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This is terrible news for the Philippines and represents a serious distortion of the truth. While governments in Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia have banded against ogranizations like the BSA and endorsed Opeon Source Initiatives country wide, The Philippine government is actually damaging the local IT economy by aiding these organizations.

Here are some facts:
Microsoft offers lower cost versions of Windows XP in 5 countries, including Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia. These versiosn sell for approximately $30.00. In the Philippines buying a full version of XP from a distributor is approximately $400-$500.00 (this is over double what the same license costs in the states) The only reason that Microsoft reduced their pricing in these countries is because they lost market share to government initiatives promoting open source software.

the figures from IDC are wrong and completely misreported. Few businesses here, including IT businesses can afford to purchase this software at US rates or higher. It doesn't even make economic sense since these products are priced based on foriegn economies. Enforcing these rules will not help drive software sales, it will simply stifle the already troubled IT sector further.

Instead of appluading the Philippine government for these actions we should be asking who's side they are on. No one stands to gain from these actions except for the BSA member companies (none of which are Filipino) and local distributors for these software products. The IT sector involved in creating software both for the local econonmy and abroad will be hit hard. And this is where the real growth is and focus should be.

Microsoft has demonstrated that the only places where they have lowered their prices have been in areas where the Government has actively stood against them. This is what has to be done here. The BSA should not be supported until the members of this association are able to offer prices that are affordable for the local economy.

For many organizations the only reasonable affordable alternative is to go open source. Which means that the resellers will still not make money from this, the BSA will not meet their objectives, and worst of all the member ogranizations of the BSA will continue to ignore the Philippines while they provide price breaks to all of their neighbors whose Governments stood up to the them.


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