Digital Drug Dealing Comes to Berkeley

December 13, 2011

Wow! Berkeley is going to provide all students with “free” copies of Microsoft software for the next couple of years.

Cocaine, 2008, International Relations & Security Network, cc-by-nc-nd

Berkeley Vice Chancellor for IT and CIO Shelton Waggoner emailed all Berkeley students late on Tuesday night to announce that the project for Operational Excellence (OE or Bain & Company consulting, for short) would be distributing Windows and Office to us all as part of the “OE Productivity Suite” (or OEPS – pronounced “whoops”).

Here’s the email (fresh from my inbox less than 30 minutes ago):

We are pleased to announce that the campus has signed a license agreement to provide Microsoft Office and Operating System software to all students at no cost this year and next. Students will be able to download one copy of the following products and may keep the software perpetually upon graduation.
Office Professional Plus or Office for Mac Home & Business (one or the other, not both)
Microsoft Windows Desktop Operating System (OS) upgrades including Windows 7 Enterprise

The software will be available for download beginning Monday, January 9, 2012. Check the Student Technology Council`s (STC) website,, in January for download information.

This agreement is part of the Operational Excellence-sponsored Productivity Suite (PS) project. The goal of this project is to reduce complexity and costs and, at the same time, distribute licenses for the most commonly used software and tools so that everyone can work with the most current version. The Adobe agreement reached at the start of the fall semester is also part of this project.

Have not downloaded Adobe yet?  Go to the STC`s “Downloads“ page,  Links to help with troubleshooting are on the same page. Watch for information about spring semester Adobe training and a T-shirt design contest using Adobe products.

During this academic year, ASUC President Vishalli Loomba and Graduate Assembly President Bahar Navab are partnering with the STC on assessing and advising the PS project; first, to support the adoption and use of these popular software products, and second, to gauge interest and usage for such a program over the longer term. Depending upon student feedback and students` continued level of interest, alternatives for cost recovery for student downloads will be explored. More information about these efforts can be found on the STC`s “Downloads“ page,

If you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact Vishalli, Bahar, or the STC (

Vishalli Loomba
President, ASUC

Bahar Navab
President, Graduate Assembly

Shel Waggener
Associate Vice Chancellor-IT and CIO

John Wilton
Vice Chancellor
Administration & Finance

As a good friend once put it, this is DIGITAL DRUG DEALING.We’re being given “free” copies of Office & Windows now so that we don’t consider alternatives later. We’re being locked in. IT’S A TRAP.

Incredible as it might sound, Berkeley can do better – in fact, without negotiating at all, the CIO could distribute operating systems and office productivity software free to all of us for life!

I’ll have more to say about this soon…but for now, venom.


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