“Microsoft has been mailing free copies of its pricey Office productivity software to government employees, but CNET News.com has learned that at least two federal agencies are warning recipients to return the gifts or risk violating federal ethics policies,” Ina Fried reports for CNET News.com.
“Since the launch of Office 2003 last year, Microsoft has given out tens of thousands of free copies of its flagship software, which retails for about $500, to workers at its biggest customers. The giveaway was expanded to government workers this year, but ethics offices at the Department of the Interior and Department of Defense have said the offers constitute unauthorized gifts and must be returned,” Fried reports. “The Department of the Army went a step further, calling on Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates to stop sending the software to Army personnel.”
“‘We ask that you cease immediately the mailing of free software, and other types of gifts, to the Department of the Army personnel,’ Deputy General Counsel Matt Reres said in a Feb. 19 letter seen by CNET News.com. ‘Your offer of free software places our employees and soldiers in jeopardy of unknowingly committing a violation of the ethics rules and regulations to which they have taken an oath to uphold.’ The issue comes up as many governments are looking at open-source alternatives for Office and the Windows operating system. The British government has been evaluating a switch to the Linux OS, while open-source software is also being eyed in Korea, China, India and even at some local agencies in the United States,” Fried reports.
Full article here.
MacDailyNews Take: First one’s free. Guess what happens next? What other types of “businesses” operate like this?