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Quebec Opens the Floodgates to Litigation for Pro-Microsoft Discrimination in Governments

Posted in America, Courtroom, Europe, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 7:33 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Savoir Faire Linux wins the case against Microsoft’s practices whereby Free software gets excluded from government tenders

BACK in March we wrote about the Quebec case, which was very important for reasons that we explained at an earlier time [1, 2]. Europe at the very least had voiced similar complaints but never really took formal action, except in Switzerland. For details about this case, see the following old posts:

  1. Microsoft Sued Over Its Corruption in Switzerland, Microsoft Debt Revisited
  2. Can the United Kingdom and Hungary Still be Sued for Excluding Free Software?
  3. 3 New Counts of Antitrust Violation by Microsoft?
  4. Is Microsoft Breaking the Law in Switzerland Too?
  5. Microsoft Uses Lobbyists to Attack Holland’s Migration to Free Software and Sort of Bribes South African Teachers Who Use Windows
  6. ZDNet/eWeek Ruins Peter Judge’s Good Article by Attacking Red Hat When Microsoft Does the Crime
  7. Week of Microsoft Government Affairs: a Look Back, a Look Ahead
  8. Lawsuit Against Microsoft/Switzerland Succeeds So Far, More Countries/Companies Should Follow Suit
  9. Latest Reports on Microsoft Bulk Deals Being Blocked in Switzerland, New Zealand
  10. Swiss Government and Federal Computer Weekly: Why the Hostility Towards Free Software?
  11. Switzerland and the UK Under Fire for Perpetual Microsoft Engagements
  12. Lawsuit Over Alleged Microsoft Corruption in Switzerland Escalates to Federal Court

The news from Quebec (automated translation from French) suggests that GNU/Linux proponents have beaten Microsoft in court. Here is the coverage from CBC:

Quebec broke law in buying Microsoft software

Quebec’s government broke the law by buying software from Microsoft without considering offers from other vendors, the province’s Superior Court has ruled.

The government’s procurement agency acted illegally in spending $720,000, beginning in the fall of 2006, on the migration of 800 workstations to Microsoft software, including Windows Vista and Office 2007, Judge Denis Jacques ruled in Quebec City on Thursday. The government did not perform a “serious and documented search” for alternatives, which it must do with any expenditure over $25,000, he said.

The decision was in regards to a suit filed in March 2008 by Savoir Faire Linux, a small Montreal-based firm that deals in open-source software.

Jacques dismissed arguments from the government, which said that Microsoft software was selected because employees were already familiar with it, and that switching to a different platform would have incurred additional costs. The government also argued that the move to Vista was an upgrade, not a purchase, and therefore did not need to be publicly tendered.

We will write about this at a later stage when more details arrive. Although it’s specific to Canadian/Quebec law and to these particular circumstances, it probably opens the door to similar action elsewhere and it’s guaranteed to make both Microsoft and government officials whom it’s exploiting a little more nervous. Congratulations to Savoir Faire Linux and many thanks upon winning this case.

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