Thursday, January 24, 2008

Why I think Bill Gates' call for a kinder capitalism rings hollow

Despite, Bill Gates call: "We have to find a way to make the aspects of capitalism that serve wealthier people serve poorer people as well" there is one reason I doubt his conviction. There is capitalism the Bill Gates way and there is capitalism of another nature -- software piracy. Software pirates after all are entrepreneurs too and there is no doubt that Microsoft works hard at destroying their livelihoods.

Microsoft sells Microsoft Office for over $300. If Bill Gates were serious about technology helping the poor, he can use Microsoft's clout to do so. If he believes that the poor can be helped by cheaper technology then he can give it away for free or charge $1. Every time a new version of MSOffice is released, I challenge Microsoft to make the earlier release available for free or for $1. This is of course, if he really believes that technology can help the poor. Or if he believes that producing software for the poor can be profitable, then he can charge $1. Or he can recruit all the would be software pirates to be his distributors.

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