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U.S. Army Warns Microsoft To Back Off

simoniker posted more than 10 years ago | from the or-else dept.

Microsoft 635

declan writes "My CNET News colleague Ina Fried has written an interesting article today about how the U.S. Army has told Microsoft to stop sending free CD-ROMs of Office 2003 to government employees. In what's effectively a cease and desist order, the Army said: 'Your offer of free software places our employees and soldiers in jeopardy of unknowingly committing a violation of the ethics rules and regulations to which they have taken an oath to uphold.' Whoops! Perhaps this is Microsoft's latest way to fight free software at the Pentagon. Remember that just 8 months ago, the Army paid $471 million for Microsoft licenses."

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Yep, it's happening in the Navy, too.... (5, Insightful)

andy55 (743992) | more than 10 years ago | (#8527624)


Yep... I'm in the navy and this new item hit the streets last week (I considered submitting it as a story--oh well). We had guys and civilian contractors in our building getting free copies of office. My hate for ms reached a new high--talking about caught red-handed trying to plant seeds that will secure them--argh.

Separately, as a member of the military and despiser of the pitiful quality of ms products, I've always been strongly concerned about the military's use of ms products. The military, like many parts of the government, subcontract-out most tech work and implementation. The contractors, with sealed pay rates and support plans, have no problem deploying huge ms flagships at given branch or sub branch of the military (and then forwarding all the licensing bill to uncle sam). In other words, the root concern is that senior military folks that make the money decisions, need to get the job done but don't have a technical background (ie, to them, linux, microsoft, a server, source code, hacking, and TCP/IP are all one and the same). The contractors drum up offers, the military takes one, and--wham--the US gov't is now shelling out to ms in huge numbers and there's no one who looks at and says, 'is this the best way we could be doing it?'

If you've been around the government, you know what I mean about how scary the contractors are in terms of quality and knowledge when it comes to industrial back-end technologies. I'm on shore tour now, but when I was on my sub, you'd see these people doing a software install by blindly reading out of a SPAWAR procedure. I'd ask them stuff as they went along to gain knowledge and tips, but I usually got back a sheepish "I'm not sure". Grr...

Andy

Re:Yep, it's happening in the Navy, too.... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8527649)

Sounds quite useful to me. Just like people at educational establishments getting free software from them.

I wouldn't mind getting the stuff for free! Trouble is, everything else that is legally free for me is worth the price I would pay for it, for office suites and operating systems anyway.

Re:Yep, it's happening in the Navy, too.... (5, Insightful)

andy55 (743992) | more than 10 years ago | (#8527707)

I wouldn't mind getting the stuff for free!

Seriously, what the hell is in ms office that the previous version didn't have that's of huge value? What more "essential" things can be added to a word processor? At the end of the day, bells an whistles don't make content. Call me when ms puts out a version of Office that makes content.

Andy

Re:Yep, it's happening in the Navy, too.... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8527684)

Your hate for MS doesn't need any action from MS. By coming to Slashdot and reading and believing in these stupid stories you are already telling us that you are ready to increase your hate without any cause. All you need is a stupid made-up story.

If you know better than thousands of the contractors then why don't you build a business and show us how you can do it better, instead of the usual whining on Slashdot.

Re:Yep, it's happening in the Navy, too.... (2, Interesting)

andy55 (743992) | more than 10 years ago | (#8527787)

By coming to Slashdot and reading and believing in these stupid stories you are already telling us that you are ready to increase your hate without any cause.

Did you you *read* the story post or my post?? This is *real* -- what the hell are talking about... "made up story"??

If you know better than thousands of the contractors then why don't you build a business and show us how you can do it better,

If you follow that pesky URL in my tagline, you'll feel pretty dumb.

Andy

Re:Yep, it's happening in the Navy, too.... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8527861)

Implicit in your second paragraph is the assertion that the market is a level playing field.
Any alternative must both meet the MS functionality and provide enough extra juice to cover the switching costs/coefficient of static friction in the market.
I've got enough active duty experience, acquisition experience, and government contractor experience to know that your last line represents as gross an oversimplification as any other seen on /.
I think that the most reasonable, measurable thing to do is construct laws permitting companies to be in one major categor of business, say, operating systems or desktop applications only.
If you configure your XP applicationst for non-MS, and run Mozilla, the operating system hides c:\Program Files\Internet Explorer\IExplore.exe.
You can't even see that critter in a console window.
Great. However, there are times when you need to go to a site that conforms to the de-facto, and arguably good, standard set by IE.
You can, in fact, create a shortcut to this otherwise invisible executable, so that you can use it when required.
The alarm that this sets off is: how many other instances of the operating privileging certain files are going on within the hard drive?
Allowing that I probably gave my life away when I accepted the licensing agreement (I'm an honest, paying MSDN subscriber, doing nothing that wouldn't pass muster, that license is written in Perl with a bad hangover, for all I can read it), how confident can I be that this is the only example of such tomfoolery going on? What if there is a ForGoodJusticeScrewTheUserWithThisAPI.dll running around on there?
Should the operating system company be the same as the application company? I think that the market is going to say NO, and increasingly move away from this dangerous situation. I dunno if government intervention would do more than feed the shark^H^H^H^H^Hlawyers.

Re:Yep, it's happening in the Navy, too.... (3, Insightful)

Loadmaster (720754) | more than 10 years ago | (#8527742)

MS is the best way to do it. I'm Aircrew in the Air Force on the C-17 Globemaster. We have pilots who are in charge of a 320 million dollar airframe but can't figure out Outlook. We just got E-Pubs and with it pages of documentation on how to burn a CD using WinXP. If they went to Linux we'd have major problems. Most people would be reduced to a corp of Patrick Ewings. They'd all be bumbling around the flight deck bumping into one other. Are you trying to kill me?

Re:Yep, it's happening in the Navy, too.... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8527754)

...just another M$-hater troll post, spouting off opinions based on hate instead of FACTS... ...m$ was GIVING away software, even if it had bugs, how is that worse then linux office suites that are free, and have buggs??? (we won't even go into the vast differences in the learning curves...) ...for those that want to shoot off their mouths that the linux software includeds source code, that they claim they can "fix", how many USERS can FIX source code????

Re:Yep, it's happening in the Navy, too.... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8527892)

.m$ was GIVING away software, even if it had bugs, how is that worse then linux office suites that are free, and have buggs???

because open src stuff given away isn't given away w/ the intention to gain business leverage and buy executives bigger jets from bigger deals.

thats all well and good... (5, Funny)

rootofevil (188401) | more than 10 years ago | (#8527628)

but can they stop AOL cds as well? stemming that tide is well-nigh impossible.

Re:thats all well and good... (1)

liquidpele (663430) | more than 10 years ago | (#8527746)

I wonder if a mass online petition could convince *someone* to do *something*

Maybe a limit to the number of free cds one can produce per year? It's really rediculous.. 100% of them wind up in landfills. (eventually anyways)

Better yet, free cds/disks must be in rewritable format. :)

Re:thats all well and good... (4, Informative)

WorkEmail (707052) | more than 10 years ago | (#8527801)

The ARMY can't help with the AOL cd's, but there is a few organizations that are trying to. There is one arganization that is trying to collect a million of them (probably the amount that AOL delivers to ONE Barnes and Noble location alone..lol) and then send them all back ot AOL headquarters. Click here to check out www.nomoreaolcds.com [nomoreaolcds.com]

first post (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8527630)

waste your mod points on this mod-nazis!

I got one! (5, Interesting)

weave (48069) | more than 10 years ago | (#8527631)

I got two of those, as a matter of fact. They are full copies of Office 2003 and One Note. Not an evaluation, no time bomb, full featured.

And you know what, there's a reason for it. Others where I work got copies as well, and they are already pushing for us to get an Exchange server. There are many features in the new "Office System" that require server support. When you try to use a feature that requires support on the server, a message pops up about how you need to contact your systems administrator to find out how to enable this great new feature.

Re:I got one! (5, Insightful)

g4sy (694060) | more than 10 years ago | (#8527666)

Totally agree.. it's all just a conspiracy to get Outlook into as many computers as possible. They know that the main battle is being fought over the groupware. Whoever controls the groupware of an organization will have a big influence on the rest of the software installed.

For anyone who doesn't beleive me, just try migrating Exchange server / Outlook to anything else, and you'll realize the depth of the insidiousness of microsoft mailing out copies of Outlook. They are miring IT department with otherwise good intentions.

Also insidious... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8527798)

A while back when I was an IT monkey, I seem to remember Office2000 would install Outlook even if you specified not to, in the custom install. And don't get me started on trying to uninstall internet explorer...

This is why I turned to *nux and never looked back.

Re:I got one! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8527678)

If the army doesn't want them, I'll take 'em. ;)

Re:I got one! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8527785)

F off.

Re:I got one! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8527810)

That was my first reaction, like hey over here (/me waves hands), I could use it. But really, I have a pirate copy of Office 2000, and for everything that I need to do, Open Office gets the job done and causes me no more pain than MS Office would cause me, plus I get the warm cozy feeling of being 'legit'. It warms my heart that I am able to get by without using MSOffice. I smile every time I read about an organization switching to OO, there may still be hope left :)

but it isn't free (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8527822)

The Army (us taxpayers) already paid $471 million, these are merely what we bought. Too bad all the companies who bought into Software Assureance (which see qv) didn't do as well.

How is it unethical to accept what was bought?

Re:I got one! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8527841)

my organization (a non-profit) has received 3 copies so far. we already use microsoft for almost everything (desktop, server, ISA, excgange, sql server) and we are planning on upgrading from 2000 to 2003 sometime in the near future. but the thing is, we can get office pro liscences for $20, XP pro upgrade liscences for $8, 2003 server enterprise for $52, exchange 2003 for (i think) $100, client-access liscences for $1-3 each, and so on and so forth. these are products that have been donated to charity by microsoft, and we take full advantage of it. the only limitations are, we can only buy 6 different products, only 50 liscenses for each product, and must wait 1 year before making another purchase.

but by sending us these for free, even if we decide to buy more, microsoft really isnt getting any more money from us. it's great!

(hey i just had an idea. instead of govt employees sending these free samples back to microsoft, they should donate them to charity...)

Re:I got one! (2, Informative)

Bull999999 (652264) | more than 10 years ago | (#8527842)

I'm not suprised. Exchange 2003 Server deployment guide is just an advertisement for Windows 2003 Server and Outlook 2003. Sure, Exchange 2003 can run on Win 2000 SP3 but if you want to use all the features, run it on 2003. Sure, Exchange 2003 can serve older Outlook clients, but if you want all the features, get Outlook 2003.

Army to Microsoft (0, Redundant)

Metallic Matty (579124) | more than 10 years ago | (#8527634)

Stop sending us your free shit.

Too bad I couldn't do that to AOL back in the day.

Re:Army to Microsoft (1)

Gsus411 (544087) | more than 10 years ago | (#8527771)

Back in the day, that was a good thing. Remember when they used to send the floppies? Free disk! w00t!

This is the solution we need! (5, Funny)

glen604 (750214) | more than 10 years ago | (#8527642)

Now we just need the Army to go after spammers, SCO, and the like.... and back it up with tanks! lots of tanks!

Re:This is the solution we need! (1)

jon787 (512497) | more than 10 years ago | (#8527772)

Or with Napalm, lots and lots of Napalm!

back off.or (0, Funny)

_Qiang_ (560206) | more than 10 years ago | (#8527644)

we are gonna fire ..

Dear Microsoft (and Bill Gates), (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8527646)

Could you please send me a copy of Windows XP,
Office XP, Visual Studio .Net, and any other programs
you sell? I would like a copy of all of them. You
know my address.


Thank you,


Anonymous Coward

This is great.... (4, Interesting)

222 (551054) | more than 10 years ago | (#8527650)

Microsoft: Hey, looks like you dropped a 50 dollar bill... /wink
Army: Were you just trying to bribe an army official?
Microsoft: Uhh, no..that must have been mine!
lol, thanks slashdot. I needed a chuckle.
Its actually interesting to read this, I just assumed that things like these happen all the time. Its nice to see safegaurds such as this in place AND functioning.

["The department, which oversees national parks and other federal lands, concluded last month that the software constituted an unacceptable gift--one valued at more than $20 and from a party with whom the department does business or whom it regulates."]
The article goes on to mention how many govt are looking into open source ;)

Re:This is great.... (3, Funny)

geekoid (135745) | more than 10 years ago | (#8527788)

Sweet, we can send you Linux disks!

Easy for MS to circumvent... (1)

Atario (673917) | more than 10 years ago | (#8527857)

...just "special-price" the CDs (just those particular "sample" CDs, wink wink) at $20.

Army official also noted... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8527651)

...they had absolutely no interest in AOL's high-speed technology and were threatening unilateral action.

Re:Army official also noted... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8527768)

I wouldn't even mind AOL if it would give me the option to just TYPE IN THE ACCESS NUMBER. Christ, it refused to connect to get them, and so I couldn't install the damned thing.

Then an Indian told me the modem that worked fine with 7.0 and 8.0 was "incompatable"

And you don't tell the Army no (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8527652)

Unless Bill Gates has secretly raised his own military, which isn't that unlikely.

Re:And you don't tell the Army no (1)

miketang16 (585602) | more than 10 years ago | (#8527786)

Army of computers perhaps... eventually when Bill decides the time is right, he will activate his backdoor system and harness the might of all Windows computers around the world. (What's scary is that would be damn near enough to bring down governments) =p

Re:And you don't tell the Army no (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8527885)

Bill G. might be rich, but he couldn't even afford to pay for the fuel for out military...

Watch out on EBay! (2, Interesting)

MadWicKdWire (734140) | more than 10 years ago | (#8527653)

With all these legit copies of Office 2003... I wonder if the licenses are transferrable?! If they are... sell them on Ebay! I for one will be purchasing one for $10... plus $15 shippping. :P

It's the Beta Testers copies!! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8527656)

Pah, they are giving away all the copies they saved by giving the beta testers a naff radio!

Can I be the first one to state the obvious? (5, Funny)

Daikiki (227620) | more than 10 years ago | (#8527660)

Army: Stop sending us your products.
Microsoft: What if we don't?
Army: We'll make you
Microsoft: You and what army?
Army: . . .
Microsoft: Oh.

Re:Can I be the first one to state the obvious? (5, Funny)

cybermace5 (446439) | more than 10 years ago | (#8527884)

I half expected the headline to continue, as in:
U.S. Army Warns Microsoft To Back Off; Microsoft Masses Troops on Border, Threatens Missile Strikes

Why hasn't this happened before? (5, Interesting)

Realistic_Dragon (655151) | more than 10 years ago | (#8527661)

If I were to mail unchecked binary files to senior officers and ask them to run them without verifying the contents for trojans, worms or viruses the Department of Homeland Insecurity would likley have me shot in their Happy Fun Camp at Guantanamo.

And unlike a certain company *I* don't have a criminal conviction, a record of giving things that could hurt national security to the Chinese (Windows source code) or a past history of underhand payments to subvert the political process!

Where is the justice in that?

As much as I hate m$ (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8527662)

I must say that the recently the US Army has been becommnig more and more fascist. I guess Bush has seeded the evils of the SS within the ranks.

Re:As much as I hate m$ (2, Interesting)

Performer Guy (69820) | more than 10 years ago | (#8527704)

Nope, the U.S. Army and many federal agencies have always had a policy like this. They won't even let you buy them lunch if you're a contractor etc. I think the value limit of anything they can accept is something like $10.

$20 Limit... (1, Interesting)

NotQuiteReal (608241) | more than 10 years ago | (#8527664)

Um. $500 retail is crap.

If it something is sent to me for free, it is um, well, free!

Nobody pays list. Sometimes it is discounted, somtimes it is bundled, sometimes you get it for free.

What is the value of an intangible? I know the media isn't worth $20.

But hey, this is Slashdot, so everyone will say here. here.

[BTW I have a legitimate copy of Office that I figure cost me FAR less than $500 - it was included in my MSDN subscription... which I also did not pay anywhere near list price for. I paid FAR more for my Qt license to develop Linux software.]

Re:$20 Limit... (5, Insightful)

Realistic_Dragon (655151) | more than 10 years ago | (#8527700)

Um. $500 retail is crap.

Fair is fair, use the same value they do when calculating their "$90000000000 billion lost to software piracy!" figure.

Re:$20 Limit... (5, Insightful)

Vo0k (760020) | more than 10 years ago | (#8527736)

If it something is sent to me for free, it is um, well, free!

Here, take this gold bar, absolutely for free, it's a gift. You pay nothing, it costs nothing! And now, about that contract of ours...

Re:$20 Limit... (1)

EvilTwinSkippy (112490) | more than 10 years ago | (#8527739)

It's worse than that. Microsoft really, really believes that the product was worth $500 when they gave it away, and/or sold it at a discount. The amount it was discounted they express as a loss on the balance sheet, or as a deductable gift.

Well, until somebody screws up and the entire accounting department is being traded for smokes in a federal pen.

No it is at that value (2, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | more than 10 years ago | (#8527824)

if a company claims the a produc is worth X on there finance sheets, they have to live with the consequences.

It's the reasonable, or claimed value of the product.

A 1000 dollars is worth a thousand dollars regardless of how much it cost you to get it.

Re:$20 Limit... (1)

Compact Dick (518888) | more than 10 years ago | (#8527839)

But hey, this is Slashdot, so everyone will say here. here.
While the grammar nazis will chastise them for misspelling "hear, hear."

Re:$20 Limit... (3, Insightful)

SirSlud (67381) | more than 10 years ago | (#8527874)

Oooh, I love slipperly slopes like this ...

Why don't you give me your car for free? You wouldn't have a problem with it, right, because you assert that by giving it to me for free, the value of the car is reduced to 0$. Magically, by giving it to me for free, you suddenly don't mind giving the car up, because it becomes worthless through the process of you giving it as a gift! Yeah, thats how it works!

PS .. the value of an 'intangible' is whatever people are willing to pay for it. In the case of Office 2003, that value is a little more than 20$ as evidenced by the millions of people who've paid more than 20$ for it.

Whats the value of providing you with your 'intangiable' current internet service (since you don't actually receive a physical object in return for your ISP fee?) Gee, its whatever you're currently paying for it .. it's not just the cost of the paper your bills are printed on.

okay (2, Funny)

Quasar1999 (520073) | more than 10 years ago | (#8527669)

So if I pirate it, I go to jail... fair enough... if you send it to me for free, and I don't buy exchange server from you... I will be forced to pirate exchange to get any of it to work, so I go to jail... hmm... If you send it to me, and I say I don't use it... then what?

Microsoft, you had a great marketing strategy, except you decided to assume that people want to use office at all costs... tsk, tsk...

donate to schools (3, Informative)

tedshultz (596089) | more than 10 years ago | (#8527672)

I remember there was a commotion about gifts being given to employees at a VA hospital near me a few years ago. Basically the result was the management said any gift worth more than ~$20 must be given to a charity. I bet a lot of schools and charities would love that software.

Re:donate to schools (2, Insightful)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 10 years ago | (#8527750)

Of course, then comes the ethics of Microsoft flooding schools with Windows-running computers in the same way Apple used to flood schools with cheap computers... the idea being what the kids learn at school would affect future purchases at home.

The first bag is free. (4, Insightful)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | more than 10 years ago | (#8527846)

I bet a lot of schools and charities would love that software.

I bet the kiddies would love a free bag of herion or crack, too. But does that mean you should donate one?

Let's not get another generation hooked on Windows.

Military Computers (4, Interesting)

Sir Homer (549339) | more than 10 years ago | (#8527674)

I was on the carrier USS Kennedy the other day I remember seeing virtually every computer terminal onboard running MS Windows in some form or another. I didn't see the nuclear portions of the ship, but you never know...

Re:Military Computers (1)

Ironclad2 (697456) | more than 10 years ago | (#8527721)

Well, it would give new meaning to "Blue Screen of Death"...

Re:Military Computers (1)

SeinJunkie (751833) | more than 10 years ago | (#8527724)

I was on the carrier USS Kennedy the other day I remember seeing virtually every computer terminal onboard running MS Windows in some form or another.


When I was working for the Navy, we were just starting a program called NMCI [nmci-isf.com] (Navy Marine Corps Intranet) which basically had a few contractors linking everything in the Navy and the Marines. As a result of this, most of the software choices were decided by those contractors.

Now They're Giving Out Free CDs? (2, Interesting)

SeinJunkie (751833) | more than 10 years ago | (#8527676)

When I worked for the Navy as a civilian, we weren't supposed to swipe the MSDN CD's. Now it's all cool?
Why did I stop working for the Navy? Could save me a few bucks in the long end.

The World evolves around Office, pass it on. (4, Interesting)

Baddsectorr (709324) | more than 10 years ago | (#8527682)

I'm still trying to figure out why people still use or pay for a word processor?! Seems silly to actually buy a suite for over 400 bucks USD. I love OpenOffice on the Windows side, and it runs on Windows 95 machines flawlessly.

Re:The World evolves around Office, pass it on. (2, Interesting)

silentbozo (542534) | more than 10 years ago | (#8527763)

Open Office is awesome. I'm reviewing Powerpoint presentations from a class I'm taking, and it works great. Another nice feature is export to PDF - I can read in a Word file for a paper submission, dump it out as a PDF, all for free. Best of all, I don't have to waste my time hunting down and killing Clippy - one of the most obnoxious "features" of Microsoft Office...

I only wish that someone could backport Open Office to my old classic Macs. :(

Re:The World evolves around Office, pass it on. (1)

interiot (50685) | more than 10 years ago | (#8527866)

Antiword [demon.nl] + ps2pdf [wisc.edu] = word to .pdf converter

HUGE NO-NO (5, Interesting)

FatRatBastard (7583) | more than 10 years ago | (#8527699)

My dad used to work in the contracts office in the Air Force and you couldn't accept anything that could be considered a gift. (IIRC there may have been a monetary cap on what you could accept but it was really low; even legitimate things like Christmas baskets or company tchotskes were frowned upon, which kind of weirded out suppliers the first time they dealt with the military since it could come across as rude when an Airman tells you to take your fruit basket home with you). Violation of this was taken very seriously. As big and established as MS is -- not to mention the fact they've dealt with the gov't on a contractual level for over 20 years -- this is a pretty boneheaded move. They should have known better and whoever authorized this should get shit-canned.

Send back at *huge* MS expense (5, Funny)

nacturation (646836) | more than 10 years ago | (#8527877)

Quoting from the article:

"Government Entities: Microsoft intends that this product be used in accordance with applicable laws and regulations for the evaluation, use and benefit of your government agency only," Microsoft states in the note. "You may, at your discretion, return this product package to Microsoft at its expense."

Okay, sending back at Microsoft's expense is easy. Just send it via UPS SonicAir [ups.com] same-day service. Doing a quick quote, from Texas (for example) back to Redmond would cost at least $264.94. Also, be sure to send it in the evening so that nighttime charges apply, and from obscure locations so the extended mileage also figures into the cost. If you do it right, you could get it up into the thousands depending on location (overseas stations?) and time of day. If there aren't any commercial flights, you can have UPS charter a plane just for your CD. Oh, and send each CD back separately for maximum effect.

When you absolutely, positively, have to stick it to Microsoft.

Military Guy here (5, Interesting)

An-Unnecessarily-Lon (761026) | more than 10 years ago | (#8527701)

I am a Network Admin Here in AK and I can tell you that one of the most poisonous aspects of .Mil networking is Civillians. The other is the decisions made by Command Sections who are only interested in one thing, Budgets. It sucks being told that your decision base on good sound Tech principles is not what they want to hear because of the cost involved. The free software giveaway came about because a lot of paperwork is created in time with no war. Therefor people have to take their work home to get finished to make deadlines. So leadership said take a copy home install it. The Mil makes you use it. you have to get the work done so you are entitled to a free copy. Integrity is the hardest thing to keep.

Offtopic but... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8527703)

Slashdot Awards. [slashdot.org]

1997 - 6.
1998 - 6.
1999 - 6.
2000 - 3.
Ever since - 0.
Slashdot went down the drain and remains there.

I bet ... (1)

Sonic McTails (700139) | more than 10 years ago | (#8527709)

I guess that this is how the US goverment is saving lifes and keeping secerts secert. They aren't using software that is as open as swiss cheese.

OpenOffice? (5, Interesting)

ErichTheWebGuy (745925) | more than 10 years ago | (#8527710)


Wonder what would happen if we all sent OpenOffice.org CD-ROMS [openoffice.org] to not only the Army, but to other government agencies? Seems like a fantastic marketing idea to me, and I dont think (?) that employees would be breaking ethics rules, since it is free software.

Look Out Microsoft... (1)

the_mad_poster (640772) | more than 10 years ago | (#8527714)

Those nails are building up around your coffin. It looks more and more lately like it's about time to do a sizing...

Free MS vs Free Linux (3, Interesting)

powerpuffgirls (758362) | more than 10 years ago | (#8527717)

So how do you think the market will react if we are spoilt with choice between Microsoft product and Linux products, all free of charge?

Most of us here would choose Linux any day not because of the price, but the freedom and security. But how would the mass consumers think of it?

With MS's cash reserve, they could very soon use such tactics, like they have a cheaper version of Windows for pirate-infested countries.

Re:Free MS vs Free Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8527887)

If they want, they could pay me to run XP. I'm okay with that proposition.

Re:Free MS vs Free Linux (1)

derrith (600195) | more than 10 years ago | (#8527891)

Well, the problem with that is that Microsoft would then be selling below cost in order to undercut competition and hold onto marketshare. However, how can one undercut *free*? And also, I'd think that lowering their prices would constitute and act that would get them classified as a monopoly...again. So it would have to be a last-ditch effort, that might fail anyway.

I paid just shipping for mine (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8527718)

I work for Fortune 100 company and we got the same deal but have to pay shipping cost.
from the e-mail

"Welcome to the Microsoft Home Use Program. Through an arrangement between Microsoft and your employer, you are eligible to order a licensed copy of select Microsoft Office desktop programs you use at work to install and use on a home computer.
Welcome to the Microsoft Home Use Program. Through an arrangement between Microsoft and your employer, you are eligible to order a licensed copy of select Microsoft Office desktop programs you use at work to install and use on a home computer.

Please click on the link below to order Microsoft(R) products for home use.

https://hup.microsoft.com

Be sure to place your order for Home Use Program software within 30 days of receipt of this email and before your employer's arrangement with Microsoft terminates, whichever is sooner."

Re:I paid just shipping for mine (2, Funny)

ripetersen (526485) | more than 10 years ago | (#8527773)

Umm - you forgot to include your work e-mail and program code in your post.

Re:I paid just shipping for mine (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8527775)

Please provide the following information to authorize entry
Like the site says

Please provide the following...

  • work email
  • program code

finally... (1)

PeaceTank (758859) | more than 10 years ago | (#8527720)

I'm glad to see the military taking some initiative in this 'cease and desist' kind of way. I myself hope to someday go into the Air Force, and hope that they will follow suit. In fact, many people that I know in the military, especially engineers, have switched to linux or unix long ago. My uncle worked for McDonnel Douglas before they were bought out by Boeing as a radar engineer, and he hasn't used windoze in 10 years. He now runs a successful web business without any microsoft software whatsoever. What amazed me was what he told me about others in the military. He told me that many of the contractors and engineers had switched to linux long ago, saying it was much more reliable and efficient (duh!). I was quite happy to hear this, and hope it is still the case. It just goes to show you that the military really is ahead of (most) of the rest of us even in things like OS and software. I'm hoping this could mean a possible switch towards open source software in the government, as Brazil has done. Wouldn't that be great!!!

The "free drugs" model... (2, Insightful)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 10 years ago | (#8527729)

This is the same reason why anybody remotely connected to an academic institution can get software at cut-rate prices. The hope is whatever vendor's software you learn first, you stick with.

Microsoft's trying to make sure every government employee runs Microsoft at home so that the government can't risk losing compatibility with everybody's home systems. Of course, the fact that giving something worth $500 to government employees is considered a "bribe" is something Microsoft doesn't care about, since when did laws get in the way of their operations?

They can destroy them themselves! (4, Funny)

Kickstart70 (531316) | more than 10 years ago | (#8527731)

I bet the Army pays about $3 for small arms fire targets. These are perfectly free and visibly shatter when shot. Rather than complain, the Army should request that they send more to make our fighting troops better shots!

Re:They can destroy them themselves! (1)

SeinJunkie (751833) | more than 10 years ago | (#8527767)

Rather than complain, the Army should request that they send more to make our fighting troops better shots!


I bet you get like 10 points if you make it through the center.

Re:They can destroy them themselves! (1)

Cliffm (44720) | more than 10 years ago | (#8527825)

except if you are a perfect shot nothing happens. :)

Re:They can destroy them themselves! (4, Funny)

geekoid (135745) | more than 10 years ago | (#8527854)

they wont break at all if you are a really good shot. they got that hole in the middle. The cds I mean, not the software....well the software does to, but..aw you know.

Weapons of mass microsofticization (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8527744)

I hope Bush is going to send in the army ASAP to stop the dangerous weapons of mass microsofticization and create freedom of software to replace the long Bill Gates dictatorship.

meanwhile in bill gates office (4, Funny)

geekoid (135745) | more than 10 years ago | (#8527761)

Bill: apperantly we violated some rules regarding 'ethics'. You ever here of it?
Ballmer: I think there was something in a college course, but I'm not sure.
Bill: hmm, See if you can buy this ethics things, so we can get back to telling the government what to do.

Air Force sent out warnings last week too! (2, Informative)

eodtech (225994) | more than 10 years ago | (#8527765)

I work for the USAF as civilian and DoD sent out a email about this. Microsoft knows darn well that Govt. Employees cannot accept this software as they have been a Govt Supplier for years!!!!

Next thing (1)

LittleLebowskiUrbanA (619114) | more than 10 years ago | (#8527774)

Some young E-3 working in military IT will try fix someone's Office installs using just 1 cd all over his/her part of the base and the military will be instantaneously liable for piracy.

YOUR IN THE ARMY NOW (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8527777)

STALLMAN SMELLS JUST LIKE A COW
YOU"LL NEVER GET RICH
WITH CMDR TACO AS YER BITCH
YOUR IN THE ARMY NOW


lameness for the lameness filter

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fasdj;fklajs d897udj;fiasdifua89-suejfjkZMSd asdifup j asi7f ajksjdfk 90a sj;d jfai sdj;f jais yd89 u;Zjjj89
asdfas23 asdfj ;iouz ,xja89 yzl jk89sd97 asdi 07z ;sd87a s e8awe\z sd897

This is happening at universities too.... (2, Informative)

SmackCrackandPot (641205) | more than 10 years ago | (#8527778)

Microsoft has recently been sponsoring the Imagine Cup worldwide. The winners of the first stage each receive free copies of Microsoft Visual Studio .NET and Microsoft Office XP, plus an exclusive T-shirt.

Here is the UK Web site [microsoft.co.uk] , Canadian Web site [optamedia.com] , and US Web site [imaginecup.com]

Is MS desperate yet? (1)

psi42 (747491) | more than 10 years ago | (#8527799)

So MS is flooding government and defense agencies with thousands of Office CDS, in the hope that someone will pick up their spam, install it, and pay for upgrades in the next two years.

Looks like desperation is starting to take hold. They feel they need to stem the flow of Free linux to the world by replanting the seeds of subtle vendor lock-in.

Wonder if anyone will fall for it?

They are not trying to "give customers a taste of the software and allow them to learn how it might be of use to their organizations in a positive way." They are trying to flood the government AOL-style with as many discs as possible.

It's the old spammer profit rule--if one in a hundred use the disc, then you've just made money...

And once MS Office is in, it will take a long time to weed it out.

~psi42

diff gift_to_army donation_from_gates_foundation (1)

Eberlin (570874) | more than 10 years ago | (#8527804)

Alrighty, so what's the technical difference between a gift from the company to the US Army vs. grants and stuff from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation?

Working at a public place that got a grant from the Gates Foundation, we've got machines, software, and some sort of training budget to provide the public with access to Office 2000, a few edutainment titles, and some form of Internet access. We also provide free classes in basic computer use, "Web Surfing", E-mail, and MS Office products.

The net result -- the public gets shtuff, we sound like MS Infomercials, and they get a bit of a shock when they see the sticker price on MS Office (which they realize they have to buy separately as it doesn't come with their purchased PC)

So to reiterate -- what's the difference between an MS "gift" to the army and a grant from the B&M Gates Foundation? (besides any tax shelters/breaks, etc, that is.) Both end up as advertising for MS in one form or another.

WMD (1)

Bull999999 (652264) | more than 10 years ago | (#8527808)

Army should consider MS software to be a Weapon of Mass Disruction because on the damages caused by back to back virus infections.

U.S. Army Warns Microsoft To Back Off... (1)

pyrrhonist (701154) | more than 10 years ago | (#8527811)

Or else... [tnarmyguard.com]

Are they writing off the cost? (5, Insightful)

Wesley Felter (138342) | more than 10 years ago | (#8527826)

For quite a while Microsoft (and probably plenty of other software companies) has been donating software to schools and taking a tax write-off for the full retail cost. Not only is the first one free but it's apparently a tax benefit for MS.

Beware! (1)

Paddyish (612430) | more than 10 years ago | (#8527828)

M$ hands out the 'gifts', with a promise of greater productivity...But there is one cd-rom to rule them all, weilded by the ultimate in corrupted power...

Gates: "Yeeeess, my preeeecious..."

This problem is not government wide. (5, Informative)

rindeee (530084) | more than 10 years ago | (#8527840)

I just returned from days of meetings that involved folks from the NMCI group, NSA, NIST, DoD, NAVSECGRU , CyberCorps and lots of others. I can assure you that within this area of the Fed (cyber-warfare, crypto, security, intel, etc.) that MS is a laughing stock. In the past this hasn't mattered terribly, but you have to understand that now things are very different. NSA/NIST (partnering as NIAP) now set the standard that all other agencies from the CIA down to the Dept. of Ag MUST follow. They establish the common criteria, define new directives and standards, etc. etc. aud nausiem. While MS isn't being thrown out, they are being gelded. It is a matter of time until the attitude held by these folks permiates the Fed as a whole. Linux is being pushed not becuase it's free, but because it's more readily secured. Much talk was bantied about on lots of OSS packages. I personally gave an impromptu class after hours to some of the less technical folks on installing and using Thunderbird + Enigmail + WinPT (GPG). Perhaps Linux/OSS truly is viral. It certainly is spreading as if it were. Keep the faith my friends.

US Army: "Back off Bill..." (1)

47Ronin (39566) | more than 10 years ago | (#8527844)

"... or we'll be forced to use military action!"

Imagine a convoy of M1A1 Abrams tanks surrounding Microsoft headquarters...

fuck the yanktards (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8527849)

hard

the article sounds fine (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8527851)

My wife used to work for the military and they are very strict about accepting gifts. In fact, most people paid for their own meals, when they were invited out from vendors.

Free software? (1)

xoran99 (745620) | more than 10 years ago | (#8527862)

AOL is a different story, but I'd be more than willing to receive functional and reputable (outside of /., anyway) software in the mail... Anyone who wants to send me office is more than welcome!

american faggots (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8527870)

have you all married your boyfiends yet?

This is bribery, pure and simple (4, Insightful)

JoeShmoe (90109) | more than 10 years ago | (#8527879)

As I pointed out when I submitted the story, Microsoft already makes copies of Office that time out after 90-days or let you register via CC during the trial period. You can get them at most Kinko's and so on, and certainly somewhere on Microsoft's website.

So if Microsoft true intention was to familiarize large customers with new features, wouldn't it make a lot more sense to send them:

a) a self-running slideshow/video showing demonstrations of the new features (a la Video Professor, autoplay and go)

b) the aformentioned 90-day trial edition so they could install and see how well it works and then turn around and requisition it if they find a reason to keep it

c) MSDN or other licensed version that has no restrictions but the EULA clearly states the copy is not legit and cannot be used for actual business (development and testing only)

Somehow I don't think that's what Microsoft is doing. What they are doing is handing out free license keys to what retails for $499+. That means whoever happend to open the colonel's mail could just slip the key in his or her pocket and take it home with them, register it on their home system and enjoy a free copy of an outragously priced package. I mean, if everyone gets a free copy for personal use, stands to reason when requisition time comes around, people will suggest Office 2003 like they have at home.

This is bribery. Just because they call it marketting doesn't make it any less unethical. Otherwise, why can't GM just hand over the keys to their new SUV so that people can become "more familiar with our new features"? A legit Microsoft license (the actual hologrammed piece of paper with the key on it) is just as tangible and valuable as any other real-world freebie.

-JoeShmoe
.

I'd love to see the same thing happen with knoppix (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8527889)

Except that the note on them could include a complete cost estimate pointing out that since it has retail value of under $20, it is legal and ethical to accept it!
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