Last week MacCentral brought readers news about Apple’s response to the settlement proposed by Microsoft Corp. in U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland. Apple is poised to file a supplemental brief in court tomorrow, and CEO Steve Jobs has offered another statement about his company’s position on the issue.
Under the terms of the agreement, Microsoft would donate software, training services, refurbished computers and support to 14,000 of the nation’s poorest schools. Microsoft said that it wouldn’t put any limitations on what operating system platforms were supported, but admits that much of the software it plans to donate is Windows-compatible only.
The deal is valued at close to $1 billion, and has been criticized by sources including Apple for paving the way for Microsoft to gain a competitive edge to provide these schools with future products and services. Critics claim that despite Microsoft’s claims of platform-agnosticism, the deal would generate a dependency on Microsoft technology like Windows-compatible software and computers. The educational market is one where Apple maintains a very healthy percentage and the company is certainly not anxious to see Microsoft gain a leg up in that space.
The proposal has also drawn fire because it puts crucial aspects of how the resources will be distributed under the aegis of Microsoft itself.
In his latest statement, Jobs calls into question Microsoft’s valuation of the software they plan to provide and offers an alternative.
“The centerpiece of Microsoft’s proposed $1 billion civil antitrust settlement is their donation of Microsoft software, which they value at $830 million, to our schools,” said Jobs. “We think people should know that the actual costs to Microsoft for this donated software will likely be under $1 million. We think a far better settlement is for Microsoft to give their proposed $1 billion — in cash — to an independent foundation, which will provide our most needy schools with the computer technology of their choice.”