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Microsoft Denies Paying Nigerians $400K To Ditch Linux

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the no-419-jokes-please dept.

Microsoft 148

Da Massive writes "Microsoft has denied paying a Nigerian contractor $400,000 in a bid to retard Linux's movement into the government sector. Media reports alleged that Microsoft had proposed paying that sum to a government contractor under a joint marketing agreement last year, in order to persuade the contractor to replace Linux OS with Windows on thousands of school laptops. Although a joint marketing agreement was drafted to document the best practices for using technology in education, it was never executed, said a Microsoft regional manager for Africa. It became clear, he added, that one customer wanted a Linux OS."

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REQUEST FOR URGENT BUSINESS RELATIONSHIP (5, Funny)

plover (150551) | more than 5 years ago | (#25727741)

REQUEST FOR URGENT BUSINESS RELATIONSHIP

Hello Partner,

My name is Thomas Hansen and I am a regional manager for Microsoft West, a prominent software company that does business with the Government of Nigeria. In strictest confidence I am writing to you about the matter of a great magnitude of money.

Last year, my company was involved in negotiations with your government in the drawing up of a joint marketing agreement for business. During the last military regime of Nigeria, some government officials set up a fund and awarded themselves contracts for the purchase of software. The present civilian government has set up a contract review panel, and has identified ours as one that can be replaced with no cost to your government. Without further review, these contracts could amount to USD$40,000,000 (forty million U.S. dollars) or more.

I am authorized to offer you 1% of the value of these contracts, USD$400,000, in exchange for the erasure of the competing offer. Please note this transaction is 100% safe and legal. I will commence the transferring of the funds within 72 business hours upon receipt of your bank account number. Please fax your account and driver's license to 1-419-419-4190 to continue with this transaction.

I am looking forward to doing business with you and solicit your confidential reply to this transaction.

Faithfully yours,
Thomas Hansen

Re:REQUEST FOR URGENT BUSINESS RELATIONSHIP (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25727807)

Oh, mod parent funny... +5

Re:REQUEST FOR URGENT BUSINESS RELATIONSHIP (5, Funny)

jonaskoelker (922170) | more than 5 years ago | (#25727811)

Your post advocates a

( ) technical ( ) legislative (X) spam-based ( ) vigilante

approach to fighting Micorsoft. Your idea will not work. Here is why it won't work.
(One or more of the following may apply to your particular idea, and it may
have other flaws which used to vary from sovereign nation to sovereign nation before a bad UN law was passed.)

(X) Nigerians can easily use it to harvest dollars
( ) Mailing lists and other legitimate email uses would be affected
(X) No one will be able to find the guy or collect the money
( ) It is defenseless against brute force attacks
(X) It will stop Microsoft for two weeks and then we'll be stuck with it
( ) Users of email will not put up with it
(X) Microsoft will not put up with it
( ) The police will not put up with it
(X) Requires too much cooperation from Spammers
( ) Requires immediate total cooperation from everybody at once
(X) Microsoft cannot afford to lose business or alienate potential
employers
( ) Spammers don't care about invalid addresses in their lists
(X) Anyone could anonymously destroy Microsoft's career or business

Specifically, your plan fails to account for

( ) Laws expressly prohibiting it
( ) Lack of centrally controlling authority for email
( ) Open relays in foreign countries
( ) Ease of searching tiny alphanumeric address space of all email addresses
(X) Asshats
(X) Jurisdictional problems
( ) Unpopularity of weird new taxes
(X) Nigerian reluctance to accept weird new forms of money
( ) Huge existing software investment in SMTP
( ) Susceptibility of protocols other than SMTP to attack
( ) Willingness of users to install OS patches received by email
( ) Armies of worm riddled broadband-connected Windows boxes
( ) Eternal arms race involved in all filtering approaches
(X) Extreme profitability of Microsoft
( ) Joe jobs and/or identity theft
(X) Technically illiterate politicians
(X) Extreme stupidity on the part of people who do business with spammers
(X) Dishonesty on the part of spammers themselves
( ) Bandwidth costs that are unaffected by client filtering
( ) Outlook

and the following philosophical objections may also apply:

(X) Ideas similar to yours are easy to come up with, yet none have ever
been shown practical
( ) Any scheme based on opt-out is unacceptable
( ) SMTP headers should not be the subject of legislation
( ) Blacklists suck
( ) Whitelists suck
( ) We should be able to talk about Viagra without being censored
( ) Countermeasures should not involve wire fraud or credit card fraud
( ) Countermeasures should not involve sabotage of public networks
( ) Countermeasures must work if phased in gradually
( ) Sending email should be free
( ) Why should we have to trust you and your servers?
( ) Incompatiblity with open source or open source licenses
( ) Feel-good measures do nothing to solve the problem
( ) Temporary/one-time email addresses are cumbersome
( ) I don't want the government reading my email
(X) Killing them that way is not slow and painful enough

Furthermore, this is what I think about you:

(X) Sorry dude, but I don't think it would work.
( ) This is a stupid idea, and you're a stupid person for suggesting it.
( ) Nice try, assh0le! I'm going to find out where you live and burn your
house down!

Oops (4, Funny)

jonaskoelker (922170) | more than 5 years ago | (#25727843)

I know self-replies are bad form. I also know that I wrote Microsoft some places where 'Linux' would've been more appropriate. Sorry for the confusion.

This post advocates a

(X) common sense ( ) spell-checker ( ) semantic verifier

-based approach to reading my above post.

Re:Oops (condensed version) (1)

Jesus_666 (702802) | more than 5 years ago | (#25731279)

This post advocates a (X) common sense ( ) spell-checker ( ) semantic verifier -based approach to reading my above post.

Your idea will not work. Here is why it won't work.

(X) Slashdotters will not put up with it.
(X) Requires too much cooperation from Slashdotters

Specifically, your plan fails to account for

(X) Asshats
(X) Slashdotter reluctance to accept weird new forms of thinking

Furthermore, this is what I think about you:

(X) Sorry dude, but I don't think it would work.

Re:REQUEST FOR URGENT BUSINESS RELATIONSHIP (1, Insightful)

akentanaka (1366327) | more than 5 years ago | (#25728187)

you guys have so much time on your hands. Very nice exchange!

Re:REQUEST FOR URGENT BUSINESS RELATIONSHIP (1)

kickdown (824054) | more than 5 years ago | (#25730907)

approach to fighting Micorsoft.

No. It's about fighting *Microsoft*, not *Micorsoft*. Your reasoning below started from an unmet precondition, and thus the argumentation is void. Better luck next time.

Re:REQUEST FOR URGENT BUSINESS RELATIONSHIP (5, Funny)

brentonboy (1067468) | more than 5 years ago | (#25728117)

Obviously a fake. If it were a real Nigerian mail fraud letter, it would have more spelling errors and confusing punctuation.

Re:REQUEST FOR URGENT BUSINESS RELATIONSHIP (1)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 5 years ago | (#25729027)

Even the math is right.

Re:REQUEST FOR URGENT BUSINESS RELATIONSHIP (0, Troll)

nog_lorp (896553) | more than 5 years ago | (#25729225)

amount to USD$40,000,000 (forty million U.S. dollars) or more.

I am authorized to offer you 1% of the value of these contracts, USD$573,000.75

Re:REQUEST FOR URGENT BUSINESS RELATIONSHIP (1)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 5 years ago | (#25729181)

It would also have seemingly-random words in CAPSLOCK.

Re:REQUEST FOR URGENT BUSINESS RELATIONSHIP (3, Interesting)

plover (150551) | more than 5 years ago | (#25730081)

I started writing it in CAPSLOCK but then I remembered the lameness filter. And I didn't screw up the grammar because it was supposed to be sent to Nigeria from Microsoft, not the other way around. But oh well.

Re:REQUEST FOR URGENT BUSINESS RELATIONSHIP (3, Funny)

TheoGB (786170) | more than 5 years ago | (#25731053)

Indeed. The problem with jokes for nerds is we get all nerdish about them. :D

Re:REQUEST FOR URGENT BUSINESS RELATIONSHIP (1)

aqk (844307) | more than 5 years ago | (#25730537)

As well, the obligatory and very mysterious word "modalities" is missing!

Re:REQUEST FOR URGENT BUSINESS RELATIONSHIP (1)

Whiteox (919863) | more than 5 years ago | (#25730793)

Notice the ph number?

Re:REQUEST FOR URGENT BUSINESS RELATIONSHIP (5, Funny)

rampant mac (561036) | more than 5 years ago | (#25728449)

Actually, it wouldn't surprise me to see...

REQUEST FOR URGENT BUSINESS RELATIONSHIP

Hello Partner,

DEVELOPERS, DEVELOPERS, DEVELOPERS, DEVELOPERS!

Sincerely,

Steve Ballmer

Re:REQUEST FOR URGENT BUSINESS RELATIONSHIP (4, Funny)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 5 years ago | (#25729247)

Actually, it wouldn't surprise me to see...

REQUEST FOR URGENT BUSINESS RELATIONSHIP

Hello Partner,

DEVELOPERS, DEVELOPERS, DEVELOPERS, DEVELOPERS!

Snake! Snake!

What, why's everybody staring? Did I just fuck up another meme?

Re:REQUEST FOR URGENT BUSINESS RELATIONSHIP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25730977)

Go back to your mushrooms.

Re:REQUEST FOR URGENT BUSINESS RELATIONSHIP (4, Funny)

nacturation (646836) | more than 5 years ago | (#25731163)

What, why's everybody staring? Did I just fuck up another meme?

It was on Slashdot this mroing. A poster in ar who had killed three memes. They are taking the articles back to CmdrTaco, too karma to post. My thoughts are with the submitter, who lost his atricle. I am truely sorry for your lots.

Re:REQUEST FOR URGENT BUSINESS RELATIONSHIP (1)

mortonda (5175) | more than 5 years ago | (#25729021)

Funny, but the grammar is too good to be a Nigerian scam...

Re:REQUEST FOR URGENT BUSINESS RELATIONSHIP (3, Funny)

jmhoule314 (921571) | more than 5 years ago | (#25731089)

i tried fax my account number to 1-419-419-4190, but it told me the code i entered was incorrect. Here is my bank account number: 44524-44524. Please send me the money now.

Of course they didn't pay the "partner" ... (5, Insightful)

siddesu (698447) | more than 5 years ago | (#25727841)

As they do in other countries (see Eastern Europe for an example), Microsoft will just pay the government officials that award the contract.

It is a lot easier, safer (there are lawyer intermediaries, so it is impossible to catch the perpetrators) and works well, as the government has a "legitimate" reason to increase the budget, and the larger the budget, the merrier it gets.

Re:Of course they didn't pay the "partner" ... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25728963)

Actually...it still falls under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Any block of money given out in this manner, if caught, means a felony charge for the parties that did it. It'd be a Club Fed stay, but it's still a felony and under the right circumstances would be prosecuted as such.

Re:Of course they didn't pay the "partner" ... (3, Interesting)

siddesu (698447) | more than 5 years ago | (#25729583)

Probably, but a prosecution is almost unpossible. First, the US is unlikely to investigate if there is no other interested party in the US to stink. Second, as I pointed out, evidence is hard to come by. The scheme roughly works like this

a) you meet someone, who isn't related in any "official way"
b) you two agree about the setup
c) a "public tender" is constructed by the government so that other participant are excluded
d) a chain of companies may be set up, usually offshore, so that it is harder to track where the money goes (and there is more than 1 jurisdiction involved)
e) if anything at all comes to light, the local employees are dumped. I'd probably guess they aren't prosecutable under the act you quote.

If MS really made an offer, probably the partner had very good connections to someone and was very "stubborn" on the linux thing. That, or the Nigerian M$ manager really roots for linux.

Re:Of course they didn't pay the "partner" ... (3, Interesting)

the_womble (580291) | more than 5 years ago | (#25730677)

Another trick is to overpay someone to whom you make a legitimate payment (a local partner, for example) on the tacit understanding that they will negotiate and pay whatever bribes are necessary.

That is often why people say things like "we entered into a joint venture with local partner who can supply local knowledge". It means they have the right contacts and will take the blame in the unlikely event that the bribe comes to light.

Does the US government actually bother to prosecute these cases? Britain has similar laws but government is not really bothered about enforcing them, and has even pressurised the police into dropping investigations (the BAE Saudi bribes case last year).

Realized they were being scammed? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25727861)

No wonder they were skeptical, a 400k cashier's check...

Re:Realized they were being scammed? (1)

Vombatus (777631) | more than 5 years ago | (#25728385)

No wonder they were skeptical, a 400k cashier's check...

But was it 400,000 Nigerian dollars?

Re:Realized they were being scammed? (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 5 years ago | (#25729089)

No wonder they were skeptical, a 400k cashier's check...

But was it 400,000 Nigerian dollars?

That would be about 46,800,000 Naira. Approximately, I don't know the current exchange rate.

Naira Exchange (1)

camperdave (969942) | more than 5 years ago | (#25729411)

That would be about 46,800,000 Naira. Approximately, I don't know the current exchange rate.

XE.com [xe.com] says 400,000.00 USD = 47,100,000.00 NGN (Nigerian Naira)

Re:Realized they were being scammed? (4, Funny)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 5 years ago | (#25729305)

$400K should be enough for everybody.

Retarded (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25727921)

Microsoft...denied paying a Nigerian contractor $400,000 in a bid to retard Linux's movement into the government sector.

What could be more retarded than a government sector using windows? (grammar nazis, let it slide...)

Holy Shit (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25727955)

Nigerians have computers?

Re:Holy Shit (5, Funny)

mrsteveman1 (1010381) | more than 5 years ago | (#25728447)

They actually have modified See n' Say units, you pull the string and they spit out a new scam form letter ready to go. Its more of an instructional tool at this point:

"The NIGERIAN says......."

Re:Holy Shit (5, Funny)

Technician (215283) | more than 5 years ago | (#25728631)

Nigerians have computers?

They have computers. I get email from them about once a week for assistance with some financial transaction or other. What they lack is good banks. The checks they send seem to always have problems. I now insist they send money using Western Union from now on.

Re:Holy Shit (3, Funny)

Lordnerdzrool (884216) | more than 5 years ago | (#25729231)

What they lack is good banks.

Holy crap! You mean I've been living in Nigeria this whole blasted time! I've been had! No more of these free meals for my family every last Thursday in November.

Re:Holy Shit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25730581)

Clearly. How else would they send out those emails with the fake backstories that try to phish people's bank account numbers?

Dear Mr Ballmer (5, Funny)

omar.sahal (687649) | more than 5 years ago | (#25727957)

Dear Mr Ballmer
Good day and compliments. Please allow me to introduce myself. My name is Dr. (Mrs.) Mariam Abacha. I can tell by the way jump about you are very intelligent man. In order secure the windows market in Africa you know what to do.
Your faithfully,
Dr (Mrs.) Mariam Abacha (M.O.N)

Re:Dear Mr Ballmer (3, Funny)

beadfulthings (975812) | more than 5 years ago | (#25728165)

I'm so glad I read this. I was about to make a redundant post.

So sorry to hear about the death of your husband . . . glad you have found a good revenue stream.

Punctuation Matters (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25729489)

I can tell by the way jump about you are very intelligent man.

I can tell, by the way, jump about - you are very intelligent man.

There. Fixed that for you.

Customers deciding! What will MS think of next? (1)

rohan972 (880586) | more than 5 years ago | (#25727969)

From TFA: "From our standpoint, those governments, and indeed every customer, should always decide which software solutions meet their needs most appropriately..." - attributed to Thomas Hansen, regional manager for Microsoft West, East and Central Africa.

Isn't it obvious that customers should decide what to get? Why do MS need to convince us they believe that? Who else would be deciding what customers bought Mr Hansen?

Re:Customers deciding! What will MS think of next? (1)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 5 years ago | (#25728011)

Yes, it is quite obvious, but apparently people don't think that Microsoft understands it. Thus, as is also quite obvious, MS is stating that they understand that.

Re:Customers deciding! What will MS think of next? (1)

Elektroschock (659467) | more than 5 years ago | (#25731275)

Which shows that its all PR. Honestly, Microsoft Nigeria is just for public affairs, anti-piracy and penetration of "future markets". No one buys software licenses in Western Africa. Even Western companies residing there don't.

Re:Customers deciding! What will MS think of next? (1)

Samah (729132) | more than 5 years ago | (#25729221)

...every customer, should always decide...

By "decide", Microsoft means "with a gun at their head and a grin on their face."

nigger bribes (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25727983)

Niggers can easily be bribed with expensive tennis shoes or drugs.

Silly niggers.

Re:nigger bribes (2, Informative)

shentino (1139071) | more than 5 years ago | (#25728039)

They're nigerians, not niggers.

In this case though, I hope MS did pay the bribe...

You know that any money you pay will just get you nowhere and you'll need to pay more fees later.

Re:nigger bribes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25730763)

They're nigerians, not niggers.

Thanks for clearing that one up. I make that mistake all the time!

Re:nigger bribes (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25728091)

So THAT'S how Brobama got elected. I didn't think it was possible to get a 'ger out of bed on a weekday, no matter what you offered.

Re:nigger bribes (0)

omar.sahal (687649) | more than 5 years ago | (#25728329)

wah..Is slashdot getting racist or is this that GNAA fella. Perhaps rappers are at fault!!!!!!!!

Re:nigger bribes (-1, Flamebait)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 5 years ago | (#25728873)

Tell that to all of the people who voted BO into office. I'm sure they'll be glad to know about it.

Re:nigger bribes (0, Offtopic)

shentino (1139071) | more than 5 years ago | (#25730909)

Yeah, the whole thing stinks.

Re:nigger bribes (1)

Miseph (979059) | more than 5 years ago | (#25730107)

So, I'm thinking of something that still isn't funny... Can you guess what it is?

hmmm... interesting bribe? (2, Interesting)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 5 years ago | (#25728005)

$400k to convince one government contractor seems like a lot to fork out. Most bribes, especially in third world countries, are had for less. Not that I'd put it past Microsoft to pull something underhanded like this, it's just that poor economic decisions aren't one of their hallmarks. Sorry, but I have to side with Bill on this -- it just doesn't pass the sniff test. $400k is enough money to live like a king or queen in those economic situations, and probably better than most government officials; the average per-year income in that country is just over $2k.

Re:hmmm... interesting bribe? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25728395)

the average per-year income in that country is just over $2k.

That's only if you average in the poor people.

I know someone personally who is teaching in Nigeria, most of the people around him are lucky to make $2k a year, while he makes around $43k.

The have's in that country have quite a bit of cash, but they are very few, and the have-not's are the vast majority of the population... and most of them have no income at all.

So while $400k would seem like enough to live like a king to the common person, it would put you at the bottom of the upper class for a year or less.

Re:hmmm... interesting bribe? (4, Insightful)

cgenman (325138) | more than 5 years ago | (#25728775)

Actually, read between the lines:

Although a joint marketing agreement was drafted to document the best practices for using technology in education, it was never executed, said Thomas Hansen, regional manager for Microsoft West, East and Central Africa. "As such, the joint marketing agreement became irrelevant; no such marketing agreement was ever agreed to, and no money was ever spent," he said.

You'll notice he doesn't deny attempting to pay 400k dollars to ditch Linux, he simply states that the plan to do so fell through.

Re:hmmm... interesting bribe? (4, Insightful)

Stephen Samuel (106962) | more than 5 years ago | (#25729539)

The plan was done by Microsoft's vampire core. When it was exposed to the light of day (and media stories), the deal evaporated. The deal was actually exposed some number of months ago Microsoft doesn't like such deals being exposed. Deals like this being illegal doesn't help the situation.

Re:hmmm... interesting bribe? (4, Informative)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 5 years ago | (#25729145)

Sorry, but I have to side with Bill on this -- it just doesn't pass the sniff test. $400k is enough money to live like a king or queen in those economic situations, and probably better than most government officials; the average per-year income in that country is just over $2k.

It is estimated that Former Nigerian President Sani Abacha ('93-'98-died in office) stole from the Nigerian government between $3 and $5 billion USD. The Nigerian government managed to negotiate for the return of $2.1 billion USD by agreeing to allow his family to keep the rest. The family later returned another $1.2 billion USD, which suggests that the amount stolen was closer to $5 billion.

The next guy was in office for a year.

After him was General Olusegun Obasanjo ('99-'07) whose estimated theft varies widely up to $20+ billion... but nobody is really. Obasanjo also got tangled up in a sex scandal when his eldest son claimed in divorce papers that his (the son's) wife slept with his father (the President) to secure government contracts for companies she was doing business with under a fake name. And this is the President who ran on an anti-corruption platform.

There are hopes that the current president will not be as corrupt as his predecessors, as he was one of the few governors in Nigerian politics with a clean record.

I tell you all this just to give you an idea of the scope of corruption in Nigeria.
$400K is pocket change compared to the money that changes hands in kleptocracies like Nigeria.

American and European companies budget for bribes. It's just how business is done.
In this case, Microsoft was going to stash the bribe under marketing costs.

Re:hmmm... interesting bribe? (2, Funny)

The Bungi (221687) | more than 5 years ago | (#25730381)

Yes, I can confirm this. I am currently in the process of helping Abacha's widow, Miriam, extricate the sum of $12,000,000 from Nigeria for a $1M cut. And get this - all I had to do is wire her $2,000 for legal expenses! Bwahahahah!

I am her special friend in god, I am.

Re:hmmm... interesting bribe? (1)

aqk (844307) | more than 5 years ago | (#25730579)

WTF!!

$2000?
Shit, I had to send her $3000!
And all I'm getting back is $10,000,000 !

Just how the hell did you do it?

  -

Re:hmmm... interesting bribe? (1)

Elektroschock (659467) | more than 5 years ago | (#25731307)

Don't forget that a guy Microsoft hired from Nigeria is a relative of him. Dare Obasanjo [wikipedia.org] .

And then there is the Obeto nut job. [mysite4now.net]

Re:hmmm... interesting bribe? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25730877)

The FCPA prohibits corrupt payments through intermediaries. It is unlawful to make a payment to a third party, while knowing that all or a portion of the payment will go directly or indirectly to a foreign official. The term "knowing" includes conscious disregard and deliberate ignorance.

Intermediaries may include joint venture partners or agents.

The FCPA prohibits any corrupt payment intended to influence any act or decision of a foreign official in his or her official capacity, to induce the official to do or omit to do any act in violation of his or her lawful duty, to obtain any improper advantage, or to induce a foreign official to use his or her influence improperly to affect or influence any act or decision.

You should note that the FCPA does not require that a corrupt act succeed in its purpose. The offer or promise of a corrupt payment can constitute a violation of the statute.

Microsoft - if you can't successfully prosecute us, we didn't do anything wrong.

But we do try to cover our ass when it ends up on the front page of the Times.

Corruption is normal in Nigeria (4, Informative)

tsa (15680) | more than 5 years ago | (#25728025)

I had a Nigerian colleague once and he told me you get nothing done in Nigeria without paying the right people. So actually this is not news (and certainly not a story ;) :) ), but normal business practice.

Re:Corruption is normal in Nigeria (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25728073)

That's right. Even trying to build a house requires the bribery of several people!

Even if it did happen, this is not Microsoft specific.

Re:Corruption is normal in Nigeria (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25728283)

My grandfather was an engineer for a number of years in Nigeria - and he would agree with you. Corruption exists within their normal economy.

Re:Corruption is normal in Nigeria (4, Informative)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 5 years ago | (#25729123)

My grandfather was an engineer for a number of years in Nigeria - and he would agree with you. Corruption exists within their normal economy.

My father was an engineer in the U.S. for decades, particularly within the military sector. Corruption exists within our normal economy as well, believe me. He told me a lot of stories about his years working as a military contractor: the corruption was all on the government's side.

Re:Corruption is normal in Nigeria (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25730425)

My father ... He told me a lot of stories about his years working as a military contractor: the corruption was all on the government's side.

You mean, like, the government officials were just moving cash from one pocket to the other? There was no cooperation from the suppliers (like, say, Boeing) to get a sweet deal? Or like the nuke makers who have been using secrecy to charge the government several times over?

That's very good inside news, restoring half my faith in humanity.

Re:Corruption is normal in Nigeria (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25728593)

I had a Nigerian colleague once and he told me you get nothing done in Nigeria without paying the right people. So actually this is not news (and certainly not a story ;) :) ), but normal business practice.

It might be normal business practice in Nigeria, but Microsoft is an American company.

Re:Corruption is normal in Nigeria (1)

Fulcrum of Evil (560260) | more than 5 years ago | (#25728727)

And if they want to do business in Nigeria, they will pay bribes. I don't see what your problem is.

Re:Corruption is normal in Nigeria (1)

Cassius Corodes (1084513) | more than 5 years ago | (#25728797)

Its illegal for American companies to pay bribes, even if its overseas - so they can still be persecuted for it in the US.

Re:Corruption is normal in Nigeria (1)

retchdog (1319261) | more than 5 years ago | (#25729003)

Huh? Then why do we have an office of government dedicated to it [uspto.gov] ?

Re:Corruption is normal in Nigeria (1)

tsa (15680) | more than 5 years ago | (#25729059)

Heh, that reminds me of what a friend of mine who has been living in the USA for the past 7 years said. I told him that corruption in the States might even be worse than in Nigeria, and he answered cheerfully: "Yes, but here it's legalized!" ;)

Re:Corruption is normal in Nigeria (2, Funny)

Dahamma (304068) | more than 5 years ago | (#25729367)

Persecuted? Is bribery now a form of heresy?

Re:Corruption is normal in Nigeria (1)

Fulcrum of Evil (560260) | more than 5 years ago | (#25730401)

So they can do it through an intermediary. So what?

Re:Corruption is normal in Nigeria (3, Interesting)

jesterzog (189797) | more than 5 years ago | (#25729521)

I haven't been to Nigeria but it sounds similar to a variety of other places. Once people are poor enough and the government is corrupt enough, bribery becomes acceptable and the whole thing is self-fuelling.

Jobs where bribes are likely become highly sought after. People won't get paid much in those positions because employers already know that they'll make up the rest from bribes, and people who bribe them accept it because they'd just as happily take a similar job and do the same thing if they could, since they can't do anything to change it.

I'm not 100% sure that avoiding doing business in highly corrupt countries is the complete way to go. In some ways it seems that influence from businesses used to less corrupt environments is what might finally change things. Exactly how much a company like Microsoft should play by Nigeria's rules is a difficult question -- it's also at their own risk, because if they're not careful, another corrupt official could come and screw them over or extract more and more money from them for a random reason at any time. As long as corruption continues to exist, though, it'll always be a gamble trying to promote something like Free Software in a country like Nigeria.

Re:Corruption is normal in Nigeria (2, Insightful)

turing_m (1030530) | more than 5 years ago | (#25731243)

Exactly how much a company like Microsoft should play by Nigeria's rules is a difficult question...

Those are "Nigeria's rules"? That's a bit like asking how much someone like Gary Kasparov should play by the rules of FIDE.

Re:Corruption is normal in Nigeria (1)

jesterzog (189797) | more than 5 years ago | (#25729633)

I had a Nigerian colleague once and he told me you get nothing done in Nigeria without paying the right people. So actually this is not news (and certainly not a story ;) :) ), but normal business practice.

It reminds me a lot of the service industry in places where there are heavy tipping cultures. What starts as a way for people to express gratitude for good service has often become an expectation from all sides to avoid getting crappy service. Eventually people in the service industry never get paid well because they're expected to get the rest of their salary from customers, and the customers know they'll get treated badly if they don't fork out extra money.

It's exactly the same pattern as corruption, anyway: employees don't get paid enough to live on, because there's an expectation from all sides that they'll blackmail it out of the people they deal with directly.

Re:Corruption is normal in Nigeria (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25730021)

That's cool, but do you know how long it usually takes? I've dropped $4000 so far trying to help an exiled prince restore his the $22mil cash reserves with which he, narrow escaped from the capitols.

Re:Corruption is normal in Nigeria (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25730955)

So actually this is not news (and certainly not a story ;) :) ), but normal business practice.

It is unlawful for Microsoft to obtain advantage by offering payment to a foreign official, even through a joint venture intermediary. (Foreign Corrupt Practices Act)

That Nigeria has "a history of corruption in the country" makes it worse for Microsoft, because that is a "red flag" which raises the level of due diligence required.

While Microsoft breaking the law may not be news, Microsoft being caught is more rare. And it seems unlikely they would be revisiting an old PR black-eye unless there is a chance of them being prosecuted.

Also note the law applies to individuals as well. So if Bill Gates was visiting Nigeria...

Is vista really that bad? (5, Funny)

Cyko_01 (1092499) | more than 5 years ago | (#25728043)

...that they have to pay to get people to use it?

Re:Is vista really that bad? (2, Insightful)

TheThiefMaster (992038) | more than 5 years ago | (#25728149)

It's probably XP, as school laptops are involved. They're not likely to be vista capable.

Re:Is vista really that bad? (4, Funny)

Clandestine_Blaze (1019274) | more than 5 years ago | (#25728403)

It's probably XP, as school laptops are involved. They're not likely to be vista capable.

I detect an oxymoron in this sentence, I just can't put my finger on it though...

Re:Is vista really that bad? (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 5 years ago | (#25729135)

Oh, come on mods, it may be a troll but it was a funny troll. Sheesh.

Re:Is vista really that bad? (1, Troll)

darkonc (47285) | more than 5 years ago | (#25729603)

I think that some people were going for a +5Troll rating (first person rates as 'troll' and then everybody else rates as 'underrated', which leaves the 'troll' designation intact). Unfortunately, somebody accidently rated it as funny (probably in reaction to the parent complaint), and the spell may now be broken.

Does anybody have a spare 'troll' or 'underrated' moderation lying about?

Re:Is vista really that bad? (1)

invisiblerhino (1224028) | more than 5 years ago | (#25728497)

It's true what they say, Windows is the cheaper alternative.

Re:Is vista really that bad? (1)

gronofer (838299) | more than 5 years ago | (#25730615)

I too would accept $400k to switch my computer to Windows. Even after using some of the money to buy another Linux machine, there would be a tidy profit.

scammm (2, Funny)

Dgawld (1251898) | more than 5 years ago | (#25728119)

I've been patiently waiting for my royalty checks from that prince i have been sending mass amounts of money to.

Rage (1)

PincusJr (1310977) | more than 5 years ago | (#25728121)

Global controls will have to be imposed, and a world governing body will be created to enforce them. Crises, precipitate change.

Age-Old Adage (3, Funny)

sparx394 (985617) | more than 5 years ago | (#25728251)

He who denied it, supplied it.

hohum (5, Informative)

BigBadBus (653823) | more than 5 years ago | (#25728369)

I was born in Nigeria and my dad worked there for many years. He will tell you that the Government then (1971) was corrupt and would sell their own mothers for a belly full of ruin (that is, a glass of whisky). We have seen nothing since then to change our minds.

Re:hohum (2, Interesting)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 5 years ago | (#25729151)

I was born in Nigeria and my dad worked there for many years. He will tell you that the Government then (1971) was corrupt and would sell their own mothers for a belly full of ruin (that is, a glass of whisky). We have seen nothing since then to change our minds.

I've never been there, but my girlfried was born and raised there. She goes back for visits to her family now and then.

She'd agree with you.

The REAL reason microsoft decided not to pay... (4, Insightful)

voss (52565) | more than 5 years ago | (#25728383)

Microsoft could have paid $400,000 and the Nigerians could have gone ahead and used linux anyway. Bribes only work when you trust people to stay bought.

Re:The REAL reason microsoft decided not to pay... (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25728657)

I don't think so.... Sometimes they use 3rd party a la pay pal (and no, this is no joke) to make sure both party fulfill their task according to the contract.

Re:The REAL reason microsoft decided not to pay... (1)

weber (36246) | more than 5 years ago | (#25730175)

Microsoft could have paid $400,000 and the Nigerians could have gone ahead and used linux anyway. Bribes only work when you trust people to stay bought.

Perhaps it's half up front, half when the "job" is done?

Mod TFA up +5 Funny (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25728513)

TFA can be boiled down to "Microsoft today admitted it tried to tie $400,000 in payments to Nigerian government contractors to the denial of use of the Linux OS in offices and schools, but admitted that the briXXX payment was not accepted."

"from the no-419-jokes-please dept." (1)

KingAlanI (1270538) | more than 5 years ago | (#25728843)

"from the no-419-jokes-please dept."
Okay then, how about some (bad) 420 jokes then.

Marijuana has thus been proven to be an order of magnitude more perfect that perfection...

Hey, wait a minute! (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 5 years ago | (#25730077)

We paid the same contractor $400,000 not to use Windows

The Mac Guy

Re:Hey, wait a minute! (1)

mjwx (966435) | more than 5 years ago | (#25730893)

We took the $400K from MS and the $400K from Apple and are still using Linux.

Welcome to Nigeria, where scams are the 2nd largest export.

Technicalities (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 5 years ago | (#25730531)

"We didn't pay them any money... we promised them money, even had a contract drawn up, but we never signed it because they bought the laptops with Windows anyway."

$411,000 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25730839)

It was actually $411,000 and understandably they denied it.

Microsoft didn't pay the Nigerians (2, Funny)

Gandalf_Greyhame (44144) | more than 5 years ago | (#25731143)

Microsoft didn't pay the Nigerians to ditch Linux, Ballmer just fell for one of the scams

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