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Microsoft The Almighty Buck

Microsoft Revenue Up, Tries to Hook Third World 489

rocketjam writes "Microsoft reported record revenue for the last quarter Thursday due to increased sales of personal computers. Analysts were impressed with the company's overall performance, however they expressed concern about the continuing drop in unearned revenue, reflecting Microsoft's difficulty in signing up customers for long-term, sustainable business contracts. The $400 million drop in unearned revenue was less than the drop in the last quarter but still exceeded many analyst's expectations. The company's continuing problem in gaining long-term contracts is generally attributed to growing security concerns among customers and company's unwillingness to go along with Microsoft's 'Software Assurance' upgrade subscription plan." Also in the news: Microsoft is donating a pile of software to the United Nations -- retail value, $1 billion; wholesale value, maybe $1 million or so -- attempting to hook the Third World on Microsoft software.
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Microsoft Revenue Up, Tries to Hook Third World

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  • by grub ( 11606 ) <slashdot@grub.net> on Friday January 23, 2004 @02:08PM (#8067566) Homepage Journal

    Mikey adds " .. retail value, $1 billion; wholesale value, maybe $1 million or so "

    Do you have any real data to back this up, Michael, or is this yet another of your unnecessary and unwanted biased editorials? Not that I'm in the pro-Microsoft camp but a 1000-to-1 profit line sounds pretty high. This is shoddy "journalism".

    Feel free to bitch slap me and any subsequent thread.

    • One million might reflect the cost of the media (CD's, paper, and ink), but it doesn't represent the wholesale cost.

      Microsoft's profit margin for Windows is around 90%, if I remember correctly.

    • by DrEldarion ( 114072 ) on Friday January 23, 2004 @02:13PM (#8067636)
      Well, it all depends on what he means by "wholesale value". If it just includes the costs involved in stamping out the CDs, I wouldn't doubt that it would be that cheap.
    • by Ubergrendle ( 531719 ) on Friday January 23, 2004 @02:16PM (#8067672) Journal
      I agree that this thread is relatively venom-laded, but I think the 1000-1 markup is 'valid' from a manufacturing perspective.

      Several years ago (1995ish?), Microsoft Canada closed its retail distribution centre here in Mississauga, to concentrate operations in the US. So Canadian product is shipped north. No big deal. But what was interesting was when they closed the warehouse, it was more cost effective for them to destroy the software than to redistribute. The software packaing itself had very minimal value, compared to the intellectual property inside.

      I've always remembered this example... when it comes to intellectual property, its value is very subjective -- especially to the eyes of the owner.
      • Michael didn't say "from a manufacturing perspective." What he said was pure flamebait: "$1 billion retail, probably about $1 million wholesale." Please.
      • You forgot to count in the cost of production: design, development, documentation, and marketing. This includes salaries, benefits, equipment, and general maintainence (usually roughly equivalent to double a person's stated salary unless we are talking about upper management). Take this value and divide it by the number of copies produced and you would have a pretty good idea of the cost of the software. You can then add additional cost to actually turn a profit, and you get a reasonable wholesale cost.

        • by andrews ( 12425 ) <alan AT tieless DOT com> on Friday January 23, 2004 @03:57PM (#8068858)
          Khomar, you're making the same mistake Marx did. A thing's value is not derived from the costs involved in making it.

          Value is totally subjective and unmeasurable. A rough approximation can be made based on market price, but that's somewhat faulty too because the trade medium (money) itself has different value to different people. $100 is is more valuable to someone who earns $20K/year than it is to someone who earns $100k/year.

          A ratio of $s/time to earn can be used to more closely approximate comparative value of a thing for models but even so that ignores differences in individual tastes/wants/needs. Basically value can only be measured on individual case by case basis by the individual making the buy/not buy decision.
    • Michael didn't even rtfa.

      Friday it would pump $1 billion of cash and software into a computer training program it has set up with the United Nations

      I don't know the full extent of MS's "evil empire", but i'm pretty sure they can't manufacture cash.
    • I could see a $1 Million value in the cost of the raw materials to make the CDs, but of course thats not Microsofts real costs which include R and D, developers salaries, overhead, etc.
    • Because Microsoft does in fact not donate a "pile of software" and instead will send just a few CDs and allows the UN just to use it on many computers, even 1 million seems a bit high.
  • Donating software (Score:2, Insightful)

    by TheSpoom ( 715771 ) *
    Microsoft would donate cash and the latest versions of its software, but the centers were free to expand with other software, including open source software such as Linux, Gates said.

    "They'll be adding software from other providers. There's no exclusivity," he said. "Our role is to bring software that is quite popular, and happens to be ours."


    Mod me down if you must, but I applaud Microsoft for this. While Linux or other open source OS use is definitely on the rise throughout the world, Windows is still
    • by swordboy ( 472941 )
      The whole problem was that people weren't pirating Microsoft products in these places. A good deal of piracy is actually healthy for Microsoft. For example, many Linux zealots still have a bootable Windows partition somewhere so that they can play games. Most of these installs (at lease the ones that I'm aware of) are pirated. After all, who wants to pay hundreds of dollars for an OS from a convicted monopoly simply for the sake of playing games.

      In the end, these people are happy and MS are happy becau
      • For example, many Linux zealots still have a bootable Windows partition somewhere so that they can play games. Most of these installs (at lease the ones that I'm aware of) are pirated.

        Don't be silly. Most of these came with the computer, what planet do you live on?

    • Re:Donating software (Score:4, Informative)

      by tomhudson ( 43916 ) <barbara...hudson@@@barbara-hudson...com> on Friday January 23, 2004 @02:19PM (#8067725) Journal
      The article points out their expectations that, since they "own" 90% of the software market, that most of the boxes will stay ms-boxes:

      from the article:

      "Our role is to bring software that is quite popular, and happens to be ours."

      Microsoft software is used to run more than 90 percent of the world's PCs.

      Look here [slashdot.org] for previous "charitable donations" that were actually marketing trojan horses that ended up being too expensive for the recipient..

    • there's no clause that limits them to using it...

      Until, they want to upgrade to keep up with the rest of the world, and cannot afford to.
    • >> there's no clause that limits them to using it, so I can only see this helping people

      Yes, there IS . They are called proprietory and closed formats. Doc format is a small example only.

    • Skills and marketability in what? If they get locked into Microsoft software and Microsoft's grip continues to loosen, they're not increasing their marketability. In my experience, you don't (usually) get legally bound to Microtwonk Software, you usually get locked into it by some critical peripheral software - frequently 3rd party or in-house custom stuff - that relies on Microsoft Windows or some other proprietary Microsoft system. As it stands, all they're doing is locking a bunch of developing nations

  • by inertia@yahoo.com ( 156602 ) * on Friday January 23, 2004 @02:09PM (#8067585) Homepage Journal
    retail value, $1 billion; wholesale value, maybe $1 million or so -- attempting to hook the Third World on Microsoft software.

    That's the difference between Microsoft's wholesale and the MSRP? Amazing...and that's without the Software Assurance, I'd imagine. Man, am I in the wrong business or what?

    I'm glad you're here to tell us these things.
    • The margin on Windows & Office (revenue vs. development/support costs) is generally estimated to be around 70-80%; this is what's underwriting their money-LOSING gaming & media (MSN/MSNBC/etc.) efforts.

      This still makes you wonder how many bodies they have working on 'checklist features' and answering the support lines, that they're eating up that much money.
  • Not that stupid (Score:2, Interesting)

    by jolyonr ( 560227 )
    The third world are not that stupid. They know what accepting these microsoft hand-outs would mean.

    Microsoft are acting just the same as the drug dealer offering the first fix for free.

    Jolyon
    • > Microsoft ... just the same as the drug dealer

      Exactly... except without the guns and death and disease and robbery and pain and anguish and destruction of human lives part.

      Excellent analogy.
      How about Nazis? You left out Nazis.
    • Except maybe in Swaziland, where this smiling man [bbc.co.uk] may consider buying it for full retail so he can find another reason not to feed his people.
    • Re:Not that stupid (Score:3, Insightful)

      by cens0r ( 655208 )
      Or McDondald's who gives you a free burger. Or iTunes giving away a million songs for free. Or netflix giving you one free month of rentals. Or Columbia House giving you 10 CD's for a penny. Or AOL giving you a zillion free hours. I think I've discovered something. Drug dealers actually operate like other businesses. Of course in my life time I've never acutally been offered free drugs. The supply is much lower than the demand, the dealers have no problem moving their stuff without giving any away.
  • "Hook" (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 23, 2004 @02:12PM (#8067622)

    attempting to hook the Third World on Microsoft software

    While I'm an avid Linux fan, why do I get the feeling that if a large Linux distributor like Red Hat arranged for a glut of software to be sent to UN countries, the headline would have been slightly more flattering? Something like "generously supplied Third World coutries with Linux software" instead of the negative connotations implied with "hook" that is attached to Microsoft's gesture.

  • > $400 million drop in unearned revenue

    call me old fashioned but shouldn't any
    revenue be EARNED ??? :))
    • What they're talking about it unearned, they mean contracted or obligated but unpaid. Like if you buy something on a lease and don't have to pay for 90 days or better yet sign a contract but you don't take deliverables until 5 months into the contract. Simple GAAP rules. -Scott PS. Sorry 'bout being off topic.
    • by nodwick ( 716348 ) on Friday January 23, 2004 @02:22PM (#8067759)
      call me old fashioned but shouldn't any revenue be EARNED ??? :))
      For those not familiar with the accounting-speak, unearned revenue [mcn.org] is basically money which has been paid to Microsoft for products which they have not yet delivered. Consider it kind of like pre-ordering your favorite new DVD or video game. Companies are required to account for it separately from regular revenue because if for some reason they're unable to deliver the product later, that revenue might have to be returned; therefore it's considered slightly risky.

      In this particular context, it would include people who have signed up for Microsoft "software subscription" program. Declining unearned revenues mean that there aren't as many people signing up for their subscriptions as they'd hoped.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 23, 2004 @02:12PM (#8067626)
    "In the news today, something good happened to Microsoft. However, we at OSDN feel we must say something bad about them, so as not to focus less on the positive, more on the negative. Thank you for nodding your head."
  • Hooking (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jimhill ( 7277 ) on Friday January 23, 2004 @02:12PM (#8067627) Homepage
    I can't see that it really matters if Microsoft tries to "hook" the Third World on their products. The Third World can't _afford_ Microsoft prices (sort of what makes them Third World) and so if they are using Microsoft products it will be at no gain to the company's bottom line.

    • Certainly some sectors of third world economies will be able to afford Microsoft prices. That set of sectors will only grow as those countries become more developed and, thereby, richer.

      Factor in the strong network effects regarding operating system dominance, and an early lead can result in long-term domination.

    • that's exactly what really bad hooking is all about, tying you on using something you can't afford in the long run.
    • I don't know anything about US tax law, but i'm guessing this donation has something to do with a big fat tax write-off, which is why Michael made a joke about the 1000 point markup. So it could potentially impact the bottom line.
    • a. Differential pricing.
      b. Can they afford to change off, though, when the software becomes out-of-date, underfeatured and insecure? If the cost to change is higher than the cost to update and they need to do _something_, the fact that they can't really afford either isn't much consolation.

      This still sucks and I think it's appalling that a convicted monopoly (I know, their punishment after conviction is a bit like Al Gore's presidency after victory...) should be allowed to use predatory tactics like this.
    • Helloooooooooo? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Friday January 23, 2004 @02:50PM (#8068068) Homepage
      I can't see that it really matters if Microsoft tries to "hook" the Third World on their products. The Third World can't _afford_ Microsoft prices (sort of what makes them Third World) and so if they are using Microsoft products it will be at no gain to the company's bottom line.

      You seem to have completely missed the finer points of monopoly versus normal competition. The very last thing you want as a monopoly is a competitive alternative. Read up on some basic economics about profits in monopoly versus duopoly and how much money it's rational to sink into barriers to entry.

      Microsoft would want nothing but for the third world to use their products, both officially (like this giveaway) and unofficially through piracy, because it means they're not using anything else. While they may cry their hearts out over the massive piracy, the truth is that if they actually forced them to pay, they'd lose their biggest barrier to entry.

      You're right, the third world doesn't gain their bottom line. But if they let an alternative develop and grow popular because their prices are too high, it could seriously hurt their bottom line where it matters - in the rich countries. That's what this is all about, what they are trying to prevent.

      That's also why threats of moving to Linux is so effective - the more people are on Linux, the more the rest can threaten to move to Linux. So it's probably cheaper to buy them off than to increase the Linux userbase and make the switchover threat worse. They sacrifice a little profit to keep their monopoly, because that is what matters in the greater picture.

      Kjella
  • ...is because they KNOW they have bad publicity. I dont think they expect to make a whole lot out of this market. But, it will help to make them look like the good guys.

    Just my humble opinion,
    SirLantos

  • by jvmatthe ( 116058 ) on Friday January 23, 2004 @02:15PM (#8067659) Homepage
    Isn't giving away tons of Microsoft software like trafficking in weapons of mass infection? Shouldn't that be against some international law or something? I mean, what could be worse than a million extra Outlook and IE clients all unpatched and ready to act as virus broadcast stations?

    Yeah, yeah, I know. Not fair. So mod me down. :^D
    • I mean, what could be worse than a million extra Outlook and IE clients all unpatched and ready to act as virus broadcast stations?

      A million and one extra Outlook and IE clients all unpatched and ready to act as virus broadcast stations.

  • Might as well add... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by FortKnox ( 169099 ) on Friday January 23, 2004 @02:15PM (#8067667) Homepage Journal
    Since this is an obvious 'spark' for a flamewar (with Mikey, of course, throwing a bit of gasoline on the fire with made up numbers), why not go ahead and throw in a judge says that MS is holding up their end of the antitrust pact [yahoo.com]. That will not only generate the clicks that you guys want to see, but the incoming flamewar, perhaps, could break a new record on most posts on an article.
  • by RazzleFrog ( 537054 ) on Friday January 23, 2004 @02:16PM (#8067671)
    For those of you who are not accountants:

    Unearned revenue is actually not a P&L item. It is a liability on a companies Balance Sheet. If I prepay for a service the company has to recognize that revenue over the life of the service. So if I pay for a years worth of service from Microsoft for $12,000 they can recognize $1000 each month as revenue and reduce the liability by $1000 until the 12 months are up and the $12,000 has entirely hit the P&L.

    The decrease in unearned revenue means that people aren't locking themselves into Microsoft but it doesn't reflect at all on what Microsofts future revenue will be. If anything companies that do end up sticking with Microsoft may pay more in the long run by not taking advantage of prepayment discounts.

    And yes - I am CPA.
    • The decrease in unearned revenue means that people aren't locking themselves into Microsoft but it doesn't reflect at all on what Microsofts future revenue will be.

      Wrong, it is a very good leading indicator. It shows that many customers are not planning to stick with Microsoft for the long term, otherwise they'd buy the lower-cost Licensing 6 subscription.

      Time to dump your MSFT stock, if you own any.
  • Which is it? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by onyxruby ( 118189 )
    Which is it, MS is evil because they charge too much in third world countries or MS is evil because they gave away software to third world countries? Can somebody please explain this to me? MS has done plenty of things to rank as evil in my book, but this is ludicrous.
  • by BillsPetMonkey ( 654200 ) on Friday January 23, 2004 @02:17PM (#8067690)
    "however they expressed concern about the continuing drop in unearned revenue"

    Isn't that the same as saying:

    "however they expressed concern about the continuing rise in earned revenue"

    Wow. I don't like the company but I'd like to share their FD's revenue concerns.
  • Microsoft may share source code with India [rediff.com]

    "We have a programme for making our source code available to governments around the world so that they can ensure the technology supports the national security interests of the country and we are in open discussions with the Indian government as well," Peter Moore, chief technology officer, Microsoft Asia Pacific told reporters on the sidelines of an e-governance function orgainsed by Manufacturing Association of Information Technology.

    He, however, added that t

  • Reminds me of Nestle (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Chairboy ( 88841 ) on Friday January 23, 2004 @02:21PM (#8067755) Homepage
    I remember reading about Nestle bringing baby formula to 3rd world countries. "Use this instead of your own breast milk. The succesful and healthy parents in the United States do, so it must be better."

    The problems started to show up immediately. First, there was a limited supply, so the parents would try to stretch the formula. Second, there isn't usually a source of purified water in the middle of poverty stricken 3rd world, so they would use water that often had bacteria. 3rd, after using the introductory supply up, they were basically forced to keep using it going forward because the mothers had lost the ability to generate milk.

    Nestle made a great profit because there was a high demand, funded through help funds, and also because they generated a captive audience.

    I wonder if there will be equivalents here where Microsoft essentially 'addicts' them to using their software while leaving any content expiration intact so they'll be obligated to stick to acquiring new MS things going forward.
    • Yeah, cause changing the biology of mother and baby is quite analogous to giving someone the chance to start->programs->games->minesweeper. Of course, I'd blame the local government if everyone has computers to run windows XP but they don't have safe water, as you assert. I suppose you believe that's Bill Gates' personal fault too. Won't someone think of the children!!!???!!!11
  • It's like this.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by loconet ( 415875 ) on Friday January 23, 2004 @02:23PM (#8067762) Homepage
    A friend of my put it best ..

    "In other news, crack dealers give first hit of crack for free to kids"

  • Profit was not up (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Tough Love ( 215404 ) on Friday January 23, 2004 @02:25PM (#8067796)
    Read the statements again. 3 month income is down, year over year. [microsoft.com]

    Microsoft is trying to spin this as improved results, but they are just playing a shell game. Note that the increase revenue is more than balanced by increased expenses. Translation: Microsoft is buying sales and hiding the costs. Translation of the translation: Microsoft is being forced to offer heavy incentives to move their tired old products. Translation of the translation of the translation: a million Penguin bites really do hurt.
    • Revenue is not the same thing as profit. Revenue is your gross income. Profit is your net after expenses. If you look at their financial statements and the MD&A you will notice that the decrease in profit is due to "$1.31 billion in stock based compensation expense associated with the employee stock option transfer."

      There is no spin here except for your post. If you eliminate the effect of the stock options their expenses as a % of revenue actually decreases.
  • by dada21 ( 163177 ) <adam.dada@gmail.com> on Friday January 23, 2004 @02:26PM (#8067802) Homepage Journal
    My consulting business has dealt with third world firms, and their lack of legitimate software has caused some problems in the past. Microsoft's giving away of their software to encourage more business is only a good thing for me, my business, and my employees here. Foreign workers have actually caused our profits to rise, and since all my employees get a good chunk of the profits, I'm able to hire more people here and pay them more.

    In my retail business, we give away free rentals of our sports equipment to young kids with parental supervision. 10-20% of those kids either buy the rental equipment outright, or come back for something better to buy. It is a good business initiative to give the item away.

    Cigarette companies have sent me free cigarettes to try a new product. Free samples of pain killers have helped my family switch to new brands. I've tried numerous foods in the supermarket that were given away free. I switched health clubs after doing a 2 week free trial. My shampoo I use is even one I picked after trying a profit-loss trial size.

    Why is this wrong? Microsoft products help almost 95% of my customers make money by not having to train users on a system they are unfamiliar with. I'm glad to see Microsoft take the initiative and a big risk in giving away the free software. I hope they continue to do so and I know I will reap the benefits in finding more firms to deal with overseas.
  • I wonder what Bill Parish [billparish.com.] has to say about that...
  • by FerretFrottage ( 714136 ) on Friday January 23, 2004 @02:30PM (#8067849)
    get it right after all the first two worlds has been throught with MS products. Then again, maybe McBride is in the 3rd world as we speak preaching the evils of the GPL. Here's to the the 4th world!
  • Microsoft is donating a pile of software ... attempting to hook the Third World on Microsoft software.

    Umm, would you instead expect them to donate Linux?
  • Smart move (Score:2, Insightful)

    by jarran ( 91204 )
    Presumably the people getting this free software are exactly the people who might be looking at free software as a cheap alternative to MS.

    Giving them free stuff therefore loses MS very little in sales, but ensures they are all gaining experience and expertise in MS not Linux etc. So when they do have the money to spend on software, they will do so with Microsoft.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 23, 2004 @02:37PM (#8067923)
    Maybe an accountant can answer this question:

    How much does Microsoft get to declare as a tax deduction when it donates software?

    For example, say Microsoft donates a CD, and that CD cost $1 to manufacture, but it contains software that normally retails for $100.

    What does Microsoft get to deduct for their charitable donation? Is it $1? $50? $100?

    If it is anything more that $1, then Microsoft is making a profit. In effect, money would be being transferred from other taxpayers to Microsoft.
    • by magarity ( 164372 ) on Friday January 23, 2004 @02:52PM (#8068092)
      How much does Microsoft get to declare as a tax deduction when it donates software?

      Please see the first section, "What is fair market value?" at this IRS online publication: http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p561.pdf
      The relevant sentence: "Fair market value (FMV)is the price that property would sell for on the open market." In other words, regular retail price.
    • If they write off $100, they have to show that the software was worth $100. If they show that the software was worth $100, they have to pay taxes on $99 of capitol gain. They can then write off the $100 and get a net writeoff of $1.
  • by holy_smoke ( 694875 ) on Friday January 23, 2004 @02:39PM (#8067949)
    a "freebie", that is.

    Like other posters have pointed out, these third world countries will not be able to affort the hight prices of upgrades. Sure they would take the freebies - it would be smart, but I doubt Microsoft is going to gain the long position.

    The dynamic in Microsoft's finances right now is really illustrating a couple of things: (1) market pressures by solutions offered by other (open source) alternatives, and (2) the beginnings of the effects of their predatory reputation and business practices in light of #1.

    Software is in may regards (and this is a controversial statement) becoming a commodity. When that happens pricing pressures take hold. Microsoft is entering this phase of its company's life. It can no longer hold onto and expand the market by monopolistic tactics. The open source movement, general awarness and a growing sense of displeasure in the business community with Microsoft's tactics and pricing, and of course the anti-trust trial and verdict (however inadequate we feel the "punishment".

    The bottom line is that Microsoft's business success was base partly on its ability to meet customer needs (minus security), but was propped up by its predatory behavior.

    I see this trend continuing until Micrsoft's pricing comes in line with upcoming competition (GO LINUX DESKTOP!!!). We are in the middle of a paradigm shift, ladies and gentlemen.
  • but you have to remember that they are doing it for business reasons. just like pharmacutical companies dump useless drugs in poverty/famine stricken countries and regions (well ok, maybe not that cynical). there's probably some tax write-off they can make, plus they get to permeate the market so that other OSs don't get a look in. i also think BG wants to make himself look a great guy, need proof? check out the BMG foundation website [gatesfoundation.org].
  • by andih8u ( 639841 ) on Friday January 23, 2004 @02:53PM (#8068109)
    Microsoft is obviously doing this just to hook the third world. Its not like they, nor Bill Gates have ever made any charitable donations before, right?

    Maybe one day slashdot will get rid of Michael and will slowly become a respectable news source again.

    • Microsoft is obviously doing this just to hook the third world. Its not like they, nor Bill Gates have ever made any charitable donations before, right?

      Donating cold, hard cash is charity.

      Donating product is promotion, pure and simple.

      Spinning it as "charity" is disningenuous, dishonest, and quite frankly an insult to our intelligence (not to mention an insult to everyone who does make real, legitimate financial donations anywhere).

      Maybe one day slashdot will get rid of Michael and will slowly become
  • by InfiniteWisdom ( 530090 ) on Friday January 23, 2004 @03:26PM (#8068504) Homepage
    MS seems to be very definitely losing market share at least here in India. Most computer manufacturers including Dell and Acer are selling PCs and Laptops with Linux and Openoffice pre-installed. One of the indian manufacturers... HCL is advertising a modestly configured PC (1.7GHz, 128MB RAM, 40GB hdd, 15" CRT) for the equivalent of $250 with Linux and Openoffice installed.

    Many people may replace it with Windows, but at least you're free from the Microsoft Tax if you choose to use Linux. And I'm sure many people will at least try it and be shocked by the staggering loss in performance when they install, say, WinXP on these machines.
  • by JTFritz ( 15573 ) * <jeffreytfritz AT gmail DOT com> on Friday January 23, 2004 @03:26PM (#8068518) Homepage Journal
    So let me get this right,

    Our buddy Darl says that Linux can be downloaded for free and used in North Korea, Afghanistan, and other terrorist filled countries.

    But Bill Gates goes into these countries and gives his software away for free also. To sweeten the pot, he takes a tax deduction for donating product to 3rd world countries. The tax deduction is inevitably MORE than the cost of distributing the software, thus bringing Microsoft profit.

    How does this make Microsoft, as a corporation, a more responsible member of the community than us 'Penguinistas'?

  • by dougnaka ( 631080 ) * on Friday January 23, 2004 @03:44PM (#8068685) Homepage Journal
    Anyone have any good places they use that get old computers from us to someone who really needs it?

    I've got plenty of hardware, from old pentiums to dual p2 300's with SCSI drives, and I've got more workstations and servers than I need... I'm sure I'm not alone.. maybe the local library could use some, but I've always been partial to latin america..

  • by iantri ( 687643 ) <iantri&gmx,net> on Friday January 23, 2004 @03:56PM (#8068850) Homepage
    They did this before [theregister.co.uk]. The made a gracious donation and provided the very poor country of Namibia with copies of Office Professional for a set of 50 laptops that were purchased for the school system. The catch? They had to buy a copy of Windows, for each computer. Somehow, a $2,000 donation of software would have cost them $9,000.

    Namibia said "Screw you!" and kept on using Linux.

Just go with the flow control, roll with the crunches, and, when you get a prompt, type like hell.

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