Clarifying Some Terms In The MS I-Café Program

The Microsoft I-Cafe Program in which I had five (5) previous posts in this blog is getting to be a controversial topic at ULOP Forum.  The reason for this is not because it is still unclear to many forumers who are i-café owners themselves but because some of them are “trying to read between the lines” and putting forward some negative insinuations in the otherwise advantageous program for the industry. This being the case, many issues raised in the said forum are not worthy of replies by well-meaning members who were only trying to help but were even unfoundedly accused of making personal gains out of the program. Because of lost of patience or otherwise,  some well-meaning members of the forum decided to quit replying unilaterally to all recent queries.

The above-described incident is especially unfortunate for those who have valid issues that need to be clarified and for this reason, I am writing down here some clarifications we got from the program handler in Microsoft Philippines on a meeting held this afternoon. Below are what I consider to be valid issues raised in the referred forum and the Microsoft representative’s reply:

  1. Default Settings – Those who will join the Microsoft I-Café Program will have to sign a two-page marketing agreement which, aside from serving as the Rental Rights License (RRL) for the software availed by the i-café owner, would also require having Internet Explorer 8 as the default browser, Windows Live Messenger as the default instant messaging system and Bing as the default search engine on units where Windows 7 is installed. However, the agreement does not prohibit the i-café owner to install and use Mozilla Firefox, Yahoo Messenger, Google and the like.
  2. Third-Party Software Monitoring – Other than the Windows 7 operating system and Office 2007 productivity suite that are supplied by Microsoft, no other application or utility software will be monitored by the company under the program. This confirmation should allay fear that the settings described above would intrude into the privacy of the i-cafés and thereby collect data on other software that they have in their systems.
  3. Order Processing Time – The Microsoft’s distribution network had devised a procedure in qualifying the i-cafés who will avail of the program which could issue approval instantly to those who are in their eligibility list to as long as 2 to 5 working days for those who will be required to submit the specified photos and documents.
  4. Eligibility List – This is not a comprehensive list of i-cafés currently operating in the country but rather just a short one containing the data of i-cafés who had purchase history with the company or had attended past events sponsored by Microsoft Philippines.

The above clarifications may not have sufficiently answered the valid issues raised but let us understand that the program is a work in progress so not all answers are available at the moment. The Microsoft representative promised to inform us of their official replies as they become available.  I am ready to reply on queries that I could ably handle so I request that you ask them here.

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