Government Bias Against Apple

15 Comments

US Federal Government plans to give away nearly $400 billion in grants, but only to those scientists and researchers who use Microsoft. The Grants.gov system of electronic applications works exclusively on Windows platform, while many scientists prefer Apple. National Institutes of Health had to drop a $600 million grant program because many filers were not ready for electronic filing.

Critics note that in contrast to the domination of PCs in the business community, Macs constitute about one-third to one-half of the computers scientists and academicians use. [ The Washington Post ]

Grants.gov is under construction by Northrop Grumman under a $22 billion 22 million federal contract and gets about million hits a day. Anyway this is amusing because the same federal government spent billions on an anti-trust case against Microsoft.

Sigh… there might be some truth to that natural monopoly argument.

15 Comments

Patrick Tanner

There was a typo in the original article. The program costs $22 million rather than $22 billion.

I had thought the original value absurd and wondered how it could have made it into print. It is comparable to the annual revenues of Northrop Grumman.

While I was tracking down this information I ultimately noticed it was corrected in a text box at the top of the original article here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/02/12/AR2006021200942_2.html

More to the topic at hand, I think the concerns are valid but exaggerated. The bulk of the funds most likely go to local governments and outside this noted “scientists and researchers” group. However, I couldn’t find any clear, simple breakdown of the grants managed at grants.gov.

The problem does seem to have some validity and ought to have been readily avoidable. Grants.gov is also a work-in-progress with only a (rapidly increasing) portion of the grants programs and process covered to date.

While a work-around solution has been provided it appears inadequate. So despite my criticism of the (IMHO alarmist) press I would hope an open process which is platform neutral will evolve.

scientis

I think that’s total BS, 33% to 50% of scientists using the Mac platform. I was in research for a many years (decades), and exclusively a Mac user in personal life – but never came across any “real” progressive scientific application that would run on a Mac. By progressive, I mean, maintained for multiple releases to hep sustain a process – such as drug discovery.

Simple – take for example a bio-genetics algorithm engine – why would I, as a company, build it for MacOS when the requests are all for the Wintel platform or even Linux (for the past decade).

Which database is build so robust for the Mac platform that offers interoperability with mainframes as well as run of the mill PC applications. Linux yes…

I would prefer working on my business rather than trying to figure out all the crap it would take it get everything figured out on the Mac. First show me the apps – then ask me the money!!

Any Mac developers writing drug discovery apps?

Michael Fischer

The remarkable thing in this affair is not that they have managed to find a MS only client out of the sea of potential cross-platform alternatives, but that the US Gov. is entrusting a MS based server solution to manage the application process for such large amounts of public money. Why choose the most vulerable and hackable server environment on earth for such a task? Is Diebold hiding in the wings?

George Berger

I keep wondering how the IT folk in the US Government are compensated.

It used to be on the numbers of people who were working for you. If you were a GS 15, and had 250 folk in your division, you received a very nice bonus, and you were at the top of the CS pay scale unless tou were a Supergrade.

Now, the Microsoft pushers walk in, and show the GS 9-10-11 people just how to develop Web Pages that only respond to Internet Explorer, using Microsoft software to develop the web sites.

After All, NOBODY ever got fired by recommending Microsoft.

Now, IMHO, the crux of this problem is that IBM bought out the little Windows-only software development company that was producing the panes for this application.

Come On!! What in the hell are you to expect when Apple threw away IBM’s chips and went for Intel?

The problem still lies in the fact that the Government IT weenies are still under the control of Redmond.

It’s been Microsoft’s stated desire, for years, to establish their own “standards” for the Internet so that others must buy into Windows XXX, IE xxx, and their offspring in order to business on the ‘Net.

Mark Bucher

Ya’all are just discovering this??? I’ve been howling about the Fed Microsoft bias for the last 12 years of my Air Force career. You can’t even buy a product that doesn’t run on Windows any longer in the AF. If enough people cared, we wouldn’t be in this Microsoft mess. Hmmmm, wonder who in the Gov used to be a major Apple user??? Hint, the guy who won the election in 2000. God, it’s so sad.

pwb

Surely these groups should be clever enough to figure out how to submit their applications from a PC?

froozy

“this is amusing because the same federal government spent billions on an anti-trust case against Microsoft”

Governments are truely angelic ;-), the right hand totally ignore what the left does…

Dave Schroeder

IBM’s purchase of PureEdge (now called IBM Workplace Forms) has less than nothing to do with the Intel transition. (As a side note, did you know that Apple was less than 2% of IBM’s chip business?)

Actually, the IBM acquisition of PureEdue is probably the best news for Mac compatibility. Grants.gov is committed to having a cross platform/native Mac solution by November 2006, as is IBM, and this is what has been planned all along.

IBM provides Mac versions of many of its enterprise products, such as Tivoli Storage Manager, and these issues have literally nothing at all to do with the Intel transition. I’m actually quite astounded people have been bringing it up.

In any event, as has been noted above, the University of Wisconsin has released a standalone package for using Grants.gov on Mac OS X as a service to the community. The package uses Citrix client software and a special settings file to access the central Citrix server provided by Grants.gov, allowing users to access and use the PureEdge software via the remote Windows machine running Citrix server software:

http://apple.doit.wisc.edu/grants.gov/

Regards,

Dave Schroeder
das@doit.wisc.edu
http://das.doit.wisc.edu/

aswath

Is there a conspiracy angle? :-)

After IBM “bought the company” the promise made by PureEdge was “called into question”, the story says. Apple migrates to Intel chips. Inquiring minds want to know!

Comments are closed.