Joining The Microsoft I-Café Program

This is my third successive article on the same subject, the Microsoft I-Cafe Program. I really felt that the program is one of the best that Microsoft offered in order to entice i-café owners to legalize their operating and productivity software. The promo prices offered for Windows 7 and Office 2007 are attractively low and affordable by even the small i-cafés. The PhP2,299 for a Windows 7 and PhP999 for Office 2007 already include the Rental Rights License, which on countries where the I-Café Program is not offered, are already quoted at US$23 and US$45 respectively. The low prices and the procedures at which the software can be bought are reasons enough for even the die-hard pirates to legalize their i-café business operation. In the most commented forum thread that I started at, the few negative comments on program never mentioned about the prices but rather on small terms of the marketing program like having Internet Explorer as the default browser on the workstations of an i-café who will avail of the I-Café Program.

Let us now discuss who and how can an i-café owner avail of the genuine Windows 7 and Office 2007 with Rental Rights License at the published discounted prices. The 100-item FAQs that Microsoft posted regarding the various terms and conditions of the I-Café Program are sufficient for an i-café owner to fully understand the initiative but for the sake of those who do not have much time to read the 30-page document, I am outlining below the “who can” and “how to” avail of the benefits of the program (I also included my short comments on some of the qualifications laid down in the program):

A) Who can avail of the Microsoft I-Café Program?

1. Any i-café owner whose business is legally registered with the Department of Trade and Industries (DTI) or the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and his local government unit and needing to legalize at least five (5) licenses, combination of Windows operating system and Office productivity suite, can avail of the program. It will not matter what kind of pirated MS software are installed on their existing units. Linux users who want to convert to Windows are also qualified to avail of the program.

2. Only genuine Windows XP Professional Edition and MS Office 2007 currently installed on i-café units are allowed by the I-Café Program to be issued Rental Rights Licenses to be bought by its owner. This qualification by the program excludes the genuine Windows XP Home Edition which was allowed by Microsoft to be used in i-cafés by virtue the Rental Rights Agreement (RRA) it issued in the past years. I personally feel that this disqualification of the genuine XP Home is unfair to i-café owners who had legally complied with the Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Law of our country. Why would these “legal users” be bunched with the “software pirates” by the very same software maker that they patronized? A revision of the rule must be done by Microsoft on this matter.

B) How Can An I-Café Owner Avail Of The Program?

1. The i-café owner who qualifies to the program based on the above criteria must approach an authorized Microsoft Reseller of the I-Café Program for their requirements. The authorized reseller would then forward the information to an MS distributor who will check if the i-café owner is in the eligibility list prepared by Microsoft in coordination with local government units (LGUs) and concerned national agencies. Those in the eligibility list can readily avail of the software they need under the program while those who are not in the list must follow the procedure in the next paragraph.

2. The i-café owner who wants to avail of the software offered by the program but not in the eligibility list must submit the following to the authorized MS reseller so that his purchase request will be processed:

a) Interior and exterior pictures of the Internet café

b) SEC registration or DTI permit

c) Mayor’s permit or Barangay clearance

For the details of the ordering process, you can download the procedure at Take note that the Microsoft I-Café Program does not stop at legalizing the pirated software in i-cafés. It has more other benefits attached to it which I will discuss in my future blogs. By the way, the discounted prices of Windows 7 and Office 2007 are available under the program until May 26, 2010 only.

PS: The link to 100-item FAQs is temporarily broken due to revisions being done by Microsoft. I shall delete this postscript when they re-post it.

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