Corruption as “industry standard”
For quite some time now, things have been rotten in the British procurement process, which excludes Microsoft’s competitors [1, 2, 3]. There was nothing ethical or logical about it and The Guardian, for example, has just published this article which says: “At the last count, the Treasury that Mr Brown ran did less than 1% of its operations with open source. This is strange because open source combines the cooperative spirit that was at the heart of the Labour party in the past with the entrepreneurial skills needed today. No wonder David Cameron called the prime minister an analogue politician in a digital age.” Hungary too has had its suspicions and claims of Microsoft corruption, as was covered here before [1, 2]. Here is a new fascinating bit that comes amid similar complaints that were mentioned yesterday.
HU: Hearing on Competition Office complaint over Microsoft deal
The Metropolitan Court’s (Fővárosi Bíróság) second hearing on a complaint by Hungary’s Competition Office over a government software tender requesting “Microsoft or equivalent solutions” is scheduled for 1 September, the Hungarian IT news site IT Cafe reports.
The Competition Office in March decided to take the Hungarian Public Procurement Authority to court for refusing to annul the 25 billion HUF (about a 100 million euro) tender. The request to cancel the software tender was filed earlier that same month by three Hungarian IT companies specialising in Open Source software solutions, ULX, Multiráció and Open SKM.
The companies say that the tender is anti-competitive since it explicitly calls for Microsoft products.
The Public Procurement Authority denied the request.
How can a tender explicitly call for Microsoft products? Since when is it a vital ingredient that cannot be disputed? Well, previously we showed some complaints about market distortion and self-fulfilling prophecies from Gartner et al. The following new article from Server Watch may shed light on parts of the notorious Intel-Microsoft collusion which, like many other coordinated moves, was designed to pressure out competition using predictions of doom and gloom. And again, there’s nothing ethical about it might be against the law.
A couple of innocuous words that have insidious consequences. A simple marketing tagline, yet it appears to be seriously undermining a vast segment of the computer sector. What is it? The phrase, “industry standard.”
It comes from the same warped (but ingenious) minds that coined the term “legacy” back in the 1990s. That harmless word served to forward the Windows NT – Intel processor gravy train at the expense of so-called inferior technologies like mainframe, OpenVMS and even Unix. Yet many would argue that despite all the genuine improvement to Windows in recent years to make it much more enterprise friendly, it still can’t hold a candle to many of these legacy systems.
The rumor goes that the legacy propaganda was originated between a Gartner analyst and someone in the Windows NT development/marketing camp. Whether true or not, it certainly helped sell an awful lot of Wintel gear. Now we have “industry-standard” weaving its way into the computer lexicon. The hidden intention appears to be to outlaw RISC and everything else except x86-Intel fare.
I attempted to track down the origin of the term “industry standard,” but I didn’t have much success. Web searches are sabotaged by the fact that the term industry standard architecture (ISA) was coined in 1981 for something else entirely. So it isn’t even an original concept.
Making accusations in the press is hard, but the above is probably true. Other people have already echoed similar sentiments, independently. We have already shown how Gartner serves Microsoft and it's not alone. It’s part of Microsoft’s strategy (see quote at the bottom).
It would be interesting to see what role money has played in this trend-setting attempts and contempt. It’s among those reasons for tenders to favour Microsoft products with no reasonable justification other than pressure from ‘experts’ who are indirectly paid by Microsoft to do this. █
“Working behind the scenes to orchestrate “independent” praise of our technology, and damnation of the enemy’s, is a key evangelism function during the Slog. “Independent” analyst’s report should be issued, praising your technology and damning the competitors (or ignoring them). “Independent” consultants should write columns and articles, give conference presentations and moderate stacked panels, all on our behalf (and setting them up as experts in the new technology, available for just $200/hour). “Independent” academic sources should be cultivated and quoted (and research money granted). “Independent” courseware providers should start profiting from their early involvement in our technology. Every possible source of leverage should be sought and turned to our advantage.”
–Microsoft, internal document