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Windows in Brazil Costs 20% of Per Capita Business Income

CmdrTaco posted more than 6 years ago | from the hate-when-that-happens dept.

Microsoft 236

mjasay writes "Ever wonder why open source is so popular in Brazil and other BRIC nations? As one study suggests, one big reason may well be Microsoft's punitive pricing, which exceeds 20 percent of Gross National Income for businesses in Brazil (and 7.8 percent of consumer GNI). This leads to a second, related reason: At those prices, there's little hope that Brazil can build a home-grown software economy on the foundation of proprietary software. This factor is exacerbated by Brazil's widespread disdain for the United States, which also tends to favor software that is not perceived as American. Of late the free and open-source Brazilian dream may be fading a little but its importance to the long-term growth prospects of the Brazilian economy shouldn't be understated."

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Time for us westerners to wring our hands... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23284870)

and wonder what we did to make Brazil such a backwards place to live.

I wish Slashdot would stop posting liberal politics.

Reality has no party or bias. (0, Redundant)

inTheLoo (1255256) | more than 6 years ago | (#23284910)

People in Brazil don't like M$. People in tech like free software. Get over it, the non free software model is doomed because it can't compete with free in any sense of the word.

You can make this into a story of wealth distribution because knowledge is a form of wealth but it's not "liberal" or even socialist. Free software lets you help your neighbor and yourself but it's not about property.

Re:Reality has no party or bias. (0, Flamebait)

Stormwatch (703920) | more than 6 years ago | (#23285460)

It's more like: people who have a clue about computers, anywhere, dislike Microsoft's junk.

Re:Time for us westerners to wring our hands... (2, Interesting)

chord.wav (599850) | more than 6 years ago | (#23285074)

Backwards place to live? You get that from experience? I'd live in any brazilian coastal city over any US coastal city. Warm climate, nice girls, drinking caipirinhas all the time, hapy music, happy people.

Re:Time for us westerners to wring our hands... (3, Insightful)

billcopc (196330) | more than 6 years ago | (#23285356)

The only difference between the Brazilian coast and the US coast is you can get killed over less money in Brazil. They have problems, just like every other country on earth.

Backwards? (2)

hummassa (157160) | more than 6 years ago | (#23285790)

I live in a nice 3,000,000 people city; we have theaters, movies, moderately high-speed Net access (2Mbps from my home), cable/sat TV, universities, ...
Care to elaborate?

20%? What are the customs duties? (5, Informative)

Tsu Dho Nimh (663417) | more than 6 years ago | (#23284882)

Duties on imports may have something to do with the 20%. Right as Intel started putting manuals online, I was working on that project, and Brazil was high on the list of downloaders. We tracked them to a technical university, did some emailing, and found that the duty on a printed manual nearly tripled the cost of the manual (in USD).

Re:20%? What are the customs duties? (2, Insightful)

LurkerXXX (667952) | more than 6 years ago | (#23284918)

Shhh, if you tell folks the Brazilian government is the one that's hiking up the price so much, Microsoft might not look as totally evil!

That's OK. (1)

gnutoo (1154137) | more than 6 years ago | (#23284964)

Free software is a better deal regardless of Microsoft's perception and that perception is slipping everywhere. Microsoft's loss of face in the US is well documented and has more to do with Vista annoyances and "Works for Sure" DRM betrayal than it does with price. Free software, of course, comes with no such annoyances and consistently outperforms Windows on most hardware. People might be fooled into thinking Microsoft is less evil but will still know that free software is nothing but good.

Re:That's OK. (2, Insightful)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 6 years ago | (#23285012)

The biggest problem, as I see it, is Microsoft software's entrenchment. It's partly that the customers are hooked on it (the devil you know?), but it's also the expected difficulties in switching. It's becoming a lot less of a problem these days, but it's still a major concern. So while they may consider open source to be superior, they still may not be switching any time too soon.

Re:That's OK. (1)

jimicus (737525) | more than 6 years ago | (#23285158)

The biggest problem, as I see it, is Microsoft software's entrenchment. It's partly that the customers are hooked on it (the devil you know?), but it's also the expected difficulties in switching.
People said the same thing about IBM 20 or 30 years ago.

Granted, computers are far more pervasive now than they were then. But so are IT professionals.

Re:That's OK. (1)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 6 years ago | (#23285218)

20 to 30 years ago there were a lot less options. And all were expensive. Today price differences are huge and there's a little more diversity. But your point is still taken.

Re:That's OK. (1)

Kral_Blbec (1201285) | more than 6 years ago | (#23285076)

Malware is free software...

Re:That's OK. (0, Troll)

inTheLoo (1255256) | more than 6 years ago | (#23285242)

Funny how malware only exists on non free platforms, isn't it? It has something to do with poor system security and non free software not delivering what the user wants.

Re:That's OK. (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 6 years ago | (#23285258)

Shut up already, Twitter.

Re:That's OK. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23285572)

Two words, Twitter:

Surface. Area.

Four more words:

Ramen. [nai.com] And. Slapper. [nai.com] Worms.

Four final words:

Your. Shit. Stinks. Too.

Re:That's OK. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23285328)

No, malware costs you no money. To install, anyway.

Free software means free as in speech, not beer.

You didn't read the article. It's ok (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23285014)

I read the article. The author mentioned that.
Regardless of *who* sets the price, the point is if you don't have the money you can't buy the product, isn't that so? So, shh, don't tell the shills that people can use *logic* to figure out the problem here!!!!

Re:You didn't read the article. It's ok (1)

LurkerXXX (667952) | more than 6 years ago | (#23285064)

It's nice how the post of the article fails to mention where most of the charge comes from, isn't it?

"one big reason may well be Microsoft's punitive pricing, which exceeds 20 percent of Gross National Income for businesses in Brazil "

That's not Microsoft's pricing. Microsoft's is about a third of that. It's a troll article.

Brazilians don't care. (1)

willeyhill (1277478) | more than 6 years ago | (#23285212)

Software licensing still eats up 20% of business income. A business in Brazil could care less if half of that was taxes so long as they have a less expensive alternative.

When you combine that with a lower per capita GDP, you get real punitive pricing. Other publishers try to take the difference in earnings power into account. Textbook publishers in India, for example, publish cheaper paperback texts with exactly the same contents for the local market and put a bigger margin onto US sales. The effect is to profit in every market by demanding almost the same amount of real effort from the purchaser. M$ has no excuse because they have almost no physical costs to recover. Their price point is just greedy and that drives people away.

Re:Brazilians don't care. (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 6 years ago | (#23285668)

That seems like a moral thing to do, until you realize that it is exactly the kind of "market segmentation" goal that gave us region encoded DVDs.

Re:You didn't read the article. It's ok (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 6 years ago | (#23285536)

Gross National Income for businesses in Brazil
I'm not even sure what that's suppposed to mean. Is it businesses' revenue, or Gross National Income - the two combined makes less sense than either apart.

Re:20%? What are the customs duties? (3, Interesting)

annodomini (544503) | more than 6 years ago | (#23285268)

From the article: "I imagine Microsoft charges about the same and Brazilâ(TM)s brutal tax burden makes up the rest." The summary was pretty confusingly written, but the article actually covered that.

Re:20%? What are the customs duties? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23285678)

MS charges much less in Brazil than in the US. When the govt triples the price due to duty tax, the price goes over the U.S. price.

Even the 'article' author vastly overestimates what MS actually charges, because he doesn't do any research into what the Duty is. It's not an article. It's not journalism. It's a blog posting with no real effort made to research if what he's posting in his blog is correct.

The /. summary was a shear troll on top of a badly researched blog post.

Yet Another Third-World in the Linux Party !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23285216)

So, here we have a country that is so poor buying a copy of windows amounts to 20% of a persons annual haul. Time to get out of that third-world country ?? Or use Linux ?? Yes, use Linux and that is sure to cure the problem of being third world, and leave a MASSIVE $120 (convert to whatever) for each to spend on a DLS connection to get more America software in the form of warez. Come on !! Do you really think they use Linux ?? Hello no, they pirate Windows. DUH !!

Re:20%? What are the customs duties? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23285250)

and found that the duty on a printed manual nearly tripled the cost of the manual (in USD).

That's weird, I'm brazilian and last time I checked, books (and possible other printed materials) weren't taxed when imported. It's why I tend to buy books at amazon.com.

Re:20%? What are the customs duties? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23285342)

That's weird, I'm brazilian and last time I checked, books (and possible other printed materials) weren't taxed when imported. It's why I tend to buy books at amazon.com.
If you ever imported _anything_ in last 10 years (which i doubt) you surely knew this is not the reality.

Eerything you import, even those things that are explicitly not taxed, gets abusive taxing. Brazillian Customs sets tax according to their mood, and if you ask for a tax analyse, consider your tax doubled.

In brazil, the product price plus shipping (yes they tax shipping too) gets taxed 60% (import tax) plus 20% (ICMS, another tax).

Re:20%? What are the customs duties? (1)

menkhaura (103150) | more than 6 years ago | (#23285490)

I'm Brazilian, and as a regular importer, I can tell you that books and software are some of the few products that are exempt from import taxes. There must have been another reason for this.

Re:20%? What are the customs duties? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23285846)

That's not true. Brazil has no import taxes for books, magazines, manuals and similars, drugs and software (The invoice must discriminate the price of the midia and the software, the midia is taxed... go figure)

I'm Sorry :-( (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23284892)

I'm sorry that Microsoft Windows is so much better than Linux that a country like Brazil would rather spend 20% of its GDP on Microsoft PRoducts than use open sores software.

Would the baby like free (as in speech) lollipop?

There are "Studies" and there are Studies (3, Interesting)

Infonaut (96956) | more than 6 years ago | (#23284906)

Duarte's blog post is interesting and cites some statistics, but calling it a "study" is a bit rich.

Not American? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23284908)

which also tends to favor software that is not perceived as American
Brazil is American!

Re:Not American? (1)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 6 years ago | (#23284980)

You are right, but it's tough for many of us from the US to remember that. We've become so used to using American to refer to the USA that when we are in a place that uses the term properly it gives us trouble.
 
I was in Mexico recently and even though I consciously tried to avoid saying 'America' or 'American' in reference to the US, I still slipped up quite a bit. I think a lot of people here are not even aware of the distinction.

Re:Not American? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23285148)

"What then is the American, this new man?" The term 'American' is imprecise, but it has been in use since before one could properly be 'Brazilian' or 'Mexican' as such.

Re:Not American? (1)

NMerriam (15122) | more than 6 years ago | (#23285260)

You are right, but it's tough for many of us from the US to remember that. We've become so used to using American to refer to the USA that when we are in a place that uses the term properly it gives us trouble.
I was in Mexico recently and even though I consciously tried to avoid saying 'America' or 'American' in reference to the US, I still slipped up quite a bit. I think a lot of people here are not even aware of the distinction.


Was anyone in Mexico remotely confused when you referred to America or yourself as being American? This is one of those things that only certain European and American (US) linguistic pedants get upset about, as a way to feel intellectually superior.

I've spent years in Central and South America, as well as every other continent on Earth, and I've yet to meet anyone who didn't (at least occasionally) use the term "American" to refer to someone from the US, or thought that using "America" to the US in particular was in any way ambiguous.

When people refer to a particular continent, they say something more specific like "North America", and if they mean the entire entity, they say "the Americas". While "America" can certainly mean any part of those continents, there's no reason to use the word that way, as there are more specific but equally accurate and less ambiguous terms for anything but references to the US.

Re:Not American? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23285340)

I've spent years in Central and South America, as well as every other continent on Earth

I'd like to hear more about the years you spent in Antartica. TIA

Re:Not American? (1)

NMerriam (15122) | more than 6 years ago | (#23285426)

You got me! I'll be going down to McMurdo to work soon, it's my last continent. I've only been to the North Pole so far, I figure I have to finish the collection.

Re:Not American? (1)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 6 years ago | (#23285504)

Don't forget to pack your fur-lined jockstrap. We wouldn't want you to turn into a Unix eunuch, now would we?

Re:Not American? (1)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 6 years ago | (#23285578)

No one was confused, but some were put off. They weren't confused because they new I was an American and put it together. But I was corrected more than once. None of those who didn't like it or corrected me were European, from the US or people I would characterize as linguistic pedants. But that is just my singular experience.

Re:Not American? (1)

NMerriam (15122) | more than 6 years ago | (#23285808)

Interesting -- was this in a business context or personal? Cities or rural areas? I know there's a rather disturbing tendency for many Americans to consider Mexico as part of "Central" America as opposed to North America.

When they corrected you, what did they suggest in place of "American"? Of course you can refer to the US different ways (I'll say "the States" in the UK or "the US" probably do more than half the time anyways), but there isn't any other generally accepted term for resident of the US (other than Yankee, but most southerners would take issue with that one :P ).

I'm from Texas, which is how I usually introduce myself to strangers (since everyone around the world, seems to love the idea of us riding to work on horses with our six-shooters, and it softens things up on a personal level even in areas that are virulently anti-US government), but my colleagues wind up just being poor generic "Americans" :D. Mexico is one of the few places where being Texan can be hit or miss since people are more likely to have personally good/bad experiences, so I fall back on American there if I don't know.

Re:Not American? (3, Funny)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 6 years ago | (#23285882)

I was in Mexico City, hanging out with university students on a number of campuses. They were all pretty nice about it but made clear their preference. I had been warned ahead of time, but still slipped up.
 
You mention Mexico being mistaken as part of Central America. Since I've been back I've had a couple people ask me how I enjoyed my time in South America. I wish I was kidding.

Re:Not American? (1)

Shihar (153932) | more than 6 years ago | (#23285564)

If you are using the English language, American refers to people from the USA. If you want to refer to a continent, you don't say "America". There is no American continent. There is certainly a North America and a South America, but that is it. So, if a Brazilian wants to refer to themselves as a member of the South American content, in English, they say that they are South American. Canadians say North American. If you want to refer to both continents together, they are "the Americas".

Get off the PC high horse. Every nations chops down their nations name into something less than the full thing. In non-English languages they might have other conventions, but in English, the convention is pretty clear. If you call yourself an American in English, everyone who can speak English will assume that you come from the USA, not from Bolivia. No one is going to assume that you mean north or south America.

Re:Not American? (1)

EvilIdler (21087) | more than 6 years ago | (#23285622)

Every nations chops down their nations name into something less than the full thing.
Yes, so Norwegians refer to the country as "No'way", to avoid spelling the full, long-winded name :)

Re:Not American? (2, Insightful)

Shihar (153932) | more than 6 years ago | (#23285794)

You joke, but the full name for Norway is the Kingdom of Norway.

Re:Not American? (1)

Brandybuck (704397) | more than 6 years ago | (#23285082)

Like it or not, the English name for inhabitants of the U.S.A ane the adjective refering to them is "American". It is NOT "USAian". It is not "United Statesian". It is instead "American". That this adjective also refers to inhabitants of the North and South American continents is unfortunate, but does not change the fact. The inhabitants of Brazil have their own unique name, which in English is "Brazilian". Language is an emergent order and you do not have the power to change it just because you're pissed.

If you really want to see some pissed off people, talk to those Greeks living on the Island of Lesbos. Their proper name is "Lesbian".

Re:Not American? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23285110)

There is an internationally accepted term to mean "person from the US" but for some reason, you people refuse to use it:

Imperialist

Re:Not American? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23285162)

Yet the spics keep swimming over here for some reason...

Re:Not American? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23285178)

If you really want to see some pissed off people, talk to those Greeks living on the Island of Lesbos. Their proper name is "Lesbian".
Like many other dreams, an island full of Lesbians ends up in disappointment

Re:Not American? (1)

Stormwatch (703920) | more than 6 years ago | (#23285362)

The common view of this matter in Brazil and Portugal is: the denonym from one from the United States of America is indeed "americano" (denonyms are lowercase in the Portuguese language). However, "America" refers to the whole continent, not just a country.

Spanish-speakers, on the other hand, tend to be a bit touchy about that denonym, according to Wikipedia [wikipedia.org]

Re:Not American? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23285830)

And the reason I should give a rat's ass what a bunch of dagoes think is?

Re:Not American? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23285090)

Slashdot is US-centric. In the US, "American" refers to the United States of America and not the continents. Elsewhere in the world this is not the case. And yes, we know this; we just don't care.

Re:Not American? (1)

NMerriam (15122) | more than 6 years ago | (#23285182)

which also tends to favor software that is not perceived as American

Brazil is American!


Those things are not mutually exclusive.

Certainly nobody in Brazil would find the statement that MS is an American company to be ambiguous, or find anything wrong with the statement that MS is perceived (by some) as less attractive than a domestic solution in part because it is American.

Did anyone RTFA before approving? (5, Insightful)

supabeast! (84658) | more than 6 years ago | (#23284916)

The original article does NOT claim that Brazil pays 20.1% of its income to Microsoft, it only states that the âoeCost of Business Licenses as % of GNI per capitaâoe is 20.1%. Only a complete moron would read that as 20.1% of Brazilâ(TM)s income going to Microsoft.

Furthermore, the OP claims that the linked article is a study; it is NOT a study, it is a blog post. It has not been fact-checked or reviewed by editors or peers, and could be a complete load of BS.

Re:Did anyone RTFA before approving? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23284970)

Dead Agenting Microsoft is just good clean fun.

Unless Scientologysts do it then it's vile and evil.

Brazil does need bashed. Many of it's practices are right out of a M$ playbook.

Re:Did anyone RTFA before approving? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23284978)

Did anyone RTFA before approving?
No.

Re:Did anyone RTFA before approving? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23285052)

Maybe they included the interoperability costs associated with software that gratuitously represents double quotes and single quotes with something other than ascii 0x22 and ascii 0x27.

Re:Did anyone RTFA before approving? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23285488)

Only a complete moron would read that as 20.1% of Brazil's income going to Microsoft.
Prepare to find out how many of those are here then.

The thing the gets me about articles such as these is that they are always presented along with the idea that Microsoft has somehow crooked their way into their market share and if their customers could just be shown the FOSS light they would drop MS and pick up our favorite distro. Reality isn't usually this one sided. Reality is that many of these businesses know about FOSS solutions but choose to pay to avoid them.

In other words, paying 20% of your income to avoid FOSS is a winning move.

Re:Did anyone RTFA before approving? (2, Insightful)

canuck57 (662392) | more than 6 years ago | (#23285520)

The original article does NOT claim that Brazil pays 20.1% of its income to Microsoft, it only states that the âoeCost of Business Licenses as % of GNI per capitaâoe is 20.1%. Only a complete moron would read that as 20.1% of Brazilâ(TM)s income going to Microsoft.

Furthermore, the OP claims that the linked article is a study; it is NOT a study, it is a blog post. It has not been fact-checked or reviewed by editors or peers, and could be a complete load of BS.

First off, north of the border (Canada) we experience the same thing and I can assure you with NAFTA it isn't taxes. Check say amazon.ca and then amazon.com and check the prices. We see it on cars also. Be it Honda, GM, Toyota, Ford or others, the dual pricing happens all the time. Usually one price for the USA and a higher price elsewhere.

The term is called price fixing to local markets. Or, what is the term where I will sell to US customers at one price, and sell outside the US for more (or less)?

In some cases, Microsoft even charges less in foreign countries, often to prevent Linux from making too much headway.

That is the way it works. And running open source is a great way to save money.

Re:Did anyone RTFA before approving? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23285896)

and could be a complete load of BS.

Sorry to nitpick but technically this is the case for peer reviewed research as well. ; )

20% of income? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23284926)

Luckily this will never become a problem for us, since we live in our parents basement and don't have jobs.

Re:20% of income? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23285092)

since we live in our parents basement and don't have jobs.

I live in houston where we don't have basements, you insensitive clod!

Re:20% of income? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23285902)

So I'm supposed to sing:
Blown with the wind ...

Grossly Misleading (Fraudelent?) Headline (3, Insightful)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 6 years ago | (#23284988)

Nothing in the article states anything like what the headline of the post does. That was just plain irresponsible sensationalism.

Re:Grossly Misleading (Fraudelent?) Headline (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23285194)

I know Brazilians can't speak English very well, but the article doesn't say anything about it.
And, as I am seeing myself (as an American living the boom Brazilian economy is having just right now), Brazil got plenty of software initiatives, and most of those are Open Source based.
Also, Brazil was officially allowed into the 1st World Nation's club, Wednesday. It is a Super-power already, and its economy is growing fast, without all the problems India and China got.
So, if M$ was getting 20% of Brazilian GDP (Their GDP is around 3 trillion bucks now), I don't think they will be worried about launching Windows 7 as fast as they can...

Re:Grossly Misleading (Fraudelent?) Headline (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 6 years ago | (#23285230)

The phrasing in the summary also suggests a comprehension problem. I don't really think Taco would make the mistake except out of laziness, but I think the submitter made the mistake because of stupid, not malice.

Re:Grossly Misleading (Fraudelent?) Headline (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23285546)

That was just plain irresponsible sensationalism? On MY /.? It's more likely than you think!

or

Irresponsible sensationalism? THIS IS SLASHDOT!

International Trade Balance (-1, Offtopic)

RichMan (8097) | more than 6 years ago | (#23284990)

Ever wonder how much oil money going out of the US is balanced by payments to Microsoft coming in?

1 car -> $50/week of gas -> 50*50 = 2500 a year

1 computer -> $400 os + $800 offic = 1200 every 2 years or so.

So for every car in the US need 4 people outside the US using Microsoft products to balance.

Ever wonder why the sanctions against Microsoft were not that bad?

Re:International Trade Balance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23285020)

You are not looking at how much of the money spent on gas actually is a tax going back to local/county/state government.

Re:International Trade Balance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23285170)

About 18 cents tax to the Feds. States vary from 20-50 cents.

To put it in perspective, the oil companies make 8-10 cents profit on a gallon of gas.

We need a windfall profits tax alright; on GOVERNMENT

Re:International Trade Balance (1)

plopez (54068) | more than 6 years ago | (#23285124)

Bad accounting. Not all of the 2500 USD leaves the country, there are taxes as another poster pointed out, as well as shipping and refining costs.

For a computer, factor in that the electronics will usually come in from Taiwan or China and that much of the coding is done in India and other places.

So really, if pushed, I couldn't make any sort of analysis except to say it is complicated.

Re:International Trade Balance (1)

doktor-hladnjak (650513) | more than 6 years ago | (#23285514)

I remember hearing a factoid last year that said out of all US states, only Washington runs a trade *surplus* with China. It's probably true on the whole and not just with China, but this article was specifically talking about the President of China visiting the state. There's basically two big reasons for that trade surplus--both Microsoft and Boeing make most of their products here. People complain that we don't make anything in America anymore and don't export anything, but software is actually still one of the biggies.

Don't forget ... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23285016)

... to pay your $699 cock-smoking fee you licensing tea-baggers [twofo.co.uk] .

Gotta love a storyline (1)

R3doy (1223454) | more than 6 years ago | (#23285034)

I imagine Microsoft charges about the same and Brazilâ(TM)s brutal tax burden makes up the rest (the taxes are built into the price). So, the author acknowledges that the Brazilian government is probably the reason behind the pricing. But why let facts get in way? I mean, Microsoft is bad, so let's blame them!

In Rich Countries Too!! (2, Insightful)

mmport80 (588332) | more than 6 years ago | (#23285042)

It's not just Brazil. Look at any startup in the US. Flickr, Google etc etc, all used open source to get their businesses off the ground!

Promote your website (2, Interesting)

buchner.johannes (1139593) | more than 6 years ago | (#23285048)

It has graphs and screenshots! It *is* a study!

Lying again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23285096)

Once again the M$ haters have to lie to prop up their arguments. It's not "Microsoft's punitive pricing", it's Brazil's outrageous taxes.

Valid point if title corrected (3, Insightful)

Exp315 (851386) | more than 6 years ago | (#23285132)

The point which the author intended is valid, i.e., that commercial software licenses are much more expensive compared to local income levels in developing countries than in the USA. It's just unfortunately that the title is a bit misleading, deflecting the discussion. As a software publisher who has distributed my software in Brazil (in Portugese) in shareware and free-trial form, I can tell you that registration levels from Brazil are equal to those of the United States or Europe. I feel that's because my software is reasonably priced there for local income levels (about 40% less in local currency than it sells for in the USA). I would also like to add, as a frequent visitor to Brazil with many friends and family members there, I don't agree that there's any anti-U.S. attitude about software.

Re:Valid point if title corrected (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 6 years ago | (#23285254)

The poor interpretation of the numbers is also apparent in the summary. The summary says "20% of GNI for businesses" but doesn't make it clear that it is talking about the pricing for business software relative to GNI (it encourages the interpretation that businesses are spending 20% of their income on Microsoft software).

Re:Valid point if title corrected (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23285288)

>The point which the author intended is valid, i.e., that commercial software licenses are much more expensive compared to local income levels in developing countries than in the USA. It's just unfortunately that the title is a bit misleading, deflecting the discussion.

Even if your interpretation is correct, the point is vacuous. All kinds of high technology are much more expensive compared to local income levels in developing countries than in the USA. It just happens that OSS offers a partial solution specifically for the area of software because it happens to be free as in beer in addition to free as in speech.

Re:Valid point if title corrected (1)

rodsoft (892241) | more than 6 years ago | (#23285290)

I don't agree that there's any anti-U.S. attitude about software.
I'm Brazilian and agree. Although there are some issues regarding anti-US attitude related to marketing campaign or general US culture (don't try to sing the star-spangled banner here), we don't use windows because of its US origin, that's BS. Brazil's attitude towards free software is more about preferring not to pay for software than paying, that's all.

Big Mac Index (1)

Kifoth (980005) | more than 6 years ago | (#23285298)

It always amazes me that first world software companies (and not only Americans) think that it's ok to charge the same prices, no matter where they sell their products.

If their pricing were more in line with something like the Economist's Big Mac Index [wikipedia.org] , they will go a long way to cutting software piracy rates in the third world.

Re:Big Mac Index (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23285464)

Hey, yeah, maybe we should discount the price of oil and gold for third world countries too. Everything knows that nothing costs anything and prices are completely arbitrary.

Re:Valid point if title corrected (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23285396)

It's better in America's favor to NOT sell things at prices in order to ultimately help out our competition.

The reality is, good software SHOULD cost money and being poor should not be an excuse to get a discount.

Doing so invalidates are very basic supply and demand economic model.

When advantageous... we should trade. When not, we should not trade. It's really that simple.

When you're the wealthy nation it's usually NOT in your best interests to have free trade. It usually works out that the poor nation gets stuff discounted when this happens simply to move products.

But, how fair is that to the rest of the consumers. It's not and it creates infinite loopholes and defers tax revenue.

For instance, in a global economy. You can't really sell something to JUST Brazil without massive overhead to check citizens ship status and track use of your program.

An OS is important, it should cost more than an average program. It clearly takes more to create one, which is likely why MS is the only OS maker even bothering to write their own kernel...for better or worse, I respect their approach rather than using 1960's code models from UNIX and then BSD. Good kernel, sure, but innovation requires money and profits and profit losses.

Open source is the opposite of innovative economic models. It WILL fill in the gap, but it will also kill innovation to charge nothing or even 40% less for your software.

The business man in you tell you.. well ANY profit is good profit, but that's YOU wanting to make the quick buck. Sure for you program it doesn't matter.

But for innovation programs that cannot be easily copied such as office suites or OSs it's dumb to say .. HEY lets take one of the few major US markets and discount it.

It's bad enough the US has so few dominate markets anymore. We should AT LEAST make people pay full price for them.

On one side it generates more revenue and on the other side it induces FOR PROFIT competition, which generates superior software usually.

You devalue you own nation when you offer these types of discount. Your offering the product of long term investments which will HELP places like Brazil, India and China grow and become real competitors. They should PAY or develop their own.

If they develop their own.. it will END the Microsoft problem of monopoly. If they pay full price it will serve US interests best.

Open source and similar trade advantages to poorer nations takes on the mindset that they would do the same for us.

Instead their products go on the global market to the highest bidder and our friendly trade practices amount to little more than opportunistic profit.

If Europe pops out a better OS, poof there goes out market Brazil won't think twice about dumping us to pay more for a better product.

We are naive to think they can't afford software, which is already very cheap considering it's usable lifetime.

An OS that cost even 300 bucks can be used for 5 years or more usually. So per year costs on office suites, OS's and server software really doesn't add up to much compared to costs of transport, energy and other things that business COULD cut back on.

Rather than pressing them to buy and use software more efficiently we teach them to rely on our generous trade.

Now, I do want to be on better terms with South America, but in general the US gets HOSED on trade deals. MS has a long term future beyond getting the world STUCK on Windows.

At this point, we know open source isn't going away. So, MS can't lock you into much of anything anymore. Their motivations are simply to sell at any costs and their PROFIT MARGINS are so high they can offer awesome discounts, but ALL software engineers profit margins are high because their products can be copied for no cost.

It's not like selling tangible goods that must be produced. You write once and copy a billion times, each time sending your profit margins up and up.

That's why piracy is so easy and so widely supported, because the basic feeling is that software makers aren't really losing anything because they didn't really pay anything to make the CD or download. Not exactly an accurate view, but that's how most people feel. That's why stealing a movie ISN'T like stealing a DVD or any other tangible goods.

However open source or piracy, the long term effect of non profit software MUST be reduction in quality OR massively more people donating to the open source community.

Games for instance, cannot realistically be made open source with the quality they are made today. Artists, actors, sound producers, script writers cannot all be asked to make Hollywood level products merely out of good will.

Trade deals work that same way. They erode the basic desire for innovation and they create less emphasis on software development because of less pay per sale.

Brazil's population simply isn't that big and their per capital income is too low, they are not a good target for such products.

The money manger view that profit should be made at any cost is false. The current state of the US should prove that beyond a doubt. Products need set values. You can't reward poverty and punish wealth that's just .. retarded. The long term consequences are people who see little need in education, motivation or society in general. People who feel the DESERVE everything and need work for nothing. The New American way.

It's not M$, it's Bra$il (5, Interesting)

SoTerrified (660807) | more than 6 years ago | (#23285150)

The Brazilian gov't puts heavy taxes on any technologies that are imported. Their whole idea is to be so punative that companies that manufacture in Brazil won't have to compete vs. the outside world. The Wii costs over $1000 in Brazil and the Playstation 3 costs $1800. (These are 2007 prices, I'm not sure what's current) The games cost $300-$400 reais, which is probably about $200 US Dollars. It's not just a Microsoft issue.

Re:It's not M$, it's Bra$il (1)

rodsoft (892241) | more than 6 years ago | (#23285300)

Although that's valid for cd's, computers, software, etc, last time I checked it isn't for printed materials like books and manuals. There's no import taxes for them.

Regarding Open source and proprietary pricing (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23285156)

Think about it, would you pay 2500 to 5000 bucks for your OS?, or would you want something in the realm of what you can pay for it, Open source is becoming an avalanche in poor countries just because its free, and its current ( up to date), 3.1416racy is rampant in poor countries because people can pay 5 to 15 bucks for the latest M$xp, and they can pay 3 bucks for a 3.1416rated game,but they can not pay the salary of a whole year for brutally expensive software according to their economy, when somebody can get an OS that does what they need, for free ( Open source/Linux), they spread the word AND the CD to all their social group, creating a geometrical distribution into their circles of buddies, I have several friends in South America, and none of them have an original disk of anything, they used the underground market to get what they needed, for the price they were able to pay. The day that M$/proprietary software matches the price of their products to the economic environment in which they want to sell ( Marking it geographically) they will get a hold of the market, in the mean time, people will want the lowest cost for the maximum benefit.

no widespread "disdain" for US in Brazil (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23285192)

One Pew Global Attitudes survey, indicating that 51% of Brazilians surveyed have an unfavorable view of the US, hardly points to "widespread disdain" for the United States in Brazil. In fact, most Brazilians find many aspects of the US very favorable, and worthy of admiration. Unfortunately, all of that tends to be lost next to the overwhelming disapproval of American foreign policy (an attitude shared by even greater percentages of Americans). Certainly, though, there is no widespread disdain for the US IT industry, which is admired and viewed correctly as world-class.

The threat of GPL being abused is considerable (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23285200)

Here in Venezuela the government has made free software a priority, where almost all ministries and public internet cafes run Ubuntu, in the company I used to work with was forced to provide Linux solutions but they themselves were closed source, even worse they wanted me to take code from a GPL and slap it as their own. Suffice to say I am not working there anymore.

That said there is hope in social comptrollers, the LUGs are checking the ministries for fake open source solutions, and reporting them.

Not quite the price (5, Informative)

iris-n (1276146) | more than 6 years ago | (#23285236)

I live in Brazil. The anti-american wave has largely passed away: you don't find love for US here, but neither hate.

As for the pricing scheme, it is really outrageous for the average income here, but I don't think that it has much to do with the linux adoption here. It's very rare to see someone that does care about copyright here. Even if Microsoft sold at reasonable prices (yes, it is the government's fault), just the fact we need to register, call for license keys and all that bullshit makes us just pirate the damn thing. And if it's hard to pirate (wga and all), we go away. And there's linux. It's free and it doesn't hassle us. Oh, it's open source and all? Cute. But that's not the main point.

Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of people that care a lot about FOSS philosophy (myself included) but for the masses, the "software that don't get in my way" is more important.

Widespread disdain for US is a fallacy (1)

the jalapeno (876954) | more than 6 years ago | (#23285346)

Who knows, maybe I don't hang with the US haters, but I travel to Brazil very often and the Brazilians definitely do not have a widespread disdain for the US. They are probably one of the most friendly countries towards us in the region, outside of Colombia, of course, which is definitely our closest ally in the region.

Re:Widespread disdain for US is a fallacy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23285466)

The experiences you have as an American tourist mean very little in terms of deciphering the true feelings of the civilian population. Especially if you're there for business.

Re:Widespread disdain for US is a fallacy (2, Interesting)

Registered Coward v2 (447531) | more than 6 years ago | (#23285500)

The experiences you have as an American tourist mean very little in terms of deciphering the true feelings of the civilian population. Especially if you're there for business.
True, but as someone who has traveled abroad on business and pleasure; and have many friends and relatives abroad, disdain for American government policies does not translate to disdain or dislike of Americas, or even "America."

Most people outside of the US can keep those things separate; something many Americans seem to have difficulty with, as demonstrated by the accusations of "unpatriotic" if you say negative things about GHB.

Re:Widespread disdain for US is a fallacy (1)

jav1231 (539129) | more than 6 years ago | (#23285530)

Maybe but perhaps the OP should cite a survey that actually SHOWS "widespread disdain for the United States" as opposed to exaggerating figures from the one cited.

I realize it's hip to hate the US right now but like most hip things it can change.

Brazil government standing before open source (1)

rodsoft (892241) | more than 6 years ago | (#23285382)

Open source is going well in Brazil because the government is really involved in substituting proprietary software for open source. It's happening wildly in the public sector. I was astonished when my girlfriend (which is doing civil service exams) told me that in her last exam there were questions regarding OpenOffice, instead of Microsoft Office, which was the norm a few years ago.
Being a country with a past (or present) of government corruption, I really don't understand why Microsoft's bribes don't work here (but work elsewhere [iso.org] ).

US vs Brazil, taxes, etc (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23285492)

People, in certain places, are very kind with any foreigners, usually more kind than with their neighbours. But when dealing with the american values, even the founding fathers' values, brazilians hate it. Brazilians hate the old american way of life (hard working, good morals, religion, heroism of americans in wars, etc).

On Windows and OSS: almost none common user pay for Windows. Almost every home user use pirate Windows. Linux is only for computer professionals or government law (coercion).

On brazilian taxes: yes, 60% on every imported product, except books or cultural material (music, movie), but they still tax the media. I bought a Dell laptop yesterday that in US would cost $1100. In Brazil, it was nearly the triple.

And last, I suggest you this text on brazilian anti-americanism: http://www.aim.org/guest-column/anti-americanism-in-brazil-and-latin-america/

An intersting issue with the GPL (1)

Registered Coward v2 (447531) | more than 6 years ago | (#23285518)

The FSFLA, the South American sister organization of the FSF, is trying to get the license altered, but comments like those of Omar Kaminski, one of the drafters of the license, that the "GPL is incompatible with Brazilian legislation," and that "perhaps free software in Brazil is moving in a different direction than in the USA" do little to reduce the concerns of FOSS advocates.

That is an interesting issue - we assume the GPL is enforceable but much of that seems to be based on US copyright laws and various international agreements. It would be interesting to see if the GPL really would hold up in the face of conflicting national laws.

A country could pass legislation allowing companies to keep self-developed code proprietary even if it uses GPL code in a product. Protecting one's local companies and developing industries would be a higher priority than keeping the spirit of FOSS.

So many myths! (1)

hackingbear (988354) | more than 6 years ago | (#23285608)

Ever wonder why open source is so popular in Brazil and other BRIC nations?

This is simply not true. It is just a myth spread by open source advocates. Go check out who actually Linux, OpenOffice and Firefox in those countries by yourself.

In the eyes of non-geeks, the real benefits of open source is just the price and nothing else. When one can get a DVD with Windows and MS Office for $0 (download) to $1 (buy one at the street corner,) nobody will have the incentive to use Linux and Firefox. Period.

Fr0st pi5t (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23285642)

If yogu have

No surprise there. (1)

teumesmo (1217442) | more than 6 years ago | (#23285756)

Not being the center of attention for exploitation, and yet being a big countries, the use of online services for government/public and bank/public relations is the norm in Brazil. All banks in Brazil has offered complete and free online banking for at least 8 years, banks changed from having dozens of tellers, and enormous lines to having few tellers and dozens of ATM like machines that offer online banking. All banks offer business software for automatically paying bills, and software for printing bills receivable in any bank, and automatic payment for utilities for clients. Government agencies offer the usual run down on laws, and a variety of the most used services like filling tax return, check status of tax returns, CPF(SSN), CNPJ(number ID for busnisses), filling of inventory for controlled substances(pharmacies), and a variety of other niche services. Actually one would be very indifferent to the future by asking foreign companies to devise solutions for nation-wide needs, not to mention how vulnerable it makes the system to cast one's luck with everyone else. I think nothing that raises open source awareness and increases the number of open source technicians can be viewed in a bad lighting. Indeed open source could be doing better in Brazil, but with a population that doesn't have clue what a Microsoft Tax is, unless you buy a laptop, it can't be viewed as a surprise.

Does anyone do sanity checks on stories? (1)

LynnwoodRooster (966895) | more than 6 years ago | (#23285872)

OK, so 7.8% of Brazil's Gross National Income goes to Microsoft? Brazil's GNI was $7500 per capita [unu.edu] in 2003. That means Microsoft makes about $600 per person. With 200 MILLION people in Brazil, that would be $120 BILLION in revenue from Brazil alone. Considering Microsoft's 2007 revenue was $60 billion - half of supposedly what Brazil sends to Microsoft - something's not adding up.

Hyperbole, thy name is Slashdot!

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