08.28.08

Forced Windows Purchases: A Decade Later, Still No Improvement

Posted in Antitrust, Asia, Dell, Europe, GNU/Linux, Law, Microsoft, Vista, Windows at 7:12 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The regulators are fast asleep. Apart from the fact that Microsoft makes profit from GNU/Linux preinstalls [1, 2, 3], it’s still nearly impossible to find and then to get them.

Taiwan, China, Poland, [1, 2], and Hungary have formally complained about Microsoft this month, but not the United States. As pointed out yesterday (see the comment at the bottom), the American (US) regulators are indifferent because they are themselves corrupt. Meanwhile, says a reader, Steve Ballmer’s trip to Portugal might be aimed at intercepting Free software.

It’s not grim news all around though. Yesterday, for example, this article showed up and it proves that some people do get in trouble for buying Microsoft. Quebec’s government comes under legal scrutiny, which is not exactly surprising given prior complaints about the procurement process there. It’s equally bad in the UK and elsewhere.

Quebec’s open-source software association is suing the provincial government, saying it is giving preferential treatment to Microsoft Corp. by buying the company’s products rather than using free alternatives.

The lawsuit by Facil was lodged with the Quebec Superior Court on July 15 and made public on Wednesday. In it, the group says the provincial government has refused to entertain competing bids from all software providers, opting instead to supply public-sector departments with products bought from proprietary vendors such as Microsoft and Oracle Corp.

As a side note, speaking of lawsuits, Novell still has a lawsuit against Microsoft and it could win hundreds of millions of dollars. This was mentioned before as a possible reason for Microsoft to buy Novell once it becomes a suitable target (with .NET, patents and all that).

Steve Ballmer rides SUSEMicrosoft may have given up on its old strategy. See the previous post about a patents revenue strategy and recall those SCO analogies . Microsoft suffers from a customer retention issue. Could Microsoft buy out the lawsuit and the competitor? It could be less expensive than buying out threats like XenSource (using Citrix as a proxy) due to competitive bids and a large numbers of players in this space. Naturally, GNU and Linux can spread endlessly between vendors, which keeps them secure from hostile takeovers, but software patents change this. Novell and Microsoft actively try to change this using “licensing”. This exclusionary move shows just why Novell and Microsoft are already becoming the same company.

“This exclusionary move shows just why Novell and Microsoft are already becoming the same company.”Let us return to exclusion at the OEM level. Exclusionary OEM contracts is something that we covered before and this article from the Czech Republic was mentioned some days ago. It shows just how impossible Microsoft has made it to choose an operating system other than Windows (or no operating system at all, i.e. just bare-metal hardware bundles). Over at Groklaw, Pamela just wrote: “Isn’t it ridiculous that it’s nearly impossible to avoid buying Vista on a new computer, even if you have no desire to get Vista? And then Microsoft counts such “sales” as indicating an interest in Vista.”

Going a long way back, you can still find this detailed page on the impossibility of obtaining a Toshiba computer without Microsoft software. Not much has change since then.

I hope that this web page will prove useful to those people who want to purchase a laptop without Microsoft Windows. The short summary is:

* It is near impossible to buy a laptop without Windows
* The Microsoft Software License Agreement allows you to return the software if you do not agree to its terms.
* It is difficult, but not impossible to get Toshiba (at least in Australia) to send you a cheque in return for the Windows License.

Here is another good page, which is no longer live, but it has a copy on the Internet Archive.

My name is David Chun. I am an undergraduate student at UCLA, where I am in the UCLA Center for American Public Policy and Politics. I am working this spring as an intern at the Consumer Project on Technology. On May 25, 1998 through June 3, 1998, I called 12 computer manufacturers, known in the industry as original equipment manufactures (OEMs), attempting to buy computers without a Microsoft Windows operating systems.

This is not competition. It’s free market distortion.

Share in other sites/networks: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Reddit
  • email

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

6 Comments

  1. Jens Staal said,

    September 11, 2008 at 1:25 pm

    Gravatar

    I can definitely agree that it was nearly impossible to get a laptop without windows here in Europe. I checked with Dell and others and they all refused (Dell only offered an ubuntu installation for companies and not to individuals, and many vendors could customize hardware, but not leave out a default Windows installation!). The only one I found was the danish company Zepto, where the Windows Tax was refreshingly visible as you assembled your computer…

    Ps. I do hope that your rants about Novell proves to be false… because I am a very happy OpenSuse 11 user … Ds.

  2. Jose_X said,

    September 11, 2008 at 3:36 pm

    Gravatar

    >> Ps. I do hope that your rants about Novell proves to be false…

    Could you be more specific. BN posts a bunch of facts along with opinions. What are you disputing?

  3. Roy Schestowitz said,

    September 11, 2008 at 3:41 pm

    Gravatar

    It’s not disputed that OpenSUSE works. In fact, I often stress that it’s one of the best distributions out there. Technical behaviour and ethical behaviour are separate though and we needn’t fall for one to encourage the other. It’s better to put one’s money and userbase where it serves Free software, as opposed to the Microsoft ‘cabal’.

  4. Jose_X said,

    September 11, 2008 at 6:52 pm

    Gravatar

    The newest Mandriva (2009 beta? and even 2008.1?) have gotten very good reviews. Lot’s of people also seem to like Mint (Ubuntu deriv I think). PCLOS is like a cousin of Mandriva. Fedora tends to be among the more cutting edge. There are many others, but it’s difficult to know what will strike a random person’s fancy.

    We can use and contribute to make any distro the best. Why would be pick the one that most helps Microsoft maintain their monopolies? I have 0 interest in Microsoftizing Linux. Using Linux software is the beginning step of making Linux what you want it to become with the help of the developers and the rest of the community. .. Um.. choose wisely?

  5. Roy Schestowitz said,

    September 12, 2008 at 1:12 am

    Gravatar

    Yes, I’m on my Mandriva in my main PC at the moment.

  6. Jens Staal said,

    September 12, 2008 at 4:17 am

    Gravatar

    I was a “disto hopper” between some of the major distros (kubuntu, fedora etc) and got stuck at the OpenSuse mostly because of the complete “look and feel” of it…and the chameleon is cute. That only illustrates that there are often irrational reasons that makes the final call…

    It was not until after that I heard about the MS-Novell thing.
    Personally I am no fanatic MS hater as such, but I am very much against their monopolistic position and how their dominance feeds itself. I am a strong believer in a market with several equally strong alternatives (competition drives development) and do not wish a total demise of the MS OS, but a more level distribution of OSes which will inspire software/game makers to produce cross-platform products.
    In particular, the lack of choice of not buying Microsoft’s product when you want to buy a new piece of hardware is something that angers me quite a bit.

    Because of this, I am not quite yet ready to leave my favorite distro (OpenSuse) for plain ideological reasons… but if things get worse and some of the dystopic things mentioned on this blog and elsewhere starts to be true – I will definitely abandon it. On the other hand, Novell does not earn one cent from me running their software…

What Else is New


  1. Links 26/1/2021: Mozilla Firefox 85.0, Tails 4.15, Zentyal Server 7.0, GNOME 40 Alpha

    Links for the day



  2. Instead of Making Access to COVID-19 Solutions Easier Bill Gates Has Made It Harder (Patent Profits)

    Counterproductively — and at a great cost to human civilisation — Bill Gates has once again put profits and monopoly ahead of global goals such as collective health



  3. We Need More Documents Leaked to Know Intel (From the) Inside

    We invite more leaks from the belly of the beast "chipzilla", seeing that it is becoming a drone of Microsoft again, yearning for the "Wintel" days instead of moving on to a world dominated by GNU/Linux and Free/libre software



  4. Why GNU/Linux Users (and the Public at Large) Should Support Leaking/Whistleblowing Sites (Including Wikileaks)

    To demonstrate the value of "scientific journalism" (a term apparently coined by Wikileaks) we take a look at Red Hat's response to embarrassing leaks (demonstrating what a scam their certification and examination programmes really are)



  5. EPO President António Campinos is Still Not Listening, According to Internal EPO Documents

    Increasingly arrogant and unaccountable management of Europe's second-largest institution (EPO) has left staff disillusioned but still defiant; there's clearly unsuitable or unfit-for-purpose management at the EPO, self-selecting based on nepotism/loyalty so as to cover up abuses



  6. Why You Should Give Falkon (the Web Browser) a Chance on GNU/Linux, BSD, or Windows

    In this crazy new world where advertisers are the real customers and Web users ("audiences") have been reduced to mere products we need a browser that isn't controlled by a company; try Falkon



  7. Kluwer Patent Spin and Distortion of Facts (Regarding UPC and More)

    Kluwer Patent Blog disgraces the firm that puts its name on it; instead of sticking to facts they're distorting the facts and the sole/principal goal is to manipulate/mislead the public and public servants



  8. Links 26/1/2021: 4MLinux 35.1, GParted 1.2, Gnuastro 0.14

    Links for the day



  9. IRC Proceedings: Monday, January 25, 2021

    IRC logs for Monday, January 25, 2021



  10. It's Wrong to Assume Red Hat Competes With Microsoft

    The community ought to stop pretending that one monopoly seeks to replace another despite close partnerships (some would say "collusion") between the two



  11. EPO Staff Representation Complains That EPO Management Exploits Pandemic and 'House Arrests' to Overwork Staff, Lower Quality

    The EPO keeps breaking its promises to workers; not only are key employees seeing their net salary cut (inflation factored in) but pensioners too are being robbed and in the meantime the total time spent on work is increasing



  12. Fake News is Not a 'Wing' Thing

    The two-party corporate-led system (and media) would have us obsess/bicker about accuracy of news based on some binary/dual system of blind loyalty rather than underlying facts and priorities



  13. Links 25/1/2021: Huawei on GNU/Linux, NuTyX 20.12.1, Whisker Menu 2.5.3, Lutris 0.5.8.3, Linux 5.11 RC5

    Links for the day



  14. Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt (FUD) in ZDNet is the Norm

    ZDNet continues to emit lots of garbage 'journalism', in effect Microsoft PR and what's known as "black PR" for Linux; just like Bleeping Computer, which ZDNet hired this writer from, there's no adherence to facts, just smears and innuendo



  15. Truth Tellers Aren't an Enemy of Free Software

    There's a perpetual attack on people who speak out against actors and corporations in positions of great power, however subtle and indirect those attacks may seem on the surface (they don't wish to be held accountable for defaming activists)



  16. The Linux Foundation, With Over 124 Million Dollars in Annual Revenue, is in Trouble Because of the Pandemic, So It's Trying to Reinvent Itself as Training and Certifications Outfit

    With mountains of cash and a Public Relations (PR) or marketing business model the so-called 'Linux' Foundation became reliant on travel, lodging, booths and speeches on sale; COVID-19 is a great risk to that business model



  17. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, January 24, 2021

    IRC logs for Sunday, January 24, 2021



  18. Our Move Further Away From the World Wide Web, the Browser Monopolies, HTTP, and HTML

    The World Wide Web (WWW) is going down a bad path and a clearly regressive direction; the solution isn't going 'retro' but exploring more sophisticated systems which are robust to censorship (localised or globalised) and downtime (related to censorship) while reducing surveillance by leveraging encryption at the endpoints



  19. Important Issues Not Entertained in the Community, Especially Critics of the Status Quo

    here's corporate infiltration inside communities (for oligarchy hunts volunteer, unpaid labour) and those who speak about that as a threat to our cause and objectives are painted as misguided outcasts who must be ignored



  20. Internet Origins of the Mob

    Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock



  21. When Proprietary Software Users Dictate the Freedom-Leaning Communities

    Fedora doesn't care about software freedom and its steward (or parent company) is sometimes imposing proprietary software on staff; they've quit caring



  22. In 2020 Onwards 'Open Source' is Just a Marketing Ploy of Monopolies, Unlike Free Software

    More people are nowadays seeing or witnessing 'Open Source' for what it truly is; the term has become a misleading marketing term of proprietary software firms looking to rebrand as "ethical" (e.g. by sharing some code with other proprietary software firms, over proprietary platforms such as GitHub)



  23. Microsoft: The Year After We Bought GitHub There Was a Significant Decline in Number of New Projects on GitHub

    Microsoft has just admitted that in 2019 GitHub saw a very significant decline in number of new projects (and users, which it is conveniently miscounting by adding 'phantom' ones) on the site. Just what we had heard before they confirmed it (and they foresaw this effect of the takeover, hence the lies about "loving" Linux).



  24. Social Control Media is a Passing Fad, We Should All Go Back to Blogging and Subscribing to RSS Feeds

    The whole "social control media" phenomenon has been oversold or promoted using lies; in reality, as a mountain of evidence serves to show, it's a way to manage society at a macro scale



  25. As Andrei Iancu Removes Himself From the Patent and Trademark Office All Eyes Are on Biden's Next Nomination

    Patent zealots and their front groups already lobby Joe Biden to put one of them in charge of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office; we'll soon see if Joe Biden "means business" or simply means monopoly/large corporations (and their law firms/departments)



  26. Data Point: GNU/Linux Share in Desktops/Laptops Nearly Tripled in the Past Decade, Peaking This Past Month (All-Time High)

    Contrary to what some publishers try to tell us, GNU/Linux is still growing and mostly at the expense of Windows



  27. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, January 23, 2021

    IRC logs for Saturday, January 23, 2021



  28. Links 24/1/2021: Nouveau X.Org Driver Release and GhostBSD 21.01.20

    Links for the day



  29. InteLeaks – Part XXX: Harbor Research's Pseudo-scientific 'Research' for Intel, Bizarrely Suggesting a Microsoft Partnership for a Domain Largely Controlled or Dominated by Linux

    The full document that Intel paid for and in turn used to justify cracking down on Free software (obliterating Free software-based workflows inside Intel), instead outsourcing all sorts of things to proprietary software traps of Microsoft



  30. Chromium and Chrome Are Not Free Software But an Example of Microsoft-Fashioned Openwashing Tactics

    It's time to reject Google's Web monopoly (shared with other companies but still an oligopoly); removing its Web browser would be a good start


RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

Recent Posts