Not only did Japanese companies not respond favorably to McBride's Japan mission, the government of Japan now wants to develop open source software with China and Korea, so as avoid having to rely on Windows any longer:
Japan hopes to develop new computer software in cooperation with China and South Korea to make Asian economies less dependent on Microsoft Corp.'s Windows operating system, government officials said Sunday. You can only make people just so mad before they rebel.
The software would be built into computer servers and Internet-enabled appliances, such as next-generation cell phones, the officials said. Computer worms have been attacking Windows recently, prompting government offices and major companies to reconsider their heavy dependence on the operating system.
Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Takeo Hiranuma will propose the plan to his Chinese and South Korean counterparts during talks Wednesday on the sidelines of an expanded meeting of trade ministers from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in Phnom Penh.
CNETAsia makes it sound like a done deal:
Three North Asian countries are closer to signing a deal to co-develop an open-source operating system to replace Windows, according to the Japan news daily Nihon Keizai Shimbun.
I couldn't help but think about what my friend's VC hubby told me a couple of weeks ago over lunch about MS and China, that whatever China decides to use, that operating system will win the world, and not even MS has the power to change that. Why the switch? According to this CNETAsia story from July, they are sick of license fees and want to see and control the code:
The agreement is likely to be announced this week by Japanese Trade Minister Takeo Hiranuma at an economic ministers' meeting in the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh, said the report, quoting unnamed sources.
The deal will tie China, Japan and Korea in efforts to develop the software. Representatives from both private and government agencies will meet later this year to discuss the terms of the collaboration, said the report. . . .
Critical database and transaction servers at the core of the data center and the desktop PC are areas dominated by Unix and Microsoft Windows respectively. . . .A recent survey by research firm IDC revealed more than 50 percent of Asian servers run some flavor of Microsoft Windows. Although installed on only six percent of Asia-Pacific servers, Linux enjoyed the highest growth rate last year, more than double that of the next-fastest, Unix.
For countries with a strong manufacturing base such as China, Korea and Japan, Linux gives them a chance to create an operating system free of licensing fees and with full control over the source code. Also, for China and India, there is national pride in working with an operating system that has intellectual property not owned by an American company.
Speaking of Microsoft and licenses, it is announcing today that although it is altering its license terms, it won't be reducing the bulk prices for Office 2003:
While Microsoft has held the line on volume pricing, the new licensing provisions are intended to add value by giving volume customers new privileges and services. Options include free online training through Microsoft and accredited training partners; enhanced tech support; and access to Microsoft's bug-tracking information service, TechNet. Customers can also opt for a license that allows workers to install the same copy of Office on both an office and a home PC.
Imagine that. You can now install a copy of their software on two, count them, two computers. Like the Rev. Collins protesting, in Pride and Prejudice, about his patroness, the Lady Catherine, "that he had never in his life witnessed such behaviour in a person of rank -- such affability and condescension," we may be similarly overwhelmed by such generosity.
Unless, that is, we are accustomed to GNU/Linux systems, which we can install on everybody's computers on Planet Earth and on Mars too as it passes by, without violating any licenses, in which case we are more likely to say to Microsoft, That's it? That's your best offer?
Evidently in Japan, they have had it with greedo, one-sided proprietary licenses, not to mention the security issues and the viruses, and they mean to do something about it. This clearly will impact not only Microsoft but UNIX as well, which is "owned" by you know who.
This just couldn't be happening to a nicer bunch of fellows.