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BOLD 2003: Development and the Internet

Module I
Module II
Module III
Module IV
Module V


Choice B: (return to beginning)

Microsoft and Dell have agreed to provide their hardware/software, but have asked that you not accept donations from competitors and that you crack down on software piracy. They would like to encourage programmers to write software for their applications, but warn that derivative works will be strictly controlled and that software licenses may be revoked. Further, local industries are eager to participate in the international information economy, but find themselves hampered by out of date software applications. The computer software industry is caught in a cycle of reinventing the wheel as they develop improvements that are already reflected in more recent versions of the software. There is also some need for expensive Microsoft technical support to maintain the software which is not as stable as the open source OS. Worse, you have heard from other national ministers that hackers have exploited the many security flaws of MS systems and accessed highly sensitive government data. On the other hand, because Microsoft represents the global industry standard, access to even older versions of the software has facilitated the e-commerce initiatives of some local businesses and because more software applications are available for Microsoft products, a wider range of business initiatives have been made possible.

You would (click on one answer):

(i) agree to the proposed terms and propose a joint venture/licensing arrangement that would permit local programmers to create locally appropriate derivative works and translations.

(ii) agree to the proposed terms and bargain for a small number of the new computers equipped with the latest version of Microsoft’s software to set up a public computer lab in the capital city for local businesses and entrepreneurs.

(iii) reject the proposal.















Microsoft has agreed to a joint venture but insists that all derivative works will be owned by Microsoft, with the local programmers/entreprenuers receiving a royalty only. Microsoft has also limited its investment to $200,000 and insists that that amount must be payed back out of any revenues before any royalties are payable. You have yet to determine how the donated software/hardware will be deployed in the country. You have received a proposal from the Ministry of Education suggesting that elementary schools should be equipped with the computers and that the schools would in turn make these facilities open to the public in off hours. Local businesses and entrepreneurs are vehemently opposed to the plan, arguing that the resources should be distributed per a government run program to businesses that demonstrate need and a viable business plan.
As you make good on your promise to crack down on software piracy, you have lost the critical support of the business community (and are concerned about your prospects in the next election). (back to top)




















The government run computer lab is popular – too popular. As local businesses, students, programmers and ordinary citizens compete for the use of the lab, no one is adequately serviced and everyone is frustrated. Most users are not accessing useful information, but instead are using the Net to perpetuate credit card fraud by selling non-existent goods and engaging in email scams. Your country is now being placed on a black list by credit cards companies making it hard for legitimate local entrepreneurs to get merchant accounts. Each group is calling for the government to abandon its “first come, first serve” policy and 30 minute time limit and to allocate the resource more fairly or to the most productive use. Microsoft has compiled a list of 10 local businesses that it believes are engaging in software piracy and has demanded that you confiscate the software and imprison the perpetrators. (back to top)




















Go back to the beginning and select again.