Microsoft bundling bungling turns India to Linux

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The vole's attempt to force students in India's state of Tamil Nadu to buy Microsoft Office has backfired and they'll be getting laptops running Linux instead of Windows.

Electronics Corporation of Tamil Nadu (ELCOT), India's southernmost state, acts as the volume purchasing agent for the state's student population. It says it will buy more than 100,000 laptops this year and sell them to students at a discounted price of about US$800.

ELCOT says it asked Microsoft to submit a bid to sell it copies of Windows for its student laptops.

It expected to pay about US$12 per copy for Windows, a price that's not out of line with the deals Microsoft has reportedly made with other volume purchasers for academic use in developing countries.

Microsoft declined to offer ELCOT a bid for the Windows OS alone. Instead, the company only offered to sell Windows and Office bundled together for an 'academic discount' price of US$57. ELCOT says it rejected Microsoft's offer because, "such bundling could result in serious exploitation of the consumer."

ELCOT now says it recommends Linux. The organisation's website says that it has been "using SUSE Linux and Ubuntu Linux operating systems on desktop and laptop computers numbering over 2,000 during the past two years and found them far superior as compared to other operating systems, notably the Microsoft Operating System."

Like other PC volume buyers, ELCOT knows that it has software alternatives available, including not just operating systems but also office applications software, some of which implements open standards and is available at no cost, including Open Office and others, even web browser-driven online applications available over the Internet like Google Apps.

By trying to dictate terms and to force ELCOT to accept MS Office software it didn't want, it certainly appears that Microsoft has lost a sale and 100,000 users this year alone.


theinquirer.net (c) 2010 Incisive Media
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