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Microsoft The Almighty Buck

Microsoft Shoots Own Foot In Iceland 476

Posted by kdawson
from the blood-from-a-stone-middleman dept.
David Gerard writes "The Microsoft Certified Partner model is: an MCP buys contracts from Microsoft and sells them to businesses as a three-year timed contract, payable in annual installments. Iceland's economy has collapsed, so 1500 businesses have gone bankrupt and aren't paying the fees any more. But Microsoft has told the MCPs: 'Our deal was with you, not them. Pay up.' The MCPs that don't go bankrupt in turn are moving headlong to Free Software, taking most of the country with them. (Warning: link contains strong language and vivid imagery.)"
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Microsoft Shoots Own Foot In Iceland

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  • by Fastball (91927) on Monday March 09, 2009 @11:38PM (#27130377) Journal

    and BSOD you!

  • MCP Glamour (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Centurix (249778) <{moc.liamg} {ta} {xirutnec}> on Monday March 09, 2009 @11:40PM (#27130389) Homepage

    I bet they're proud of that Microsoft partner banner at reception...

  • WWBD? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 09, 2009 @11:41PM (#27130391)

    What would Bjork do?

  • by TheRon6 (929989) on Monday March 09, 2009 @11:42PM (#27130397)

    (Warning: link contains strong language and vivid imagery.)

    Oh god, a 500 error! MY EYES! THEY BURN!

  • Screw this (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 09, 2009 @11:42PM (#27130403)

    You know what, I'm not even going to bother clicking on a link composed of obscenities, even if it is about Microsoft making another PR blunder.

    I'd like some anti-Microsoft news that at least appears reputable, and not overly sensationalized "ZOMG Balmer blew up M$ eats babies" crap like the stuff I've seen here for the past few weeks.

    Give me something to read, please, not something designed to assimilate me into another angry mob.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 09, 2009 @11:48PM (#27130459)

      I agree. "Skull-fucking"? What kind of journalism is that? There has to be a report on the subject that includes some amount of class and professionalism -- especially if it's going to make it to the front page of Slashdot..

      • by Ninnle Labs, LLC (1486095) on Monday March 09, 2009 @11:54PM (#27130515)

        There has to be a report on the subject that includes some amount of class and professionalism -- especially if it's going to make it to the front page of Slashdot.

        This is a joke, right?

      • Re:Screw this (Score:4, Insightful)

        by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968@@@gmail...com> on Tuesday March 10, 2009 @01:49AM (#27131183) Journal

        Oh, it is worse than that, as this article should have in giant letters at the top "WRITTEN BY A TOTAL ZEALOT!!!" in giant red letters, so those of us who would actually care about the facts wouldn't bother. if you want to write about how MSFT is stupid for screwing their partners in a meltdown? Right there with you. Ditto if you want to argue that the money would be better off staying in country. But when you put out crap like this:

        "The easiest switch would be to go to OpenOffice.org from Microsoft Office. This switch is easy because not only is OpenOffice.org superior software in every respect, it's also feature-compatible with Microsoft Office, supports reading and writing of Microsoft's file formats - even the ones that Microsoft Office itself no longer supports - and is free to boot, both free as in freedom and free as in price. The only important difference is that OpenOffice.org doesn't support all of Microsoft Office's weird macros, and it doesn't come with a drop-in replacement for Microsoft Access, the only database software on the planet that's better at printing mail-merged stickers than it is at storing data."

        I'm afraid you have reached beyond the red line of the BS meter. OO.o is just fine for home users that are only writing letters and occasionally making a little speadsheet. But for business? I'm sorry but Calc is no way in hell comparable to Excel, and there are simply way too damned many businesses that live and breathe in Excel for this to be even a remotely viable solution. I've tried giving OO.o to SMBs for evaluation. Most have positive reviews UNTIL they get to Calc. If he wanted to suggest that businesses just take the hit(and probably a huge cost in rewriting a shitload of spreadsheets) that is one thing, but saying OO.o is "superior software in every respect" to anyone who has used Excel is simply spreading the BS a little thick.

        And his BS just gets thicker from there. While I enjoy the occasional rant, especially if the writer is even remotely funny(this guy ain't) does a guy basically writing "MSFT is mean and sucks donkey nuts and teh Linux is teh rulez!" really deserve a place on Slashdot? This thing reads worse than a Twitter sockpuppet rant.

        • Re:Screw this (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Jurily (900488) <jurily@NETBSDgmail.com minus bsd> on Tuesday March 10, 2009 @01:53AM (#27131209)

          this article should have in giant letters at the top "WRITTEN BY A TOTAL ZEALOT!!!" in giant red letters, so those of us who would actually care about the facts wouldn't bother.

          We already have that.

          Posted by kdawson

        • Re:Screw this (Score:4, Interesting)

          by gbjbaanb (229885) on Tuesday March 10, 2009 @05:46AM (#27132151)

          OO.o is just fine for home users that are only writing letters and occasionally making a little speadsheet.

          yes.... what do you think most businesses using Word do? I find companies fall into 2 categories: those that use Word for writing little reports, maybe with a table, and lots of auto-generated formatting; and those who use full-on automation forms and scripted features who wish they could just write little reports.

          But for business? I'm sorry but Calc is no way in hell comparable to Excel, and there are simply way too damned many businesses that live and breathe in Excel for this to be even a remotely viable solution.

          We have an estimate spreadsheet in Excel like this, please please please let us use OO.o so I can dump the useless, awkward, difficult-to-use, I'm-sorry-Dave-those-figures-are-not-correct crock and get on with some work instead!

        • Re:Screw this (Score:5, Informative)

          by afxgrin (208686) on Tuesday March 10, 2009 @09:53AM (#27133811)

          "I'm afraid you have reached beyond the red line of the BS meter. OO.o is just fine for home users that are only writing letters and occasionally making a little speadsheet. But for business? I'm sorry but Calc is no way in hell comparable to Excel, and there are simply way too damned many businesses that live and breathe in Excel for this to be even a remotely viable solution. I've tried giving OO.o to SMBs for evaluation. Most have positive reviews UNTIL they get to Calc. If he wanted to suggest that businesses just take the hit(and probably a huge cost in rewriting a shitload of spreadsheets) that is one thing, but saying OO.o is "superior software in every respect" to anyone who has used Excel is simply spreading the BS a little thick."

          I make complicated spreadsheets, with lots of functions, cross linked between sheets, with very large data sets, and it works no worse than Excel. The only downside, is the lack of PivotCharts - they have a PivotTable equivalent, but no PivotCharts. Does this really matter to me? Nope - it's just a feature I really don't use, and can work around anyway.

          I would say that 99% of business users would have their needs met with OO.org. If they don't use Excel macros (which have always worked for me in OO.org, but I can see it being a problem), PivotCharts or MS Access, I don't understand why it wouldn't suite their needs. Especially when making the switch from Excel 03 to 07.

          If Sun tossed a few more developers into the project, I'd probably pay the same price as MS Office for a copy.

          The greatest value behind OO.org is the fact it's free, I can download it from the Internet when I need it, and if I'm on a computer with no office suite, I'll have one by the time it finishes downloading. I make use of GoogleDocs in some cases, but it just lacks features, plain and simple.

    • by mihalis (28146) on Monday March 09, 2009 @11:51PM (#27130489) Homepage

      I'd like some anti-Microsoft news that at least appears reputable, and not overly sensationalized "ZOMG Balmer blew up M$ eats babies" crap like the stuff I've seen here for the past few weeks.

      You're new around here, aren't you?

      • Re:Screw this (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Timothy Brownawell (627747) <tbrownaw@prjek.net> on Monday March 09, 2009 @11:55PM (#27130529) Homepage Journal

        I'd like some anti-Microsoft news that at least appears reputable, and not overly sensationalized "ZOMG Balmer blew up M$ eats babies" crap like the stuff I've seen here for the past few weeks.

        You're new around here, aren't you?

        Or more likely, been around long enough to get tired of all the childish crap and instead want sane discussions about what happened and sane arguments over what to do about it.

        • Re:Screw this (Score:4, Insightful)

          by von_rick (944421) on Tuesday March 10, 2009 @12:26AM (#27130761) Homepage
          Aw come on now. If you call this childish, what would you say to that Cat Agreeing to an EULA [slashdot.org] story that got nearly 1000 replies. Internet forums aren't the top priority for anyone seeking highly intellectual arguments or discussions.
          • Re:Screw this (Score:5, Insightful)

            by syousef (465911) on Tuesday March 10, 2009 @04:11AM (#27131735) Journal

            Aw come on now. If you call this childish, what would you say to that Cat Agreeing to an EULA story that got nearly 1000 replies.

            At least that story was kinda funny in a perverse way. The thought of someone taking legalese nonsense and trying to respond with their own nonsense sticks it to the legal profession and pokes fun at the corporations trying to control software this way. The only thing that makes it kinda sad is that it went beyond a joke and is wasting real life legal resources.

            Today's story on the other hand isn't humorous. It's just a childish profane rant demanding a megacorp give away their sofware.

            • Re:Screw this (Score:5, Insightful)

              by Tenebrousedge (1226584) <tenebrousedge@gma[ ]com ['il.' in gap]> on Tuesday March 10, 2009 @07:23AM (#27132643)

              Software was originally given away freely. It's important to remember that.

              Closed-source and/or for-profit software also has its place, but Microsoft might do well to (again) imitate Apple.

              Also, in today's existence, it's difficult to not carry some measure of anger against the 'megacorp'. What have they touched that is not tarnished? What have they given us that is not tainted? Men have always harmed other men in pursuit of their own self-interest, but never is this more soul-less or harsh than when the ultimate goal of the organization is Profit.

    • by QuantumG (50515) * <qg@biodome.org> on Monday March 09, 2009 @11:57PM (#27130547) Homepage Journal

      Here's my translation for ya:

      [rumor] Microsoft [rumor] Economic Crisis [rumor] I can't confirm this but [rumor]. Open Office is better than Microsoft Office. [rumor] [bad logic] [rumor] [rumor] Pitiful prediction.

      • by MightyMartian (840721) on Tuesday March 10, 2009 @12:04AM (#27130601) Journal

        And don't forget skull fucking. Lots and lots of skull fucking. I've always heard Icelanders are sexually liberated, but I had no idea.

        • by nametaken (610866) on Tuesday March 10, 2009 @01:18AM (#27131039)

          I particularly liked the part about how, unless Microsoft permanently reduces the cost of all their software to zero it's an attack on Icelands sovereignty.

          That made me giggle a little. And then depressed that the guy who wrote it believes it.

          "Unless, and this is important: Microsoft can redeem themselves towards the Icelandic economy if and only if they immediately reduce the price of all of their products to zero, permanently. Anything less will be an act of non-compliance towards the needs of the Icelandic economy, and can be considered an attack on the nationâ(TM)s sovereignty. Such an attack will inevitably be responded to by the market by way of an across-the-board adoption of free software."

          Puuuuke.

    • by linzeal (197905) on Tuesday March 10, 2009 @02:22AM (#27131315) Homepage Journal
      I like the salty language. Every programmer I know speaks fluent fuck you to at least 3 different compilers.
  • by cstec (521534) on Monday March 09, 2009 @11:42PM (#27130405)

    "Hey, I only joined the military for the free college tuition. I never said anything about shooting people!"

    These MCP's were all happy to sign up, resell MS's products and take their cut for doing almost nothing. Now they're not selling and they don't want to pay their bill? Puh-lese. The cheese section is apparently in Iceland, along with the whine.

    • by Cassini2 (956052) on Monday March 09, 2009 @11:47PM (#27130455)

      I think the complaint of the MCPs is Microsoft is demanding payment for product the customer isn't paying for. Specifically, my impression is that Microsoft wants to be payed for the full 3 year contract (over 3 years), even though the customer that purchased the software went bankrupt after the first year. It's a good deal from Microsoft's point of view ...

      • by jschen (1249578) on Monday March 09, 2009 @11:53PM (#27130507)
        Microsoft's customer in this case is the MCP. Unless the MCP goes bankrupt and the contract gets voided (assuming things work similarly in Iceland as in the US), why shouldn't Microsoft be demanding payment? Whether or not the MCP has a good use for the contract isn't Microsoft's problem.
        • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 09, 2009 @11:57PM (#27130545)

          Don't bring reason or logic into a perfectly good anti-ms rant.

        • by Cassini2 (956052) on Tuesday March 10, 2009 @12:00AM (#27130571)

          The legal doctine in common law countries is Force Majeure [wikipedia.org]. If something sufficiently big happens, all bets are off.

          The other business doctrine is that a big company shall not bankrupt the organizations selling their products:
          No sales companies = No salesmen = No sales.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Anonymous Coward

            However, who wants customers if they're not going to pay?

            A non-paying customer moving to OSS is not a lost sale.

            • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 10, 2009 @01:07AM (#27130987)
              Durh. I guess its better to divorce your wife if she has a headache and won't have sex tonight, instead of being gentle and considerate and waiting until tomorrow for the sex.
            • by pegdhcp (1158827) on Tuesday March 10, 2009 @02:24AM (#27131333)
              Are you kidding, a non-paying customer moving -successfully- to OSS is more than just one lost sale. That is because, usual MS claim is that you cannot replace MS products with free software that is not reliable and with no backing of a commercial entity. If you put enough number of (around 4% according to marketing theory, as this is not wikipedia I will not give a reference , do your own research-) successful sample cases of MS->OSS transitions in a big population, you would lose that population as a market.

              Mr. Chair Thrower, probably because of the hidden macho inside him, turned tables around and made it possible for guys like RMS to declare it is a war against commercial software. Thus OSS supporters would only need to use negative samples against incumbent commercial software, instead of positive samples of their own. If they were trying to get into a market, just only by benefits and positive aspects of OSS products, they would need positive samples of those. Again theory says that you would need (I might need a correction here, but...) from 10%-30% positive samples for a stronghold in the market. This is what they try to hammer in business schools to people: If you do no have a competition, market is naturally yours. If there is competition, every small gain made by new competitor(s) are bigger losses for the incumbent.

              In my country BSA tried to claim, as a scare tactic, you can not have a license free software for office usage, and if you do not have a printed license then there is no license. They performed extensive computer scans in license free offices etc. This of course is complete BullCrap(tm). However as people (especially in rural areas) bought the idea for a while, MS hold the market in that sector of economy. But then one or two small companies started giving printed licenses with their OSS based products. They just sold licenses for one tenth or so prices of MS Office. You can guess the outcome. Competitor(s) made a small gain, MS lost ten folds of money.

              • by JustNilt (984644) on Tuesday March 10, 2009 @11:21AM (#27135101) Homepage

                In my country BSA tried to claim, as a scare tactic, you can not have a license free software for office usage, and if you do not have a printed license then there is no license. They performed extensive computer scans in license free offices etc.

                And what, exactly, did the BSA give as a reason to perform these scans, I wonder? When they found FOS apps, were they acting on behalf of the free software's "owners" when they said you can't have a license if it's not printed? These BSA goons are insanely ballsy in my experience.

                The BSA (I think) tried this sort of crap with one of my clients once. Some guys showed up at my client's office when I happened to be there. They were armed with a blue paper backed document that they told the receptionist was a warrant to inspect any computer and media for "valid licenses". The receptionist, thinking the warrant was valid, let them in but took it back to her boss. The business owner noticed rather quickly that the paperwork wasn't in any way a warrant but, instead, an "agreement" that once signed would grant permission to search everything in the office including personal cell phones. While she was reviewing the document, the goons told me to move away form he PC I was installing a hard drive in and started screwing around with the receptionist's PC without actual permission. The owner was pissed and called 911. The police were rather prompt in responding, too. I guess fake warrants kind of piss them off a bit.

                I don't know what, if anything, ever came of it as I had to leave for an appointment with another client. The business owner said the goons left really fast all of a sudden. As best she could tell, a disgruntled employee reported "likely" software piracy. The sad thing is that this was one of the honest people ... some of my clients are knowingly using pirated apps.

          • by jschen (1249578) on Tuesday March 10, 2009 @12:18AM (#27130697)

            Where's the line between Force Majeure and simply a regrettable business decision? Globally, lots of people in all walks of life are suffering from their decisions (whether sound at the time or not) made during better times that are haunting them in these rough economic times. What about this situation is unique to the MCP? How would the situation look if we allowed people across the board to declare Force Majeure?

            As for no salesmen = no sales, it's commonly accepted that Microsoft is a de facto monopoly. If we take that to be true, then there may not be much cost to MS in hanging the MCPs out to dry. The MCP's customer still needs the MS product, and a new MCP undoubtedly will fill in the void when times get better.

            • by Nefarious Wheel (628136) on Tuesday March 10, 2009 @12:29AM (#27130783) Journal

              As for no salesmen = no sales, it's commonly accepted that Microsoft is a de facto monopoly. If we take that to be true, then there may not be much cost to MS in hanging the MCPs out to dry. The MCP's customer still needs the MS product, and a new MCP undoubtedly will fill in the void when times get better.

              Exactly correct. Whereas there is an effective water monopoly in place as a supplier, resellers are infinitely replaceable. One man goes to the wall, another will take their place. No martyrs, only failures.

          • by ColaMan (37550) on Tuesday March 10, 2009 @02:09AM (#27131251) Homepage Journal

            If something sufficiently big happens, all bets are off.

            This is incorrect - the principle of "Force Majeure" is that it has to be completely unexpected - that is, a reasonable person would be unable to forsee the event, and would not have taken measures to mitigate it.

            Say I run a fishing company and all my boats are at sea and are sunk in a big storm. I can't really claim Force Majeure on your supply contracts, as it could be expected that, when fishing, one could encounter storms that might sink your fleet. However, if my boats were docked in a harbour with a narrow inlet with high cliffs and some construction work collapsed the cliffs and blocked the harbour preventing my boats from getting out, well that would fit under "Force Majeure".

            In the MCP's case, one can get insurance for loss of business income, and if one is beholden to continuous payments to a third party, it's a good idea to get it. This is basic financial disaster management - plenty of businesses will sit down and think, "what would happen if the building caught fire?", but few will think, "what happens if my customers suddenly can't pay?"

        • by hardburn (141468) <hardburn&wumpus-cave,net> on Tuesday March 10, 2009 @12:01AM (#27130579)

          From a legal and short term financial standpoint, sure. However, the end result will be that established partners will themselves go belly-up, or that they'll try to find an alternative. So it is Microsoft's problem, in so far as it changes their future business prospects in the region.

        • by Nefarious Wheel (628136) on Tuesday March 10, 2009 @12:25AM (#27130755) Journal
          Pity they couldn't simply return the unsold goods.

          Oh, wait...

        • by Drishmung (458368) on Tuesday March 10, 2009 @12:35AM (#27130819)
          1. We are legally entitled to be paid, but
          2. Owing to the financial crisis (of which we are very much aware), our MCPs can't afford to pay us, so
          3. If we insist on payment, they will declare bankruptcy.
            • If they go bankrupt, we don't get any money out of them.
          4. If we buy back the unused contracts, we at least get some money.

          In short, they can choose to have no money, or some money. They can't chose to have all the money though. Rationally, they should choose "some". In fact, they appear to have chosen "none".

          • by kasperd (592156) on Tuesday March 10, 2009 @07:53AM (#27132799) Homepage Journal
            There is nothing of value to Microsoft to buy back, so any money paid back would just be a waste. They could just accept that the end user went bankrupt and that they lost a bit of income. They haven't really lost anything in that case, just earned a bit less money than they expected to. If they had sold directly to the end user, there wouldn't be much money to collect anyway.

            They might still have a right to get money from the middleman, but doing so could come with some bad press. They could request enough that the middleman goes bankrupt as well, and they may get what money is currently there. Otherwise they could accept that the middleman pay at a pace they can possibly do without going bankrupt. In the end the slow pace may give them more money.

            An interesting question is whether the middleman could just sell those licenses to other companies now. Microsoft would probably say that is not allowed. I don't know if the court would find a contract valid if it requires payment for a license that is only allowed to be used by one company that is now bankrupt. If they actually are allowed to resell the licenses to other companies, that could flood the market with cheap licenses, probably something Microsoft does not want. The easy way to avoid that would be to accept that the contracts can be terminated without payment in this scenario. The other ways are to claim it is against the contract, or make the company go bankrupt with Microsoft being the only creditor with an interest in picking them up (and valuing them a lot less than they originally were paid for them).

            Of course I'm no expert in Icelandic law, so this is all just guesswork. I wonder if Microsoft knows Icelandic law well enough to predict how this would turn out.

            But I can't see this being good for Microsoft's sale of licenses in this way in the future, which should matter a lot more to them than what little money they can get from a few Icelandic companies.
        • by Mistlefoot (636417) on Tuesday March 10, 2009 @02:53AM (#27131433)
          So Ford leases company A cars. Company A leases them out to end users. The end users go bankrupt and have no need for the cars. Ford forbids company A from for releasing the cars to anyone else as the agreements indicate that the leases are not transferable. Company A says - Ford is telling me that I cannot transfer these cars to anyone else - that Ford is enforcing the agreement that Ford made with the end user - Then Ford can deal with the bankrupt end user. If the agreement is between company A and the end user then they can transfer the licenses and sell them in say, England, or Canada or the US. But per Ford the agreement for money is between Ford and company A and the agreement with what can be done with the car is between is between Ford and the End user. That it's software and not a car doesn't make this correct.
      • by Brandybuck (704397) on Tuesday March 10, 2009 @12:02AM (#27130587) Homepage Journal

        Well... yeah! I know it's a bizarre concept in today's world trillion dollar bailouts seem the norm, but prior to six months ago, if you signed up for a three year contract you were required to pay for three years. Why should they be treated any different from other failed businesses? No one was holding a gun to their head making them buy those contracts.

        • by Creepy Crawler (680178) on Tuesday March 10, 2009 @12:18AM (#27130701)

          The country controls their own court system.

          A company that's hostile to all companies in your country is probably not going to do well, regardless who is or is not right.

          And it all comes down to: Honor contracts to a foreign company with a failing financial market, or ignore contract disputes and switch to Linux and FOSS.

          • by DerekLyons (302214) <fairwater@gmai l . c om> on Tuesday March 10, 2009 @12:50AM (#27130889) Homepage

            It really comes down to this: Honor contracts freely entered into and legally binding, or have a really hard time having companies being willing to sign contracts in your country. There's a lot more at stake here than just Microsoft - especially for a country like Iceland with virtually no manufacturing industry and heavily dependent on trade.

          • by symbolset (646467) * on Tuesday March 10, 2009 @01:14AM (#27131021) Journal

            They'll lie in it.

            If some employees of their company go on to found a company that's not so foolish, they will have learned.

            But the company that danced with the devil and doesn't want to pay? Why would you trust them now? Maybe tomorrow they'll decide the service contract you paid them for requires too much effort or cost to fulfill.

            As we used to say back when I was in this game, a deal is a deal is a [expletive deleted] deal.

    • by Renraku (518261) on Tuesday March 10, 2009 @12:08AM (#27130635) Homepage

      I'm sure they'd all like to be paying their bills, but when you set up a fiscal triage line, how important do you think payments to a multi-billion dollar corporation that sells software is going to be compared to say, keeping the lights on and paying the employees?

      This is actually quite common in business. Just like how you or I would pay for electricity and food over our credit card bills if we wanted to survive.

    • by Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) on Tuesday March 10, 2009 @12:21AM (#27130719) Homepage Journal

      If the flaming article is right, and if I've understood it correctly, that "cut" was negative: "Microsoft Certified Partners (MCP's), which are local companies that lobby the software, generally at a loss to themselves, as they know that Microsoft's lock-in is powerful enough that they can only get service contracts from the company if they offer a substantial discount on the Microsoft products." In other words, the MS licenses were a loss leader.

      There's still a good argument that they're just like any business that gets stuck with unsold inventory when its customers get shot out from under it, but it doesn't sound like the MCPs were on a gravy train.

      Of course, any other business whose retail customers disappeared could eliminate the bills from their wholesaler by simply stopping their wholesale purchases.

    • by Arker (91948) on Tuesday March 10, 2009 @12:43AM (#27130861) Homepage

      You have a point. Clearly MS is within their rights in terms of the contracts.

      However a wise businessman in their position would be willing to "work with" their "partners" under such circumstances. Sticking to their rights here will blow up in their face, and cost them in the long run.

      Which is really a good thing, anyway, both for Iceland and the world, if it results in increased Free Software awareness, usage, and development.

  • by Cassini2 (956052) on Monday March 09, 2009 @11:44PM (#27130413)

    Business People tend to remember the company that pushed them into bankruptcy. They don't forgive and forget easily.

    I can't see everyone "just switching" to Linux, but this could create much motivation to try. Survival in business is a strategic imperative. If someone threatens that survival, then business people tend to connect the dots, and adapt accordingly.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by DerekLyons (302214)

      Business People tend to remember the company that pushed them into bankruptcy. They don't forgive and forget easily.

      More correctly: Business People tend to remember the people they blame for pushing them into bankruptcy - their own failings they tend to forget.
       
      In this case, the MCP seems to have forgotten they signed a contract saying they would pay.

  • by gmuslera (3436) on Monday March 09, 2009 @11:45PM (#27130431) Homepage Journal

    Internal Server Error The server encountered an internal error or misconfiguration and was unable to complete your request....

    Ewww... i tought that i was prepared for any rudeness and strong language, but this? Slashdot should start putting stronger warnings in the articles, things like this could have adverse effects for the rest of your life.

  • xkcd (Score:5, Funny)

    by maugle (1369813) on Monday March 09, 2009 @11:49PM (#27130467)
    I just noticed this in the link:

    http://smari.yaxic.org/blag/2009/03/06/microsoft-skull-fucks-icelands-economy-contracts-syphilis/

    xkcd is everywhere...

    • Re:xkcd (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Achromatic1978 (916097) <robert AT chromablue DOT net> on Tuesday March 10, 2009 @12:26AM (#27130763)
      Doesn't surprise me. The submitter is David Gerard, so infamous for his abuses of power on Wikipedia he has his own subforum [wikipediareview.com] there.

      This is, of course, when he's not maintaining his circle jerk of shock sites [wikipediareview.com], like 'lemonparty.org', 'jarsquatter.org', 'yourmom.org', 'yellaface.com', and many others, not linked for your protection. What a scary, sad way to make a living.

      Then again, he is a scary, sad [encycloped...matica.com] "guy".

  • by Darkk (1296127) on Monday March 09, 2009 @11:49PM (#27130469)

    "The server encountered an internal error or misconfiguration and was unable to complete your request."

    Maybe Microsoft revoked their license on the webserver? Possible?

    LOL.

    Ah well, it seems somebody over there saw this article and decided to pull it to save grace.

  • Link to article (Score:3, Informative)

    by elashish14 (1302231) <profcalc4&gmail,com> on Monday March 09, 2009 @11:51PM (#27130491)
    Link to Google Cache of article [74.125.47.132] Full text available in replies
  • Optimism (Score:5, Funny)

    by Mr. Conrad (1461097) on Monday March 09, 2009 @11:52PM (#27130501)
    I think it's rather impressive that Microsoft hasn't run out of feet to shoot. Nor bullets, apparently. Then again, they may have amassed an ample supply of peg-legs in their fight against piracy.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by grcumb (781340)

      I think it's rather impressive that Microsoft hasn't run out of feet to shoot. Nor bullets, apparently. Then again, they may have amassed an ample supply of peg-legs in their fight against piracy.

      Actually, they're the legs from broken chairs.

  • by Fastball (91927) on Monday March 09, 2009 @11:54PM (#27130523) Journal

    From TFA: "So with the Navision thing going on the situation normally pans out like this: Company/institute X switches to Free Software nominally, installing Ubuntu and OpenOffice.org on all computers, except those of the top management who need to have access to Microsoft Navision Financials. The middle management then complains that theyâ(TM)re important enough to have Microsoft Office and that they feel devalued as employees for being forced to use the free, open alternative that doesnâ(TM)t suck. Eventually the middle management gets their way, and then the lowest employees start heaving the same sighs. Before you know it Company/institute Xâ(TM)s Free Software policy is a piece of paper rotting in a drawer somewhere."

    Adapt. Improvise. Overcome. Fire the entrenched middle managers. If they don't want to liberate their departments from this morass, save their countrymen a pile of kronas, and just generally improve their situation, well...who needs 'em?

    Time for them to head to the conference room where Bob Slydell and Dom Porterwood are waiting.

  • by guruevi (827432) <evi@smo k i n g c ube.be> on Tuesday March 10, 2009 @12:14AM (#27130669) Homepage

    ...looking for free alternatives to overpriced stuff. News at 11.

    Nothing new really. We know Microsoft is going to die sooner or later. They've had their run in the industry but just like the RIAA their current models don't work well anymore in the current economies so they'll either adapt or die kicking and screaming in the courtroom. They chose the latter (just like the RIAA) because it seems to be the easiest way out (short term goals). The other way requires retooling and reshaping a lot of company structure, eliminating unnecessary management.

  • Wait, what? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sinbios (852437) on Tuesday March 10, 2009 @12:27AM (#27130773) Homepage

    The MCPs that don't go bankrupt in turn are moving headlong to Free Software

    Software resellers are moving headlong to Free Software? What is their business model supposed to be?

    I'm going to assume this line is trying to say "The MCPs that don't go bankrupt in turn are going to bankrupt themselves for the Free Software cause, for no particular reason".

    • Re:Wait, what? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Tuesday March 10, 2009 @12:36AM (#27130831) Journal
      TFA specifically mentioned that MS licences were, historically, loss leaders that the MCPs used to drive service/support sales. Presumably, FOSS will be the (smaller) loss leader instead, with the added perk of not being locked into any contract.

      TFA isn't a masterpiece of unbiased discourse; but that part is fairly clear.
    • Re:Wait, what? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Hooya (518216) on Tuesday March 10, 2009 @12:51AM (#27130891) Homepage

      From what I gathered from the article, most MCPs were selling licenses at a loss anyhow since that is how they could compete with the other MCPs - all with the hope that they could make that up in support contracts.

      If that's true, then they were starting with a loss - and sold support.

      Why not start at $0 and sell support?

  • by kzieli (1355557) on Tuesday March 10, 2009 @12:28AM (#27130777) Homepage

    OpenOffice.org from Microsoft Office. This switch is easy because not only is OpenOffice.org superior software in every respect, itâ(TM)s also feature-compatible with Microsoft Office

    Hm. no Can't agree with Open Office being superior. At the least a significant amount of re-learning is require. I know every time I use it I find it a frustrating experience.

    And no if Word is the baseline then OO Writer is not feature complete. Once I learnt to use it the outline view in Word was the killer feature, which made editing large documents doable. Without outline view I could not imagine working on documents of a comparable size.

    As for spreadsheets their are two keybindings I need. Insert current data and insert current time. Apparently their are third party macros for this. But tts something that's never available without additional effort when I try to use calc.

    So no OpenOffice is not a simple drop-in replacement for Microsoft Office. Then Again if it where a drop-in replacement then Microsoft would undoubtedly be suing.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 10, 2009 @01:05AM (#27130971)

    So let me get this straight; several MCPs in Iceland decided to dance with the devil, buying three-year software contracts from Microsoft for Office and some other applications. After purchasing said contracts directly from Microsoft, these MCP then turned around and sold the same contracts to other companies in Iceland, charging an annual fee to those companies while, I imagine, paying Microsoft on some type of installment plan. Now, when the economy tanks and the folks who paid last year aren't around this year when the bill comes due, these MCPs are surprised, shocked if you will, that Microsoft wants them to pay for the contracts they purchased directly from Microsoft? Truly, am I missing something here?

    It doesn't take even a back-of-the-envelope calculation to see that, if you buy a three year contract from vender 'A' and sell it with an annual maintenance fee to customer 'B', you have in fact become a creditor for customer 'B'. It should therefore come as no surprise to these MCPs that, yes, Microsoft really does want them to pay for the contracts they purchased from Microsoft. I can't imagine anyone at Microsoft stuck a gun to their heads and said, "Sell Microsoft software contracts or die." If you dance with the devil, and willingly did business with Microsoft, than you'd better be prepared to pay for the software contracts you purchased from the company.

    Perhaps I'm just not enough of a Microsoft-hater, but I fail to see the 'skull fucking' here. What I do see is an angry rant from, I assume, someone who's likely receiving calls from bill collectors in Redmond. I'm sorry that MCP thing didn't work out for you, and if you want to switch from plugging Microsoft products to promoting Open Source Software, than more power to you. But please don't ask me to overlook the poor business decision you made in becoming a de-facto creditor to your customers. If you don't like the way Microsoft does business in Iceland, you don't have to join their game. Take your marbles and go play in some other park with rules more suitable to your taste.

    • MCPs and Banksters (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Savage-Rabbit (308260) on Tuesday March 10, 2009 @08:01AM (#27132847)

      It doesn't take even a back-of-the-envelope calculation to see that, if you buy a three year contract from vender 'A' and sell it with an annual maintenance fee to customer 'B', you have in fact become a creditor for customer 'B'. It should therefore come as no surprise to these MCPs that, yes, Microsoft really does want them to pay for the contracts they purchased from Microsoft. I can't imagine anyone at Microsoft stuck a gun to their heads and said, "Sell Microsoft software contracts or die." If you dance with the devil, and willingly did business with Microsoft, than you'd better be prepared to pay for the software contracts you purchased from the company.

      You must have noticed the financial party we have been having for the last few years. Why should MCPs be any more sensible than the rest of us? Being sensible wasn't fashionable. The MPCs, like almost everybody else, have been busy buying into the mass delusion that boom lasts forever and recession is a thing of the past. When people are partying anybody being sensible isn't listened to and that usually doesn't change until the partygoers get a major reality check such as being arrested for drunk driving. In Iceland that reality check came in October 2008 in the rest of the world it will probably sink in more slowly.

      Perhaps I'm just not enough of a Microsoft-hater, but I fail to see the 'skull fucking' here. What I do see is an angry rant from, I assume, someone who's likely receiving calls from bill collectors in Redmond. I'm sorry that MCP thing didn't work out for you, and if you want to switch from plugging Microsoft products to promoting Open Source Software, than more power to you. But please don't ask me to overlook the poor business decision you made in becoming a de-facto creditor to your customers. If you don't like the way Microsoft does business in Iceland, you don't have to join their game. Take your marbles and go play in some other park with rules more suitable to your taste.

      What usually happens in a situation like this is that the distributor and the supplier reach an agreement where some of the debt is perhaps written off and the rest is paid back according to some sort of payment plan. The idea being that you as a manufacturer of a product are better off taking a hit which isn't good but results in the survivial of the network of distributors that you have built up over decades. If you don't do this the competition will swoop down and soak up your market share faster than you can say "negative EBITA". With a whole slew of IT people being unemployed you can rest assured that if Microsoft starts killing off MCPs, dozens of FOSS start-ups will pop up like mushrooms on a forest floor over the next few years to take their place and compete with Microsoft. These MCPs are companies with massive experience in selling MS products, servicing them and lobbying government into buying MS products instead of deploying FOSS. For Microsoft the party is over for the time being just like it is for their customers. Over the last few years Microsoft's corporate customers have become accustomed to burning through borrowed money as if it was firewood but over the foreseeable future that will change. Businesses will be lucky if they can get any credit at all and that, more than anything else, will make FOSS a more attractive option. I am not saying that FOSS will take over the European software market but Microsoft could lose some ground if they don't play their cards right.

  • Uhmmm. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Evil Shabazz (937088) on Tuesday March 10, 2009 @02:17AM (#27131291)
    Certainly I'm no expert in Icelandic contract law, but frankly, why is this any different than any other form of reseller?

    If I am a local grocer (the MCP) in a town, and I have just bought 10 tons of corn from the local farm (Microsoft) on agreement to pay for the corn over the next 3 years, but then suddenly all the area folks (other local businesses) cannot afford to buy corn from me anymore - what kind of nonsense suddenly absolves me of having to pay for the corn?

    Sure, maybe Microsoft could be doing more negotiating on the contracts to help keep people in business - but guess what? They're a business too. Just because you don't like them doesn't make their contracts any less valid. Just because it's software and not a commodity doesn't make the contracts any less valid. If you take on the risk (the agreement to pay over 3 years, assuming you have revenue to pay for those 3 years), and your risk goes sour - you damned well better have to eat your sour grapes.

    Incidentally, that's what is wrong with the bailouts in the US - the US goverment - ie, G W "Idiotboy" Bush and his Republican cronies told all the Wall Street CEOs - take on all the risk you want with other peoples' money, we got your back if it goes bad.
  • by evilandi (2800) <andrew@aoakley.com> on Tuesday March 10, 2009 @05:18AM (#27132007) Homepage

    The population of Iceland is less than 350,000, barely as big as a medium-sized town. It's less than a single pixel on Microsoft's profit graph. I bet that not only do they not care about Icelandic MCPs going bust, but they don't care if the whole country - all 350,000 of them - does or does not use Microsoft software.

  • by chord.wav (599850) on Tuesday March 10, 2009 @08:39AM (#27133069) Journal

    MCPs: That was never a condition of our agreement...
    Darth Bill: Perhaps you think you're being treated unfairly?
    MCPs: ...No.
    Darth Bill: Good, because it would be unfortunate if I had to leave a Ballmer here

As far as we know, our computer has never had an undetected error. -- Weisert

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