Fiji fires fresh shot at Microsoft

Fiji’s military regime has struck out at Microsoft’s Bill Gates, hours after he walked out of the corporation he founded.

The regime is outraged by IT media reports that Microsoft was developing an operating system called “Windows Fiji”.

Military-appointed Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Kaiyum has been complaining that Microsoft is not returning his phone calls – so he has couriered a letter to “Mr William H Gates III” of 1 Microsoft Way in Redmond, Washington.

While Microsoft was not taking his calls, they have told Fairfax Media that “Fiji” is not a product name but an internal working code.

Sayed-Kaiyum’s letter to Gates said the regime “asserts its absolute ownership over the use of the world ‘Fiji’.”

“This letter, therefore, serves to put Microsoft Corporation on notice that the Government unreservedly objects to the use of the world ‘Fiji’ in connection with Microsoft Corporation’s operating system or any of its products,” Sayed-Kaiyum tells Gates.

“Mircosoft … is hereby instructed to immediately cease and desist with any use of the world ‘Fiji’ in relation to any of its products now or in the future.”

In the letter he asks for an urgent reply and does not specify what Fiji will do to Microsoft if they ignore him.

Microsoft last year made a net profit of $US11 billion ($NZ14.5 billion), while Gates is worth about $US23 billion. He stepped down today from his day-to-day duties at Microsoft but remains the company's non-executive chairman.

Fiji’s gross domestic product is $F4.4 billion ($NZ3.8 billion).

Sayed-Kaiyum is off on a mouse that roared venture; Gates yesterday retired from Microsoft and the corporation told Fairfax that “Fiji” was an internal working code name, not for an operating system, but for the Windows Media Center TV software package.

“(It) is not intended to be used in an external marketing context,” Windows Client Business Group manager Ben Green said.

“The product is designed to add new television standards support, enhance the user interface and set up experience, and add interactive TV features to Windows Media Center.”

In marketing circles it is common practice for projects in development to be given names of no possible relationship to the public product name. The idea is to confuse potential competitors should word get out of the codename.

Green hints at this when asked why Microsoft chose “Fiji”.

“Like a lot of companies, we use various internal project names (in much the same way many New Zealand companies name meeting rooms or projects after islands in the Hauraki Gulf),” Green said.

“In this case, I understand it reflects the project team's affection for Fiji as a great country to visit."


Fairfax Media