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Steve Ballmer Receives the Egg-treatment in Budapest

Just as soon as the Microsoft CEO started his speech at the Corvinus University (my Alma Mater), a protesting student wearing a “Microsoft=Corruption” shirt stood up and threw eggs at the Microsoft CEO. Not exactly a sign of the famous “Hungarian hospitality”.

(If your feed does not show embedded videos, please click through to watch it in the blog.  Update: Originally I had the index.hu video here, but as it started to slow down, I uloaded it to youtube and am now embedding the youtube version.  A day later this vid received over 223K views)

On second thought, perhaps it was fair enough. After all, his boss, Bill Gates received a full cream-pie in the face ten years ago in Belgium – Ballmer only got some of the ingredients. smile_tongue

Another ironic moment comes at 0:38m in the video: as other students stand up to give way to the departing egg-thrower, the camera closes in on one of them holding up his shiny Apple – and not the pie variety.

Update: The search is on for Ballmer’s replacement.

Another video from a different angle, and it ends with the Gates Pie Scene.

Update#2: OK, enough of the fun part. As the story circulates people start wondering what may be the background, and since the only sources are in Hungarian, here’s a summary of the circumstances:

A Hungarian Government bid, worth $25B Hungarian Forints, roughly $157M was allegedly skewed towards MS. (A ‘competitive’ bid with wording that all but ensures only Microsoft meets the requirements.) A Hungarian Watchdog Body (sort of like the FTC in the US) challenged the bidding process via the Court system, and a trial date was set for today. The trial was suddenly and unexpectedly rescheduled just as Ballmer arrived in Budapest. So there may be a perception of the Bully lobbying there.

That said, they could have protested with banners, without eggs. Or displaying more of those flashy Macbooks.smile_wink

Comments

  1. I told my opinion on Twitter, but on the famous Hungarian hospitality line:

    For that, he should have thrown a bowl a ‘gulyás’ (or goulash) and a plate of pancakes. :p

  2. MoxPearl says:

    I guess the sad thing is the student was all alone…meaning of course 99% of the general public there doesn’t have clue one on the issue.
    It seems the global ruling elite, now more the corporations than in the past decades, have this new (or better practiced) control of information flow, and since near eveyone has 3 hots and a cot and a computer or two, pretty much noone really cares.
    It is disturbing that the trial date gets altered. I guess big shot billionaires and their big shot billionaire companies get special priveledges, just like it was done hundreds of years ago.
    At least we all have science and technology to thank for a pretty good existence, even on a western poverty bracket income.

  3. Problem is that the student was a clueless guy.
    Egging Ballmer – he sells – will not help the situation.
    Hey, if someone comes to you that “I want your product, no matter what” then you will sell.
    Now, egging the Minister of Educations would be more appropriate.
    ” even on a western poverty bracket income.”
    And with prices that are 1/4th of the western ones.
    Skip the income part please, it is so not valid, that it hurts.

    I have not read the bid, but if it contained something referring to “giving a chance to learn and practice the use of softwares used by 70% of the companies all around the world, and 99% of the companies in Hungary” then it was totally skewed.

    If it only contained something like “giving a chance to use and practice with softwares that will be useful whe the kid gets employed” then it still was skewed toward MS, just a bit less.
    I know that Linux is wonderful, and Macintosh is wonderful, but everywhere I go, companies use Windows and MS Office.

    Nonetheless the rescheduling of the trial definitely stinks. But that’s just politics as usual.

  4. WHAT HAPPENED AFTERWARDS:
    The kid was taken to a back room where he was being held by a campus security guy and my Blackwater Bodyguard #6.
    I told the university staff that I was concerned about him and wanted to speak to him personally. He was handcuffed and tied down to a chair. As everyone left so I could have my little “talk” with this poor troubled soul, I instructed BWBG#6, “Nobody gets in here for the next 45 seconds!”, he said, “I understand sir.”

    The rest of my story goes like this:
    “I approached the kid and he became irrational! He screamed, tipped his chair over backwards, slammed his head into the wall several times! I tried helping him up by the neck, but he tried to bite me! I released him and he fell to the floor hitting his head on my shoe (several times)! Boy was I glad to get out of there! That guy was crazy.”

    The Hungarian authorities have assured me that he will never do anything like this again.

    I am not evil

  5. The student was clueless. However he did accidentally highlight a bigger problem. Microsoft is now using EU monies to fund their vision of technology in Hungarian Universities. I do think that the Education minister does need to stand up to the Hungarian people and explain why he has left the fate of Hungary’s ability to compete in the global computing market in the hands of a single company. While MS maybe in many if not most offices, they locked out of just about every other computing platform on the planet.

    For those with an eye on long term trends in the industry, MicroSoft it not an important player. To have them turn Universities into places where they can crank out .NET coders only serves their purposes. This deal is bad for Hungarian Universities, Hungarian computer science students and the EU. The only other two players are MS and the Hungarian government.

    The question I’d leave the minister of education with is, if the money is mostly coming from EU sources, why wasn’t it made available in a more forward thinking corporation neutral manner.

    Full disclosure, I am a Sun Java Champion (eq to MS MVP). However I would be just as unhappy were the University programs to be twisted in that direction also. With the end of Moore’s law approaching, we Universities to look beyond todays technology, something that will replace it.

  6. LAUSDTeacher says:

    “Another ironic moment comes at 0:38m in the video: as other students stand up to give way to the departing egg-thrower, the camera closes in on one of them holding up his shiny Apple – and not the pie variety.”

    how is this ironic? we should never expect to see apples mixed with pcs in this world? do they have to hate each other and be in separate rooms? people are so childish and stupid nowadays. it’s the same with political parties. try to think outside the narrowminded box.

  7. Rodney King says:

    Can we all just get along? (Mac-PC)

  8. Kirk:
    which other computing platform did the Minister of Education lock out?

    Linux – nope, that’s free.
    Macintosh – nope, the machines cost twice the US price here, while people earn about 1/4th, 1/5th, so that is locked out mainly because of the price.

    So, that leave MS products which cost money, and now, the students have the chance to use them for free or almost nothing – it is a crime, a real shame, giving the the opportunity to take a legal copy of MS Office, MS Visual Studio and Windows home, and practice.
    They should make them pay the full retail prices.

  9. The deal we gave these Yak-eaters was a sweetheart deal! We are actually losing money on it, but we are at least locking in our mindset!

  10. LAUSDTeacher says:

    if a corporation such as google or mac or microsoft offers a product that benefits these students because they are offered at a low price, why is that a bad thing? why are so many people against corporations? the only bad thing would be the government giving an exclusive contract, making it illegal for competitors to offer their product. no country needs a minister or department of education. in fact, ever since the dept of education was created in the u.s. the quality of education has been declining. we don’t need more government in education; we need less! governments are the ones that are corrupt.

  11. Roland,

    I should first tell you I live in Hungary so I’m aware of the issues that you’ve brought up.

    I should also mention that there are great alternatives to this program that are being used in other countries. Project JEDI for example was started in the Philippines in response to a deal similar to TITAN that was strangling their ability to compete globally in the outsourcing market. This program is being adopted in several other countries including Indonesia and Brazil where MS had crippled their ability also.

    JEDI is based on the OpenJDK platform. All of the materials are available under Creative Commons. The only thing that would need to be done for adoption in Hungary is to translate it to Hungarian. Other than that, its all free!

    As for you comment on being able to take home free MS stuff… I say cool, do it. Just don’t limit yourself to MS stuff. Because at the end of the day, cranking out .NET programmers will do nothing to improve the IT shortage situation in the country. If you don’t believe me, send me your resume if you have serious Java skills. I’ll have you working tomorrow. If you know both platforms even better. If you’ve only got .NET, I can’t help you.

    But seriously, this type of discussion should be about technical colleges, those charged with creating a ready work force. Universities are about something beyond this. They are about the future and all I can say is that I sure hope that the future is beyond either of these two competing technology platforms. In fact, I’m 100% certain it is. How are you going to prepare for that?

  12. Kirk,

    I should tell you I live in Hungary. Has been living there for the last 33 years, so I am aware too. :)

    If I look at the situation, the government gives a chance for students, who don’t work in IT for example – you know, about 95% of the population, so a pretty big chunk – to learn Linux and Windows based systems. Linux based systems are free. Windows based systems are not, they are pretty expensive, so where do the students need help?

    As for students trying to learn computer science:
    They can get whatever they want. Seriously. Noone prevents them from grabbing Ubuntu, and installing it.
    Preparing for the next century is superb. Unfortunately companies are looking for employees in this century which means: Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Windows.
    And for the software developers, if they develop desktop applications, then Windows based desktop applications, if they develop for Java then they don’t really care about the underlying OS, if they develop .NET, well, there is a .Net framework for Linux too as far as I remember.
    (Plus, he won’t care, with .NET, he can land a good job in about 1 week. They are in high demand)

    So please, don’t trash the government for helping where people actually need help, and not giving money to buy… free stuff.

    As for your offer:
    I have Java, Delphi, C++, some Assembly, some .Net, and some VB skills. Also, I can write some C64 Basic code too, but that’s not relevant.
    I have a pretty good paying work right now as a business analyst/software architect.

    But if you know someone who looks for such a person in the UK, I will certainly send you my resume.

    As for the IT shortage situation in the country – there were a lot of IT people. They went unemployed for lack of experience for a couple of years, and left the country or switched profession.

    I don’t defend MS. I don’t say they are the Alpha and the Omega.
    Neither is Linux, or AS/400, or Ubuntu, or Mac OS X.
    But if we really want to get rid of the IT shortage situation in the country, then we need people who learn the skills that are needed, and not the skills that might be needed some 5 or 10 years in the future. Mostly because noone knows what those skills will be.

    For the universities: instead of concentrating on the programming languages, or OS-es, they should teach programming techniques, desing skills, common sense, and such. Those are sorely missing.
    Then the OS and the programming language will become a secondary problem.
    And preparing for the future will be easier that way.

    But, I don’t know if Zoli likes us commenting his lighthearted post with such serious thoughts :)

  13. Nitifor says:

    Hungarians mostly don’t wish to be recognized to be Hungarians, when they get the chance to be in company of admired, rich, western countries citizens. If they are not accepted by them, most turn offensive. That’s a national habit accompanied by social envy and self rejection.

    Most of them think of America like: “Try to be a part of it, if they reject you, offend it.” (That’s why Hungary joined the EU.)
    This is a justified reaction, but with wrong actions taken. I think, the cake remains delicious even if someone has been denied to get a slice of it.

    If Ballmer would have stopped the “inquisition”, then to force the guy to give statement of his opinions and a chance to dazzle the audience with his highly developed IT and business skills during their conversation, I guess, the guy would have licked up the yolk from Ballmer’s head, if he would’ve hit.

    This poor guy simply realized that nobody joined him, or at least boooh-ed with him at Ballmer after the first egg, so he went on with the second and third to save his concept, but then he got confused. (I think he was even thankful for getting stopped. He also might have seen some scenes on Youtube and tried to sample them.) However, finally his “revolution” has been set back.

    Nonetheless the guy’s been absolutely right with his opinion: the Hungarian state hasn’t got the funds to buy the “unreliable” IT stuff from Microsoft, and the only reason they do is, that Microsoft tries to force the whole world, – using their shady business practices – to buy their products.
    Some Hungarian businesses also suffered outrageous prosecutions of the local BSA. But this is a more complex situation than to discuss about here.

    Besides: Hungary is one of those “new” european states, that gives the most capable IT technicians, and engineers as a result of the countries excellent higher education. LINUX developers are very talented and skilled here, and even the system itself is very popular.

    This might even be the reason of Ballmer’s visit (or should we rather call it “audit”?!)

    I’m sure: Steve Jobs would’ve enjoyed a warm welcome!

  14. @Roland:

    “But, I don’t know if Zoli likes us commenting his lighthearted post with such serious thoughts”

    Why wouldn’t I? You guys provide great content for my blog and I don’t even have to move a finger :-)

  15. LAUSDTeacher says:

    “Nonetheless the guy’s been absolutely right with his opinion: the Hungarian state hasn’t got the funds to buy the “unreliable” IT stuff from Microsoft, and the only reason they do is, that Microsoft tries to force the whole world, – using their shady business practices – to buy their products.”

    What shady business practices? How are they forcing anyone to do anything? They are offering their products to these consumers, and, in the U.S. at least, doing it at a lower cost and with easier access than their competitors. How is this shady? Are you against low cost and easy access? Consumers are benefitting because Microsoft is more competitive. All these cries of big evil monopoly and shady business practices hurting consumers are completely unfounded.

  16. “What shady business practices? How are they forcing anyone to do anything?”

    I think this is a naive view on Microsoft. I don’t want to get into the shady discussion but Microsoft does force people into doing things their way. Consider hardware for example. It is Microsoft that sets the specifications on hardware. They say what Windows will run on and what it won’t run on. This isn’t shady but it does have consequences.

    Also chip manufacturers that were producing CPUs to rival Intel were told by MS to stop or else. So they did. This drove a number of rather inovative CPUs out of the market or at least kept them to be more expensive than they would/could have been. Shady, that is a judgement call.

    “They are offering their products to these consumers, and, in the U.S. at least, doing it at a lower cost and with easier access than their competitors”

    In commercial markets they driven their competitors out with bundling and predatory pricing. Unfortunately for them that won’t work against open source. With OSS they first tried FUD, that didn’t work and now they’ve figured out that perverting educational systems to become MS training schools is the best way to do battle.

    I’ll say this one more time and leave it at that. Educational systems tied to single technology platforms or no better than technical schools. There is not doubt that this deal ties the educational system to a single platform. But I suggest that you do your own research into this. Look at JEDI and talk to those who started it. Find out for yourself what these deals are about. If you’re a Hungarian student or have a keen interest in the Hungarian school system do it quickly, this stuff is suppose to go live in January.

  17. “Besides: Hungary is one of those “new” european states, that gives the most capable IT technicians, and engineers as a result of the countries excellent higher education. LINUX developers are very talented and skilled here, and even the system itself is very popular.”

    That myth, about the excellent higher education, is the main reason why we don’t really have it anymore. Which is really sad, and it hurts to admit, but our higher education is not so excellent.
    But that’s another topic.

    “Most of them think of America like: “Try to be a part of it, if they reject you, offend it.” (That’s why Hungary joined the EU.)”
    No, that was not the reason.
    I just love the stereotyping. Lot of Hungarians (and Slovakians, Bulgarians, Frech, British, Sweden, etc.) people think like that. And a lot does not.
    Funny how people are different, and how the so called “typical Hungarian traits” are only recognized as such by Hungarians.
    My favourite example is my Swedish friend, who characterized the typical Swedish as “greedy, jealous, self centered, narrow-minded, lazy and acts like a sheep”. And their politicians as “corrupt incapable idiots”.

    So just carefully with statements like “That’s a national habit accompanied by social envy and self rejection.”

  18. @Zoli

    Eh, I knew I should have written everything as a post with a trackback, just to ride your traffic.
    Bummer.

  19. Nitifor says:
  20. Shady practices:

    Well, as for one, MS managed to lure the HU government with subscription based licenses, so by now, more than a hundred thousand of such licenses are being used by the state, state employees and even students. The pressing concern right now is that the government must pay, otherwise all those licenses will instantly expire, with no escape plan.

    Some history:

    The problem started when our gov was so utterly stupid (or got “compensated” for good), that they didn’t realize this trap before the fact. The other problem is that there is/was no escape strategy planned for this situation, and the third problem is that instead of trying to escape, they are rather jumping into _more_ such lock-in programs (TITAN). (This may look suspiciously like “corruption” for some.)

    So the gov is essentially spending taxpayers’ (and maybe EUs’) money as a happy MS client, instead of developing a stragety much more useful and less costly for the citizens and the local economy in general (let alone acting legally when doing a public procurement).

    Considering the above it’s no wonder that the HU state is still well into the “dark ages” of computing, where you – as a mere citizen or company – cannot easily (or at all) make do without a Windows capable, Office equipped machine if you want to do such things as paying taxes electronically, reading official electronic documents and so on.

    Such programs as TITAN and the lack of adaptation of non-MS technologies serves well to conserve this situation. For MS, that is.

    Finally:

    Many years went by since first adopting these MS licenses; lots of alternatives appeared since (let alone OpenOffice, open document formats, protocols, Linux, etc etc), so it might be about time for the government to look around and start endorsing and adopting them, so that some money could stay here (spent here), and skills could be locally developed for a more self-maintainable, profitable and open IT culture. This may also give a boost to the local IT economy.

    my 2 cents.

  21. The Hungarian Conspiracy!
    My staff PI, Jack Stone, has given me an initial report on the Hungarian egging incident. He believes there is more here than meets the eye! Reasons:
    1. The two men sitting beside the egger’s composure throughout the incident leads one to conclude that they knew what was going to happen. The smirk and smile just prior to the egger standing to interrupt. One of them has a Macbook, this is the most suspicious activity of all, a dead give-away of malevolence!
    2. The egger did not throw a third egg, he simply waved his “chicken wing” arm, yet another egg hit the wall directly above me. There was a 2nd egger at the back of the lecture hall!

    The egger is in the “custody” of the Hungarian Security Ministry, they say, “he won’t talk! He’s like a zombie or something!”
    Conclusion: he is an Apple Cultist!
    The other conspirators are as yet unidentified, although we suspect the suspect 2 is an Apple Store Genius.

    Jack is on the job! He always gets his nerd!
    You boys may as well turn yourselves in right now.

  22. But Stevie, let’s be real, nothing met the eye – your eyes, that is, since you dodged the eggs… or the thrower was incompetent.

    :-)

  23. Steve wasn’t in any danger, the guy threw like a girl!!!

    I can see the story from the Microsoft errr, Hungarian security. I tried to stop him from throwing himself on the floor and, we’ve no clue where he got the rope from to tie up his hands like that.

    ;)

  24. This is how Ballmer himself explained the incident couple days later in Prague.

  25. Someone says:

    They should have shot him…

  26. Ballmer or the egg-thrower?

    :-)

  27. Both? :)

  28. Both! :)

  29. My wife just ran into OPEH rules requiring her to fill out forms online. You’d think they’d be web forms but no.. we get .exe which of course don’t run on our Macs or Linux machines.

    I think we need more egg throwers!

    Kirk

  30. Ballmer or the egg-thrower?

  31. hello jerry,
    i offer you to buy all my shares at 30$.
    it’s a real bargain. 20% below fair value.
    will you plase contact me immediately ?
    i would be very happy to make you richer.
    regards

  32. He said something like Microsoft stole 35 Million from the Hungary people and they should give it back.
    acnee

Trackbacks

  1. […] Ballmer egged Watch this video where a student threw eggs at Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer when Ballmer was delivering his speech at […]

  2. […] yep, I have tweeted it yesterday. The egg throwing guy was a moron. http://www.zoliblog.com/2008/05/19/steve-ballmer-receives-the-egg-treatment-in-budapest/ « előző | Roland Hesz — 2008. 05. 20. […]

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