01.30.08

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Just In: Department of Justice Slaps Microsoft with Penalty Box Time, Confirming Abuses

Posted in America, Antitrust, Dell, Europe, GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Novell, Ubuntu at 8:17 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

It comes as a bit of a surprise after extreme levels of manipulation and ignorance, but Microsoft did not escape federal oversight.

Microsoft Corp. lost a bid to limit restrictions on its business conduct as a federal judge ruled the company failed to provide technical details that it was required to disclose to competitors.

Web Services Abuses Carry On

Remember that only a week ago we said that Microsoft appeared to be begging for the attention of regulators with further abuses in the Web services domain. It is actually interesting to find that Joe Wilcox has just published further evidence of this in another related area.

Little problem for Microsoft: As part of a previous $1 billion bribe marketing agreement, Dell computers ship with Google Desktop software and other goodies. No problem, Microsoft representative Brandon LeBlanc has instructions for fixing up that (RED) PC, and in the process axing that dreaded Google software. He posted them yesterday on Microsoft’s Windows Vista Blog. Heck, there’s even a video.

And here you have another case of a supposedly ‘charitable’ effort being used as an excuse not only to sell Windows Vista, but also as means of unfairly excluding Google. This is indeed a case of prebundling that eliminates competition. Google has already complained about similar abuses to the DoJ, but Microsoft has insiders in the DoJ (among other government departments). We mentioned this again very recently.

The OEM Abuses Carry On

Have a look at this conviction. It’s pretty damning and it comes from the UK.

But to get back to the main thread of this. Just two companies here in the UK that could offer me a laptop which I could choose to have supplied without an Operating System. That is bloody scandalous. EVERY other laptop (apart from the 2 Dell machines and some Asus EEe PCs [Update: I was a bit brief here. There are few other vendors who supply Linux pre-installed. But they do not offer the choice of “no operating system”]) would be supplied with a Microsoft Operating System. I had little or no choice; I could always have bought a Mac but that’s a somewhat similar issue.

Also found today is this nugget of information about Dell in Europe. Mind this bit:

Dell has announced that it has started shipping Ubuntu Linux 7.10 as an option for the XPS M1330 laptop in various European countries. U.S. availability will follow soon.
Dell has recently revealed a prime choice for hardware when it comes to Linux users and offers like this one will help continue that trend.

The problem is that Dell might eventually report they’re not getting enough demand. In that situation I wouldn’t be surprised – I don’t think people will be stupid enough to the point of paying £100 more just to get Ubuntu installed – it’s not something hard to do.

So, people are in fact being penalised now for wanting something other than Windows. They are required to pay a lot extra just to get Free software. Dell’s mysterious deal with Microsoft and Novell springs to mind, but there might be a different explanation to this. Dell has a long history of being manipulated (almost tamed) by Microsoft.

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2 Comments

  1. The Open Sourcerer said,

    January 30, 2008 at 8:27 am

    Gravatar

    Thanks for the pingback.

    I personally feel Dell are doing O.K. Their customer base want, and get, systems that work out of the box and carry on working. I don’t really that level of hand holding but there are many that do…

    My big bug bear was the absolute dirth of suppliers who would sell systems without an OS at all. The fact the 99% of the suppliers only sell Microshaft just emphasises their dominance and monopoly. It must be reigned in.

    Hopefully the EU are making some good in-roads now so maybe we will see some change in legislation which makes it illegal to bundle the OS and not offer an option to remove it.

  2. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 30, 2008 at 8:41 am

    Gravatar

    That is something that they are currently working on. There’s that think-tank report which was published at the time. I can find it for you if you are interested. There is also a good article from CyberSource about “why the unbundling critics are wrong” (or something along those line). Forgive my short comment, but I’m always working in a hurry (even when publishing posts). I hope these pointers are helpful enough…

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