No Effin' Way: M$, TechBiz, and Politics *all in one post*?!?

jbone at jbone at
Wed Oct 22 18:38:08 PDT 2003

Lucas asks, I deliver.  It's a G.D. hat trick.


A shut Gates on open source
James Riley

OCTOBER 23, 2003

MICROSOFT founder and chairman Bill Gates has slammed moves by  
political parties in Australia and elsewhere to legislate the adoption  
of open source software.

In an interview with The Australian at the Microsoft Office System  
launch in New York, Mr Gates said any such moves by government were  
wrongheaded and would result in a reduction in public sector  

Mr Gates claimed the open source system was "inferior" and said it  
represented a false economy in relation to lost opportunities to  
improve productivity.

"Our position is that organisations should simply buy the best software  
for their situation," he said.

"Forcing people to use software that is inefficient? Do you want your  
Government to be efficient?

"Governments are very information-driven. They are not factories. It's  
all just information," he said.

In the past 10 months, politicians at various levels in Australia,  
Brazil, China, South Korea and Japan have suggested that government  
procurement procedures should mandate at least the consideration of  
open source alternatives to reduce overall IT costs.

China, South Korea and Japan have outlined tentative plans to design  
their own open source operating system to compete with Microsoft  
Windows and applications to compete with Microsoft Office as a means of  
reducing IT pressures on the public purse.

"I think it's just commonsense that people won't choose to use inferior  
software. People want their tax dollars to go as far as possible, and  
in most cases they will see more value in the offerings that we  
provide," Mr Gates said.

The Australian Government, particularly the Australian Taxation Office,  
Centrelink and various health agencies had invested heavily in  
XML-based technologies and processes - the latest base software used by  
IT companies.

Mr Gates said the argument that its software was too expensive was  
simply wrong. And despite complaints from some Third World governments  
about Microsoft's global pricing - where the company's software  
essentially carries the same list price wherever it is sold -- he  
maintains the company has been the primary driver in pushing down the  
cost of IT systems.

"Our business model is entirely oriented toward high volume, low  
price," Mr Gates said. "In any IT project, our software is going to be  
just 1 or 2 per cent of (the project cost)."

Meanwhile, Mr Gates has renewed Microsoft's recent pledges to radically  
improve its security procedures in conjunction with the rest of the  
industry following the unprecedented levels of virus and worm outbreaks  
in recent months.

"This is a case where the industry and Microsoft need to do better,  
(although) the vast majority of our customers have not been affected by  
these problems," Mr Gates said.

"But we take responsibility for the fact that it was too hard for  
people to know whether they had their firewalls up the right way, and  
that it was too hard for them to keep their (security patch) software  
up to date.

"If we can make those (functions) incredibly easy, then we'll bring  
down the scale of these incidents and the frequency very dramatically."

He said that improving security on all Microsoft functions had been  
made a primary focus of the company's $US6 billion ($8.6 billion)  
research and development budget.

This report appears on

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