Mandriva steals back Nigerian contract from Microsoft

LINUX OUTFIT, Mandriva seems to have stolen back its deal to supply Nigerian elementary schools with its software after all.
Last week, Mandriva executives were moaning about the fact that Nigeria had decided to take the free laptops provided by Intel with Mandriva installed, wipe them and install Windows instead.

The Vole put out a press release trumpeting its triumph over the open source pushers.

But it seems that decision was made by the supplier, TSC, and not the government agency funding the project.

According to Infoworld, the government agency, Universal Service Provision Fund (USPF) has told the supplier to keep Mandriva Linux on the PCs.

Quoting an unnamed official, Infoworld said that the government wanted to stick with Mandriva, although it might switch to Microsoft’s software if that proves in the best interests of Nigerian kiddies.

This puts TDC in a bit of stook with the Vole as it had apparently placed an order with a local Microsoft supplier for Windows XP and Office software.

Why it commited public money to buy computers with Mandriva, and then absorb the cost of buying Windows and installing it on the computers is a mystery.

Meanwhile, the Vole claims Nigeria still wants Windows. Microsoft’s country manager Chinenye Mba-Uzoukwu said that TSC had told it there was “a preference for a tested platform,” implying that meant Windows.

Actually Intel has tested and certified Mandriva Linux, Metasys Linux, and Microsoft Windows XP Pro so that could mean anything.

However Mba-Uzoukwu said the Vole was still negotiating an agreement that would give TSC US$400,000 for marketing activities around the Classmate PCs when those computers are converted to Windows.

As we pointed out, Microsoft is emphasising training and support to cash strapped Nigerian schools if it goes ahead.

Either way it looks like the Vole has lost another round against Mandriva for now, but it does not look like the end of the war.