Microsoft has told the industry publications that it is using "advocacy techniques" to market its products but that only serves to underscore the obscene culture of twisted perception that this company thrives on. You don't advocate by telling lies, obfuscating important nuance and attacking people who are doing what you're doing. Just the opposite, in fact.
Microsoft, Google and other mega-companies will continue to grow and tear into each other until they fall apart. And they will fall apart because their future is based on the ebbing fortunes of a system that is falling apart. For us, the issue is how that will impact our lives and work.
We live in a world where a fierce struggle is taking place between people who believe the Internet is a source of freedom and information and those who think that information is a commodity and freedom is limited to the right to sell it. Those sellers lie and cheat and punish and inhibit and each of us who uses their products needs to decide how necessary the evil actually is.
As promised, here are some Free and Open Source alternatives to these companies' products:
Instead of Microsoft Office there is LibreOffice
For browsing: Firefox
And email: Thunderbird
(In linux, the browser and email program have different names -- Iceweael and Icedove -- but they are basically the same code).
Disclaimer: I am a founder and leader of May First/People Link, an Internet membership organization whose members pool our money to equip, run and share email services, among other Internet capabilities. Some would say that makes us a competitor of Gmail; at the very least, part of our mission is as an alternative provider. But we founded May First/People Link not to compete with these commercial services but to work in the movement that will eventually make them unnecessary and I don't think like this because I'm in May First/People Link, I'm in MF/PL because I think like this.
Veteran activist and writer ALFREDO LOPEZ is a founder and Leadership Committee Co-Chair of May First/People Link, the country's largest progressive Internet membership organization. He is the newest member of the collective at ThisCantBeHappening!, the new independent Project Censored Award-winning online alternative newspaper. For more info about Alfredo, check out his bio on our about us page.