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11.13.08

When Microsoft Threatens Democracy

Posted in Europe, Finance, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft at 5:48 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

A few days ago we showed why (and how) Microsoft relies on illegal tenders. BECTA seems to be a good example of secret arrangements where the taxpayer — the one picking up the tab — is not allowed to know how much got paid and what for [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7]. All the taxpayer knows is that a lot of money got passed to a multiple-times convicted monopolist that resides abroad and obtains controls over (a lock-in on) the public and private sectors.

The problem is actually broader than this:

Open standards: the European Council refused to supply the contracts concluded with Microsoft

Marco Cappato MEP asked the Council to provide him the contract concluded by the Council and Microsoft, and the Study on the Open Source realized by the interinstitutional committee on informatics in 2005. The Council refused to supply these documents. As the Council quoted these documents in an answer given to Cappato’s written question on the adoption of open source facilities as support to the institution’s work, Cappato claimed for these records.

Opinions on this vary from “There is no such thing as a fully democratic government” to:

Got that? “Protection of Microsoft’s commercial interests … prevails on the divulgation for the public interest.” Microsoft’s profits are more important to the European Council than the public interest of 300 million EU citizens….

Now we know the similarities between Microsoft and the ACTA, whose story bears a resemblance.

“DRM is nearly always the result of a conspiracy of companies to restrict the technology available to the public. Such conspiracy should be a crime, and the executives responsible for it should be sentenced to prison.”

Richard Stallman

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A Single Comment

  1. Needs Sunlight said,

    November 13, 2008 at 12:10 pm

    Gravatar

    Try via FSF Sweden. Sweden is one of the countries that had a strong freedom of information tradition prior to joining the EU. The habits and infrastructure are still there to a certain extent.

    While there’s digging, Uppsala university’s contract would be interesting to see. They tried to ditch MS many years ago and MS responded by dropping the price of MS Office “more than 90%” They were still stuck with MS’ proprietary formats at the time.

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