The majority of Microsoft's customers won't be signing up for a controversial licensing plan set to go into effect on Thursday, according to analysts' estimates.
Let this be a lesson: The minute you get you or your company hooked on a proprietary technology, you put the vendor of that technology in control of a lot of things that I'm certain you'd prefer to control. Need proof? Look no further than Microsoft's July 31 licensing deadline. Even though a lot of people have threatened to move to something like Sun's StarOffice (which claims to be based on a non-proprietary XML file format), I wonder how many companies are really prepared to stomach the pains of withdrawal. In the end, a lot of companies will end up paying Microsoft; proof that until those companies really commit to a change, it's Microsoft that's in charge of a sizeable portion of their IT costs. News flash: Putting the vendor in control of your IT costs is not a good position to be in. Unfortunately, that's where a lot of us are.
While I fully understand that Mr. Hamilton's duties as an ambassador representing our national interests in Peru certainly include economic and commercial interests, the position of our government can never be to represent the sole interests of one commercial entity over those of other US companies, many of whom, as it happens, would find economic benefit in the open market in commercial software that 1609 would create in Peru. Is it the duty of the US government to choose which US companies can and cannot be permitted to compete openly in a given marketplace or to discourage opportunities for politically nonfavored US companies in an arbitrary or potentially corrupt manner? We often hear about such activities occurring in countries that are neither democratic nor have open and free markets, so I find it shameful that an agent of our own national government would misuse his post to lobby personally on behalf of one corporate entity, especially one that has been convicted in our own courts of establishing an illegal monopoly.
Nowhere was that more apparent than during a recent commencement address Bush gave at Ohio State, where students were threatened with arrest and expulsion if they protested the speech. They were ordered to give him a "thunderous ovation," and they did.