Chile: A Controversial Agreement with Microsoft

There is a feeling among Chilean bloggers that the agreement signed between the Economy Minister, Alejandro Ferreiro and Craig Mundie, Chief Research and Strategy Officer de Microsoft Corporation on May 9th is not good for Chile. The title of this post written by Christian in elfrancotirador [ES] explains the situation in a simple way:

“Chicos, ¿qué me dirían si les cuento que desde hoy, los 15 millones de chilenos (todos) vamos a ser usuarios de Microsoft… lo queramos o no. Lo imaginé.

¿Y qué tal si agrego al paquete que, en adelante, realizar cualquier trámite estatal o municipal requerirá el uso de software Microsoft? Pero no nos conformemos. Sumen que toda la educación chilena será ejecutada sobre plataformas Microsoft y que -no conforme con eso- cada estudiante matriculado de nuestro país se convertirá en “cliente preferencial” de la empresa.”

Guys: what would you say if I told you that starting today that the 15 million of Chileans will (all) be users of Microsoft, even if we wanted to or not? That's what I thought.
And, what if I added, that from now on, to make any state or municipal transaction will require the use of Microsoft software? Don’t be content with this beacause in addition, the entire Chilean education system will be carried out through the Microsoft platform-and that's not it, but every registered student of our country will turn into a “preferential client” of the company.

Microsoft buying Chilean citizen’s information?

Carlos in diabloendetalles [ES] give us some extract of the agreement (ES):

The common creation of a “space” where the citizens have access to all the relevant notification information and interaction with the public institutions

Microsoft commits to supply 15 million users the platform Live (mail, Messenger, Spaces and mobile) for the mail service, instant communication, blogs and the access to them from mobiles for free. Microsoft agrees to assume the operational cost and administration of the infrastructure associated.

For many, this agreement continues to get worse and worse. The Economy Ministry also commits to give the information from the Internal Revenue Service to charge the citizens’ accounts. As Fayerwayer [ES] explains, Microsoft also commits to teach all the Chileans between 18 and 35 to use Windows, Word, Explorer and the rest of the Microsoft platform.

No a usar un computador, no a usar un procesador de texto, no a navegar la web, sino más bien a utilizar sus productos y únicamente sus productos — ¡gracias Microsoft!

Not to use a computer, not to use a data processor, not to use the web, rather only use their products and only their products- Thank you Microsoft!

Other view of the agreement is from Rodrigo Walker [ES], that the agreement should have been done through a public bidding, but which also ruled out the chance of free software.

Blogger reactions didn't wait, “The Front of Digital Liberation” [ES] is a movement that was created to alert, inform and report on all the digital development decisions. This initiative was created as a reaction of the agreement with Microsoft. Bloggers can support this initiative that has all ready 738 signatures.

To track the forums discussion (all in Spanish): Tarreo and Atina Chile


  • […] Global Voices Online – Chile: A Controversial Agreement with Microsoft […]

  • Alejandro Nova

    This agreement is only a bunch of empty promises, from both parts, written in a very misfortuned language. Microsoft basically promises to give all of us Hotmail, and the Chilean Economy minister promises to “do his best to promote e-government, security and digital instruction”. In other words, the only worthwhile points in that agreement are an offer by Microsoft of software for students and a program to teach 30.000 teachers to use MS Office. There is no mandatory clause to force all chileans to give up their info to MS, no clause for our state to force us to use Windows Live for our government-related tasks, and definitely, they haven’t sold our asses.

    We have to watch them if they want to do so, and I salute the new Front for Digital Liberation.

  • I have been trying to login onto my hotmail account for ages, and I have been getting this message *Server Temporarily Unavailable* all afternoon… Imagine when ALL the Chileans have an hotmail account by default!

  • I don`t have the time to translate it all to English, but here I posted the entire agreement plus questions and comments, so everyone can have it handy.

  • There are three key points to consider in this case:

    1. Chile became the first ‘national client’ of Microsoft: I believe is the first time in history a whole country was taken as one customer. This is of course an experiment. Other countries should be ready from now: Yours may be the next Microsoft Nation.

    2. Whole areas of public policy such as education, local government, employment, innovation, and so on, will be captured by Microsoft. No public bid or competition by other companies took place. Yes, it sounds like a bad joke.

    3. Good bye neutrality: today several government websites and services already operate under a only-with-microsoft policy. The future will be harder for those using Mac or any Linux based system. Not to mention for those that wanted to have a business or a career developing software in non-microsoft systems.

    Overall: a sad day for the technological future of a nation that is usually taken as an example of a successful developing country.

    Yet, we still believe this agreement can be stop. Luckily, there is a growing web-based movement ( that is fighting this battle. And that seems to be all we have right now. That, and hope.

    Greetings from Chile

    Luis Ramirez

  • […] microsoft con el gobierno ha sido difundido en sitios mega-conectados como el blog de Enrique Dans, Global Voices, El Pais (España) y Smart […]

  • […] en Chile contra Microsoft: El Mundo (Spain) reports (as Truth Happens and (Hearing) Global Voices Online have also noted). The density of tropes related to the “rhetoric of the technological […]

  • Is the Front for Digital Liberation, aka, the Movement for Digital Liberation (Movimiento de Liberacion Digital), and this issue finally a wake up call to all the passive chileans who have been accustomed to getting their civil rights stomped on in Post-Pinochet Chile?

    La alegria ya vino, y nos sobrepaso…

    Although..the total of 1427 signatures turned into the president may not seem like a lot, the firestorm of opinions and quick mobilization of angry citizens furious that their country and lefty president just sold her soul to the devil of all devils, is worth gold.

  • […] Global Voices Online has made a summary of some of the internet reactions, and has interesting commentary by Chileans. […]

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