CyberTech Rambler

July 2, 2008

Managing Director on ego-trip?

Filed under: Uncategorized — ctrambler @ 7:11 pm

Via LinuxToday, I saw this LinuxWatch article titled “Microsoft tactics push India to Linux“. The title brings into mind some government-backed entity adoopting Linux over Microsoft and suffered lobbying tactics. However, it appears that the dispute is over money, or more precisely, Microsoft did not bend over backward enough.  That is strange since Microsoft is  known to bend over backward to compete against Linux. Reading the article I sensed that the author, Henry Kingman, has some reservation over ELCOT’s  (the government entity Microsoft managed to irks) action. That makes me read the original ELCOT article.

First of all, it is important to understand the culture. In general, most Indians I had encountered has the tendancy to use strongly worded phrase (“I tell you bla-de-bla-de-bla”) and adopt a preaching style (“Do this coz I did it and it was good for me”. Governments in developing countries also like to “instruct” their citizens in their communications rather than the softly-softly approach used by Western Government”. A bit difficult to swallow for people like me who is used to softly-softly approach but we need to read over this to get to the true meaning.

If you examine the original ELCOT article carefully, you will see that the part relating to Microsoft is only a very small section and it centres on the dispute over prices. The section describing Linux are much longer and is clearly designed to reassure readers that Linux is as good as, if not better, than Microsoft Windows.

However, I get the feeling that the Managing Director is on an ego-trip.

If he thinks he has such a big volume that Microsoft should pay him notice, he is mistaken. 100,000 unit is a big number for 99.9% of the companies, but if we put it in context, Dell, HP and other companies sells that number every few weeks each, if not days. To Microsoft, he is a small fry.

It is not his place to tell Microsoft that it should only offer one price for a product. Apparently, he is not happy because he is offered “Academic Edition”. Taken together with ELCOT’s complain about different pricing, I think it means Microsoft is only willing to offer a discount for some but not all the laptops. This unfortunately is lost in his rant. What I  get from the article is Microsoft is offering an “Academic Edition” with an implicit guanrantee that it will close an eye even if it is used for business. If so, why bother about the phrasing of the license?

If Microsoft wants to bundle something, we must presume it is its right to do. Bundling without the abuse of monopoly position is legal.  If ELCOT don’t like it and think it is anticompetitive, it should take it to the appropriate government department to force Microsoft to unbundle, not preaching that bundling is bad. By doing so, he is decreasing his chances that Microsoft will budge.

Another problem I have is this article sounds like a civil servant trying to single-handedly defines government policy. That’s not his job but the politicians.


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