hundreds of Microsoft Engineers, made it work, then certainly it would work for our district too! I've seen that mentality in action, and this will only further it.
  • It's ABOUT time... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by sputnikid ( 191152 ) on Friday September 05, 2003 @09:11AM (#6878553)
    ...that the corporate world has stepped up to the plate and started contributing to the education of children.

    the government has been falling behind on this year after year and in some areas of the inner city many children have zero access to computers and technology.

    why must it be that the only way to get a decent education from K-12 is to pay for it and go to a private school?
  • Re:It smells... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by sql*kitten ( 1359 ) * on Friday September 05, 2003 @09:16AM (#6878596)
    Microsoft has a record of using 'donations' and grants to its complete benefit, not the benefit of the people they are donating to. Microsoft is different than other companies in that it does it so blatently.

    Let's see what Google has to say, shall we?

    You were saying?
  • Too early to see (Score:3, Insightful)

    by FuzzyDaddy ( 584528 ) on Friday September 05, 2003 @09:25AM (#6878671) Journal
    As a graduate of the Philadelphia public school system, I'll be interested to see how this turns out. They haven't picked a location yet, but there are plenty of places Philadelphia that could use some innovation in the schools.

    If it actually goes to helping the most disadvantaged students, where it would be the most difficult to make succesful, I'd applaud the effort.

    If it goes to mostly middle class and upper middle class students, then I'd have to view it as simply a further corporatization of the public schools.

    I'd love to see a follow up on this in three years.

  • by Infernon ( 460398 ) * <infernon@gmai[ ]om ['l.c' in gap]> on Friday September 05, 2003 @09:48AM (#6878890)
    I grew up in Philly and left about four months ago. Here's what I know.
    The Philly public school system is shite. They're in their fourth year of budget problems and the state actually stepped in and bailed them out on one of them. Packed classrooms, lack of textbooks and teaching materials, etc. It's nasty. I spent a year at Southern before my mother pulled me out and put me in Catholic school.
    I would only think that this could be a good thing, especially considering that the city likes building football and baseball stadiums instead of improving things like public education. Outside interests can only help. Don't get me wrong, I don't think that it's the greatest thing in the world and it skeeves me out just a bit, but it's more of a 'better than nothing' situation. Kids can only benefit. Let them find open source the way I did-- I like to think of it as being chosen:)

  • Re:Blinded By Hate (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mj01nir ( 153067 ) * on Friday September 05, 2003 @09:48AM (#6878894)
    Microsoft is not enabling this. ...Philadelphia is still footing the bill.

    Yup, and MS gets to look like a hero for donating their consulting services, which will amount to "Buy Microsoft products". Favorite line from the article:

    The company's reward is the opportunity to design a school using technology in every way possible from the ground up - a prototype it could then market.

    Yippie. So they want to use a school as a facility to assemble a new product. Glad that they have the kids' best interest in mind!
  • by nicky_d ( 92174 ) on Friday September 05, 2003 @09:50AM (#6878915) Homepage
    As ever, this is neither good or bad; it can't be anchored to either extreme. It's good in as much as the more kids get access to technology, the better. If it has to be MS tech, then even the most cynical can take comfort in the possibility that the kids will be desperate to get away from Windows by the time they're freed. But there's no competition between a kid with access to a PC and a kid without; the kid with a PC is undoubtedly better off.

    But this is also bad in that branded education is arguably undesirable. One of the dangers, for example, is that the school won't be free to teach students about Microsoft's less desirable traits and tactics, or about the problem with monopolies in general. As the article notes, MS is pursuing this as a case study - it may decide it wants to market this service far and wide in the future. A Microsoft school is obviously going to reflect Microsoft's interests. You may not think this a problem today, but how might this develop in the future, as MS' strategies develop and the schools they created are bound to follow? Now, I'm not proposing GNU-sponsored schools here, but at least such schools would have guaranteed freedom and flexibility in terms of their IT setup and how they choose to use it.

    The big difference is, of course, that MS is able to do this here and now, and potentially make great improvements to kids' educations. So for once, this isn't a theoretical debate. Which, you know, makes the whole thing ten times more difficult.
  • Oh, whoop-tee-shit (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Gay Nigger ( 676904 ) on Friday September 05, 2003 @09:52AM (#6878939)
    Another technology school. Great.

    When was the last time someone donated money to start a school just for, say, writing? Or philosophy? Who the fuck cares about technology? Anything they would teach in high school I could pick up in a couple of O'Reilly books or, failing that, The Art of Computer Programming.

  • no no no (Score:3, Insightful)

    by chunkwhite86 ( 593696 ) on Friday September 05, 2003 @09:54AM (#6878964)
    Microsoft is not building the school, they are only contributing the associated technology and services. With spending cuts hitting schools hard, Linux looks more tasty each passing day. This cunning move by microsoft assures them that this school will pump out thousands of students per year who are brainwashed to believe that computers = microsoft.

    Linux? eh? Mac? What's that? It runs inside of WindowsXP right? Behold, the next generation of systems administrators, purchasing directors, and CTO's.
  • by Lysol ( 11150 ) * on Friday September 05, 2003 @10:16AM (#6879198)
    Not blinded at all. And in fact, I would say that I feel it's the other way around.

    This donation of M$ dollars (not the school itself) is bad for 3 reasons:

    1. Regardless of the kindness, M$ is an unethical company. Period! A free lunch today will not be one tomorrow. You need no more evidence of this than to scan the various news source headlines for the last few years. Corporations don't give anything out unless there is a business or tax reason. And while some in the opulent halls of M$ may see this as a worthy cause, more see it as a business opportunity. Ugh, open your eyes. There is obviously some tax write off or future opportunity to hook more people on their products - or both. This is the nature of big business/capitalism, plain and simple. Get 'em while they're young.

    2. A public school should not be financed in any way by a corporation. However, these things can happen because so many people in this country do not put as much emphasis on quality public education as they should.

    I'm horrified by the stories my sister tells me of the parents having to contribute money and supplies to her kids school because the school can't afford it! Personally, when I have kids, they're going to public schools and I'm going to PTA meetings, etc., and I'm gonna put my time in and at least if things still continue to go down hill, at least I'll say I did something. My parents never did that. There is a complete lack of caring and responsibility of the majority of voting public and our esteemed leaders on this subject. It needs to change and that change would benefit everyone. Why this doesn't horrify anyone else is beyond me. If you don't have an educated public, then you have close to nothing.

    While I'm sure most kids will have to work at some point in their life using M$ tools, I see no reason, being the company M$ is, to promote their usage before their professional career. Why muddy up their most impressionable years with the horrors and inflexibilities of an M$ world? They'll have plenty of time to see that on their own when they can make their own choice on what OS and tools they want to use. I'd rather my kids and my sister's kids learn about history, math, etc.., instead of service packs.

    3. All this 'neat' stuff, being an expirement and all, will go right back to benefit M$ and no one else. It would be such a better idea to use free software and open standards because the creation (the mind of someone young is a wonderful thing!) and fixing of said technology would go back into the common good - royalty and patent free (one would hope). This is a no brainer; using public funds not just for educating our kids properly, but also improving technology - that anyone can have - will in turn, give us more control over how and when we access information.

    You know, the general public/govt./us did this before when we paid for the copper for phones to be laid down in the early/middle part of the 20th century. The govt. laid all the wire and let AT&T use it for next to nothing. Over the years, AT&T got 0wnership of it. Then, in the latter part of the 20th century, the baby bells used that free (as in beer) resource to stop local competition in their local markets. They cited the argument "why should we be made to lease our lines for little money to local competition?"
    So I say the opposite, why should public funds go to helping figure out technical issues for the richest software company in the world? Because kids will be bug testing (and possibly fixing) on publicly funded time which is not what I or anyone else pay tax dollars for!

    Nah, this is a sham and public relations magic hand waving. It's a $46mil bug test and fixit it school. Like the reality of the M$ office in which you're not amazed by all the marvels of the modern world and how much time and money they save you, but rather how you're locked into a buggy platform with escalating costs, little or no choice, and no c
  • by caluml ( 551744 ) <slashdot@spamgoe ... minus poet> on Friday September 05, 2003 @10:29AM (#6879315) Homepage
    Russian proverb: Free cheese is only in a mouse trap.
  • Re:Blinded By Hate (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 05, 2003 @10:31AM (#6879333)
    I went to a grade school whose technology consisted of a pair of Apple IIe's that nobody knew how to use. My high school had a few Apple III's and one IBM lab full of XT clones that were donated and nobody knew how to use. We had no software, the best they could offer was typing classes and BASIC on those IIe's. My senior year they got a Pascal compiler for the IIe's but we couldn't afford air conditioning so the computers were stored off-campus during the hot months and hauled back in when it cooled off.

    On one hand, learning how to program in that environment was an interesting and valuable experience, but I would have much rather had some decent technology to work with. Nobody had home computers back then, except for a small handful of people. We certainly wouldn't afford one. I would have rejoiced at an opportunity like the kids at this school are getting. I'm sure you Slashdotters hate it because it's Microsoft, but the Linux community isn't exactly full of philanthropy, nor does it warmly embrace newbies who want to use it without having to be told to RTFM every time they have a basic question.
  • Sadly (Score:2, Insightful)

    by eV_x ( 180493 ) on Friday September 05, 2003 @10:54AM (#6879570)
    Almost none of the posts that have been modded up point out the good side of what this can do for kids. It's really disappointing that the mods and most posters care only to crack jokes, shoot puns, and criticize this action. If I were a parent with a kid who could go to this school, I'll bet I'd feel pretty lucky. And I sure as shit wouldn't care if the entire school had Microsoft crap everywhere or Linux - hell, most parents probably don't have any exposure to this. Cry all you want that that's the problem, but you're missing the point. This does help - maybe not your agenda, but it's a selfish one in this case.

    What about the good for this? Does anyone here even have kids? Does anyone here have exposure to schools that don't have enough funding, where education is lacking? It reads mo0re like people here don't have a clue in reality beyond their own political interests and paranoid agendas. Sad indeed.
  • by SlashDotForever ( 648359 ) on Friday September 05, 2003 @10:55AM (#6879589)
    What happens to the kids that won't get access just because someone makes some sort of arbitray ethical decision? The world is full of huge contradictions and paradoxes. If this gives these kids the chance to use computers and be comfortable with technology, why don't we trust the rest of the school system to teach them to think and make their own choices as they grow. The experience is more important then the who or what.
  • Re:Blinded By Hate (Score:2, Insightful)

    by TopShelf ( 92521 ) * on Friday September 05, 2003 @11:03AM (#6879665) Homepage Journal
    This hardly represents a move to extend their monopoly on desktop systems - such a move might be to purchase or drive out of business a competitor within that market.

    Instead, this represents a longer-term effort to develop their solutions for the educational market, one in which they aren't a monopolist. Just how is this endeavor "anti-competitive"?
  • by mormop ( 415983 ) on Friday September 05, 2003 @11:20AM (#6879829)
    This is one of those rare occasions when I find myself quoting the bible:

    Chapter 6
    1 Take heed not to do your alms before men to be seen of them, otherwise ye have no reward with your Father who is in the heavens. 2 When therefore thou doest alms, sound not a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may have glory from men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. 3 But thou, when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand does; 4 so that thine alms may be in secret, and thy Father who sees in secret will render [it] to thee.

    In other words "charity is charity when you do it quietly". Boasting about it on the other hand, is self publicising and earns you no brownie points or to put it another way:

    Let not thy marketing department send out press releases in order to make thy people think thou art a generous individual when instead thou art trying to maximise thine user base and profits for such actions render thee no better than the rulers of Sco who long ago wedged thine heads up thine arses and tried to rob the righteous penguinistas and thine own shareholders.
  • Re:A Win Win (Score:2, Insightful)

    by pkunzipper ( 652520 ) on Friday September 05, 2003 @11:33AM (#6879965)
    But if some of this 46million doesnt go to support and training of the students and teachers, its gonna be money that was wasted.

    I agree, half the battle lies with the local administration:

    Will they be able to find teachers that are technically prepared for this kind of school?

    Will the salary of those techaers increase spending?

    What new teaching/classroom methods/setups will be implemented to make themost effective use of the technology?

    How will the technology be restricted to allow for school material only, rather than 24 student in social studies staring at 3dub

    Thank you come again...

  • agreed (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Rev.LoveJoy ( 136856 ) on Friday September 05, 2003 @11:46AM (#6880078) Homepage Journal
    Similarly, the Gates foundation gave 100 million dollars to the World Health Org. over the past few years.

    Comparing Gates Foundation charities to MS business practices is a lot like comparing the J. Paul Ghetty museum in LA to oil drilling in the North Sea.

    We may disagree about the morality behind some of the world's larger fortunes ('behind every great fortune, there is a crime'). However, I question the assertion that the nature of these philanthropic ventures is forever tainted by the origins of their corporate sponsors. To say this is to say that Carnagie hall, the Ghetty museum I menioned previously and all the educational institutions the world over who have been the beneficiaries of philanthropic donations by some of the world's wealthies people are suspect and liable to be tained still by the monies that created them. I for one, do not agree that history backs this assertion.

    Here's to looking that gift horse square in the mouth,
    - RLJ

  • Re:Blinded By Hate (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Mark19960 ( 539856 ) <Mark AT lowcountrybilling DOT com> on Friday September 05, 2003 @12:05PM (#6880242) Homepage Journal
    Troll? how is this being a troll.
    this needs to be modded up.
    I agree with this posting, fully. mod ME a troll, but not the author of this post.
  • License Program (Score:2, Insightful)

    by grendel's mom ( 550034 ) on Friday September 05, 2003 @12:20PM (#6880379)
    Once the school system is dependent on Microsoft-only IT systems, Microsoft's legal team will put the squeeze on them just like they did with the Seattle and Oreagon school systems [].

    This will end up costing the school system more money in the long run. To make this a real offer of generosity, Microsoft must give this school system a non-expiring license for their software.

  • by Forgotten ( 225254 ) on Friday September 05, 2003 @01:28PM (#6880997)
    Good link; thank you.

    Two characteristics seem to govern all of Gates's "philanthropy":

    1. Charitable exercises always follow bad press for Microsoft and/or Gates (his first penny was given away immediately following the release of his abysmal videotaped testimony for the antitrust hearings)
    2. Charitable exercises always contain significant strings that benefit Microsoft, Gates, or the ideological institutions that made him a rich and powerful man (granted that this is true of the work of nearly all "philanthropists".

    It's actually the last point that worries me the most. There is *always* ideological pressure from corporate funding to education. With what sort of balanced worldview do people come out of the Microsoft school?

    Philanthropy in general is a weird, weird thing. It's essentially like saying "well, I'm sure rich - I must have taken a whole lot more money than I deserved from the rest of you folks, so here's 10% of it back - just out of the goodness of my heart! Get it? I'm rich *and* I'm a sweet guy!". Wouldn't it be better simply not to overpay these individuals to such an amazing degree? Are we that married to our Horatio Alger lottery mentality?
  • Re:agreed (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 05, 2003 @01:46PM (#6881177)
    The Gates foundation gave money to the WHO primarily for treatment of AIDS and other pernicious diseases. However, it did this at a time when the question was (still is) whether countries desperately needing the drugs to treat these diseases should have to buy them at full patented MSRP (using the Gates foundation money), or be able to buy cheaper generic equivalents for the actual cost of producing them plus a small profit.

    We're not talking about real money here. The cost of the patented drugs is entirely artificial. It's similar to when Microsoft (not Gates) gives away "millions of dollars" of software to a school. This isn't charity, it's more like foregoing this year's protection money. $100 megabucks is a drop in the bucket of what's required to put out this fire, if the drugs are "valued" at Western patented prices. What happens when that money runs out and the now-dependent countries need more drugs, having established the precedent of paying the inflated price and thus bolstering international IP law? What will the strings be then?

    Yes, people should be appreciative of charity. But you still need to check those teeth. And listen for mutterings in Trojan while you're at it.
  • by 26199 ( 577806 ) * on Friday September 05, 2003 @02:00PM (#6881346) Homepage

    ...then I remembered where we get Computer Science lectures at Cambridge University: the William Gates Building. We also get free copies of Windows XP, amongst others. So it would be a bit hypocritical to object :-)

    These things can go either way... we still have Linux on all the lab PCs and we get taught as much Linux-specific stuff as Windows-specific stuff, if not more. So, wait and see before you judge, is my advice...

  • by ShaunDon ( 589695 ) on Friday September 05, 2003 @06:40PM (#6883870) Homepage
    What the hell? I mean, I'm no fan of fat capitalists, but the Gates Foundation's unwavering funding of vaccinating children in Africa to stem the tied of rampant disease on the continent is admirable as hell, and should be the top priority of every industrialized nation's foreign policy. Explain the corporate benefits for Microsoft there, sir.


%DCL-MEM-BAD, bad memory VMS-F-PDGERS, pudding between the ears