Indonesia to pay Microsoft for pirated software

June 10, 2005

The government of Indonesia will be paying one dollar for each computer that the government is using with illegal software, the total number of computers is expected to be $50,000.

Microsoft has reached a deal with Indonesia over the tens of thousands of pirated versions of Windows programs used in government departments.</p>

Ministers said Microsoft had agreed an amnesty under which a token sum of one dollar will be paid for every computer found to be using illegal software.

In exchange, the government has promised to buy Microsoft merchandise legally in future. </strong>

This sounds like good news, but there are probably more governments out there that have resorted to using illegal software to cover for otherwise expensive software. For that reason alone, Open Source Software or Free Software would seem like a reasonable route for countries to take when deciding on their IT strategy. That said, there is a learning curve that needs to be surmounted when implementing any type of solution, and with the MS solution, I am assuming that MS will be providing support (now). Either way, my line of work involves helping people access more information that they need and connect with others via the Internet, so I have a great interest in the challenges of overcoming the digital divide either for economic reasons or for other reasons (eg. government censorship of the Internet in China). The Internet is an open, supposedly democratic place where anyone can gather information for free, provided that they can connect to it first.

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