26 May 2009

Microsoft Makes Itself at Home in Transylvania

In what is perhaps a sign of desperation, Microsoft is really pushing governments around the world to sign up to el cheapo mega-deals that they think they can't refuse. The FSFE's Georg Greve points out to me in an email that there's an interesting angle to this story in Romania:

It seems ironic that the European Commission has to fine Microsoft repeatedly over sustained monopoly abuse, then transfers part of that money to Romania, which enjoyed the highest level of financial support ever granted to a candidate country in the history of the European Union, and the Romanian government then decides to return part of that money to Microsoft with close to no tangible benefit for Romania.

He also points out that taking this route might backfire badly on Romania:

Considering the recent freeze of EU funds due to corruption in Bulgaria, this decision of the Romanian government seems careless and dangerous for the sustained economic growth of the country in more than one way: By endangering EU support, by increasing dependency on proprietary software for the economy, and by wasting funds that could have been used for much-needed infrastructure projects.

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8 comments:

Anonymous said...

This story is now also covered by the OSOR. See "RO: Proprietary licence deal draws ire open source proponents".

glyn moody said...

Thanks - now added (and bad me for omitting it initially....)

Anonymous said...

Please dont get me started on the bureaucratic nightmare of the EU and the despicable games that's played with countries like Romania which have been torn and ripped apart and then sold to foreign interests just so they can qualify for loans with which they can buy from western companies.
I remember a friend of mine whose family was still in Romania in the late 90s. Our western leaders/war criminals had decided to bomb Yugoslavia (on the behalf of a group the CIA had called the previous year, 'the largest and best armed terrorist group in the world' but terrorism was good then) and his family was still travelling across the border every week to buy groceries at markets which were bombed twice a day (his uncle took pictures when they arrived at one a few hours later and they had used cluster bombs. that would have been enough for me.).
For three months of straight bombings, he feared for his family members and I asked him why they didnt buy locally. I mean, Romania has amazing soil/climate which is ideal for farming.
Well, the whole farming industry was dismantled because it wasnt up to EU standards and then they got into that 'we give you loans, you buy our foodstuff' deal european thiefs gave them (its like the mafia, you cant refuse without there being serious threats).
So you had one of the most fertile countries in the world BUYING fruits and vegetables in foreign currency instead of growing their own (not to mention that to qualify for loans, you basically have to do everything they tell you. Guess which country is buying army bases all over Romania?).
My friend had asked one of his uncles if it was worth risking their lives to get fresh fruit and veggies to which his uncle replied: "After eating those tasteless dutch hydroponic tomatoes, you might as well just be dead if that's going to be your food for the rest of your life."

So excuse me if Im not surprised that the same story is being played out with Microsoft.

The EU is not there to help those countries but to create conditions along with the IMF which faciliate the disantling and selling off of countries to the benefit of the large multi-nationals easier.
The EU wants puppet states that it can blackmail and threathen to follow its directives.

>to Romania, which enjoyed the >highest level of financial >support ever granted to a >candidate country in the history

Which is why Romania like so many others in its situation is nothing more than a colony now with little decisional powers.

The only thing more disgusting than Microsoft and politics is foreign aid and politics.

Răzvan Sandu said...

Here's a translation of the article in Romanian, for making it more accesible to Romanian readers:

http://razvansandu.zando.ro/2009/05/afacerea-cu-licente-software.html

Anonymous said...

> The only thing more disgusting
> than Microsoft and politics is
> foreign aid and politics.

That's an intrinsic contradiction. If Romnania joined the EU it must have been beacuse its rulers thought it would be best for them. Now, whether rulers' best is also people's best or not depends on how people chose their rulers. You cannot blame foreigners for that.

Once you (through your rules) make an strategic decision at some point (e.g. joining EU) it is up to you to later play your cards in your best interest to your benefit.
Just like everyone else. You cannot blame other players in the party for playing to win.

The EU thingie is but a common agreement to have a shared playground with agreed-upon rules. Players within this sandbox are safer than outside, but each plays to his own interest. In that sense, the way romanians -or any other- plays their own game is up to them, not anyone else's fault.

This article tries to provide helpful advice. So, stop whining and try to make the best of the cards in your hands. If you decided to join and ongoing team game, then play by the rules, with the advantage (unlike kid games) that you also have a say in changing those rules.

glyn moody said...

@Răzvan: great - many thanks.

Anonymous said...

Everything in the previous posts is true, unfortunately. But what EU doesn't know is that we, the romanians are actually colonizing them, our thugs are stealing and terorizing the whole western Europe! And they deserve it ! And we are pirating Micro$oft products big time ! Software piracy is huge in RO. We like to say "tot raul spre bine!" (All wrong towards good). The greedy europeans don't know who are they messing with...
PS: frankly i'd rather be living in an EU colony or even russian colony, rather than a US colony! Things could be worse...
Mihai, galatean, roman, cetatean european.

Anonymous said...

Romania's rulers are all corrupt puppets that do nothing for the good of the country or people , since 1990 they sold our infrastructure , our industry , and now we have a great debt to the world bank , Romania has been ... f***ed in every possible way.

And Microsoft expects me who earns 100-200 $ a month , to buy licensed software ? ROFL

You could fine and sue millions here for running pirated software.