Australian Commonwealth Government expenditure on Microsoft product licensing

An email thread on the CLUG list got me curious about expenditure on Microsoft products by the Australian Commonwealth Government. It turns out the new Rudd government requires all departments to list all contracts over $100,000 on their website twice a year (admittedly I was tipped off to this by yet another mail thread, this one on the Link mailing list). So I dug through and pulled out the details. Note that where it wasn’t possible to determine what the expenditure was for I left it out — for example it seems many departments buy IT licenses from a reseller, and those are reported as lump sums. Sometimes I have included consulting services as well, which might not be 100% fair.

This only took about an hour to generate, which was much easier than I realized.

Department Expenditure Source URL
Parliament House $740,040 Source
Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Source
Attorney General’s $1,046,133
Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy Source
Department of Defense $469,700
Source for Defense
Source for DMO
Education, Employment and Workplace Relations $4,500,000
Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts Source
Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs
Finance and Deregulation Source
Foreign Affairs and Trade Source
Health and Ageing $340,560
Human Services Source
Immigration and Citizenship $2,149,930 Source
Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government Source
Innovation, Industry, Science and Research $425,676
Prime Minister and Cabinet $543,000 Source
Resources, Energy and Tourism Source
The Tresury
Total: $35,080,973

As best as I can tell, that’s for a six month period. If correct, that would make the use of Microsoft software about a $70 million decision annually.

Microsoft taints bloggers with free laptops… or, whiney bitches win again!

A guy I know from Canberra (he was a consultant and we were a consultee last time we met, please note that the consultation was at a Microsoft centric ISV, and paid for by Microsoft. Then again, we never took any of the advice because our management at the time still feel that the Internet is a passing fad and wouldn’t know a current trend if it jumped out and bit them) scored a free laptop from Microsoft.

The premise is that it’s a 64 bit laptop running Vista, and he’s meant to be so astounded by it’s coolness that he blogs all about it. There no risk of that occurring, he’s pretty much in Microsoft’s pocket anyways.

Then again, he’s so much in Microsoft’s pocket that he’s a MVP. There is no perception of bias there — everyone knows he works for a Microsoft backed consultancy, is an MVP, and gets back rubs from Frank Arrigo, Microsoft Australia’s head developer back rubber (full disclosure again, Frank used to be my assigned Microsoft ISV buddy — apparently that meant that we both took it in turns to ignore email from each other).

Back to the story. So, some other bloggers noticed that they hadn’t got laptops for free, perhaps because they are whiney bitches, and raised a stink. Unfortunately Microsoft doesn’t have the courage of their convictions, and have now asked those bloggers to get rid of the machines after writing some reviews.

Get a grip people. Microsoft, you should be ashamed of backing down. Blogosphere, you should investigate the perception of bias a bit more before making random accusations. Frank, where’s my back rub?!?

Anyways, here’s what I said in a comment on Mitch’s blog:

(long time no see).
I’d kinda assumed that the machine was a standard “kick back” to Microsoft MVPs — you are still one, right?
While I wont say I’m a big Microsoft supporter (I work for a competitor, have been using Linux for the last 10 years, and am finally Windows free), it seems to me that it’s fair enough for Microsoft to provide training resources to MVPs. Don’t you also get flights to Redmond, copies of MSDN, a back rub from Frank?

It seems to me that most of the complaining comes down to jealousy. Especially if you disclosed the machine as a gift.
Oh, and Microsoft taking it back again (or dictating how to dispose of the machine) just leaves me with the impression that Microsoft lacks the courage of their convictions. Surely if individual bloggers thought there was a tainting issue they are big enough to resolve that for themselves without a mandate from above?

And unlike Microsoft, I stand by my opinion.

Choosing to be happy, and interested in your job

Adam Barr who is an on and off Microsoft employee has an interesting post in which he describes the role of being a networking test lab engineer for Windows NT. While the manner in which the testing was run probably explains some of the reliability issues that Windows had at that time (I can’t imagine it’s like this now), what I actually found the most interesting are the comments about how the relatively oppressed contractors had chosen to be happy, and be interested.

Quite a while ago I had a job in the public service where I basically ended up quite unhappy because of management changes. I guess I could have chosen to be happy, but instead I moved on. Perhaps being happy isn’t the solution to all problems.

Then again, I know that I’d much rather work with happy and interested people, so there is an element of truth here. I do think it’s true that the people who deal well will the adversity are the ones who are most likely to succeed.

Don’t get me wrong. There is also a difference between happiness and being cynical.

The What-If-Microsoft-Did-The-iPod-Box video done by Microsoft

Microsoft spokesman Tom Pilla on Tuesday confirmed with iPod Observer that his company initiated the creation of the iPod packaging parody video that was first reported last month. “It was an internal-only video clip commissioned by our packaging [team] to humorously highlight the challenges we have faced RE: packaging and to educate marketers here about the pitfalls of packaging/branding,” he said via e-mail.

I originally mentioned the video here, but that version of the video has gone away, and you can now find the video here.

Microsoft Australia’s profit

Microsoft Australia’s profit drops by 40%. Interesting given that I haven’t noticed a marked drop in their sales of desktops and office… The market has grown, and I suspect their share of that market has therefore fallen, but I didn’t realize that they were less profitable.

Is this because they’re not innovating fast enough and there are large gaps between product releases?

[icbm: dcs]

I can’t hold it in any longer

Eric Raymond claims to have had a job offer from Microsoft. He so hasn’t. If you actually read the letter he got sent (which he didn’t), it’s an invitation to apply. I’ve gotten these too, and if you go through the process the next step is a phone interview, possibly followed by a face to face. It just means they noticed he’s an engineer, not that they actually think he’s worth hiring.

Eric, get a grip.