CyberTech Rambler

April 20, 2007

$3 Microsoft developing deal fall foul of anti-dumping laws and and OLPC

Filed under: Uncategorized — ctrambler @ 7:55 am

Steven J Vaughan-Nichol’s rant on Microsoft’s $3 software plan for developing countries is not really unexpected, given that he is a pro-Linux supporters. He covers the OLPC angle. He also mentioned the main reason for developing countries rejecting Redmond’s overture: supporting home-grown software industry better. However, what really fascinate me is this sentence in the second last paragraph

 “Dumping product is a no-no in any country’s trade plans.”

Almost every time I hear about dumping products, it is about someone violating product dumping law. The law in essence says that foreign goods cannot be sold below production price in order to drive locals out of the market. The price differential, at least to the layman, is huge. The interesting part is whether local pro-Linux campaigner can use this to blunt or stop Microsoft’s $3 initiative. From some angle, we can say this is playing dirty, after all, in most countries, Linux are imported. From other angles, it will be interesting. For example, seeing Microsoft justifying the different prices at both ed. How can one product cost so much to produce in country A but when shipped to country B cost almost nothing there? If it argues that the cost of producing an extra copy of software is virtually zero, it runs the risk of explaining to the developed world why developing world customers gets a free ride on  product development. On the other hand, if it try to says that the cost should include product development cost, how can it arrived at $3 per copy for developing countries.

Of course, we will never see this happens. Microsoft is smart. They will say the software are stripped down version. Therefore, we are comparing apples with monkey nuts. But I will still like to see an anti-dumping investigation.

A lot of commentator, Vaughan-Nichols and Larry Dignan included, pick up on OLPC. They pick up on OLPC running Fedora Core. Both did not find it worthwhile linking to earlier internet rumours about OLPC running windows, especially the rumour that one reason the SD card slot exists is for this purpose. May be I am wrong, but may be this is one of the few ways to get Microsoft Starter Edition into OLPC, if it is possible. If not, probably downgrading it for Windows Embedded, the preferred version of Windows for OLPC project as the source code is available for tinkering. Not as good as open source, but its sufficient for the aim of the project.


1 Comment »

  1. OLPC is a great project. Don’t let M$ spoil it.

    Comment by Dan — April 20, 2007 @ 9:09 am | Reply

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