Robert Pogson

One man, closing all the windows.

Daily Archives / Sunday, April 8, 2012

  • Apr 08 / 2012
  • 19
Linux in Education, technology

Technology Plans for Schools: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

While digging for information about use of GNU/Linux I stumble upon various educational and technology plans for schools. Some are pretty good, while others are horrible. The bad ones go something like this:

  1. What do we want to do with computers? The answer is usually, “more of the same”.
  2. Make a list of toys: networking, servers, OS, PCs, software and work up a budget.
  3. Oops! We can’t afford much…

The really ugly plans get to the last stage after a year or so of implementing the plan and $millions may have been spent but the full quota of toys is not obtained and there just aren’t enough computers available to make a difference. The reasonably good plans start with a realization that money is scarce and a well-defined target of getting the most IT for the least money brings them to GNU/Linux and donated hardware. It often turns out to be a superior solution to all new stuff that is not affordable. Continue Reading

  • Apr 08 / 2012
  • 2

Before and After the Filter

Some more data from NetApplications for March:

OS share (%)

OS CA CA – Google Google USA USA-CA
TOS 70.10 76.25 19.06 84.25 86.05
MacOS 20.55 22.77 2.16 14.03 13.29
GNU/Linux 9.35 0.97 78.78 1.72 0.65

Google=Mountain View + Sunnyvale

This shows again the extreme bias NetApplications has to business-use of OS. Google, a mere 10K people in a small region of California, changes the stats markedly throughout USA, from 0.65% excluding California to 1.72% including California. It is no wonder that NetApplications shows too high values for that other OS when business-usage is weighted so heavily. It’s just not believable that 2/3 of the usage of GNU/Linux on client PCs in USA is 10K employees of Google. There are school divisions in USA with 5000 PCs using GNU/Linux. Indiana has tens of thousands of PCs running GNU/Linux in schools. They are not being counted.

Indiana, According to Net Applications

Windows 89.37%
Mac 10.00%
Linux 0.62%

If one drills down a bit and combines with Google Trends, one can find some hotspots in Indiana, but nothing like California:

Indiana Hot Spots for GNU/Linux, According to Net Applications

West LaFayette 1.26%
Columbus 2.87%
  • Apr 08 / 2012
  • 52

Correspondence Between SEC and M$

see SEC Letter to M$

This is the tail end of an exchange of letters which related to the annual report of the previous fiscal year. Some general comments and a discussion of dealings with embargoed countries like Syria included this gem:
“In future filings, we will expand our results of operations discussion to ensure that our discussion clearly identifies factors, including results within our major geographic areas and the segments impacted, which contribute to significant variances in income before taxes.”

That suggests we should see more detailed information about region/segment of M$’s business on 19-4-2012 when the next 10-Q is expected.
“Microsoft Fiscal Year 2012 Third Quarter Earnings Conference Call April 19, 2012; 2:30 PM – PT
Peter Klein, CFO”

I will be interested to see how much of M$’s assets are now held outside USA, avoiding US taxation (and stockholder dividends)… There has been friction between M$ and foreign governments over hiding income as well. Perhaps like Al Capone, M$ will receive justice over taxes rather than anti-trust violation.

From the last 10-Q:
Our effective tax rates were approximately 20% and 22% for the three months ended December 31, 2011 and 2010, respectively, and 20% and 23% for the six months ended December 31, 2011 and 2010, respectively. Our effective tax rate was lower than the U.S. federal statutory rate and prior year effective rates primarily due to a higher mix of earnings taxed at lower rates in foreign jurisdictions resulting from producing and distributing our products and services through our foreign regional operations centers in Ireland, Singapore, and Puerto Rico, which are subject to lower income tax rates.
Tax contingencies and other tax liabilities were $7.7 billion and $7.4 billion as of December 31, 2011 and June 30, 2011, respectively, and are included in other long-term liabilities. While we settled a portion of the I.R.S. audit for tax years 2004 to 2006 during the third quarter of fiscal year 2011, we remain under audit for these years. During the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2011, the I.R.S. completed its examination and issued a Revenue Agent’s Report (“RAR”) for the remaining unresolved items. We do not agree with the adjustments in the RAR, and we have filed a protest to initiate the administrative appeals process. The proposed adjustments are primarily related to transfer pricing and could have a significant impact on our financial statements if not resolved favorably. We do not believe it is reasonably possible that the total amount of unrecognized tax benefits will significantly increase or decrease within the next 12 months, as we do not believe the appeals process will be concluded within the next 12 months. We also continue to be subject to examination by the I.R.S. for tax years 2007 to 2011.
We are subject to income tax in many jurisdictions outside the U.S. Certain jurisdictions remain subject to examination for tax years 1996 to 2010, some of which are currently under audit by local tax authorities. The resolutions of these audits are not expected to be material to our financial statements.”

That should inspire confidence in shareholders. Depending on the outcome of an appeals process to prop up the bottom line is not good business. If the taxation contingency is $7billion for the audit of 2006, what could be the size of the contingency for all those other years?

You can see M$’s exchanges with the SEC here.