Note: This column represents the opinions
of the writer and as such, is not represented as fact|
Microsoft's offer to settle a raft of private antitrust cases by providing
around US$ 1 billion in computing resources to some of the USA's poorest
schools is an interesting one.
the contents of Aardvark's "million-dollar ideas" notebook
are revealed for all to see!
The more charitable amongst us will look at the offer as a great way to
improve the lot of the poor and underprivileged, while also satisfying
the claims of those who believe the software giant has abused its dominant
Cynics however, might just have a different view.
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As we all know, once a piece of software has been developed, the costs of
duplication and distribution are trivial -- especially since the demise
of good quality printed manuals and documentation.
So, just how much will a billion dollars worth of software cost Microsoft?
The answer -- a whole lot less than a billion!
In fact, it could be argued that it will only cost them the price of
a few thousand CDROMs -- and they're worth far less than a dollar each
in high volumes.
I have no doubt that any quick-thinking Microsoft executive who might
per chance to read this column will right now be saying to themselves -- "what
about the cost of lost sales opportunities?"
Indeed -- every time the company gives away a piece of software it has, in
theory, just lost a potential sale. That could represent a significant
amount of unrealised revenue -- right?
Ah.. well, maybe not so much as you might think!
After all, this donated software will be going to the poorest schools -- those
which probably couldn't have afforded to by the stuff anyway. No lost sales
Then there's the rate at which Open Source software seems to be infiltrating
the education system.
There's a growing trend all around the world which is creating a greater
awareness and use of free software in place of Microsoft's offerings.
In light of all this, it could be argued that Microsoft have boxed very
clever with their seemingly generous offer.
They get to present themselves as a hero instead of a villain -- at very little
cost -- while simultaneously making it harder for Open Source software to
find its way into the US education system.
Perhaps now you can see why Microsoft is number one in its industry.
I'm Not Ignoring You!
If anyone has used the
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week or so then I apologise for the fact that I didn't receive your message.
Yes, a snafu on the configuration front combined with a shift to a new
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into a black hole somewhere.
The problem was fixed late last night so if you've responded to my free advertising
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Save The Aardvark Fund
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who put their money where their mouse is :-)
If guilt is gnawing away inside you then there's still time to donate.
Just drop by and
hand over your loot.
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