Disallowing Windows XP Home In I-Cafés

The Microsoft I-Café Program recently launched by the software company in the Philippines disallows the use of Windows XP Home Edition as an operating system (OS) in i-cafés. This is contrary to the more than two-year old policy that Microsoft had granted to those who bought the software and were granted the Rental Rights Agreement (RRA) to legalize its use in their i-cafés. While it could be said that it was more of an accommodation on the part of the software company at that time when the price of XP Professional Edition was beyond reach of most i-café owners, the sudden change in the rule has raised protests by the same i-café owners who availed of XP Home and used it as their OS. They could not understand why they are now bunched with those who are using pirated software in the availment of the benefits spelled-out in the MS I-Café Program. They claimed and it is factual that they are on the right side of the law and were faithful Microsoft customers so why such discrimination under the program.

While I am on the side of XP Home users on this issue, let me also say that the appeal to the software company are not falling on deaf ears. Microsoft is now in the process of revising the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) of the program to make the rules on the implementation clearer and easier. The licensing compliance manager of the company promised to look into the issue and come out with the final decision soon. Let us understand that Microsoft is so big that a decision on issue like this is not easy to arrive at. They have to consider its implication not only on the Philippine market but to other countries as well.

Other than the above issue, the Microsoft I-Café Program seems headed to a win-win solution on the problem of software piracy in the i-café industry in the country. The price of PhP2,299 for Windows 7 is lower than the PhP3,000 requested by most i-café owners when a survey was done on the subject a few months back. And, of course, the price of PhP999 for Office 2007 came in as a big surprise to everyone. With these promo prices, it is hoped that compliance to anti-software piracy will rise to a level which cannot be attained even if the authorities conduct raids, left and right. I urged every i-café owner to seriously consider joining the Microsoft I-Café Program.

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