MORE -- Is Microsoft behind the software slaughter in Central America?
Feb 11, 2000, 21:11 (23 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Tom Adelstein)
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By Tom Adelstein
Dateline February 11, Ilopango -- This note in from El
"I just sent you some copies of the advertising our
Government is doing almost every day as a countdown toward the
deadline for legalizing software.
I also included some copies for you to see the advantage
Microsoft, through their representatives, is taking on the issue.
No other competitor advertises and offers alternatives far from
Microsoft. El Salvador, as a market is interesting, Central America
as a whole is even better. "
"What have we discovered? The practices used in El Salvador
appear widespread throughout third world countries. Does Microsoft
encourage copying of their software until they have it fully
implemented in an economy and then pull the trigger? Once they have
the market, do they pressure the government to penalize anyone who
hasn't paid for a license?"
Here are reports we've received from around the globe. Some names
we omitted to protect people's lives.
"The news we are receiving from El Salvador makes me worried. In
Dominican Republic, BSA (Business Software Alliance) has worked as
Microsoft GESTAPO police, and they've been pushing some strong arm
tactics with the blessing of the Dominican Government."
"Well, 1st... Microsoft decided to chase piracy worldwide. Here in
Brazil, this work has begun almost 6 months ago. It's called
something like 'Tolerance Zero'. We have a couple people arrested,
a lot of companies being fined and so on. Ok, it's MS Software,
they deserve to receive money for it. But, and this issue they
won't tell you, the price of piracy is already built-in in the
product final price. So, as a rule of thumb, the software will cost
more where it's more pirated. There are exceptions due to local
currency and economical issues obviously."
"This is very true. I am writing from Malaysia and this happened to
us a few years ago and is continuing even up till now. Our company,
a multinational oil company was served with a letter by a Malaysian
government body just last month to produce photocopies of licenses
of all software that we use. I have no doubt that they were coerced
by BSA (read MS)."
"When they started a few years ago, they put up whole page
advertisements in the local papers that depict a man with his hands
handcuffed behind him in prison garb. He was hanging his head in
shame. The background was dark (in fact black) with threatening
slogans. Later, they offered $10,000 (or 20,000, I forget) local
currency to people to snitch on others. I'm sure not a few
disgruntled employees got rich. Many coughed up rather than go to
"The same situation is in many other countries. Every thing you
said is the same here, in Bulgaria. Even that Bulgaria (and many
other small countries) are very different countries from Brazil,
they face the same problems in IT. And the Microsoft tactics look
very similar everywhere -- for many years they do nothing to appeal
for their legal rights, letting people be completely assimilated by
their software, and when everybody just "can't live' without
his/her MS Office, they come and say -- OK, now give us our money,
or take that hardware (you know what). The worst is that the
government has step in deal with MS, making use and requirement of
their products , as law. MS even don't care, that in our law, every
product they sold here, need to be translated in our language -
they are still not."
"I work for a local government who uses pirated MS software such as
NT, Exchange, SQL, Office and SMS. I reported this to the BSA along
with all the data of how many licenses we actually have and how
many we are using, the numbers were staggering. I spent over an
hour on the phone with the BSA giving them every single detail they
asked for. What was the result of all this you ask? Nothing! Now
I'm sure if I would have reported a business or some kid on a cable
modem the BSA would have come down on them with a vengeance but I
guess U.S. government both local and federal don't need to follow
the laws they make or enforce."
"We've all witnessed here how the BSA has intimidated people by
sending fill-in forms for declaring owned software licenses, and
even software that you have deleted from the computers. My guess is
that if I come out saying that I'm using StarOffice after having
deleted MSOffice, they are coming after me... unless I bought
Microsoft Office in which case I´ll be "forgiven". I don't
think many will report deletions, which would be dumb anyway.
Conveniently, The BSA has also sent along the forms, Microsoft's
"propaganda" consisting in brochures from products such as Windows
NT, and Office 2000, so it's clear that here the BSA is working as
MS´s appendix for *enforcing* sales of MS´s
Sancar Saran writes:
"Turkey: BSA try to threaten every one, license it or go to
"In Dominican Republic, BSA Business Software Alliance has worked
as Microsoft GESTAPO police, and they've been pushing some strong
arms tactics with the blessing of the Dominican Government."
Dennis Lee writes:
"I am writing from Malaysia and this happened to us a few years ago
and is continuing even up till now. When they started a few years
ago, they put up whole page advertisements in the local papers that
depict a man with his hands handcuffed behind him in prison garb.
He was hanging his head in shame. The background was dark (in fact
black) with threatening slogans. Later, they offered $10,000 (or
20,000, I forget) local currency to people to snitch on others. I'm
sure not a few disgruntled employees got rich. Many coughed up
rather than go to jail."
Raul Millan writes:
"Panama had the same situation that El Salvador is living, about 1
year ago. Nothing big happened, a couple of banks got a fine for I
don't know how many thousand dollars."
"As Guatemalan Linux user I feel that the actual government is
making the things more difficult for open software to become
- "The people who goes with the idea of "free software" is banned
from offering services to the government.
- "Government say: "We are a poor country"; they buy in every
department M$ software and have a deal to not let in Linux or
- "I have made like 100 Linux installations in the enterprise
level but none in the government.
- Actually they doesn't want to build more schools in very
marginal areas but they have make a deal with M$ to deploy M$
operating systems in all schools."
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