Spanish Government to Hand Schools Over to Microsoft?

Apr 30, 2009

It's not the first time Microsoft has tried to wrestle away market share from free software using shady tactics. Suddenly, Microsoft seems to have discovered that education is strategic for their enterprise and they are pouring resources into cornering the market... at least in areas where Linux has the lead.

In Spain, Linux had a very good standing in government as well as in education, for example, in Extremadura, Andalucia, and other autonomous regions. A couple of weeks ago, Microsoft focused on education in Catalonia, partially succeeded, and is now bent on taking over education in the whole country.

At the Microsoft Leaders Forum in Berlin in January, Spanish Secretary of State of Education, Eva Almunia, presented four students working with Tablet PCs, using Microsoft. At that time, Almunia was the counsellor for culture, education, and sport in Arágon, and she told the media that Bill Gates was excited about the students' performance with the "useful tool" in education.

According to a press release from HispaLinux, Spain's national Linux association, Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero's government is finalizing a plan that would supply all children who attend state schools with personal computers with touch-screens so to "promote awareness within families of the usefulness of information and communication technologies and encourage their use." Specifically, we're talking about Microsoft technologies.

Despite the enormous load this plan would have on the budget of each autonomous region (which would have to foot the bill), and hence, on the taxpayer, not a cent would find it's way back to any Spanish company. The Spanish Ministry of Education has not considered any other vendor apart form Microsoft, there hasn't been a public contest, and the media and other vendors were not informed about the pilot program until it was over. Furthermore, no other alternative has been considered.

If the plan gets the green light, it would have dire consequences for the communities of Andalucía, Castilla-La Mancha, Extremadura, Valencia, and all the other autonomous regions that already have a Linux-based IT infrastructures, which have already been paid for and are in use, in place within their school systems.

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  • funny

    Its quite funny. Because all data of linux adoption used to be as a comment. Press takes that commentary or that cheap talk and publish. Please, give to us some data, some chart, expressive data to show linux adoption.

    I'm not a MS guy, but I strongly believe which cheap talks doesn't matter, give the data, give me the code.

  • Microsoft knows schools are the best time to learn open software

    I guess the advantages of free software were the last things to consider for the govt. This is quite surprising that Europeans who like "don't like US" are eager to give away their money so easily. In Spain, there are, as I heard, 5 mln. uneployed ppl, and here Zapa gives the job opportunities away to US workers.

    Microsoft knows where to strike: school and university age are the best time to grow as a software engineer or just an advanced user. From my personal experience, after you graduate and start working, the desire to configure and dig into the system is 1000 times less. All you want is a system that's working and working the way you're used to. So, for an adult installing linux and just getting used to the different file system (no C:, D: drives), to the new interface (even if Gnome is superior to winXP) is a strong pain.

    So, by cutting the children off from free software, M$ effectively puts many of them on the needle of their products. Sad story.
  • Linux in lead ?

    Lead, not yet. Catching up, you bet.

    Let's see, in this week's news, alone:

    ..MS Office 2007 SP2 "File" menu now supports native ODF formats.
    ..MS selling XP on netbooks for $15.
    ..MS keeping XP alive, still, despite trying to retire it 4 times.
    ..MS allowing downgrades from Vista -> XP
    ..MS allowing XP customers to upgrade to Win7 for FREE
    ......The two previous statements basically allow any XP/VISTA user to switch to Win7
    ..MS allowing Win7 RC to run for 13 months for XP customers.
    ..MS adding free VM for XP support on Win7 for business customers
    ..2 new MIPS / Linux based devices being introduced
    ..10 new ARM / Linux netbooks being introduced (some by cell phone manufacturers)
    ..more ARM / Linux cell phones to compete with iPhone due next quarter
    ..Netbooks using Linux have 24-30% of Market (when counting non-brick/mortar stores).
    ..Google Android based G1 cell phones have sold more than 1.5 million units

    Personally, at work, I am hearing more about Ubuntu and netbooks in the last few weeks. Casual MAC and PC users, buying cheap netbooks, and loading Ubuntu 9.04 (without help) and configuring them on devices like the eee 901 ... people upgrading from Vista/XP to Ubuntu at home ...

    Things are changing fast.

  • Public protest and debate

    This could be dangerous, all we know Microsoft is money, and money is very much appeal to some politicians who try to get rich or try to get ways to have personal favors so they can use in the future.

    I only say this... M$ is what is today because of is aggressive politics in the 90's to give or let pirated Microsoft Software be on schools and Universities. If not M$ was not what was today. Most people does not use M$ because is better or more compatible and easy (is not), use it because all their lives had used M$ and most of people have great difficult to change.

    So Linux in schools is more than a great threat for M$. And if every body sleeps on this subject, when M$ tries the backdoors to go to the politicians to archive is objectives of invade schools, does not matter what is better, only matter if WE let the politicians do the Microsoft game.

    Is up to all we, more informed people, the duty of protest loud, and show to the media, all the commercial conspiracy in the back of this plot.

  • Spanish government to hand over schools over to Microsoft?

    I think it would take a taxpayer revolt. When tax money is wasted, can taxpayers revolt by not paying their taxes?
  • Zapatero will lose my vote if he does it!

    Take care. Take care Zapatero. You will lose my vote :P
  • Wait a moment...

    It was January, it's now May. The Spanish Government could not undertake such a procurement without going through EU procurement rules. Has anyone seem anything?

    If (I'm not there so I do not know, but I have no reason to doubt it) the Extramura (sp?) is doing so well, it's difficult to believe that it will die silently. Have we heard any death rattles?

    Politicians have no reason to upset people gratuitously, and being warm and inviting in public is a long way away from a mass purchase.

    BTW: have you noticed that's there's less money around now?

  • Microsoft are truly disgusting

    Microsoft are the appitemy of a company.

    Microsoft die, die die - so the world can be a free place.
  • Linux leads in the Spanish educational system

    Linux is deployed extensively in public schools in Andalucia, Extremadura, Valencia, Castilla-La Mancha and Galicia. In schools of most of these regions, they don't even have multiboot: it's Linux or Linux. Other regions don't have a defined educational IT policy, so you can find Windows and/or Linux.
  • Keep up with the latest news !!

    The site claims that schools around the United States and the world are discovering the benefits of open-source software. In Indiana alone, over 100,000 students use open source software every day. Not only does open source save money, it allows schools to extend the benefits of technology more broadly, affording a better education to students.

    Read some more up to date news here.

    Oh ! and all Russian secondary schools are now equipped with their own modified Linux OS's on the school pc's etc etc etc .

    Times are changing .
  • Linux has the lead?????

    That depends on where you are, if it's in the states then MS have the lead, you can't buy a system with Linux on it, MS have everything tied up with the big retail stores and system manufacturers

    There is more to the Spanish deal here than meets the eye, No company can give away thousands of computers not even MS so some where along the line it will be coming out of the tax payers pocket for license fees, So that need looking into seriously,
  • reading comprehension

    VS Dude - It says the Linux reign lays mainly on the plain in SPAIN
  • the lead abroad, dude

    Linux has a pretty good lead in the spanish language education market. Mexico and Spain both use linux estensively. I believe it also leads on the continent of Africa. Don't think because MS is in every grade school in north america it's the only game for the rest of the world.
  • Wait - Linux has the lead?

    In what area again does Linux have the lead? If you're referring to the education market, I'm afraid you're wrong. I have two kids who have been through three schools growing up through the years. None of these schools have a single Linux desktop. My son is now in college - a graphics art program there. The required computer is a Mac. Elsewhere throughout the campus are Windows computers. Again - not a single Linux desktop to be found.
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