BMOC: Big Microsoft On Campus

from the is-this-really-that-big-of-a-deal? dept

theodp writes “Microsoft’s five-year, $500+ million campus giveaway has prompted 6,000 academics at 1,000 schools to step up and drink the MS Kool-Aid, raising concerns that curriculum and academic integrity will be offered up to the highest bidder. At MIT, aeronautical design classes use Flight Simulator, EE and CS profs rely on PowerPoint to put their courses online, and the educational network is undergoing a .Net overhaul. MIT profs were among 350 faculty members who enjoyed the recent three-day, expenses-paid Microsoft Research Faculty Summit for the software giant’s academic partners. The profs stayed at the Hyatt, took a Lake Washington boat cruise, and dined on tables decorated with fresh peach lilies as Bill Gates pitched the teaching of Microsoft Office to IT majors.” This isn’t necessarily new, and I’m not sure it’s as big a deal as everyone is making it out to be. It does raise some concerns where curriculum is specifically changed. However, for the most part, I see donations to schools as a good thing.

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Comments on “BMOC: Big Microsoft On Campus”

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Anonymous Coward says:

No Subject Given

The unspoken base assumption appears to be that academics would otherwise be free of biases imposed by their funding sources. Pardon me while I laugh uproariously.

The overwhelming majority of university professors are dependent on grants for their funding, and are already doing whatever it takes to get funded, both in what they study and what equipment and software they use to do their work.

Generous grants of money, equipment and software are the historic norm for computer science, electrical engineering and IT departments at colleges and universities. The reason Unix is so prevalent in academic computing is that AT&T, HP, DEC and others made it easily available to those academics. Microsoft seems to be fighting fire with fire here.

Munich says:

Re: Re: Just a Larger Program of Other Companies

Look at the top tech companies in the U.S. and try to find one that DOESN’T have a University program that includes everything from free tools (want a Motorola emulator?), software (need a TI C++ compiler?), “training classes” (need to understand the latest in VLIW programming?), to funded research (almost everyone directly or indiretly), expensed paid trips (less prevalent, but out there), dinners, internships for certain grad students, design contests, and other creative programs.

Company motives range from establishing market share to training future employees, to tyring to get insight in new technologies. University motives are usually monetary related, either direct, or indirect, and it never hurt to feed the ego of the dean of engineering with a free trip and food.

Basically a win-win relationship for all involved.

Oliver Wendell Jones (profile) says:


For all intents and purposes, gave hardware and software to schools at ridiculously low prices to try and lock in a market – people who use one OS usually stick with that OS. People respect Apple, so this was a ‘good thing’.

Tries to do the same thing, but people don’t like Microsoft, so this is a ‘bad thing’.

LittleW0lf says:

Re: Comparison

Tries to do the same thing, but people don’t like Microsoft, so this is a ‘bad thing’.

At the risk of sounding like a Microsoft basher (I personally have problems with the company, not with the product persae, except that its security flaws are what keeps me employed), Microsoft certainly hasn’t gone out of their way to change this attitude.

Apple had always given the public image of an academic company, run by techies with hearts. When Apple announced the non-support of the Apple II line and the Apple Mac Classic lines, there was a huge uproar against Apple, yet Apple went out of their way to make sure that while the decision to non-support these products were final, they’d make every attempt to see that their loyal customers were treated fairly. They may have scored a few negative points, but they were quick to score a much larger number of brownie points.

Microsoft has always (even back when they were writing Microsoft Games for the Apple IIe,) given of the aire of a large, uncaring, greedy company. Remember it was billg himself that announced to the Apple IIe community that their “pirating” of his assembler was evil and wrong, and that they should be paying him for its use (whether it was ethically correct or not, he made more than a few enemies that day.) He has been shrude to allow piracy when it suited him, but quick to act when it no longer suited his goals.

Whether or not this is a reason to hate him is beside the point. Microsoft has burned a large number of bridges (and, also, the first unrepentent and largely unpunished monopolizer,) and that is why it is hated.

I personally do not have a problem with Microsoft for these reasons. My biggest beaf with them is the fact that they think they own the world, and that without their existance, the world would fail to exist. And you know, they just might be right on that one. They treat their customers as though they are God’s gift to humanity, and they definately have a founded apathy towards the justice system.

However, Microsoft is not number one, or number two, or even number five on my list of the most evil companies. My sites are firmly affixed on Larry Ellison’s company (Oracle,) as the number one, most evil organization of all time. Anyone who can, with a straight face, lie to you (1. sure, Oracle is secure, there is absolutely no way to break it, or 2. Oracle’s Mary Anne Davidson’s remark that “it depends on what the definition of is is.”), steal from you (1. California, 2. “Oracle is unbreakable, so in order to get the patch for Oracle that keeps you from being rooted, you have to either pay the $15,000/yr support contract or kiss my ring”), and then make you feel that it was your fault qualifies for the number one position.

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