Microsoft South Africa MD’s facts about the banning of open source

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After the news of the South African Education Department banning Open Source software which caused Derek Keat’s server to crash, thousands of you came here and thanks to the managed WordPress Hosting this site is running on we saw the biggest traffic spike this year without any downtime ๐Ÿ™‚

It appears I have misrepresented the facts about this story and negatively portrayed Microsoft. Thanks to awesome fellows on the Microsoft 4Afrika Advisory Council an email conversation with Microsoft South Africa’s Managing Director, Mteto Nyati ensued.

Mteto Nyati is managing director of Microsoft South Africa. He is a strong and articulate advocate for the use of technology to help solve economic and social challenges, accelerate economic growth, create jobs and drive innovation to help businesses and governments compete effectively in the global economy. Since taking the role in September 2008, Mr Nyati has driven Microsoft South Africaโ€™s transformation to a company that enables a new wave of experiences for people and businesses by using a combination of devices and cloud-based services. This focus on devices and services drives the companyโ€™s business and its work with government and companies of all sizes. Mr Nyati was named as one of the Yale Universityโ€™s World Fellows on Global Leadership in 2004, which sparked a keen and abiding interest in the discipline of leadership, both in society and at a corporate level. He is involved in several leadership initiatives in South Africa and has written extensively on the subject. Mteto currently serves on the Board of the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry as well as on the American Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

These are hist facts about the standardisation of Microsoft Office use by matrics in South African Education department, verbatim.

Hi Rafiq,

I am afraid Derek has misrepresented the facts unfortunately at Microsoft expense.

The facts are:

– the department of basic education has standardized training and assessment of CAT & IT matric students on MS Office
– this decision was requested by teachers to align with market needs & facilitate mobility of matric students across schools
– South Africa government has not banned open source in fact it has FOSS policy
– there is no financial gain to Microsoft associated with this decision
– all public schools in SA already have a Microsoft license agreements

Sent from my Windows Phone

Kind regards
Mteto Nyati

There you have it. The South African Education Department has not banned open source. It was a decision to align with market needs and facilitate mobility of matric students across schools. My favourite fact is that Microsoft has no financial gain associated with this decision. I don’t really understand how Microsoft will have zero financial gain by standardising matric students on MS Office but Mr Mteto Nyati, the MD of Microsoft SA, has stated this as a fact so it cannot be false. I’d like to thank him for taking time to respond to my queries and trust this changes your perspective, to a more positive one, on the matter.

What are your thoughts on these facts?

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