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This Week in Reader E-Mails

OK, so we already snuck a few in on you with the last entry. Well, here are some more. RCPU got an absolute bumper crop this week, so we'll run a few now and save the rest for next week. To those who took time to write, we offer our thanks, as always.

On Microsoft's offer of $3 Windows to students in developing nations, Mackey says it's a great idea:

"I host foreign exchange students, and they tell me that most of the OSes are pirated and cost very little (the cost that malware brings with it does not matter to them). If they have a chance to get a legitimate copy, they would pay the $3 even though they can get Linux free. Hopefully, this will put some of the pirates out of business and slow the malware."

And Nafees writes to us from Pakistan, where he says folks will be thrilled to get their hands on legitimate software almost for free:

"I am a student and also working in a textile firm. Most of the people in Pakistan use pirated copies of Windows and every other software like Microsoft Office because, as you know, it's a poor country, so people can't afford $150 Windows or more costly office software. It will be a great step for Microsoft to help and motivate people to use legal and genuine software for just $3. It will help to create awareness and give confidence to a lot of young future IT professionals. You ask how people can buy $300 computers for $3 Windows. Let me inform you that most of the people in our country use old branded computers, which are imported to most of the European countries in containers. You can buy these computers for only $50, and most of the students use these computers. So I am glad that Microsoft is giving us an opportunity to use legal software and we'll not have to bear the shame of piracy and illegal software anymore."

And we're glad that you took the time to write, Nafees. This is the first e-mail we can remember getting from Asia, so it's good to see that our global influence is growing. As is Microsoft's, we suppose.

We got a couple of rapid-fire e-mails (seriously, minutes after the newsletter went out and not more than a couple of hours after the blog post went up) about Apple's juicy little stock scandal.

Brad suspects that former CFO Fred Anderson might have turned state's evidence on Steve Jobs:

"Suppose Fred Anderson was looking to make a deal, and offered to implicate Steve Jobs."

Brad, anything is possible, and nothing would surprise us. Of course, just as they were on "Dragnet," all suspects are innocent until proven guilty. (And, in this case, Jobs isn't even a "suspect," and Anderson slipped quietly into that fold between guilt and innocence by "settling" with the SEC. Ah, corporate justice.)

Colin, though, says that Apple might have much bigger problems than just looming scandals:

"More important than issues of fiscal oversight, you raise (once again, for Apple fans) the question of succession planning. Who can replace Jobs, and sustain Apple's mastery of the consumer IT market and, maybe more importantly, the public markets?

"Ever since U.S. v. Microsoft from '98-2000, the mother ship has had Ballmer as successor. Jack Welch made succession planning a very public process at GE, well before it was necessary. Most major corporations, and even some sovereign nations (in place of democratic elections, mind you) exercise succession planning well before the need hits them in the face.

"Except Apple (and Oracle, of course). Maybe this options mini-crisis is no more a threat to Jobs' tenure than his cancer. But as time ticks on, you have to wonder if Apple will weather a leadership storm -- and it will come -- with the same dexterity and class they have wielded in consumer tech and electronics market over the last 10 years."

We do wonder, Colin, and we thank you for your thoughts. Thanks again to all who took time to write. Keep those e-mails on just about any topic pouring in to lpender@rcpmag.com. And enjoy your weekend!

Posted by Lee Pender on 04/27/2007 at 1:20 PM


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