Open letter to Mammooty from GNU/Linux Users Group Trivandrum

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There has been a news item in AOL recently that Microsoft has roped in Mammooty for their e-literacy campaign in Kerala. It does not take a marketing guru to identify that their e-literacy campaign is nothing but an e-literacy campaign wrapped neatly around a marketing campaign for Microsoft products. I don't have anything against this and on the contrary I support similar marketing campaigns where value is given directly to the consumers rather than giving money to the media alone. However there is an aspect of deception in this Microsoft Campaign and this is what we the Free Software Community is protesting about.

Mammooty is a well know and well respected actor who is also reputed to be an intelligent man and a socialist thinker. He has just finished his marketing campaign as part of the Government sponsored Akshaya Project. People across Kerala have started identifying Mammooty with the Akshaya campaign. Now by making Mammooty the brand ambassador for the Microsoft campaign, Microsoft is trying to deceive the people in two ways.
1) There is a possibility that people will link this campaign as something related to the Akshaya project.
2) By making Mammooty their brand ambassador, Microsoft is trying to sneak in the perception that Mammooty subscribes to Microsoft Products and indirectly is asking the general public to follow suit.
In a country like India where film actors have a reasonably large influence on the buying behavior of the general public, this deceptive strategy might trick the common man who would be unaware of the problems of monopolistic proprietary systems into falling for the Microsoft gimmick.
Other than this aspect of Mammooty promoting the campaign I don't think there is a problem in Microsoft promoting their products in such a market friendly way. As GNU/Linux Users group we have written an open letter to Mammooty to refrain from signing up as the brand ambassador for the Microsoft e-literacy campaign. If you identify with what we are proposing I welcome you to sign your name under the petition and support us. You could also support us by blogging about this and also linking to the petition.

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