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Microsoft Backs Law Banning Google Apps From Schools

From The Register:

Microsoft is backing a bill in Massachusetts that would effectively force schools to stop using Google Apps, or any other service that uses students' data.

"Any person who provides a cloud computing service to an educational institution operating within the State shall process data of a student enrolled in kindergarten through twelfth grade for the sole purpose of providing the cloud computing service to the educational institution and shall not process such data for any commercial purpose, including but not limited to advertising purposes that benefit the cloud computing service provider," the bill states.

The proposed legislation was introduced by state representative Carlo Basile (D-East Boston), and Microsoft has said it is supporting it, using the old canard of wanting to protect children from harm. Blocking Google and other providers that use an ad-funded service model is just a side benefit, it seems.

Google's progress in providing web applications for business and government is also cutting into Microsoft's bottom line. In the latter case, Google ended up going to court after the Department of the Interior forgot to mention that it would only consider Microsoft cloud applications. Mountain View won the 90,000-seat contract, at a price considerably less than Microsoft was charging.

Productivity web-app sales are still smaller than the sales of boxed software, but that won't last forever. The US government has said it wants to shift the bulk of its IT spending from boxed code to cloud applications, and many businesses and organizations are following suit.

Redmond should sell on its strengths, not try and lock out competition by supporting such moves as this Massachusetts law.

not in ohio
·Verizon FiOS

1 edit
I'm in favour of keeping advertising out of our schools [that I help pay for], and against using data about students for commercial purposes. That doesn't seem like a bad provision. Students are bombarded with enough commercialism as it is.

Of course, given the Coca-Cola adverts that adorn sports fields throughout the commonwealth, it's a little too little too late on that front.

But still, just because a law happens to benefit Microsoft, that doesn't give sufficient reason to oppose it. Likewise,
Student privacy should not be for sale. Period.
is a pretty decent operating principle, even if we suspect the motives of the guy that said it.

Built for Speed
Fort Wayne, IN
·Frontier Communi..

1 recommendation

reply to FF4m3
said by FF4m3 :

From The Register:

... Redmond should sell on its strengths, not try and lock out competition by supporting such moves as this Massachusetts law.

As if Google, Apple, and so many other big members of the corporate universe don't themselves use every legal venue and lever of legislative influence to tilt governmental/legal power in their own directions. It's become a never-ending, pitched battle between dinosaurs... with all the rest of us trying desperately not to get crushed with the thrashing tails or stomped by the huge legs, since we all have to live with the unintended consequences of whatever the outcome of the contests. Bills like these should pass or fail on their own merits or flaws, independent of the preferences or the likes/dislikes of Microsoft, Google, Apple and the whole lot of them...
“The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money.” A. de Tocqueville

Allen Falcon

reply to FF4m3
The irony of this legislation is that it will have NO impact on the use of Google services in schools. Google Apps for Education already meets FERPA standards, which are much more rigorous than the proposed legislation.

The Gates Foundation, however, is funding a massive EDU database service that collects information including social security numbers, special needs, and other PII and PHI. This service maintains the right to sell student information to commercial entities.