M.Simons on Fri, 5 Sep 2003 12:02:05 -0400

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Re: [PLUG] Microsoft Run High School?

On Fri, 5 Sep 2003, William H. Magill wrote:
> On Friday, September 5, 2003, at 10:07 AM, Craig Brennan wrote:
> Once again, however, "Microsoft's contribution will not be monetary,
> but in services worth millions of dollars, including a full-time

> Didn't Microsoft get dragged through the courts recently about this
> kind of "non-monetary" contribution ... especially in the Education
> Market?

I don't think so. I think you're talking about the case where they had to
pay a settlement (for something, I forget what) and they tried to say
"We'll pay in software, expertise..." etc.. in this case, there is no
legal issue. (Unless you are talking about rules about government
aqusitions, bidding, etc.)  They're welcome to give away whatever in
services, etc. they wish.  I would also wonder about ethical
experimentation and privacy rights.  Clearly they are using this as an
opportunity to study the impact of technology in a real world
environment (real school), and learn from that/make 'better' products as a

As far as whether other OS'es will be allowed, of course not. I'm sure
it's in their agreements.  Just like when Coke or Pepsi was signing
exclusivity contracts with schools & universities that the school would
only sell their products on campus.  I DID mind this when I was going to
Uni and my school signed a contract to this effect, because it limited my
choices.  However, in relation to this case I don't mind this sort of
closed-system experimentation, I think it's certainly understandable to
try to see how education adapts and uses the advanced and ubiquitous
computing tools.  It is certainly understandable that it would be much
easier to study and quantify data from a seamlessly integrated system.  It's
also understandable that they will attempt to use this for marketing.

I'd also like to see however, what they do, if anything, when a student
brings in his non-MS laptop, pda, or whatever, and surfs the net, or
surruptiously installs a non MS-os on a wired computer, whether it be one
of the schools, or one brought in.  Or maybe if the students want to form
a FLOSS or LUG, or other non-MS-computing related student club.

Now, I did initially get the wrong idea of this based on the Slashdot
post.. I thought MS was ponying up a lot more money, technology, and
software than they probably are, but based on reading the article on
the phila inky's site, I see that this doesn't seem to be the case, or be
implied at all, it appears that either I'm just too tired and didn't read
it well, or the Slashdot submitter had access to another source of
information besides the Inky.  What it looks like to me is that the school
district is paying a lot of money for a high-tech school, and Microsoft is
throwing in an in-house salesma--- errr, I mean, CONSULTANT, for free.

When I first saw this based on the Slashdot posting's spin (there is
either clear spin, or serious misreading of the article), I just thought
"cool!" [note: I haven't read any of the Slashdot discussion on this one.]
I still kinda think cool.. although not as cool cause M$ isn't ponying
up as much money/tech as I originally thought.  It's not like the school
district has signed up for an exclusive contract over any more schools than
this one (although I could understand them having at least one school at
each level and am actually surprised they didn't do this with an
elementary school) so in effect they don't limit student's choice.

Hey, when we went to school, it was either no computers, or Apple.
(Eventually my highschool did get a classroom of IBM-Clones for the
business track.. I never did find out what they taught in there besides
secretarial skills.)

I wonder what Paul Hampel thinks.
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