Thursday, May 21, 2009

Microsoft's trying to send a message to Cuba

Windows Live Messenger is dead in Cuba.

Microsoft has shut down the instant messaging service in embargoed nations, including Syria, Iran, Sudan, North Korea and Cuba. Reaction is rolling in. A visitor to wrote:
That is so stupid, almost as stupid as pointlessly making videos available in certain countries on some websites. Luckily I am in Canada so it doesn't affect me otherwise I would be EXTREMELY MAD and never buy any Microsoft product.
Another wrote:
I can't believe Cuba is still in that list.
Trying to sign in to .NET Messenger Service from the embargoed nations now prompts this message:
Microsoft has shut off the Windows Live Messenger IM for users in the countries embargoed by the US hence Microsoft no longer offers Windows Live Service in your country.
Error message

Microsoft's decision, announced May 20, doesn't seem to fit the strategy of trying to encourage a free flow of information to help spread democratic ideals.

So what is the software giant trying to accomplish?

Also interesting is the timing of the announcement. May 20 was the 107th anniversary of Cuba's independence from Spain. It's a day when foes of the socialist government often reiterate their opposition to the socialist government, as Sen. Mel Martinez, R-Fla., did yesterday.

But Microsoft didn't single out Cuba, as far as I know. The company's decision affects four other embargoed countries, not just Cuba. So maybe the timing was mere coincidence.

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