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Microsoft Gives More Free Software to NGOs

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 24 comments

Microsoft is giving away free software to protect NGOs and stop them from falling victim to actions taken in the guise of anti-piracy enforcement.

Back in September Microsoft announced it was creating a new, unilateral software license for NGOs (non-government organizations) to ensure they have free, legal copies of Microsoft products. The move came after a New York Times report claimed Microsoft was aiding the Russian government in its raids against dissident groups.

In September an NYT article reported that an environmental group opposed to the Russian government's decision to reopen a paper factory had had their offices raided. Baikal Wave said they had purchased legal copies of Microsoft software to remove the chance that the government could cry piracy and carry out a raid on their offices. Despite the fact that did not pirate any Microsoft software, their premises were raided and their computers were seized.  The groups said Microsoft was no help in their situation, and NYT said in refusing to help, Microsoft was aiding the Russian government in these kinds of raids.

Not too long after the NYT article was published, Microsoft issued a statement claiming it would be investigating the claims made in the report, conceding that, "it was not the type of story that felt good to read." The Redmond-based company announced that it would be making a change to ensure this kind of thing could not happen again: All Russian NGOs would be covered by a new, unilateral software license that would provide them with free MS software and remove the ability to carry out raids based on piracy.

Now Microsoft is bringing this new software license for NGOs to numerous other countries. The company recently announced that it would be extending the program to Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Malaysia, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam.

NYT reports that the expansion will allow Microsoft to provide more than 500,000 non-profits with free software, and Microsoft's Deputy General Counsel and Corporate VP Nancy Anderson says the NGO software license will last until January 1, 2012, giving NGOs ample time to move to the company's standard NGO software donation program.

Read more about the program here.

Source: NYT, Tom's Hardware

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  • -9 Hide
    reprotected , October 19, 2010 1:58 AM
    Or was it the fact that OpenOffice.org is gaining more fame? Seems quite desperate.
  • -1 Hide
    tu_illegalamigo , October 19, 2010 2:15 AM
    They`re making money somewhere. Corporations don`t do anything that would cause them to not make money, I think.
  • 4 Hide
    mister g , October 19, 2010 2:29 AM
    Anybody got spare NGO licenses I can "borrow"?
  • 4 Hide
    sykozis , October 19, 2010 2:33 AM
    reprotectedOr was it the fact that OpenOffice.org is gaining more fame? Seems quite desperate.


    Try to keep up with the world... Russia uses any excuse they can conceive to raid any place occupied by activist groups of any type.
  • 1 Hide
    liveonc , October 19, 2010 2:33 AM
    I can picture Braveheart crying "Freedom" while having both kidneys removed. Seriously, it's too sad to be funny, but it does give MS a happy face when they don't get to share the blame of what goons do.
  • 8 Hide
    LuckyDucky7 , October 19, 2010 2:36 AM
    How about free Office for nonprofit organizations in North America?
  • 2 Hide
    Parsian , October 19, 2010 2:57 AM
    tu_illegalamigoThey`re making money somewhere. Corporations don`t do anything that would cause them to not make money, I think.


    They are expanding their market by giving away their platform. Just like how they dont mind piracy of Windows in 3rd world countries since it will benefit them in long term.
  • 2 Hide
    theoutbound , October 19, 2010 3:04 AM
    It's fantastic Microsoft is doing this, regardless of any perceived motivations that would be less than altruistic. More companies should be putting their support behind non-profits.
  • 1 Hide
    rottingsheep , October 19, 2010 3:25 AM
    Quote:
    Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Malaysia, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam.

    are these countries as oppressive as russia?
  • -2 Hide
    rottingsheep , October 19, 2010 3:28 AM
    where are the soviet joke comments?
  • 2 Hide
    randomizer , October 19, 2010 4:10 AM
    Quote:
    They are expanding their market by giving away their platform. Just like how they dont mind piracy of Windows in 3rd world countries since it will benefit them in long term.

    Exactly. Short term loss for long term gain. Cement your position in the market and you control the market. MS is not a charity, this is a strategic business move. It also has the added bonus of letting them run a PR campaign to show off their corporate social responsibility.
  • 1 Hide
    Randomacts , October 19, 2010 5:54 AM
    rottingsheepwhere are the soviet joke comments?


    In soviet russia pirates you.
  • 1 Hide
    dEAne , October 19, 2010 6:53 AM
    This is a best thing microsoft ever did.
  • 0 Hide
    marraco , October 19, 2010 2:05 PM
    Imagine that suddenly Microsoft releases Windows 8, and ask 100,000 U$S for it. Why MS ask that mountain of money? Because in oil rich Qatar they can pay it, and MS ask the same price in the entire world. Some people in your country can pay that price, and they make more profit for MS than all the people who can’t pay it.

    You can’t buy it. But in you work they give you program and files that only run in Windows 8. They force MS under your throat. You are forced to pay 100,000 just because is the standard. You have no election.

    That is the situation on poor countries which are asked to pay the same price that USA. MS pretends that the entire world pay the same price asked in the richest country.

    Obviously, they pirate it. They can’t pay it anyways, and who loses money? One of the richest dudes in the world? Not a problem when you struggle to survive and MS don’t care about you when setting prices.
  • 0 Hide
    marraco , October 19, 2010 2:09 PM
    The next step is apple dominating the market, and suing us for using the same PC parts that we ever used.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , October 19, 2010 2:11 PM
    @rottingsheep

    i would say yes, i can point to 4 of those that still permit summary executions, nearly all censor or control internet traffic and religious freedom is a state sanctioned activity....
  • 2 Hide
    Anonymous , October 19, 2010 4:33 PM
    @ marraco:

    Your "point" is full of logical holes. If you can't afford something, then you find an alternative. If you take something that costs money without paying for it, then you are stealing. Calling it anything else is rationalizing.

    If you are working in a place that deals with programs that only work with specific other programs, then you need to have the correct programs as a condition of your employment. As an example, let's say your auto-mechanic needed a wrench but he only had screwdrivers. He needs to go buy some wrenches, or he's not going to be a mechanic for long. Is it Craftsman's fault that the mechanic only has screwdrivers? No, of course not.

    Additionally, Microsoft is not a non-profit company. They are allowed to charge what they want for the products that they make and sell. If you don't like it, use Mac or Linux or write your own OS. What difference does it make what some thief in a 3rd-world country can or can't afford? It doesn't matter how much money the people at Microsoft make, the hippie attitude "he makes enough money, anyways" is lame and uneducated.
  • 0 Hide
    mayne92 , October 19, 2010 4:58 PM
    tu_illegalamigoThey`re making money somewhere. Corporations don`t do anything that would cause them to not make money, I think.

    Obviously those who buy the product are the ones who pay. Or they get to write this off...either way...they don't do things solely because they want to be nice...businesses always wear a smirk...
  • -1 Hide
    cruiseoveride , October 19, 2010 6:36 PM
    So they first laugh at open office. And now they want to give their software for free?

    Microsoft must be trembling in their boots.
  • 0 Hide
    razercultmember1 , October 19, 2010 9:39 PM
    In Soviet Russia, software pirates you!
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