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Microsoft The Almighty Buck

Israel v. Microsoft, Next Round 464

hodet writes "From Haaretz.com, in predictable fashion, looks like a little tough bargaining with Microsoft is all that is needed to get your way. As many predicted after this story, looks like all you have to do is threaten to move to an OSS alternative to make them relent. Maybe it's time to stop getting excited about every little announcement that comes out." The upshot of the story is that Microsoft is willing to split the components of Office in order to sell it to the Israeli government's Finance Ministry. Reader blunte, though, links to a story that discounts the importance of MS's move: "Israel re-iterates: No More MS Software. This is round two. MS has made an effort to reconcile with Israel, and Israel still says No. Israel govt's purchases account for 3-4% of MS Israel's annual revenue."
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Israel v. Microsoft, Next Round

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  • I wonder if... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Jarwulf ( 530523 ) on Sunday January 11, 2004 @02:11AM (#7942909)
    Other governments will see this as an opportunity to step up efforts against Microsoft. What were Israel's specific complaints against MS? Most government customers seem to be comfortable with their relationship as is...
    • by Whammy666 ( 589169 ) on Sunday January 11, 2004 @03:22AM (#7943211) Homepage
      Not just other goverments, but probably big corporate users as well. Let's face it, Israel is a drop in the bucket in terms of revenue to M$. But if big business decided to follow Israel's lead, M$ could find themselves in a full-scale user revolt. It's not like M$'s licensing, pricing policies and marginal quality hasn't ruffled a few feathers along the way.

      Even worse for M$ is that it would be a high-profile win and an effective endorsement for OSS which could tip the balance for potential OSS users sitting on the fence waiting to see if OSS really does provide a viable alternative to M$.
      • by AstroMage ( 566990 ) on Sunday January 11, 2004 @08:27AM (#7943932)
        If M$ losses the Israeli government as a client, the problem to them will not be that other big clients will immidiately follow, since at first those clients will have no incentive to follow suite.
        The problem will be that, once it chooses OSS, the Israeli government will then give a large push to the translation effort of OSS to Hebrew and to the support of bidi writing. _This_ will enable other Israeli clients to finally move to OSS and will cost M$ a lot in Israel...
    • Re:I wonder if... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Detritus ( 11846 ) on Sunday January 11, 2004 @03:56AM (#7943328) Homepage
      Israel is in the middle of a severe budget crunch. That's encouraging the government to look for ways to cut costs.
      • Re:I wonder if... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by stesch ( 12896 ) on Sunday January 11, 2004 @09:21AM (#7944086) Homepage
        Israel is in the middle of a severe budget crunch. That's encouraging the government to look for ways to cut costs.

        Peace would be a start.

    • by commodoresloat ( 172735 ) on Sunday January 11, 2004 @04:51AM (#7943456)
      What were Israel's specific complaints against MS?

      Israeli policy is never to negotiate with terrorists.

      • Re:I wonder if... (Score:3, Insightful)

        by adam613 ( 449819 )
        No, the US's poilicy is never to negotiate with terrorists. In Israel it's the other way around; the terrorists' policy is never to negotiate with Israel.
    • It will accelerate (Score:5, Insightful)

      by RoLi ( 141856 ) on Sunday January 11, 2004 @06:20AM (#7943686)
      Microsoft has a problem.

      They sell to a saturated market and need to grow earnings to maintain their stock-price.

      Because Microsoft no longer gets new customers, actually they are starting to lose customers, the only way to raise earnings is to squeeze out more of existing customers locked in.

      Their new licensing programme is doing exactly that and is just the start.

      The irony is that only the Microsoft-loyal customers are getting ripped off, while customers who haven't bought into MS-technologies (and run servers on Unix) like for example Munich get huge offers for discounts.

      However with rising licensing costs, the incentive to move away also rises, so I don't think Microsoft can play that game much longer. Very soon their earnings will begin to fall. Either because they lose just too many customers or because they will have no other choice other than to lower prices.

      • by swillden ( 191260 ) * <shawn-ds@willden.org> on Sunday January 11, 2004 @04:05PM (#7946215) Homepage Journal

        Because Microsoft no longer gets new customers, actually they are starting to lose customers, the only way to raise earnings is to squeeze out more of existing customers locked in.

        Well, there is another way... Given its billions in the bank and its wealth of engineering talent, Microsoft *could* grow by diversifying, innovating (real innovation, not Microsoft's usual form of it), creating new products, finding new ways to *serve* their customers, so that the customers would be happy to give them money, etc.

        When contemplating the above ideas, be careful to keep in mind that you're contemplating some future, changed, Microsoft, an anti-Microsoft, even, that just happens to have possession of the current company's bank accounts and employees. If you don't, you'll end up spraying Coke through your nose and ruin your keyboard. That hurts, I know. And it burns your nasal passages, too.

    • Complaints (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Trillan ( 597339 ) on Sunday January 11, 2004 @07:38AM (#7943845) Homepage Journal

      Microsoft Head Office has refused to add Hebrew support to Office v.X. Microsoft Israel had offered to foot the localization costs (probably a stupid move), but Microsoft refused them.

      • Re:Complaints (Score:3, Informative)

        by Drakon ( 414580 ) *
        Call me a pedant, but Apple Israel offered to foot the localization costs, not Microsoft Israel, the difference being that releasing the source to a subsidiary is completely different from releasing it to a competitors subsidiary.
  • by SHEENmaster ( 581283 ) <travis&utk,edu> on Sunday January 11, 2004 @02:13AM (#7942920) Homepage Journal
    First they hit their first flat quarter, and then Israel tells them to fuck off. Next thing you know, some fat pervert in a butterfly suit will be without a job.
    • Re:downturn for M$? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by RoLi ( 141856 ) on Sunday January 11, 2004 @06:27AM (#7943699)
      Fact is Microsoft has not much to gain and a lot to lose. All their non-x86-desktop efforts are losing massively money (XBox) or marketshare (IIS) or both (WinCE, Stinger-cellphones).

      All loyal MS customers who use MS technology (like .NET): Expect to pay more for your licenses.

      All MS-critics who use cross-platform technology (like Java, OpenOffice): Expect Microsoft to reward your forward thinking with sweet discounts.

  • by CelticWhisper ( 601755 ) <celticwhisper@@@gmail...com> on Sunday January 11, 2004 @02:15AM (#7942932)
    Whatever happens, it's good to see that at least someone is standing fast against the Microsoft juggernaut. This is looking to be very good for the OSS movement. Not likely to be catastrophic to Microsoft, but at least it might knock them down a peg...please?
    • by ozric99 ( 162412 ) on Sunday January 11, 2004 @02:27AM (#7943000) Journal
      Whatever happens, it's good to see that at least someone is standing fast against the Microsoft juggernaut.

      At last? People have been moving away from MS solutions for years. The "movement" is snowballing, and gaining more momentum as more and more media outlets report "alternative" software solutions like linux, but don't think the Israel govt are pioneering anything here; they're simply the latest in a long line of organisations moving away from MS (my current employer another example of the exodus).

    • by Saven Marek ( 739395 ) on Sunday January 11, 2004 @03:05AM (#7943143)
      Whatever happens, it's good to see that at least someone is standing fast against the Microsoft juggernau

      What will be better is the result of this standing fast. Until recently, the FUD of "Linux is actually pricier than MS in the long run" didn't have a great deal of examples to look at to disprove it.

      If, in 2 years, the entire israeli government is still using OSS, hasn't paid license fees, is upgrading as they need and patching as they need, from open source solutions, and finds it's a saving, that's a very demontratable large scale deployment that screams out...

      "It Worked Here"

      Israel's standing fast and adopting the full open source solution will make it easier for other countries and companies to find an excuse to stand fast.

      nude macgirl webcams [151.197.31.93]
      • by Frymaster ( 171343 ) on Sunday January 11, 2004 @03:27AM (#7943236) Homepage Journal
        Israel's standing fast and adopting the full open source solution will make it easier for other countries and companies to find an excuse to stand fast

        more importantly, this may help make inroads against the "ibm mindset"... you know, "nobody ever got fired for buying ibm".

        in the corporate culture there is a natural trend towards conservatism in business choices. if you go with the underdog and things go poorly, your decision becomes the focus of blame. if you go with the established, popular choice and things fail, the blame is more likely to go somewhere else.

        overcoming this mindset is crucial for oss to get adopted with the big purchasers. if enough large, conservative organizations (and the isreali gov't is pretty conservative and large) adopt Oo, this mindset might actually work in their favour

    • by RoLi ( 141856 ) on Sunday January 11, 2004 @06:34AM (#7943716)
      Because Microsoft's number one sales argument is that their products are "the standard", everywhere around the world.

      When some regions like Munich and Israel adopt a different standard, their big sales argument starts to tumble.

      Software vendors better jump off .NET because maybe the next generation of customers might want to use non-MS systems or existing customers are located in non-MS regions. Better play it save and use Java or Qt.

      Customers will see big examples of how Linux is a real alternative and is used big time in the real world. That alone (that it can be done) will cost Microsoft billions.

      The constant efforts by MS to be as incompatible as possible will no longer help them and start to hurt them.

  • ...this is probably standard practice for large Microsoft contracts.
    • by optikSmoke ( 264261 ) on Sunday January 11, 2004 @03:06AM (#7943147)
      ...this is probably standard practice for large Microsoft contracts.

      Indeed, and it goes like this:

      MS: So, we're going to sell you our lock-in software at inflated prices because you obviously have no other alternative; then be prepared for a mandatory accelerating upgrade cycle combined with price hikes.

      Customer: So.... we were thinking maybe of using open-source softw-

      MS: We can do software individually wrapped with gold foil and a complementary kiss on the ass.

      Customer: SOLD!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 11, 2004 @02:17AM (#7942948)
    On the box they used to be shaped like jigsaw puzzle pieces, it can't be hard to separate them.
  • Money is not everything. Balmmer made a trip down under to cut pricing to Telstra - Telstra is scrapping Windows desktop for different solution. Israel government's NO seems firm.

    Microsoft, you need to make cheaper software. You also need to sell it in a way customer wants it sold, not in a way that generates maximum earnings, while screwing everybody, left and right.

    Monopoly doesn't work anymore. There are alternatives and they work well.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      ...don't start hypocritically whining about "dumping" or "lowballing" when Office is sold for cheap.
    • Microsoft, you need to make cheaper software.

      They're obviously listening. As Mekkab said, "Use the promotional code 'LINUX; and get thousands off your Microsoft installation costs!"

      Quoth the article: [yahoo.com]

      Microsoft, [the Israeli Finance Ministry] said, "has recently broken its policy of unified pricing of products worldwide. In Thailand and England there were

      reductions of hundreds of percent" on products that it sells.

      Now that's the kind of discount I'd sure like to see more of!

    • What FUD.

      Ballmers trip to Australia was planned months before telstra starting making noises. It certainly was convenient timing, but nothing more.

      Telstra is NOT scrapping Windows desktop. Telstra is talking about it, muttering about it, making noises, but show me one firm plan of confirmation of a wide scale deployment.
    • by RoLi ( 141856 ) on Sunday January 11, 2004 @06:47AM (#7943748)
      Microsoft, you need to make cheaper software.

      Their software is cheap. Windows and Office are essentially just repackaged and made incompatible every 3-4 years, some features added and that's it. Not really expensive.

      It's just sold expensively, to pay for XBox, MSN, WinCE and their profits of course.

  • I Like This (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jmt9581 ( 554192 ) on Sunday January 11, 2004 @02:19AM (#7942959) Homepage
    It's good to see Israel encouraging competition (from the Yahoo Article [yahoo.com]:

    "Seeking to cut costs, the Finance Ministry recently said it would not purchase new software from Microsoft this year.

    It also said it would encourage the development of lower-priced alternatives. To that end, it is cooperating with Sun Microsystems (NasdaqNM:SUNW - News) and IBM (NYSE:IBM - News) to design a Hebrew language version of OpenOffice software, a freely distributed open-source alternative to Office."


    After all of the anticompetitive and unethical behavior that we've seen out of Microsoft, I think that they deserve this. Especially after their I'm glad that Israel is standing firm on this. Netscape may be dead, but perhaps we've learned some lessons on how to effectively deal with an unethical monopoly.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 11, 2004 @02:20AM (#7942968)
    This was another of Israel's recent problems with microsoft. MS wouldn't implement it even when they offered to pay.
    • It's not as easy as it sounds. Hebrew is written from right to left and has a different way of writing vowels. It would probably take quite a bit of time to recode the entire thing to support hebrew.
      • And note that the Office Mac and Office Windows codebases are significantly different, so just because Office for Windows supports it, it doesn't mean that Office Mac should support it.
      • KDE and GNOME have no problems with bidirectional languages. Also many different types of input methods are supported.

        Maybe the ability of the free *nixen wrt input methods, locales and bidirectional text might have won Israel over. The internationalisation effort on the free systems certainly is a lot futher than Microsoft has ever gotten. The fact still is that you need a special japanese windows version to write japanese in it, same goes for arabic, hebrew or whatever language you write in.

        With UNIX-

      • by 1u3hr ( 530656 ) on Sunday January 11, 2004 @02:59AM (#7943122)
        It's not as easy as it sounds.

        There have been Chinese versions of MS Office for almost 10 years. That's a lot harder than alphabetic scripts like Hebrew.

      • by Derivin ( 635919 ) on Sunday January 11, 2004 @03:06AM (#7943151)
        There are plenty of other languages which read left to right and are supported like Arabic. There are harder asian languages supported: Korean, Japanese, and the worst Chinese.
        Mac OSX supports Hebrew. The real issue is cost, not ease. Working for a speech/language company, it is the total cost of a product, not how hard it is to develop that kills most projects like this.
        We dropped Japanese, not because it was hard (the product was complete and japanese had been done in previous versions). It was dropped because the salary for QA, support, management, OEM sales chain, advertising, and maintanance were just too high. There was very little reuse of staff due to the language, a QA engineer who does not know Japanese (Hebrew) isn't going to be any help. One more language means one more product in the release schedual, which extends the time it takes to make releases and move on to developing the next new killer feature.
        What incentive does MS really have? Some small % of the 4% of their sales in a country (This is Mac specific, not all %4 is Mac). It's a big drop in the bucket, but its not enough to pay for all those people and the potential for derailment of other projects. What is the potential to sell this 'feature' to recoup the cost? HEbrew on Mac Office? Very little to none I'd guess.

        No, its not because its 'hard' (and I doubt its that). It's cost verses potential profit. When looking for a reason, look to money first.
        • When looking for a reason, look to money first.

          And a noisy bunch hitting your reputation.

        • We dropped Japanese, not because it was hard (the product was complete and japanese had been done in previous versions). It was dropped because the salary for QA, support, management, OEM sales chain, advertising, and maintanance were just too high. There was very little reuse of staff due to the language, a QA engineer who does not know Japanese (Hebrew) isn't going to be any help. One more language means one more product in the release schedual, which extends the time it takes to make releases and move o
      • by YouHaveSnail ( 202852 ) on Sunday January 11, 2004 @03:10AM (#7943165)
        It's not as easy as it sounds.

        It's probably a lot easier than it sounds, or at least easier than Microsoft would admit.

        Apple has historically provided OS-level support for Hebrew and other non-Roman languages. I can imagine that a word processor like Word might do its own text input and rendering for the document view, but the rest of Word and indeed the rest of Office should be able to take advantage easily of the support that Apple offers. This was certainly true for MacOS 8 and 9, and this page [apple.com] and my own experience lead me to believe that OS X's support for other languages is even better than it was in those older systems.

        I suspect that MS is simply dragging its feet on implementing Hebrew in Office for Macintosh because a) it's more work for them and b) the alternative is Windows.
    • The complaint wasn't about the PC version of Office, rather the Mac version. I suspect the next version of Office for the Mac will have that support in it. Doesn't make a whole lot of sense to divert resources to modify a version of the product which will be replaced in a few months by something else which already has that support in it ...
  • by SpinningAround ( 449335 ) on Sunday January 11, 2004 @02:21AM (#7942973)
    Having worked on the sales side of the house for a couple of big enterprise software companies, I find it interesting that Microsoft are now very publically having to do what the rest of the enterprise software industry has done for a long time.. sell software when and how customers want it.

    All CIOs know it... don't buy 'till the last week of the quarter, suddenly discover an alternative solution at the last minute, wheel out competitor's products, competitor's salesguys, consultants and competitor. Beat that software vendor to death.

    Must be hard being a Microsoft enterprise rep or sales consultant these days. I am sure they are thoroughly sick of hearing the words 'Linux', and 'Open Source' at every sales meeting they attend.

    Not that I feel terribly sorry for them mind you...

  • What is the GeoPolitical impact of Isreal undermining the financial base of America's Intellect-Industry.?

    Will Isreal's portion of foreign-aid increase or decrease?

    Please, talk amounghst yourselves.
    • by CrankyFool ( 680025 ) on Sunday January 11, 2004 @03:00AM (#7943124)
      You're quite likely kidding, but it's actually an interesting question.

      We've seen cases before where American aid to Israel was structured in such a way as to encourage it to purchase stuff from America companies rather than do things itself; one example of this was the Galil -- Israel designed and manufactured a pretty damn fine assault rifle, but then found that the money coming from the US was structured such that it was much, much cheaper to just buy M16s.

      Now, mind you, that's probably influenced by the huge brib^H^H^H^Hcontributions defense companies give the government, and I don't think M$ contributes quite *that* much, but we're not very far away from a situation where, say, the next appropriations bill to support Israel has $X million for software purchases from US firms.

      (Oh, and I was born and raised Israeli, have lived in the US since 1985, prefer Unix and am writing this on a WinXP laptop. My loyalties are all over the place :) )
    • Hell will freeze over before any politician will grow balls enough to cut funding to Israel.
  • Too bad for MS... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by 3ngine ( 710012 ) on Sunday January 11, 2004 @02:26AM (#7942996)
    ...but if they had fully supported Hebrew in the first place (as in, as fully functional as languages that input left to right - I've used Hebrew implementation in MS software and it ain't pretty), maybe they'd still be able to sell their software. I'm all for MS software, but I say go with what works - and it's obvious that MS products *don't* work in this instance.

    Maybe Israel would be more inclined to purchase MS again if MS would just fix the problem, hmmm?

    • Re:Too bad for MS... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by CoolVibe ( 11466 )
      The kicker is that many *nix window managers and desktop environments do what Microsoft needs completely different versions of their OS for. And UNIX has worked for people with weird (read: non-ASCII) writing systems for AGES!

      Heck, I can fully understand why Israel says no.

  • by michael_cain ( 66650 ) on Sunday January 11, 2004 @02:28AM (#7943008) Journal
    Israel govt's purchases account for 3-4% of MS Israel's annual revenue.

    Of course, in the somewhat longer term, losing that 3-4% of the market will put pressure on the remainder of their sales in Israel. I'm sure that there will be a lot of businesses that will need to communicate with the government electronically. If MS Word and similar file formats can no longer be assumed to be correctly readable by government employees, then businesses will start shifting to software that produces files/attachments that they know can be read properly.

    • by Jason Earl ( 1894 ) on Sunday January 11, 2004 @02:52AM (#7943099) Homepage Journal

      Exactly. Once the StarOffice formats become the de-facto standard for communicating with the government lots of other businesses are going to realize that they too can get away with using StarOffice (or OpenOffice.org). If the Israeli government does switch pretty soon every single business in Israel will find that they have to have at least one machine lying around with OpenOffice.org on it.

      • at least one machine lying around with OpenOffice.org on it.

        If you had to pay for it, yes that would probably be the mode of operandi, however since it is free it will reside on all machines. Why would you go to another machine, if you could just use your own.

  • by teamhasnoi ( 554944 ) <teamhasnoi&yahoo,com> on Sunday January 11, 2004 @02:30AM (#7943014) Journal
    they just got CD-R burners over there! Welcome to piracy, Israel!
  • by Tachys ( 445363 ) on Sunday January 11, 2004 @02:32AM (#7943024)
    You notice that in these disputes they always say they don't want to buy MS software because MS makes them buy the whole Office Package. Then Microsoft "clarifies" claiming that you could have always bought MS Office programs seperately?
  • by DJStealth ( 103231 ) on Sunday January 11, 2004 @02:57AM (#7943115)
    As much as I think its about time someone should stick it to MS and they should be using OSS, I am wondering, how would this effect the Israeli Economy of the Gov't essentially takes $120million out of it in favour of open source. Since MS has an Israeli branch, the money they would spend would stay within the country.

    I guess considering the current government is relatively fiscally socialist (yes, the Likud gov't is more to the left than most people think) they could probably find better use for the money such as education, health care or other emergency medical services that are unfortunately needed due to the recent situation.
  • Small government? (Score:2, Interesting)

    Israel govt's purchases account for 3-4% of MS Israel's annual revenue.

    3-4% sounds way low. Here in Australia governments account for 30-40% of MS Revenue.

  • Israel govt's purchases account for 3-4% of MS Israel's annual revenue.

    There is something wrong with this number. In any western world government expenditure is between 20%-30% of GDP and MS sales as a percent would mirror that. Israel is no exception, probably on the high side because of their elevated security expenses.

    If the number is correct it must exclude the Military and the health sector. What are thhos sectors using? This is a smoke screen of sorts somthing else is going on behind the scene

    • It's 3-4% of the total money that Microsoft's Israeli branch ("MS Israel") takes in, not 3-4% of what the gov't of Israel spends.

      > If the number is correct it must exclude the Military and the health sector.

      I don't think MS Israel has a Military or health sector. :)
  • by Sideshow Coward ( 732864 ) on Sunday January 11, 2004 @03:36AM (#7943264)
    Microsoft will retalliate by re-inserting swastikas [silicon.com] back into their Bookshelf Symbol 7 font
  • I wonder if this has anything to do with the swastikas that accidentally made their way into an MS Office font?
  • by Linus Sixpack ( 709619 ) on Sunday January 11, 2004 @05:38AM (#7943590) Journal
    Thats the Irony about Software for BIG clients. These very large amounts could write a lot of software the governments could own or give away. True, there would be false starts, corruption, mistakes etc... but its still a LOT of money.

    I think this is ultimately the pay off of a moral stance on software. Governments have a resposibility to literacy, computers are the new literacy. Just like governments give out books they should give out software whenever possible.

    The GPL makes it very likely that what gets developed is distributed with little expensive management or strategy. The patronage of the government(s) basically create a marketing free zone. I think this translates into a lot of money available for coding. All it takes is a couple of successful projects a year and Open source could walk through the markets reflecting the government will with democratic software.

    120 million thats a lot of money to develope a system that writes memos, even with Hebrew Characters, -- especially when the project rests on the available work of others and is designed to contribute to future projects.

    ls
  • by TheMidget ( 512188 ) on Sunday January 11, 2004 @05:44AM (#7943607)
    Just like Munich, Israel shied away from Microsoft not only because of the price, but also in order to avoid vendor lock-in.

    And just like in Munich's case, Microsoft did a counter-proposal that was much cheaper than its normal offering (in the case of Munich, the MSFT proposal ended up being cheaper than the SuSE/IBM/Linux proposal)!

    And just like Munich, Israel still kept sticking with Linux, despite Microsoft's concession on the price!

    Do we see a pattern here? Hint: it's not because of the price. It's because of whatever else Microsoft stands for (vendor lock-in, lack of security, lack of reliability, proprietary interfaces, disregard for consumer and competition, ...)

  • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 11, 2004 @08:22AM (#7943916)
    The exact share of Microsoft revenues that comes from the Israeli government does not matter *that* much. There is a more important thing at stake: which software will use Israeli citizens, business and other bodies that need to cooperate with their government. For instance, Israel's Central Bureau of Statistics and The Bank of Israel distribute information using Microsoft Excel, many other governmental institutions provide documents and forms in Microsoft Word format -- often Microsoft proprietary formats is the only option available. The same goes for local banks tuning their Web sites specifically for Microsoft Internet Explorer, forgetting about other browsers/platforms. It seems like everyone in this country expects people to own Microsoft software, as a matter of course. For this very reason piracy is outrageous here: Office suite costs about 1/3 of average monthly salary and people simply must have it, no matter legally or not. If the government finds an alternative to Microsoft Office, many users will not need it anymore.
  • by frdmfghtr ( 603968 ) on Sunday January 11, 2004 @08:43AM (#7943982)
    Microsoft, it said, "has recently broken its policy of unified pricing of products worldwide. In Thailand and England there were reductions of hundreds of percent" on products that it sells.

    Interesting...did MS really pay the Thai and UK governments to use MS products? After all it is pretty hard to reduce the price of anything more than 100%. Heck if MS wants to pay me to use Office, I'll gladly cash that check.

    Now that I think about it, it wouldn't surprise me of MS DID in fact pay the gov'ts to use its products...I'm sure they would receover the costs multiple time over somewhere else.
  • Question... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by qtp ( 461286 ) on Sunday January 11, 2004 @09:07AM (#7944051) Journal
    Does anyone know how much the US government spends on Microsoft software every year?

    I've been curious about this for quite some time now, but have been unable to find a budget analysis broken down by vendor.

  • by danila ( 69889 ) on Sunday January 11, 2004 @12:00PM (#7944684) Homepage
    From the article:
    Microsoft, it said, "has recently broken its policy of unified pricing of products worldwide. In Thailand and England there were reductions of hundreds of percent" on products that it sells.
    I want a two hundred percent reduction in price too!
  • Microsoft isn't the only option out there. They may have the most marketshare, but there are other options out there. Alternatives to Microsoft products exist. About time Microsoft understands this.

    MSOffice is priced too high, Israel understands this. Israel also understands that OpenOffice.org is a lot cheaper and can do much of the same things as MSOffice.

    It also said it would encourage the development of lower-priced alternatives. To that end, it is cooperating with Sun Microsystems (NasdaqNM:SUNW - News) and IBM (NYSE:IBM - News) to design a Hebrew language version of OpenOffice software, a freely distributed open-source alternative to Office.

    OpenOffice.Org should be ported to many different languages if it is to compete with MSOffice. I see this as a bold move to help bring about an alternative to MSOffice that is more affordable. I wonder if certain Software can be called Kosher? :)

    I am reminded of China going with its own version of Linux and trying to develop an alternative to Windows from it. Will more countries get the guts to say "No" to Microsoft and use alternatives or make deals with other companies to create alternatives? I hope so.

    This could be the start of a new trend. A movement away from MS products and towards alternatives like OSS products.

    One factor not mentioned in the articles is Malware, Windows and MSOffice can easily be inflected by Malware but Linux and OpenOffice.Org are not infected by the same Malware. So there is a hidden cost to the TCO, if the Microsoft software gets infected with Malware. Consider a few hours of downtime to scrub the systems of the Malware infected on it.

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