The Benevolent Mr. Ellison
I always get a little suspicious when some of the world's richest executives, such as Bill Gates or Larry Ellison, take it upon themselves to donate millions of dollars to fund university research centers.I always get a little suspicious when some of the worlds richest executives, such as Bill Gates or Larry Ellison, take it upon themselves to donate millions of dollars to fund university research centers. The latest is Ellisons decision to fund, at either Harvard or Stanford University, a $150 million "politics, economics and technology" center to study the effects of each upon our culture. Despite the goodwill attached to such contributions, as well as the opportunities they afford to students (not to mention the tax break gained by the philanthropists), theres my gnawing skepticism about ulterior motives for supporting universitiessay, as a lever to gain commitments to deploy a companys software throughout the university or keep some other competing software vendor out.
Not that Microsoft and Oracle are the only major contributors. And not that educational institutions dont already rely heavily on computers and software, and Microsoft software in particular. But today, when Linux and open-source software give universities a more-than-viable option to less expensive and more reliable platforms, you have to do more than just wonder.