Aussie public still behind PCs for Kids

Despite Microsoft's efforts, the Australian public are backing a charity that provides refurbished PCs for underprivileged children
Written by Nicole Bellamy, Contributor

More than a month after Microsoft took on a small Australian charity, the issue remains in the spotlight, with public support firmly behind PCs for Kids, according to a recent survey.

A ZDNet poll has shown that of nearly 1500 responses, 74 percent of respondents believe that Microsoft should have shown "some compassion" in dealing with PCs for Kids. The remaining 26 percent are of the opinion that "charity or not, it did the wrong thing."

The sheer number of readers that participated in the survey is testament to the overwhelming attention that this battle has received and continues to enjoy.

When Colin and Therresa Bayes set up PCs for Kids in 1999 as a means of distributing refurbished PCs to underprivileged children, they had little idea they would soon be pushed into the global spotlight.

But pushed they were. In a very uncharacteristic move, Microsoft turned the attention of its legal team to the charity, threatening court action against it on the grounds that PCs for Kids had hard-loaded Microsoft's operating system without checking the licensing validity.

Microsoft was working off a complaint to its anti-piracy hotline that the charity was using unlicensed versions of the operating system.

The subsequent debate captured the attention of the global IT community. Since the battle began in July, public criticism has flown hard and fast against Microsoft for "bullying" the charity, while PCs for Kids has been inundated by statements of support from individuals and organisations.

According to a statement by PCs for Kids, the Bayes' have been overwhelmed by the amount of feedback and congratulatory remarks they have received throughout the last month. Therresa Bayes believes that "[Microsoft] missed their Kodak moment and decided to turn their back on the kids, [now] they have to put up with the public outcry."

Microsoft failed to respond to requests for comment by press time.

Have your say instantly, and see what others have said. Click on the TalkBack button and go to the ZDNet news forum.

Let the editors know what you think in the Mailroom. And read other letters.

Editorial standards