Oxfam launched a new campaign called "Big Sound Music". It allows people to buy and download digital music. A part of the profit is donated to the "Make Fair Trade" campaign. Unfortunately they chose to use the technology from the multinational OD2. This means that only windows users, with the latest Windows Media Player can access the music. The website Big Noise Music is only accessible for internet explorer on Microsoft Windows, because the Windows Media Player for the Mac does not support the files required and other systems have no access to the Windows Media Player at all. An organization that promotes fair trade should at least consider giving a good example and do not force people to use products from a company that does not make fair trade at all.
Since it is a plain fact that Microsoft is a company that dominates the world of IT. It asks incredible prices for a product that should in some way be accessible to all, if the fair trade and development ideas of Oxfam would be of more general use. However, in the current situation the one multinational in the IT business is keeping good IT infrastructure and IT education away from a huge amount of countries, people and organizations with less money to spend.
This is one of the reasons that more and more (development) countries look for open source alternatives, mainly because of the pricing of those products. But an even better reason is often the fact that open source software belongs to no-one in particular, not to rich countries, not to big international companies, not to investors who only want benefits. No it belongs to the people! Not in a communist way, but in a way of opening up software to those who can pay back with things other than money.
In a reaction from Oxfam U.
- they say that "While we do not work on this issue of fair trade in the computer industryspecifically, our overall objectives to make trade fair encompass all types of trading, including that of computer software."And further more they state that "... accompanied by a more generic analysis of the current policies underpinning international trade, as found in our report 'Rigged Rules and Double Standards'. Thisoutlines the problems with multinational companies who wield enormous power over their industry at the expense of smaller businesses, often in the developing world, who are unable to compete and thus lose much needed income."
But to the question why they did not try to put an example by at least allowing people who chose for alternative software, they put forward the argument that "The system has been developed this way as it is the most cost effective approach to adopt, which, as I am sure you will understand, we have an obligation to recognize. We would like this downloading facility to be as widely available as possible, which is why Microsoft were chosen initially as the platform for operation due to its extensive readership. However, we are hoping to develop Mac compatibility if demand dictates."