Charity: Microsoft Australia lacks a heart

An Australian organisation which donates computers to disadvantaged kids has criticised Microsoft Australia for its alleged lack of charity.

SYDNEY (ZDNet Australia)--An Australian organisation which donates computers to disadvantaged kids has criticised Microsoft Australia for its alleged lack of charity.

Non-profit organisation PC’s for Kids has been installing old versions of Microsoft’s operating system on recycled computers to donate to disadvantaged kids in Australia and East Timor. Over the past two years the charity claims it has donated over 1000 computers.

According to PC’s for Kids president Colin Bayes, Microsoft issued a letter saying the organisation had to stop downloading its operating system on to computers as it is in breach of the multi-billion dollar company’s copyright laws.

The charity says if it was to purchase licence software from Microsoft it would cost up to AU$600 (US$305) a machine, which as a non-profit organisation is far beyond its financial capabilities.

Microsoft has agreed there would be no further action for past hard loading of its obsolete operating systems, however, according to Brayes appeals for help from Microsoft have “fallen on deaf ears”.

Microsoft maintains that it is a charitable organisation, donating legal, modern and compliant software to 1150 charities around the country.

"We believe if you truly want to bridge the divide, you need to provide modern software that enables Internet access," Microsoft corporate affairs manager Julie Inman said.

Microsoft says it has been in discussions with PC's for Kids about how they can work together to ensure compliance.

"We want to find a solution and are committed to working with charities," Inman said.

According to Bayes, the letter from Microsoft lawyers said that the charity would have to obtain its own operating system and closed by wishing the organisation the best of luck.

Bayes says his "loyal team of caring volunteers have more heart than this big multi-national company who have just wiped the smile from many children’s faces."

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