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RE: Brave New World
On Fri, 14 Nov 1997, Dave Hamilton wrote:
>Actually, the school program _did_ include laptop computers as part of
>the program. I have friends whose kids are part of the program. We
>differ in opinion on the cash thing. If what he gives away has value to
>the recipients, then I consider it philanthropy. When I give time to
>the Dallas Habitat for Humanity and the Dallas SPCA, I am not giving
>them cash, but it still has value. Do Microsoft products given away
>have less value because you (or anyone else) do not like Microsoft? Do
>you have the same objections with all the giving done by Apple over the
>years to the education sector? They certainly benefitted from that
>activity, but I don't think any less of their efforts because of it.
>I think your equating Gates with a heroin dealer is entirely uncalled
Well, that's fine. I don't or I wouldn't have done it.
The difference between what Apple did and what MS/Gates does is one of degree,
I'll grant that. But when Apple was giving away stuff to schools, it was a way
of trying to consolidate the market share they had or wanted to keep.
It seems to me that in the MS case it is more a matter of bringing into line
one of the few (or only) remaining consumer computer markets that they don't
yet control. A big difference.
It is well-known that colleges and universities are one of the few remaining
hotbeds of computing activity that aren't yet dominated by MS. I don't want MS
to dominate the PC desktop completely, because then it will be a short step to
dominating the server. Then what is left that isn't MS? IBM's mainframe
business and some mini-computers here and there? I think that's too much power
for any one company to have.
I can't help but see Gates/MS ``philanthropy'' in the context of Gates's
oft-stated goal that he wants ``Windows everywhere.'' Call me a cynic, but I
think that these donations have more to do with extending Windows than helping
schools and kids.
If I'm right about that, then it seems to me that he ought not be naively
thought of as a great philanthropist (not that you think of him that way, but
the media gives that spin all the time.)
If it is fair at all, and I'm not sure that it is, for media to criticize or
question the philanthropy of really rich people, like they've been doing in
light of Turner's 1B to the UN, then shouldn't we scrutinize Gates's
philanthropy too? And, in that light, does it seem so generous that he's
giving products from his own company and, in some way, expanding his market
If NBC---partners with MS in MSNBC---can pester Donald Trump about why he
doesn't give as much away as Ted Turner, why can't I question the real
philanthropic value and motivations of Gates's giving away MS software?
I restate my original objection:
do kids and schools need to teach computer education or MS software
PS---By the way, the school that Gates gave software to, if I'm not mistaken,
is a very exclusive, very rich all-girls school in Dallas where his wife went
for high school. If they need software donations anywhere in Dallas, they need
them in Oak Cliff and other poor areas.