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Stop CETI! Action Alert

  The Micro$oft Monitor
  Published by NetAction          Issue No. 20                   Dec. 9, 1997	
  Repost where appropriate. Copyright and subscription info at end of message.
  * * * * * * *      
  In This Issue:
  Action Alert: Stop CETI!
  About the Micro$oft Monitor
  NETACTION ACTION ALERT                
  For more info, send email to: stopceti@netaction.org 
  -- CETI plan will set up a for-profit corporation with $3.12 billion
  in projected revenue
  In an unprecedented grab to privatize technology at a public
  university, the California State University (CSU) system is moving to
  hand control of its inter-campus computer and telecommunications
  system to a private consortia managed by Microsoft and its hardware
  allies, GTE, Hughes and Fujitsu.
  The proposed consortia, called the California Education Technology
  Initiative (CETI), will be a for-profit partnership expected to
  generate over $3.12 billion in revenues over the next ten years,
  largely by creating a captive market for technology purchases by an
  estimated half million students, faculty and staff annually.
  For more information on the CETI plan, see:
  Hearings are scheduled in the state Assembly on January 6, 1998. Send
  a fax to the leadership of the Assembly's Higher Education Committee
  and Education Budget Committee.
  NetAction has set up an automatic fax server at:
  You can also contact the chairmen of these committees on your own to make your
  concerns heard:
  Assembly Higher Education Chairman Ted Lempert
          916-445-7632 (phone)    916-324-6974 (fax)
  Assembly Education Budget Chairman Jack Scott
          916-445-8211 (phone)    916-323-9420 (fax)
  We also urge you to call the leadership of the state Senate committees
  responsible for higher education:
  Senate Education Budget Chairman  Jack O'Connell 916-445-5405
  Senate Education Committee Chairman Leroy Greene 916-445-7807
  While email is less effective, you can send messages to:
  Ted Lempert    <mailto:Ted.Lempert@assembly.ca.gov>
  Jack Scott     <mailto:Jack.Scott@assembly.ca.gov >
  Jack O'Connell <mailto:Senator.OConnell@sen.ca.gov>
  Leroy Green    <mailto:Senator.Greene@sen.ca.gov>
  NetAction is asking the state Legislature to block the CETI proposal
  and establish a computer and telecommunications policy for the state
  university system based on the following principles:
  1.  There should be no corporate management of educational
  institutions by companies with a direct financial interest in the
  products purchased by the campuses or students.
  2.  Any outside management support should be committed to training
  students in a diversity of technologies and be committed to supporting
  open computer standards across the board.
  3.  Any proposal must include an explicit commitment to full and equal
  access to technology on campus regardless of economic ability to pay.
  4.  Educational curriculum should be designed by educators dedicated
  to the long-term interests of their students, not corporations looking
  to lock in "customers" to proprietary software.
  5.  No proposal should be approved without a thorough analysis of its
  possible impact on technology standards and monopolies outside the
  To add your organization's endorsement to NetAction's StopCETI!
  campaign, please send your organization's name and contact info to:
  NetAction, along with staff, faculty and students across the state,
  are opposing the CETI proposal as an undemocratic and disastrous
  corporate takeover of technology at a public university.
  1.  CETI locks campuses into proprietary technology. This ill-serves
  education which should be based on open access to a range of
  2.  CETI is a dangerous commercialization of the University that will
  cost students, staff and faculty over the long-run and threatens to
  increase inequality between richer and poorer students.
  3.  Given the size and importance of the California State University
  system, CETI's monopoly nature will give Microsoft a massive strategic
  advantage in its ongoing effort to monopolize global software and
  Internet standards.
  The California State University (CSU) will serve over 500,000 students
  annually in its 22 campus system within ten years.  Microsoft and its
  corporate partners intend to use that captive market and the
  endorsement of the CSU system to market products from the enterprise
  to CSU students, faculty and alumni and sell its products to
  university and business organizations across the country.  The
  Business Plan for CETI explicitly notes that "the education market is
  a strategically important market for each of the partners," marking
  the corporate advantage they will each gain over competitors through
  the CETI contract.
  For Microsoft, control of the central servers and software standards
  for the largest university system in the country will give it an
  unprecedented opportunity to expand its control of computing
  standards.  Microsoft's monopoly goals are clear in the CETI's plan's
  statement. The proposal states that:
  "The software recommendation is for the operating system to be Windows
  NT and general applications to utilize the Microsoft Office suite of
  products.  Microsoft Exchange is the recommended server solution.
  Microsoft has indicated that Windows NT will become the standard
  operating system in the near future.  We propose supporting Windows95,
  it's successor and WindowsNT...Eventually, we expect to only be
  supporting WindowsNT as our primary operating system."  
  By supporting only Microsoft's spreadsheets, databases and word 
  processors, Microsoft will make sure that the only integrated approach to
  computing on campuses with technical support will be through Microsoft
  This means that the future engineers, programmers and clerical staff
  of California graduating from the California State University system
  will have been trained in a Microsoft-only environment.  The state of
  California should not be turning its university system into the
  private training program for Microsoft.
  The CETI proposal is being sold on the promise of $365 million in
  infrastructure investments over ten years by the corporate partners
  involved.  Because the state of California is unwilling to spend those
  funds itself, they are handing a monopoly to these corporations worth
  many times that amount. The "self-funding" of the CETI proposal is
  largely based on locking students, faculty and staff into monopoly
  product purchases from the consortia, and locking out alternative
  purchasing options. Additionally, the plan calls for commercial
  advertising on campus computer systems to pay for the system, an
  unacceptable commercialization of the education environment.
  The proposal is also a danger to equal access to technology among
  students. The CETI proposal gives these corporations control of
  technology decisions about marketing a range of services to students
  that would have once been considered part of tuition at the
  University.  We can expect economic stratification between haves and 
  have-nots within the University as some students can afford these 
  "enhanced" services and others are left out.
  This proposal for Microsoft and its allies to administer technology
  implementation at the CSU system, including developing classroom
  curriculum and training programs for students and staff, comes in the
  context of the ongoing privatization of technical education in the
  country.  The lack of public funding for technical education and its
  ongoing privatization has allowed Microsoft to attain an
  anti-competitive control of technical training in the United States.
  This has allowed Microsoft to shape that education in ways that serve
  its individual corporate interests rather than the public good of open
  computing standards.  See NetAction's own White Paper on Microsoft's
  overall monopoly strategy at http://www.netaction.org/msoft/world/
  Already, Microsoft-approved curriculum taught by Microsoft-approved
  instructors and audited by the Microsoft Corporation is taught at over
  300 college campuses across the country, including over 30 campuses in
  California. These Microsoft "Authorized Academic Training Program"
  participants are pulled into the Microsoft orbit through offers of
  free software and training for technical programs left underfunded by
  state governments and therefore vulnerable to Microsoft's corporate
  Looked at comprehensively, Microsoft is using its involvement in
  technical education and infrastructure to further reinforce its
  control of computing. It is an unfortunate fact that our country's
  whole system of technical education is being distorted as it becomes
  one more tool for Microsoft's monopolistic goals.
  The danger is that as Microsoft controls education training, it
  controls the "mind share" of the potential workforce for technology
  companies across the country.  In its ongoing campaign to control
  Internet standards and electronic commerce, Microsoft will use the
  CETI proposal to further its increasing monopoly control of technology
  development in this country.
  For more info, contact Nathan Newman, NetAction Project Director, at:
  Phone:          (510) 452-1820
  E-mail:         stopceti@netaction.org
  About The Micro$oft Monitor
  The Micro$oft Monitor is a free electronic newsletter, published as part of
  the Consumer Choice Campaign <http://www.netaction.org/msoft/ccc.html>.
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