Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Microsoft Operating Systems Software Windows

Microsoft Authorized Refurbishers 367

An anonymous reader writes "Microsoft has announced a program to 'establish a vibrant community of computer refurbishers across 133 countries in Europe, the Middle East and Africa who will be authorized to re-install its Windows operating system in donated pre-used PCs destined for schools, charities, non-profit organizations and under-served communities...Microsoft will provide re-installation of Windows 98 Second Edition and Windows 2000 Professional in over 18 languages. The refurbished PCs will be accompanied by a Certificate of Authenticity (COA) and a special End User Licence as evidence of a legally installed operating system.' XBruticusX submits a story on news.com about the program.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Microsoft Authorized Refurbishers

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 09, 2004 @05:12PM (#8820242)
    In related news,
    Slackware [slackware.org] and Debian [debian.org] announced free operating systems for these refurbished computers...

    ...10 years ago.

    • Re:In related news (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Avihson ( 689950 )
      It is a shame that the refurbished computers can't be loaded with low cost Lindows.
      • Re:In related news (Score:5, Informative)

        by magarity ( 164372 ) on Friday April 09, 2004 @06:15PM (#8820960)
        "It is a shame that the refurbished computers can't be loaded with low cost Lindows"

        I'll tell you why they can't as until recently I worked at a nonprofit MAR member. People who run the local community center / church / shelter / adult day care / whatever nonprofit have NO IDEA about computers other than they've heard that Microsoft Windows is what they're supposed to have. At $5 per MAR license or $0 for [insert distro here] Linux, they'd rather pay. There is no amount of patient explaination that will change their minds, I assure you as one who has tried. They also want to pay for MS Office rather than OpenOffice for the same reason. Never heard of it? Don't want it and don't want to know! And all of my persuasions were based on cost and performance on older computers, not a fanatical open source agenda.
        • Re:In related news (Score:5, Insightful)

          by westlake ( 615356 ) on Friday April 09, 2004 @07:50PM (#8821630)
          Have you considered the possibility that all the staff, volunteers and clients who maintain these programs have years of experience with Windows at home and at work?

          No money in the budget for training and support, fundamentally no need, and, for related reasons, I've seen exactly zero interest in maintaining old, cheap, hardware.

          Here in town, the Civic Guild donated a gorgeous 19" LCD color monitor to the local library. Seniors manning the desk were tiring under the strain of using the new electronic check-out system. The aging CRT that had served well enough before went to the dumpster when no one would take it even as a gift.

        • Re:In related news (Score:4, Informative)

          by Danathar ( 267989 ) on Friday April 09, 2004 @10:14PM (#8822383) Journal
          Has it ever occured to you NOT to tell them it's not Windows? That's what I did with a friend of my mother's. I set everthing up so it was easy.. the Icon for Open Office said "Start Word Processor".....Replaced the Mozilla Icon with Netscape Icon....ect..

          She's been using it for months...with no complaint. If they are igonrant enough to not know about LINUX...they are igorant enough not to understand why they need to run Windows....or even what windows IS! She wanted to add a digital camera to the system....It works without a hitch (MEPIS works great as a newbie distro!!)
        • Re:In related news (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Lothsahn ( 221388 ) <Lothsahn@@@SPAM_ ... u_bastardsyahocm> on Saturday April 10, 2004 @03:35AM (#8823438)
          Actually, I'm doing just that. I'm setting up a computer lab for an inner city homeless outreach with little or no computer budget. I've managed to scrape together 3 different computers, and for consistancy, I've used Knoppix for Kids on all of them.

          It comes pre-installed with educational software, word processing, web browsing, and if it ever fails, they just reboot the computer.

          On the other hand, I could use an illegal copy of windows, or even if I could get a legal copy of windows for free, it would contain little or NO educational software. Then I'd have to go pay for educational software, which isn't cheap.

          Linux has really been the best thing ever for these kids learning about computers. Many of these kids have never used a computer before at all.
    • Microsoft dumps unneeded Win98se licences on third world countries after the product is EOLed . . .
  • smooth move (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 09, 2004 @05:13PM (#8820254)

    A way to fight back as all the recycled machined getting Linux/*BSD installed on them. That's why they're "giving" Win98 for the lower end machines.
    • not easily anyway, not any modern distro with a windowing desktop that a non guru can install and operate. Not on them old 16 meg ram machines they won't. 95 will though, and will work perfectly fine, it will surf, email whatever, type a report,etc. I have this problem all the time the olden antiques I refurb and give away, I haven't found a linux equivalent that will do all this with a GUI on these pent 1s.

      I still have my old mac 512k. This has a nice GUI that ran off a dang undersized floppy, and I think
  • Windows 98? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by phearlez ( 769961 ) on Friday April 09, 2004 @05:14PM (#8820257)
    How odd that they would officially support the installation of an OS that's been EOLed (WinME is the oldest 16 bit still supported, yes?)
    • Re:Windows 98? (Score:2, Informative)

      by jsupreston ( 626100 )
      IIRC, 98SE is supported until '06.
    • Re:Windows 98? (Score:2, Redundant)

      by Homology ( 639438 )
      How odd that they would officially support the installation of an OS that's been EOLed (WinME is the oldest 16 bit still supported, yes?)

      Quite the contrary! WinME can run on the older hardware that is available on many countries, and on those PC's *BSD/Linux runs just fine. Actually, there is a UN program for introducing IT in Afghanistan that uses old hardware and software from FSF. Win2000 won't run nicely on those machines, but Linux will.....

      • Re:Windows 98? (Score:3, Interesting)

        by reinard ( 105934 )
        You completely missed the point. It's not about whether the OS can run on those machines, but the fact that they are giving away/install an OS that is no longer supported (ie EOLed - End Of Life-ed).

        And why did the post get modded up? Because it suggested that Linux may work on a machine that Win2K won't? Lamers.

        • Re:Windows 98? (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Homology ( 639438 )

          You completely missed the point. It's not about whether the OS can run on those machines, but the fact that they are giving away/install an OS that is no longer supported (ie EOLed - End Of Life-ed).

          Of course the OS no longer supported by Microsoft, since it's intended to run on PC that in the rich world is "obsolete". Do you think that P4 3.4 GHz with 1GB RAM and DSL line is common i Africa?

          And why did the post get modded up? Because it suggested that Linux may work on a machine that Win2K won't? La

    • Re:Windows 98? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by neowolf ( 173735 )
      Not odd at all- they are relicensing a deprecated and almost completely worthless OS. They don't make or lose any money off of it and don't have to support it, but they get good free publicity because of this announcement.
      • Re:Windows 98? (Score:3, Insightful)

        by eclectro ( 227083 )
        but they get good free publicity because of this announcement

        And more people "hooked" on windows that will be future customers. And more developers writing software in third world countries for Windows.

        Brilliant really.

    • Re:Windows 98? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by anon*127.0.0.1 ( 637224 ) <slashdot@bauUUUd ... inus threevowels> on Friday April 09, 2004 @05:33PM (#8820514) Journal
      True, but would you want to load WinXP on a P166 with 32 meg of RAM?

      There are old, refurbished computers in countries where there's not that much modern hardware to begin with. Wouldn't suprise me if some of those suckers were 486's. At least give Microsoft credit for realizing what sort of hardware they're dealing with.

      • Re:Windows 98? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by ottffssent ( 18387 ) on Friday April 09, 2004 @06:31PM (#8821091)
        At least give Microsoft credit for realizing what sort of hardware they're dealing with.


        Hah! Since when have Microsoft ever done anything but make hardware as slow as they can get away with?

        No, they have a solid grasp of the market they're dealing with. That being emerging markets where Microsoft has no sizeable installed base with which to compete with Linux. You did notice this doesn't apply in the US or any of the major European countries, right?

        This program exists for the same reason that Microsoft practically gives away their software to college students: so people in target markets will be familiar with their product. That familiarity is absolutely crucial to Microsoft: as Linux continues to be more and more compelling from a technical perspective, the only advantage Microsoft has is its familiarity and continuity with the old standard.
  • by NanoGator ( 522640 ) on Friday April 09, 2004 @05:14PM (#8820269) Homepage Journal
    Boy I can't wait to see how everybody takes this as a creative writing exercise to tell us about how this is proof Microsoft is evil.
    • We don't need any more proof.
    • You need proof?
    • Boy I can't wait to see how everybody takes this as a creative writing exercise to tell us about how this is proof Microsoft is evil.

      And this is modded "insightful" ? Well, I don't know what's worse, to claim everything Microsoft does is evil, or to judge people before they even say anything ;-)

      ---
      • "And this is modded "insightful" ? Well, I don't know what's worse, to claim everything Microsoft does is evil, or to judge people before they even say anything ;-)"

        Heh, don't blame me, I was aiming for 'funny'.
    • by Avihson ( 689950 ) on Friday April 09, 2004 @05:22PM (#8820386)
      I'll bite this bait:

      Why pay to reinstall the same OS that came originally on the system?
      If It came with 98, then it has a legal license for 98, no need to buy a new one. If I donate it to a charity, then I donate my license.

      If Some Evil Company manipulates the EULA to prohibit this act of charity, then I will just keep legal ownership of the PC and allow the charity to use My PC and My Licence to the OS as they see fit.
      • "Why pay to reinstall the same OS that came originally on the system?"

        Actually, the article mentions an upgrade to a newer OS.

        "Computers donated by large companies are typically three years old and the MAR program upgrades the software to newer versions of Windows that donated PCs can support, for a nominal charge that covers materials and program operations."

        "If It came with 98, then it has a legal license for 98, no need to buy a new one. If I donate it to a charity, then I donate my license."

        It

        • Re:Ready pitchforks! (Score:3, Informative)

          by zcat_NZ ( 267672 )
          Microsoft is really unclear on this;

          If you have an OEM install of Windows, it MUST be sold with the machine. You can't sell the bare machine and reinstall WIndows on your new computer.

          If you buy a second-hand machine, apparently you don't ever get Windows with it and are supposed to buy a new version.

          It looks to me like someone is trying to sell at least one new windows licence every time a second-hand machine gets sold or donated.
      • by StormyMonday ( 163372 ) on Friday April 09, 2004 @05:55PM (#8820741) Homepage
        I see it a bit differently. Microsoft (and other software vendors) are desperate to maintain the fiction that shrinkwrap/clickthru EULAs actaully mean anything (they viiolate just about every common law principal of business agreements).

        By getting people to agree that they *need* to worry about the transfer of license when a PC is sold, they reinforce the idea that the EULA actually means something.

        It's a lot better on the ol' PR than suing an orphanage somewhere over EULA viiolations.
        • VERY insightful ! (Score:4, Interesting)

          by Teun ( 17872 ) on Friday April 09, 2004 @06:40PM (#8821157) Homepage
          Indeed, this must be the the main reason for M$ to come up with the plan.

          And every computer running their product is one less for the competition...

          A Eula restricting transfer of the use of the product is rather worthless in most (European) countries I know, in Africa and Asia most people and governements couldnt care less anyway.

      • Why pay to reinstall the same OS that came originally on the system?

        Simply put, because they're not.

        As TFA says, recipients of these computers will pay "a nominal charge that covers materials and program operations."

        What is happening here is good. These computers were largely destained for landfills, and their hardware contains many toxic chemicals, such as high concentrations of lead, that seep into our environment. No one likes lead in the watertable. Furthermore, these computers will be upgraded to
    • by timeOday ( 582209 )
      I think it's more a credit to Linux than a discredit to Microsoft.
  • yay! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gl4ss ( 559668 ) on Friday April 09, 2004 @05:15PM (#8820279) Homepage Journal
    so you'll essentially pay for the license for a computer that already most probably had a license!

    So I guess this makes sense for them(microsoft).

    • Re:yay! (Score:5, Informative)

      by Godeke ( 32895 ) * on Friday April 09, 2004 @05:19PM (#8820347)
      Since the license is non transferable (a rule I thinks needs legal review, but that's how it stands) this is an unfortunate necessity. I have worked with Microsoft in the past, and it was difficult to get a relicense approved, even for non profits. Instead they wanted to sell new licenses at a discounted rate, but still at a cost that makes the "donated" hardware a liability rather than an asset.
      • Re:yay! (Score:3, Insightful)

        by daviddennis ( 10926 )
        Could you (or someone else) explain why the license is non-transferable when it comes with the computer and becomes worthless with the computer?

        Does this mean that if I have an old machine and I sell it, I still own its licenses and the successor owner doesn't?

        Could I then buy a new machine without an OS and legally install Windows 2000 on it if my old machine had Windows 2000?

        I don't understand what's wrong with the common-sense idea that an operating system license always goes with the computer when so
        • I don't understand what's wrong with the common-sense idea that an operating system license always goes with the computer when sold unless other arrangements are made.

          What's wrong with the idea that the license should allow the software to be installed on any one machine, by anyone? This is how virtually all other types of goods work.

        • Re:yay! (Score:3, Informative)

          by Godeke ( 32895 ) *
          It may be common sense, but the rule is that if a machine transfers ownership *neither* the original owner, *nor* the new owner can legally use the software without a "transfer of ownership". Cisco most recently decided that IOS (the software that runs from firmware on Cisco routers) did *not* transfer with the hardware, and you have to pay them *full hit* to use the hardware you just bought, because to their mind, you don't legally have a license to the *software* that runs it.
      • ...but still at a cost that makes the "donated" hardware a liability rather than an asset.

        Since noone has said it yet, I'll say it now.

        With Linux at least, you can turn this former asset-morphed-liability into a fully functioning religious idol everyone can worship.

      • Re:yay! (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Kris_J ( 10111 ) *
        Since the license is non transferable
        So don't transfer it. If I install a Windows licence I own on a PC it's not against the law for someone else to use it, so who cares who owns the licence so long as only one install exists for each licence?
    • FAQ and Fees (Score:5, Informative)

      by David Hume ( 200499 ) on Friday April 09, 2004 @05:37PM (#8820555) Homepage

      so you'll essentially pay for the license for a computer that already most probably had a license!


      The Microsoft Authorised Refurbishers (MAR) Programme FAQ [microsoft.com] addresses this issue:

      Q Why is a programme required? Why can't the original owner donate the licence?

      A Typically, the original owner of a computer no longer has the original media and documentation when donating a computer some years after its original purchase. In accordance with Microsoft licensing rules, this original media and documentation would be required for the licence to be donated.


      As for the "adminstrative fee," the FAQ [microsoft.com] explains:

      Q Is there a charge to become a MAR?

      A No charge is made to join the programme but an administrative fee is charged to cover the management and supply of materials for the programme for each computer MARs wish to refurbish and reinstall a licence on. The fee is US$5.00 per computer.

      Q Are there any other charges to participate in the programme?

      A No - the only charge is the administrative fee of US$5.00 per licence.


      To answer other questions, people may want to check out:

      Microsoft Authorised Refurbishers Programme [microsoft.com].

    • Re:yay! (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Fnkmaster ( 89084 ) on Friday April 09, 2004 @05:44PM (#8820640)
      I'm not clear how those sorts of license terms (license bound to not only a particular piece of hardware but also to a particular owner) complies with the first sale doctrine or would be ruled as a permissable sort of EULA in most, if not all, jurisdictions around the world.


      I realize that unfortunately rulings on EULAs here in the US have been mixed, but this kind of restriction is not a reasonable one. I bought the hardware, I paid for it, the software comes with it, you can't tell me when I sell the hardware that I can't sell the software. That's as outrageous as telling me that when I sell my car I can't transfer the "license" to run the engine control software because there was an EULA in addition to the standard sale contract when I bought my car.


      Just because the stuff behind the scenes is done by software and the software itself is protected by copyright law, doesn't mean that a person who bought it can't use it in the standard way it is intended to be used. This kind of use just plain old doesn't require accepting any license - mark my words, the first auto manufacturer that tries this shit will get torn to shreds by an angry mob, and I think it will take something like that to get the commoners to understand how they are being raped by companies like Microsoft.

  • WTF? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Lord Kano ( 13027 ) on Friday April 09, 2004 @05:15PM (#8820283) Homepage Journal
    establish a vibrant community of computer refurbishers across 133 countries in Europe, the Middle East and Africa who will be authorized to re-install its Windows operating system

    I didn't know that the BSA had offices in Karachi and Djibouti. Who the fuck cares about Microsoft certification in the third world?

    LK
    • Re:WTF? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by tuxtomas ( 559452 )
      Seriously, this has to throw your head back. Especially in the regions suffering from hunger, AIDS, ethnic conflicts, civil wars, you name it.

      Who's gonna care about about that little sticker on your box when you're an orphan suffering from dysentery with tsetse flies and mosquitoes flying around your head as you stare at a blue screen. Open source- the greatest equalizer mankind has ever seen.
  • Old machines. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Godeke ( 32895 ) * on Friday April 09, 2004 @05:16PM (#8820293)
    I think it is great there will be a legal way to bring these machines online: having worked with charities, often the limiting factor was the difficulty of getting Microsoft to relicense the software. Obviously, part of the motivation is to stem the use of free software, which was previously the only surefire way to remain legal. The implementation question that remains is how expensive the refurbishing services will be... too expensive and the practice of simply using an unlicensed copy of Windows or punting and using free products will continue.
    • Re:Old machines. (Score:3, Informative)

      by jeffasselin ( 566598 )
      There's already plenty of ways to bring those machines online legally.

      They're called Linux distributions. there's no need to pay more Microsoft tax. Imagine, now you don't need to pay the tax once, you must pay it twice or three times!
  • by t_allardyce ( 48447 ) on Friday April 09, 2004 @05:17PM (#8820299) Journal
    isnt there already a vibrant community of people who will install linux for free on old pc's?:P
  • by Anonymous Coward
    If the laptop/PC was bought with a install of Windows on it is it not legal to reinstall it?
    As I recall the License says it is the install that is on that PC, it should transfer to the new owner shouldn't it?
  • MCOSR: Microsoft Certified Operating System Refurbishers?
  • Nice deal for MS! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Greg@RageNet ( 39860 ) on Friday April 09, 2004 @05:17PM (#8820314) Homepage
    So Microsoft can get refurbishers to pay again for an operating system that was licensed and installed on the system in the first place, since 99+% of PC's ship with windows when originally sold? Nice deal.

    -- Greg

    • Re:Nice deal for MS! (Score:3, Interesting)

      by morleron ( 574428 )
      The double dipping for license fees shouldn't surprise anyone. After all, MS recently told the SEC that Linux is a significant threat to its revenue stream. This is simply a way for MS to enhance their cash flow, give them more money with which to fund SCO lawsuits, and play the PR game to show how "thoughtful and caring" it is. Gates and company are evil, but they're not stupid.

      Just my $.02,
      Ron
    • "So Microsoft can get refurbishers to pay again for an operating system that was licensed and installed on the system in the first place, since 99+% of PC's ship with windows when originally sold? Nice deal."

      Umm. Think about how this would really work.

      1.) How many machines would be donated with the original Windows disc? I doubt there's a significant number. If the original user kept the disc and installed it elsewhere, then they would be violating the license by reinstalling it.

      2.) They don't say
    • I didn't RTFA, but I am an OEM, and have conversed with many representatives concerning licensing in the regard of upgrading/refurbrishing.

      I believe this initiative is targeting "refurbrished" machines as in machines made of many components. If you have a COA with a product key (either sticker or book) that originally came with a machine, and the machine still has a majority of it's original parts (I surmise based on my conversations with the MS representative "majority" means essentially the original cas
  • by The-Dalai-LLama ( 755919 ) on Friday April 09, 2004 @05:17PM (#8820317) Homepage Journal

    Hasn't Linux had a similar program in place for a while now?

    The Dalai Llama
    ...nevermind...

    • This has been around for well over a year. I work in such an organization, and we get MS licenses for $5 a pop. Granted, not as free as Linux, but I don't think our recipients would appreciate Linux PCs quite as much. Hey, I use Linux on my desktop full time. I don't even own a Windows machine. But those are the realities, I'm afraid.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 09, 2004 @05:18PM (#8820327)
    While it is nice that people will be getting functioning (well, to Windows standards at least) computers, it nauseates me to realize that when the people using the computers enter the global economic system they will be 'hooked' on Micro$oft. Ugh. This is just like M$ 'donating' software to schools. It is not altruistic in the least, they just want to develop future customers.
  • Basically... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by LordK3nn3th ( 715352 )
    ...this seems to be a way for Microsoft to ensure that if the old operating systems need to be installed (on older hardware), someone will be "certified" to support them. Also, it's to ensure that the installation is legal.

    It's basically second-party support.
  • by Steepe ( 114037 ) on Friday April 09, 2004 @05:19PM (#8820341) Homepage
    and of course they take the full retail version fees on their taxes as a charity contribution. They won't support Win98, or probably the 2k because of some stipulation in the "special eula", but uncle sam will get charged the full brunt for a full OS purchase with support.
  • by timmi ( 769795 ) on Friday April 09, 2004 @05:19PM (#8820346)
    or at least it doesn't cost them much, and Why was North and South America excluded?

    (I will bow to any proof that MS gives away licenses to American Non-Profit Orgs.)

    I can see excluding Asia, Because much of that part of the world doesn't respect Copyrights, but still.

    Is it just because MS is unable to establish the MS tax in the EU or something?--computers ship with OEM licenses that must be transferred along with ownership of the computer...

  • linux and copyright (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Datasage ( 214357 ) <{moc.yergsidlroweht} {ta} {egasataD}> on Friday April 09, 2004 @05:19PM (#8820349) Homepage Journal
    Considering that in several countries you can vist a shop to purchase a cd with windows longhorn even for less than $5. How many of these countries will actually care that you get a legal copy of windows with the referbished computer?

    I guess its Microsoft's futile attempt to stop linux from taking over the world.
    • Considering that in several countries you can vist a shop to purchase a cd with windows longhorn even for less than $5. How many of these countries will actually care that you get a legal copy of windows with the referbished computer?

      There are several organizations that work to introduce IT in the third world (and elsewhere, of course), and they of course can't buy cracked versions of Windows.

  • by frovingslosh ( 582462 ) on Friday April 09, 2004 @05:22PM (#8820381)
    So another way to look at it is that Microsoft is giving out free software to the "third world", and someone is going to pay for it. Which explains why Microsoft software in the U.S keeps getting more and more expensive
  • EOL? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Joff_NZ ( 309034 ) on Friday April 09, 2004 @05:22PM (#8820383) Homepage Journal
    I know they've extended it, but isn't Win98 about to be EOL'ed? Is that to say MS is sanctioning the installation of an unsupported (support, patches, etc) OS?
  • Beware..... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by overbyj ( 696078 ) on Friday April 09, 2004 @05:24PM (#8820415)
    As the saying goes "Beware of Greeks bearing gifts". (From The Iliad for those thinking it is racist.) This act is a trojan horse for Microsoft. They donate their wonderful products to those poor, pitiful people in the Third World so we they get them hooked on their technological crack. Once they get them hooked, they can peddle the more expensive crack because now everbody is hooked and has to have it.

    Fight it people. Linux is free now and in the future. Can't say the same thing about MS Windows
    • Re:Beware..... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by chris_mahan ( 256577 ) <chris.mahan@gmail.com> on Friday April 09, 2004 @05:34PM (#8820527) Homepage
      That's the lesson from Hollywood.

      A film like star wars will make 350M in US but 800M worldwide, even though they pay a smaller ticket price a the box office.

      Never under-estimate the purchasing power of 4 billion third-worlders with 20 cents each.

      But the lesson behind the lesson is when you make a movie that targets the third-world audience, the US public thinks it's crap (except LOTR of course, but there's wizardry at work there). Likewise by third-world standards, win98 is "good enough", since they have nothing.
    • I misread that to say "Beware of Geeks bearing gifts..."
    • Re:Beware..... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Bitseeker ( 762895 )
      Does this mean that MS is endorsing the use of outdated OSes to create yet more zombie machines ready to be hacked into? Or does it mean that Win98 will continue to get patches as long as third-world countries are using it?
    • Re:Beware..... (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Belsical ( 238668 )
      This reminds me of Nestle's baby formula in the 80's. They gave out free samples in hospitals and villages in various impovrished countries in Africa, saying it would make babies much healthier than breast milk. Mothers would use the formula and their breast milk would dry up. Then they'd be forced to buy the product because there were no other alternatives. Unfortunately, lots of babies died because the mothers flat out couldn't afford the formula after the samples ran out.
  • I seem to remember a story on slashdot a while ago about open source programs (particualrly word processing programs) getting support for obscure third world languages because people who knew them could just add support for new languages themsleves. They were doing it more to help others in the region they came from so they didn't worry if there was a nice market or not. Microsoft may have caught on that the third world is going to develop into a bigger market and wanted to make sure that it wasn't alread
  • Mailing list (Score:4, Insightful)

    by chris_mahan ( 256577 ) <chris.mahan@gmail.com> on Friday April 09, 2004 @05:25PM (#8820425) Homepage
    1) build a mailing list using good intentions.

    2) Send list to BSA's foreign equivalents

    3) Profit!!!

    Remember, Microsoft is a for-profit corporation. They do NOTHING without a profit-derived motive. If they do, the Board is not doing its job.
    • Re:Mailing list (Score:3, Informative)

      by bckrispi ( 725257 )
      Remember, Microsoft is a for-profit corporation. They do NOTHING without a profit-derived motive.

      Emerging 3rd world countries using refurbed hardware has been a huuuge market for Linux in the past two years. It could profit M$ greatly just to slow this adoptation down.

  • by timelady ( 566419 ) <timelady@gmail . c om> on Friday April 09, 2004 @05:26PM (#8820442) Homepage
    ItShare SA, Computer Angels, and Computerbank Australia, are related groups in Australia doing this already - but with Linux. We provide safer systems accordingly, without the need for third party software to be paid for - such as Open Office etc. Having a donated Windows box is all well and good (Now, I don't actually think its that good..;) ), but what about the unsupported nature of Win98, the virus and other security issues, and the need to pay for third party software (unless someone points them towards OO, and other FOSS for Windows...).
    • Microsoft is currently developing a language pack for the Inuit population of the Canadian Arctic, roughly 20,000 native speakers. I think it's fair to ask how much localized free and open software is available in communities where programs like this would be the most useful. These systems are also likely to be much older than you expect. It may be a mistake to assume you're good to go in loading OpenOffice.org or any other contemporary program.
      • As one of our volunteers is doing, developing Tetun versions for East Timor....such developments are actually MUCH more likely in Linux. Computerbank Victoria is shipping Farsi boxes....I would suggest to you there would be more possibility of FOSS than commercial software for such limited 'customer base'....
  • Microsoft already allows schools to "re-install" Win 98 and 2000 (sp3) on donated, older computers in the US. One registers, gets install media from Microsoft, tracks use, etc.

    What does this do to the possible use of Linux in making older PCs useful in a school setting?
  • by Performer Guy ( 69820 ) on Friday April 09, 2004 @05:28PM (#8820466)
    Give away software save on you taxes. The key is to ensure that the software you give away doesn't impact your top line with the products you sell.... Hmm... windows 98 & 2K on refurbished systems, no danger there.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 09, 2004 @05:29PM (#8820474)
    Yeah, you're right. Donated PC's *SHOULD* come with the license to the (Microsoft, at least) OS that was installed on it. That's according to their EULA, at least.
    here's where reality kicks in

    Have you ever *SEEN* most "donated" PCs? You'll be lucky if they're even functioning, let alone coming with things like the Windows license, documentation, peripherals, etc. Take what you can get, if MS wants to make it easy for people to put legit versions of Windows on their computers... more power to them. It certainly isn't my favorite OS, but if people are going to install it (illegally) anyway, at least now they'll be able to do it legally.

    Some people are going to talk about how Free Software has been doing this for years; and they're right, it has. However if you're in a situation where you're fortunate to even have donated low-end computers, you're going to go with what your users know. And before you start in with the "thriving community of *nix users" etc...how many of those in the thriving community are willing to travel to some third world country to teach people how to use linux? I don't see the volunteers...

  • Grr (Score:2, Interesting)

    by 5lash ( 589953 )
    This is mean. I'd imagine microsofts intention is to install windows 98 for free/cheap, then flood the client with adverts and reasons why they need to pay $100 to upgrade to Windows XP.
  • Spammer's heaven (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Querty ( 1128 ) on Friday April 09, 2004 @05:43PM (#8820624) Homepage
    Just what we need, the entire third world running unsupported Microsoft OS'es. I thought Microsoft wanted to stop spam, not encourage it...

    Anyone going online using one of these computers in a year or so will find out the hard way what the term "HaX0red" means.
  • Windows Update (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 09, 2004 @05:44PM (#8820634)
    Who's going to do windows update on these? These PC's will be one big DDOS launcher and spam host for all the spammers and kiddies out there. There are three upcoming remote vulnerabilites in windows 2000 according to Eeye's upcoming vuln. page.

    http://www.eeye.com/html/Research/Upcoming/index .h tml

    I dont think these will be patched any time soon.

  • newer? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Tango42 ( 662363 ) on Friday April 09, 2004 @05:44PM (#8820635)
    From the article:

    "Computers donated by large companies are typically three years old and the MAR program upgrades the software to newer versions of Windows that donated PCs can support, for a nominal charge that covers materials and program operations.

    Through the EMEA MAR program, Microsoft will provide re-installation of Windows 98 Second Edition and Windows 2000 Professional in over 18 languages."

    Since when would installing 98SE onto a 3 year old machine be a newer OS?
  • ...the "Go Fuck Yourself, Microsoft - I'm Installing Linux!" license. not only are the terms far better than MS's EULA, it's also more fun to say.
  • Software "charity" (Score:4, Insightful)

    by misleb ( 129952 ) on Friday April 09, 2004 @06:03PM (#8820842)
    Ah, I love it when software makers give away software and call it charity as if it were a real sacrafice or loss.

    "Hmm, we have all this 'product' that costs practially nothing to reproduce once it has already been developed. And we also have a bunch of poor people threatening to move to Linux.... hmmm. I know! Lets give away old versions of our software to indoctrinate these poor people and make them dependant on us! Yay!"

    Wake me up when Ford starts giving away F150's to African farmers.

    -matthew

  • by pair-a-noyd ( 594371 ) on Friday April 09, 2004 @06:47PM (#8821206)
    and I authorize myself to install Linux on them and erase windows as fast as humanly possible..

    http://www.systemrecycler.com [systemrecycler.com]
  • by pemulius ( 739299 ) on Friday April 09, 2004 @07:11PM (#8821383)
    Hello, I hate everything in the world. However, I bequeath my deepest hate towards Microsoft for their charitable deeds, because as with all entities that spawned from Satan's uterus (bet you didn't know Satan was a woman), every good deed comes with vile ulterior motive. I won't be surprised if most of the users declare Jihad on the world, after having exhausted their capacity to restart the computers on an absurdly frequent basis.

    So cheers to Microsoft for its relentless, evil ambitions. And remember, when the world is inevitably taken over by robots, the robots commiting the hate crimes will without a doubt be powered by the Longhorn OS.
  • Awesome Spin (Score:3, Insightful)

    by GoatJuggler ( 706587 ) on Friday April 09, 2004 @07:58PM (#8821696)
    Wow, I wish I had their skills.

    Problem: People are using old computers to experiment with Linux, and aren't paying us enough money.
    Solution: Provide a seemingly philanthropic way for these people to donate their computers, and make them feel bad for selfishly hoarding computers that could otherwise be used for kids. Then, when this plan works, sell more addon licenses for products such as Office. When these refurbished Win98 and Win2000 machines propagate, scare the schools into buying new computers with WinXP by inundating them with stories of hackers and crackers.

  • by Doc Ruby ( 173196 ) on Friday April 09, 2004 @09:27PM (#8822183) Homepage Journal
    These refurb'ed computers compete with new and refurbished Dells, Gateways, and every other new x86 PC, and their sales are largely at the expense of that market share. That of course ripples up the supply chain to Intel and AMD. Microsoft is flexing its muscle as these HW vendors continue to grow their Linux support and marketing. By Longhorn/2006, we'll be seeing new M$ brand computers competing directly.
  • M$moke and Mirror$ (Score:3, Interesting)

    by AetherBurner ( 670629 ) on Friday April 09, 2004 @10:00PM (#8822322)
    In reading the M$ FAQ on this, I see that it is Windoze98 SPECIAL EDITION and not SECOND EDITION, whatever the difference is. Plus I did not see in the FAQ that all of the virus patches (current and future) are to be applied. It just looks like the base system and no install CD's are to be provided. Just think...MAR systems being used in 419 scams and virus hacked to spam to boot...woo hoo!!!
  • by alizard ( 107678 ) <alizard@ecPARISis.com minus city> on Saturday April 10, 2004 @05:50AM (#8823744) Homepage
    One can assume that the end users find themselves buying at retail when the users finally have to upgrade, and find that they'll have to replace the computers themselves as well in order to make the upgrades work and they'll have to stay with MS in order to read their legacy file formats. (we should all wish them luck with this, they'll need it)

    Meanwhile, MS gets its tax rebates based on the full retail price of 98SE, a product they no longer sell to anyone.

All laws are simulations of reality. -- John C. Lilly

Working...