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Nigerian Government Nixes Microsoft's Mandriva Block

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the money-well-spent dept.

Mandriva 327

An anonymous reader writes "After trying to bribe a local supplier with a $400,000 marketing contract, Microsoft has still apparently lost out in trying to woo Nigeria's government to use Windows over Linux. Microsoft threw the money at the supplier after it chose Mandriva Linux for 17,000 laptops for school children across Nigeria. The supplier took the bait and agreed to wipe Mandriva off the machines, but now Nigeria's government has stepped in to stop the dirty deal."

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327 comments

Personally... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21295801)

... I'd rather not have a powerful Unix OS in the hands of future Nigerian scam artists.

Re:Personally... (3, Funny)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 6 years ago | (#21295973)

Good thing is is not Unix... It is Linux.

To be realistice Windows 2000 and Up have been rather stable reliable systems... So if you were a spammer you will be able to get out just as many spams with windows as you would with Linux or Unix. Secondly Linux can be downloaded for free so if windows sucked that bad they will use Linux.

It is not like we are giving them Macs... [Ducks] :)

Re:Personally... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21296763)

>> To be realistice Windows 2000 and Up have been rather stable reliable systems...

That's the funniest thing I've heard all day.

>> So if you were a spammer you will be able to get out just as many spams with windows as you would with Linux or Unix

Really? I bet a $500 machine w/ gentoo or BSD that I compile can smoke any commercial Exchange server that costs lest than $20k

I'd put 5k on it if you want.

Wow, just wow! (4, Interesting)

Bryansix (761547) | more than 6 years ago | (#21295817)

Microsoft really did try to Bribe them. That's crazy. I hope this makes the mainstream media.

Re:Wow, just wow! (4, Funny)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 6 years ago | (#21296047)

My question is this:

Did he get to keep the bribe?

Re:Wow, just wow! (0)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 6 years ago | (#21296103)

Ummm Sooo. This is common practice. Even in America or [Gasp] Europe!
Most bribary laws punish the person to accecpts the bribes not the person who gives the bribes, unless it is extortion. Bringing Clients to an expensive luch, giving them tickes to a sports game. It happends, and because the laws are targted at the reciever not the giver there is no reason for Microsoft not to try. So they lost the Deal, They wouldn't have gotten it in the first place if they didn't try. IT is really a no loss situation for them and it gave them a better chance of winning. It is not big news... Sorry.

Re:Wow, just wow! (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21296193)

You seriously place buying lunch as equivalent to giving $400,000?

Still illegal (4, Interesting)

trolltalk.com (1108067) | more than 6 years ago | (#21296397)

Ever since the Lockheed bribery scandal [wikipedia.org] , its been illegal for US citizens or corporations to bribe anyone, anywhere in the world, same as its illegal for them to engage in pedophilia abroad.

So, how much $$$ (campaign contributions - the only "legal" bribe) Microsoft is going to spend to "make this go away"?

Re:Wow, just wow! (2, Informative)

Z00L00K (682162) | more than 6 years ago | (#21296415)

In some countries it's also illegal to try to bribe someone. In Sweden it's under the name "bestickning".

Re:Wow, just wow! (1)

stangbat (690193) | more than 6 years ago | (#21296465)

You just described lobbying. I wonder why we don't lock up all the congressmen/women. Hmmm...I can't decided if I'm being sarcastic or not...

No, no, no, that's not how its done. (3, Funny)

bflynn (992777) | more than 6 years ago | (#21296363)

The way it works is that the people in Nigeria send you money. I'm waiting on my 5% commission for moving $48,000,000,000 right now!

Re:Wow, just wow! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21296373)

Any way to prosecute? If Congress can slap Yahoo! around...

"Lobbying" (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21296723)

In the United States, the legal way for companies to influence government authorities with indirect or implied monetary incentive is called "Lobbying".

I can see the headline now (5, Funny)

btarval (874919) | more than 6 years ago | (#21296773)

Microsoft can't even pay people to use Windows

Yes, this is a P.R. disaster in the making, in more ways than one.

Nothing to see here - just a 419 scam (1)

cliveholloway (132299) | more than 6 years ago | (#21296835)

Jeez, and they didn't even blink when they wrote the check out to "Father Bukkake".

I bet MS feel like idiots right now for that one...

Re:Wow, just wow! (1)

Chris Mattern (191822) | more than 6 years ago | (#21297105)

Dude, it's Nigeria. It only makes the news if they *didn't* get bribed.

Chris Mattern

I can feel my karma draining away, but... (0, Offtopic)

JK_the_Slacker (1175625) | more than 6 years ago | (#21295835)

In Soviet Nigeria, the government stops YOU from taking bribes!

A new low...amazing (5, Funny)

Weaselmancer (533834) | more than 6 years ago | (#21295865)

You know you're corrupt when the government of Nigeria steps in to block your shady deal.

Re:A new low...amazing (5, Funny)

athdemo (1153305) | more than 6 years ago | (#21295905)

I know, someone was actually going to give them a large sum of money, too. I'm totally lost as to how this could have happened.

Re:A new low...amazing (1)

HappySmileMan (1088123) | more than 6 years ago | (#21296097)

Well they only needed to send a small deposit fee, and then they'd get 35Mil in return so it makes sense.

Re:A new low...amazing (1)

badran (973386) | more than 6 years ago | (#21296105)

I guess Nigerians are a step ahead of the scam artists at Redmond... Or some one got pissed for not getting any bribes..

Re:A new low...amazing (2, Insightful)

SlipperHat (1185737) | more than 6 years ago | (#21296165)

So in terms of corruption, where > is more corrupt than:

Microsoft > Nigeria

naa... more like

Microsoft >> Nigeria.

Remember kids, a Nigerian scam artist steals from the ignorant, but only Microsoft steals from everyone (Nigerians included).

Re:A new low...amazing (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21297089)

Microsoft >> Nigeria
Why would you try to append Microsoft to Nigeria?

Re:A new low...amazing (4, Insightful)

Azar (56604) | more than 6 years ago | (#21296283)

It takes a thief to spot a thief, I suppose.

Now, now. (4, Insightful)

pavon (30274) | more than 6 years ago | (#21296333)

The Nigerian officials are just upset the supplier is the one being bribed and not them :)

It's just tipping (5, Interesting)

Harmonious Botch (921977) | more than 6 years ago | (#21296425)

Seriously, you have a very good point. That is the way business is done in some third world countries. They don't consider it wrong. Anyone with power expects to be paid, much like waitresses expect to be tipped here.
Microsoft apparently failed to pay all of the right people.

Re:It's just tipping (2, Insightful)

wattrlz (1162603) | more than 6 years ago | (#21296979)

Most first and second world countries too.

It's everywhere (1)

mpapet (761907) | more than 6 years ago | (#21296827)

FYI: While it's nice to see some blow-by-blow news regarding government contracting, it's pretty much this way everywhere in the world.

The GSA and Sun Microsystems are being accused of corruption in the U.S. http://www.theinquirer.net/gb/inquirer/news/2007/11/08/iowa-senator-rips-investigation [theinquirer.net]

Who would've guessed (1)

Nazlfrag (1035012) | more than 6 years ago | (#21295867)

It shouldn't be suprising that the folks who actually want to use them would want to keep the tried and tested localised Mandriva over the untested XP that costs more and would cripple the system. Hopefully they will all end up this way, but I don't blame them for accepting the MS bounty.

Re:Who would've guessed (1)

JackMeyhoff (1070484) | more than 6 years ago | (#21295917)

I would think XP is far more localised tested than Linux ever has been. Especially Vista which is a single world binary and takes all captions/labels from localised resources.

Re:Who would've guessed (2, Insightful)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 6 years ago | (#21296011)

I would think XP is far more localised tested than Linux ever has been

You are joking, right? There are some fairly large countries where people have to use Windows in English (a language many don't understand) because Microsoft has decided that it wouldn't be profitable to translate Windows into the local language.

Re:Who would've guessed (2, Informative)

postbigbang (761081) | more than 6 years ago | (#21297067)

Actually, Microsoft's localization is pretty good compared to some of the FOSS projects I've seen, not that it excuses Microsoft for other bad behavior. And no country must use Windows in English unless they really want to. There are good and viable choices other than Windows for all but the most obscure languages. See the planetlimux.org site for one interesting adaptation in municipal government as an example.

Re:Who would've guessed (1)

Nazlfrag (1035012) | more than 6 years ago | (#21296137)

Sure, that's easy to assume, but you are dead wrong. They tailored their OS for Nigerians specifically because of this contract. Additional to localisation they trialled them extensively, thus the reaction. MS just stepped in once the deal was done with a half hearted effort that has left the people on the ground wanting. They chose the superior OS for their needs.

Re:Who would've guessed (1)

show me altoids (1183399) | more than 6 years ago | (#21296013)

Unfortunately, in some countries bribery and the like are SOP. Glad this is getting publicity in the US, though.

Re:Who would've guessed (4, Insightful)

varmittang (849469) | more than 6 years ago | (#21296871)

Your statement so wrong. From the Article:"In fact, Intel has tested and certified three operating systems for the Classmate PC: Mandriva Linux, Metasys Linux and Microsoft Windows XP Pro." So it has been tested and it works. Mod me down if you want, but your statement will still be wrong.

I wish (3, Funny)

mastershake_phd (1050150) | more than 6 years ago | (#21295879)

I wished they pay me to use Windows...

Re:I wish (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21296243)

I wished they pay me to use Windows...

Past XP, they will have to pay me.

I still want a stock Best Buy special PC without Vista. I don't like Microsoft tax.

Re:I wish (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21296289)

When you consider the efficiency gains and TCO when you migrate to MS and the entire .NET framework, Microsoft practically *is* paying you to use Windows.

Re:I wish (1)

mastershake_phd (1050150) | more than 6 years ago | (#21296525)

When you consider the efficiency gains and TCO when you migrate to MS and the entire .NET framework, Microsoft practically *is* paying you to use Windows.

The last time I installed .net on my pc it wouldn't even start.

Re:I wish (1)

trolltalk.com (1108067) | more than 6 years ago | (#21296623)

>"When you consider the efficiency gains and TCO when you migrate to MS and the entire .NET framework, Microsoft practically *is* paying you to use Windows."

So I guess that by using only linux both at home and the office means I'm "practically" supporting Microsoft financially???

Actually, in a way I guess I am, since otherwise I'd switch to a Mac, and then everyone else would have iEnvy(TM) and consider switching too. And we all know, "once you go mac, you never go back."

Re:I wish (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21296907)

So I guess that by using only linux both at home and the office means I'm "practically" supporting Microsoft financially???

Yes, because you reinforce the stereotype of Linux users as being socially inept nerds who never shower and have never been with a woman before.

The theory "Richard Stallman is a Microsoft agent" fits the data a *little* too well.

Re:I wish (0)

mdwstmusik (853733) | more than 6 years ago | (#21296641)

"When you consider the efficiency gains and TCO when you migrate to MS and the entire .NET framework, Microsoft practically *is* paying you to use Windows."

Bwaahaahaahaa...ROLFLMAO!

wow (2, Interesting)

someone1234 (830754) | more than 6 years ago | (#21295891)

And I thought they successfully bribed the government.
Heh, apparently there are still honest people in there!
Now just let's hope Mandriva doesn't screw it and their machines actually work :)
There goes 400k for bad publicity for M$.

Re:wow (2, Funny)

denzacar (181829) | more than 6 years ago | (#21296489)

Nah...

They just didn't bribe the RIGHT people with ENOUGH money.

Well.. at least they didn't bribe them with 640k.
Who could stand all those 640k jokes - AGAIN.

Excuse me while I have a hearty laugh (0, Offtopic)

MichailS (923773) | more than 6 years ago | (#21295931)

Har har har har ^_^

cough wheeze

What I like most is... (5, Funny)

Dishevel (1105119) | more than 6 years ago | (#21295953)

That Microsoft didn't even try to push their new OS.

Re:What I like most is... (2, Funny)

d3m0nCr4t (869332) | more than 6 years ago | (#21296007)

It just shows that even corrupt dealers have their standards... :p

STRICTLY CONFIDENTIAL (5, Funny)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 6 years ago | (#21295967)

GOD BLESS YOU!

My name is Stephen Ballmer I am the Chair Executive of William Gates of Redmond in the United State of America. I am contacting you with regard to transfer of a huge sum of laptops from the OLPC project. Though I know that a transaction of this magnitude will make any one apprehensive and worried, but I am assuring you that everything has been taken care off, and all will be well at the end of the day. I decided to contact you due to the urgency of this transaction.

One can hope (1)

mandark1967 (630856) | more than 6 years ago | (#21295975)

that the supplier kept the $400k in bribes as well just to deny the funds to MS to bribe someone else

Weird? (1)

HappySmileMan (1088123) | more than 6 years ago | (#21295981)

From the stories before on this I thought Nigerias Government WERE the suppliers? Was this not known that they were separate until now or was it just overlooked for the purpose of taking a swing at Nigerias government?

Glad to know that MS got caught though, even without Francis having to use the 'B' word

Re:Weird? (1)

Sirch (82595) | more than 6 years ago | (#21296277)

Glad to know that MS got caught though, even without Francis having to use the 'B' word
Ballmer?

Waiting for apologies... (3, Insightful)

MarkVVV (740454) | more than 6 years ago | (#21296003)

I'm dying to hear what do those people that tried to defend M$ on the last story about this subject have to say. And you also owe apologies to Mandriva CEO, too...

The Nigerian official was furious. (5, Insightful)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 6 years ago | (#21296025)

Because he did not get his proper cut. Let us not hang our hats on the Govt of Nigeria or Azerbaijan. The real battle is for the mind share of corporate America. That is the fountainhead of all the money MSFT is using to subvert ISO or bribe vendors in third world countries.

Just an hour back there was this story about MSFT including some game vendor's malformed copy protection driver for six year into every damn computer in the world. What percentage of them played that software? Why a corporate server that might end up in a blade rack without even have a dedicated monitor or mouse got this driver? Why are the corporations not demanding full disclosure of what dlls are needed and what are not? Why isn't there a third party service that will advice corporations which components of Windows could be safely removed by looking at the company policies and use patterns?

As long as the customers accept everything dished out by MSFT patiently, there is nothing we can do to make it change. Education of the customers is the most important thing if we are going to rescue computing from this monoculture.

Re:The Nigerian official was furious. (3, Funny)

JK_the_Slacker (1175625) | more than 6 years ago | (#21296185)

My computer doesn't have a malformed copy protection driver. You must be one of those Windows users.

Re:The Nigerian official was furious. (2, Interesting)

Dishevel (1105119) | more than 6 years ago | (#21296291)

Why isn't there a third party service that will advice corporations which components of Windows could be safely removed by looking at the company policies and use patterns?
Not exactly what you want but very close is http://www.blackviper.com/ [blackviper.com] They have wonderful sections on XP and Vista Services. At least its a start.

Serves them right. (2, Insightful)

KiwiCanuck (1075767) | more than 6 years ago | (#21296027)

How dare they bribe a non-gov official! But seriously, I'd love to see Penguins take over the world.

DEAR SIRS OR MISTRESSES (1, Funny)

MichailS (923773) | more than 6 years ago | (#21296067)

Following uprising in Nigeria, many personal computers reluctantly have been dressed in mandriva.

We want more to use your Widows operating of system and wish to purchase license to the order of $10'000'000

Require though a proof of sample please send license and insurance for delivery $400'000 which will be given back when order is laid.

Sincere regards

[Bah, the lame(ness) filter will not allow me to post in all caps]

Dirty deal? (-1, Offtopic)

RightSaidFred99 (874576) | more than 6 years ago | (#21296091)

In what way? Apparently now it's bad for someone to enter into a cross marketing deal? It amazes me when deals made between consenting entities are "dirty".

Re:Dirty deal? (1)

s!lat (975103) | more than 6 years ago | (#21296267)

I'm pretty sure they are calling it a dirty deal because of the BRIBERY not the actual marketing side *rolleyes*

Re:Dirty deal? (1)

darjen (879890) | more than 6 years ago | (#21296653)

As much as I hate to be one to cast doubt on how dirty this deal really is, or (gasp) defend MS on slashdot... is bribery really all that wrong? See here a classic defense of bribery:

http://www.mises.org/rothbard/ethics/seventeen.asp [mises.org]

Of course, as far as I'm concerned, MS wouldn't exist without the protection of the US Government's bogus patent system. I would probably worry more about that than bribery.

Re:Dirty deal? (1)

s!lat (975103) | more than 6 years ago | (#21297017)

I don't think we're actually disagreeing, just having a difference of opinion on the semantics. Either way the system is screwey

Re:Dirty deal? (1)

RightSaidFred99 (874576) | more than 6 years ago | (#21297047)

Bribery?? What exactly does that even mean in a business context? If I sell auto-windows and I offer you a free dinner at some restaurant if you use my service, is that "bribery"? When Coke offers a company advertising dollars and a discount to carry only Coca Cola products, is that "bribery"? The idea is ridiculous. Unless MS broker Nigerian law, it's not bribery.

Re:Dirty deal? (4, Informative)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 6 years ago | (#21296603)

In what way? Apparently now it's bad for someone to enter into a cross marketing deal? It amazes me when deals made between consenting entities are "dirty".

Ummmm ... Mandriva won the contract with government.

The company shipping the laptops took money to wipe out Mandriva and ship with Windows.

So, I have a contract with you to buy 10000 widgets painted in red Du Point paint. And, 3m pays you money to paint them in a 3m yellow. Is that OK?

This isn't a "dirty" deal in what way?? It's doing an end run around the people they have a contract with. They did not have a contract with Microsoft, and Microsoft did not have standing to alter the terms of the contract.

I would call this dirty. Hell, I'd call it fraud.

Cheers

The numbers don't add up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21296167)

http://www.theinquirer.net/gb/inquirer/news/2007/11/09/mandriva-steals-nigerian [theinquirer.net]

Various sources point out that TDC took $400,000 to wipe the machines and put XP on them. The question is; who is paying for the XP licenses. Also, who would pay for the licenses for the other software (eg. Office) that it would take to make the computers useful?

Were TDC going to supply the computers and than tell the Nigerian government: "BTW, the software is extra."? The mind boggles.

Re:The numbers don't add up (1)

symes (835608) | more than 6 years ago | (#21296269)

Indeed, the numbers do not add up - $400,000 for 17,000 laptops works out at a cost to microsoft of about $24 per laptop. Which doesn't sound much if the new owners then bought office for each. If I were the Nigerian marketing company I'd have asked for more!

Re:The numbers don't add up (1)

BadHaggis (1179673) | more than 6 years ago | (#21296587)

The Numbers 1. MSFT Pays: US $400,000 2. TDC Pays Mandriva: US$170,000 ($10 per license for 17,000 licenses) 3. TDC buys 17,000 Licenses from MSFT and charges Nigerian Gov. for overcost. 4. TDC installs XP on 17,000 computers 5. Bot Runners install 17,000 new nodes 6. ??? 7. Profit for Bot Runners and MSFT, and TDC pockets US$230,000 There's the numbers for ya.

Re:The numbers don't add up (1)

BadHaggis (1179673) | more than 6 years ago | (#21296655)

Crud I shoulda Previewed it. :-(

The Numbers
1. MSFT Pays: US $400,000
2. TDC Pays Mandriva: US$170,000 ($10 per license for 17,000 licenses)
3. TDC buys 17,000 Licenses from MSFT and charges Nigerian Gov. for overcost.
4. TDC installs XP on 17,000 computers
5. Bot Runners install 17,000 new nodes
6. ???
7. Profit for Bot Runners and MSFT, and TDC pockets US$230,000

There's the numbers for ya.

Business Ethics (3, Funny)

hyades1 (1149581) | more than 6 years ago | (#21296241)

See what happens when you cheap out? A few million bucks in the Swiss bank accounts of some high government officials would, I'm sure, have smoothed the shiny golden road to a stunning African Vista.

Re:Business Ethics (1)

bflong (107195) | more than 6 years ago | (#21296659)

stunning African Vista.

Not even... they were pushing XP...

Dirty? (3, Insightful)

handy_vandal (606174) | more than 6 years ago | (#21296263)

Nigeria's government has stepped in to stop the dirty deal.

I am not a lawyer, in Nigeria or anywhere else, but is this deal really "dirty"?

The article tells us little:

"After public statements from Mandriva officials implied the marketing deal is legally questionable, Microsoft said last week that it complies with international law and the law of the countries in which it operates."

Mandriva can "imply" that the deal is "legally questionable", but this tells us nearly nothing about the actual legal situation.

Setting aside reflexive Microsoft-bashing, this may be a case of business as usual, legitimately within the scope of the law.

Until someone clarifies the matter by citing actual law, "dirty" seems like an overstatement to me.

-kgj

Bribes are still bribes, even for companies. (1)

emj (15659) | more than 6 years ago | (#21296543)

I have no idea how this deal was made, but if you got my company a $400.000 marketing deal I'm sure I could see to it that that money comes into my personal possession. Things get more complicated when you have big companies and lawyers, but when you pay a company to do something it is still a bribe, perhaps not always legally but morally.

Re:Bribes are still bribes, even for companies. (1)

handy_vandal (606174) | more than 6 years ago | (#21296757)

Things get more complicated when you have big companies and lawyers, but when you pay a company to do something it is still a bribe, perhaps not always legally but morally.

I agree about the moral aspect. But courts are supposed to operate on the basis of legal precedent, irrespective of morality.

Personally, I think it's a bribe. But the article doesn't use the words "dirty" or "bribe". All I'm asking for is clarification from someone who has the facts.

-kgj

only when caught and forced to do so... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21296851)

Microsoft said last week that it complies with international law and the law of the countries in which it operates.

Sheah, right they do.

slashdot AC tags: USantitrust, EUantitrust, chairthrowing, developersdevelopersdevelopers, monkeydance

Re:Dirty? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21297051)

The legality of a deal is not really what makes it clean or dirty. The morality of the deal does.

And trying to gut your competitor by convincing part of the chain to swap part of his product for your own, through bribery, is pretty immoral even if it's perfectly legal thanks to Corporate America. :)

Re:Dirty? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21297065)

Yepp, as dirty as they come.

Consider the same deal in a different context:

Lets say you are looking to by a brand new dishwasher..

You find one, nice an shiney (and from what you hear from the dishwasher-fanbois, the most reliable on the market). It has a very reasonable price and you are confident that it will wash your dishes really well. Reasonable as you are you decide to shop around to see that this is really the best deal you can make.

You ask around everywhere, but you finally decide that the first dishwasher is the best and that the TCO is the lowest for you. You pay for your brand new dishwasher ... ... and leave the shop without picking up you dishwasher, just to go to a different dealer to pick up something you decided previously was not good enough??

Any monkey able to decide between red, green and blue M'n'M:s can see that something is fishy about this.

---

I cant say who received the bribes, but then again I cant say who ate my last doughnut. The effect is clearly wrong and someone has to pay :-)

If you see someone in business making decisions that do not fit with normal rational behaviour, it is probably because someone is making rational decisions based on an unusuall business environment, such as when bribes are involved.

And it only cost M$... (1)

httpdotcom (749192) | more than 6 years ago | (#21296285)

...a measely $23.50 per license.
Hard to justify $250-$500 upgrade cost of Vista using those numbers.

Ummm (-1, Troll)

Reality Master 101 (179095) | more than 6 years ago | (#21296305)

If you RTFA, Microsoft attempted to do a deal with a *private company* who was supplying the computers. No "bribery" here, just two companies making an agreement. Sure, Microsoft's motivation is to move more software over a competitor, but why is that a problem? If Microsoft wants to discount its software or given the company some other benefit, then whatever.

Why is this even a story? Oh, because it's Microsoft trying to outcompete a Linux supplier, therefore, it's intrinsically evil.

The only news here is that the Nigerian government decided to tell the supplier that they preferred the Linux distribution. Interesting, but hardly a conspiracy.

Re:Ummm (4, Insightful)

WhiteWolf666 (145211) | more than 6 years ago | (#21296535)

No "bribery" here, just two companies making an agreement. Sure, Microsoft's motivation is to move more software over a competitor, but why is that a problem? If Microsoft wants to discount its software or given the company some other benefit, then whatever.

It's called "dumping", and in the U.S., is illegal when conducted by a monopolist. It also tend to violate a variety of world trade rules.

Furthermore, even if one can construe a scenario where it is legal (international run around the law?), it is extremely underhanded and a waste of government resources (they'd be paying for Windows and Linux).

As such, here are the issues:
1. It's probably illegal, and should be, but I'm not a lawyer.
2. Even if its not illegal, its shady business. And it demonstrates more and more than no sane company should get into bed with Microsoft, because Microsoft will do anything and everything to screw you.

Re:Ummm (4, Informative)

Pecisk (688001) | more than 6 years ago | (#21296627)

Man, people these days...

I know that there is common misunderstanding and false assumption that bribery is only possible in government level. No, in business world it happens even more frequently and it IS illegal (Even if some business people would like to think otherwise). I won't get into details how much laws Microsoft broke with doing this, but please, people, keep that in mind - business or government level, such actions are illegal and can get your sorry ass to the courtroom in any country.

Re:Ummm (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 6 years ago | (#21297043)

Depends on your country, and sometimes (not this time) it's hard to tell what is a bribe.
In some countries it is rude if you don't take a gift, in others it is rude if you don't give a gift.
Gifts are generally a reflection of personal wealth. So a billionaire from one of these countries might give a gift worth many thousands of dollars, and not expect any special treatment in return.

France and Nigeria (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21296327)

I learned that Mandriva is a French outfit. So, perhaps a handiwork of Sarkozy?

Should this actionable against Microsoft? (4, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | more than 6 years ago | (#21296331)

Now that the dirty deal is uncovered, the first question is:

"If this were done in the US, would it be considered illegal?"

The next question would be:

"If yes, then should Microsoft be prosecuted?"

Further:

"If not, then why not?"

And for all the Microsoft apologists:

"Is this sort of behavior acceptable from your favorite software vendor/publisher/distributor, business partner? And if so, why is it acceptable? If not, please elaborate?"

Re:Should this actionable against Microsoft? (2, Interesting)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 6 years ago | (#21296693)

Now that the dirty deal is uncovered, the first question is:
"If this were done in the US, would it be considered illegal?"
The next question would be:
"If yes, then should Microsoft be prosecuted?"
Well, this is gonna be another slashdot bullshit claim with no backup because I am too lazy to go digging...

My understanding is that US law requires that US corps not do things in other countries that would be illegal in the USA. My belief is based on some news articles about a US company that was caught bribing foreign government officials in order to get contracts with them - might have been IBM in Brazil now that I think about it. Apparently what they did in the foreign countries was technically not illegal over there, but was definitely illegal here and they were being prosecuted because of it.

Anyway, maybe that's enough info to convince a studious classdot reader to go research the details and prove me wrong or write.

Re:Should this actionable against Microsoft? (2, Insightful)

m0shen (974383) | more than 6 years ago | (#21296865)

While I do not condone microsoft's actions, I must point out that this is how international firms operate in nations that are perceived as "corrupt". Funds used for bribery are chalked up as business expenses. While in this instance, microsoft's actions are particularly spiteful and could be considered juvenile, I would like to recreate a scenario from a business ethics course. You work for company A. Company A produces a brand new AIDS cure. You have been notified that your first massive shipment of AIDS cure is held up at the borders of desperate corrupt country. You go to see what the matter is and there seems to be a hold up in customs. Your AIDS cure is time sensitive, it will be destroyed if not stored properly. The customs official hints that if you give him a handout, he will grant immediate release. What do you do? There is no 'correct' answer. Do you uphold the law and report him, potentially losing the shipment and possibly the lives of those it will save? Or do you pay him off for 'the greater good'? I know the example is a bit extreme, but there are areas in the world were bribery is an accepted practice. Until these systems are removed, all firms have to work within them or be at a comparative disadvantage.

so this criminal points the finger at others.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21296335)

Nigeria makes a claim that someone else is corrupt, and people believe them?

Well, since this is /., a well known MS bashing place, that bashes first and ignores the truth,then this should be expected.

I thought corruption was only a 3rd world problem (1)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 6 years ago | (#21296463)

If what I am reading is correct, then that's good for Nigeria. I must admit that I thought corruption was a problem of the 3rd world alone. But now, we see that a [major] US corporation was perpetuating corruption.

No wonder our economy is almost in doldrums. Can we sue Microsoft in any court of law? The other day, a senator from the south was fighting corruption charges.

To those Africans and poor nations of the world that I was prejudiced about, I say: "I am sorry," since I now realize that the "cancer" of corruption is alive and well in societies that are known to be well off economically.

Shame on you Microsoft!

Re:I thought corruption was only a 3rd world probl (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21296963)

I must admit that I thought corruption was a problem of the 3rd world alone. But now, we see that a [major] US corporation was perpetuating corruption.

Finally got tired of living under a rock, huh?

Update 2: Windows Afterall (3, Interesting)

Dak RIT (556128) | more than 6 years ago | (#21296537)

"'We are sticking with that platform,' said the official, who would not give his name.

The organisation reserves the right to choose whichever platform is best for Nigerian students, which could also include Microsoft's software in the future, said the official."

Does anyone else get the impression that's code for: "$400,000 would go a long way in convincing me that Microsoft's software is best for Nigerian students."? Sounds like Microsoft just forgot to include Nigerian officials in on the deal.

Don't forget to digg the article! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21296553)

... in the second page!

The next move in this strategic battle (1)

backwardvisionary (1134365) | more than 6 years ago | (#21296713)

Although the article is not very precise about the source of the information, to me it's more important to watch how the 2 companies will handle this case. Beyong the real value of the OSes, more importantly business ethics is at stake here and if I was the big player I would prefer to lose this deal rather than having an endless battle and debate and possibly even worse about the way this deal was finally won. If you were one of the 2 parties, what would be your winning crisis management strategy ? --------- By Anonymous Hero : anonymous writers from totalitarian countries are nothing like cowards.

Microsoft tacts are to ensure vendor lock. (2, Interesting)

HermMunster (972336) | more than 6 years ago | (#21296791)

These countries building their technologies need to try at least to understand the negative impact of vendor lock in. With open source the road is full bright and open, like a true vista. With windows you condemn your nation to Microsoft's spyware. (As Vista has 47 programs that collect information about you and send it back to Microsoft, not counting the WGA/WGN. This process is essentially the equivalent of say having Walmart coming to your home on any given Sunday morning asking to search your belongings to ensure that those items in your home that come from Walmart are legally purchased, just because you are a shopper at Walmart. Because Microsoft does it with hidden programs (or hidden cameras) makes no difference. You wouldn't allow Walmart to place hidden cameras in your home).

We all know about the vendor lock ins such as DirectX which keep you playing on and paying for Windows. With true OpenGL development you could find games on a number of platforms. There are many more lock in technologies and DRM was Microsoft's most important one until everyone revolted over it. It is still their number one hope to lock you into the Windows platform.

So, let's hope that Nigeria has the experienced personnel in the right positions of influence capable of understanding what is happening to ensure that it doesn't happen there. If so, let's hope other regional governments learn from the negatives of vendor lock in and the sometimes illegal influences Microsoft exerts.

90% of all people can benefit from Linux in that it does what those people need it to do, day in and day out. It is solid, safe, trusted, proven, performs very well, and is attractive. Most of the popular distros have taken the approach of ease of use for the customer, the development cycle for open source is superior to the closed source development cycle. The access to the programming code is also an incredible benefit unavailable (likely never will be available) to the government and the peoples of the world, whereas with open source if there's a conflict bug you can look at both project's code and resolve your issue yourself (as a programmer for some group).

Hopefully we'll see that other governments understand that it is important to put measures into place that secure them from the influences and lock ins created by using Microsoft products.

640k enough for anyone? (0, Offtopic)

denzacar (181829) | more than 6 years ago | (#21296801)

I hate to contradict my own jokes but...

Imagine that they HAVE paid them 640k instead of 400, and that it was enough... wouldn't that make that old 640k saying finally correct... but since we would not hear about it then we would never know...

Kind of a like tree falling in a forest without anyone there to hear it.

Mind-boggling.

Thank you... (0, Offtopic)

denzacar (181829) | more than 6 years ago | (#21296937)

Thank you, anonymous moderator...

I was aiming at funny, with light chances of insightful, but you just read the title and marked it as offtopic.

Thank you, you humourless git.

I feel a disturbance in the force... (3, Funny)

yorugua (697900) | more than 6 years ago | (#21296815)

... as if 17.000 chairs cried in despair and then suddenly were silenced.

Not illegal? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21296819)

After public statements from Mandriva officials implied the marketing deal is legally questionable, Microsoft said last week that it complies with international law and the law of the countries in which it operates.
Except for the US and the EU, of course, where it is a convicted monopolist.

In fact, the statement "Microsoft complies with law" is demonstrably false. The courts have spoken.

I grew up in the "third world" (5, Interesting)

cesman (74566) | more than 6 years ago | (#21296857)

I for one am very happy to see this stopped! I grew up in a "third world" county (Belize), when my siblings and I joined our parents in the US, I recall one of the first things they did was get us a computer (CoCo 2). I wouldn't be where I am today if they had not (good job and my own little project http://mysettopbox.tv/knoppmyth.html/ [mysettopbox.tv] ). While I did do some growing up on Windows, it has been almost 9 years since I switched to using Linux exclusively at home. As someone that grew up in a developing nation, I firmly believe there is no better option for it that FLOSS.

Education and technology can level the playing field. Perhaps in the first world, we can afford to argue about the merits of FLOSS vs closed source. However, this isn't the case when you are worried about where your next meal is coming from or if you can afford to vaccinate your child. The Gates Foundation could really show it's altruism by helping to support OLPC or the Classmate PC.

Cecil

Cue 419 Scam (1)

Spy der Mann (805235) | more than 6 years ago | (#21296869)

Dear sir: I am the former CEO of a Nigerian IT company. Lately we had been offered a large amount of money by Microsoft Corporation in order to install Microsoft Windows on very cheap laptops, but due to excessive government regulations, the deal has been ruined. Now I have been forced to leave the country, along with a hundred million dollars, that I'm willing to share, provided that...

Who to blame? (4, Interesting)

dafradu (868234) | more than 6 years ago | (#21296939)

Big corporations bribing government officials, i've seen this a million times, i'm brazilian...
Just recently it was Cisco in Brazil http://it.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=07/10/16/2334253 [slashdot.org] and now MS in Nigeria. I've only seen people been arrested or fired, couldn't the corporation be fined or something? Apart from theirs reputation, the corporation itself in the end is clean to continue doing its dirty business...

That leaves the obvious question... (2, Funny)

Minwee (522556) | more than 6 years ago | (#21297013)

So what is going to happen to all of the money?

Fortunately, I happen to have a contact at the Technology Support Centre who has offered to cut me in for a 40% share if I can help him get the money out of Nigeria. He contacted me personally on this highly confidential financial transaction after my having been recommended by an associate in confidence of my ability and reliability...

This is AWESOME!!! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21297021)

So old Stevie "BBB" Ballmer (That's Bald, Big, and Butt-Ugly) finally got caught giving head! Of course it could have been Craig Mundie, I've heard he's a pretty good cock-sucker as well! My respect to the Nigerian government for their honesty. My respect to the European community for keeping up the anti-trust ruling against microsloth. And my complete contempt to the US government, most of all Bush, who dismissed the anti-trust case. When Clinton held office, we had a chance to bust up microsloth and put an end to the monopoly. I'd LOVE to see the Nigerian government put a ban on microsloth for the next ten years!
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