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11.03.10

Google Sues the Government for Serving Microsoft and Not the Industry, Should Sue Microsoft for Racketeering Too

Posted in Courtroom, Google, Microsoft at 1:11 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Sacramento town hall

Summary: Microsoft’s illegal dealings with governments are increasingly challenged in the courtroom, but patent extortion too should drag Microsoft into court because it is probably a violation of the RICO Act

GOVERNMENT contracts are an area where taxpayers need to be served. Unlike a private unaccountable tyranny, a government is obliged to do what’s best for those who elected it. Over in Switzerland, the government is still being sued for strictly requiring Microsoft software rather than specifying a required functionality and then looking at companies that provide that. We wrote about the subject in chronological order as follows:

  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
  13. When Microsoft-Only/Lock-in is Defined as “Technology”
  14. Microsoft’s Allegedly Illegal Swiss Contracts to Take People to Court Again

The United States is seeing a similar case now that “Google Sues U.S. Over Unfair Cloud Contract”:

Google wants to compete for the government contract but the Request for Quotations (RFQ) “specified that only the Microsoft Business Productivity Online Suite-Federal (BPOS-Federal) could be proposed.”

Google claims that a “Limited Source Justification” directive issued by the agency’s director of the Office of Acquisition and Property Management on August 30, 2010, represents single-source procurement “that is arbitrary and capricious, an abuse of direction, and otherwise contrary to law.”

This the second time in recent months that Google has allegedly run into this problem. The company made similar claims informally following the State of California’s decision to award a hosted e-mail contract to Microsoft last month.

California officials denied Google’s claims that the state’s process was unfair.

Google’s lawsuit against the federal government describes a courtship with DOI officials that began in June, 2009, during which, the company alleges, it received tips that Microsoft’s success in the bidding process was pre-ordained.

There’s more here and a lot of other news sites:

Google has set its sights on the business of the United States government, much to the dismay of the government. The company filed a lawsuit against the Department of the Interior on Friday over its request for proposals and quotes for a system to handle messaging needs. The request stated that the solutions had to use the Microsoft Business Productivity Online Suite, a requirement that Google is saying is “unduly restrictive of competition.”

Now that Microsoft is suing Android distributors and moreover extorts (which is probably illegal), Google should also sue Microsoft for racketeering [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7]. We previously suggested that Red Hat should do this, but Red Hat is already busy suing the Swiss government and it has not yet sued Microsoft based on the RICO Act. If nobody challenges Microsoft for it, the racketeering will carry on and expand to more victims.

Speaking of Android, the only way Microsoft thinks it can stop the momentum of this rival is apparently software patents it cannot name and one columnist believes that Steve Ballmer has “gone bonkers”. To quote some bits:

I think it finally happened. We’d all been expecting it for a while now, but not quite so suddenly or emphatically: Steve Ballmer has gone completely insane. [When asked about Windows phone] Ballmer replied: “We’re early; there’s no question we’re early. [...] I think we kind of nailed it. When you see it, you just go ‘ooooh’.” [...]

I suppose if we’re talking geological time, then Ballmer’s right, Microsoft is on the cusp of the smartphone epoch, and the dinosaurs just went for a dip in the tar pits. But in a market where a three-month-old device needs to be checked for liver spots and signs of dementia, spotting the competition three-plus years and then coming up with something that almost meets the smartphone standards set in 2007
is not exactly being early. It’s certainly not “nailing” it — unless we’re talking about a coffin. [...]

In all, it seems like a fine but flawed phone. Fine but flawed isn’t going to cut it. Fine but flawed doesn’t win horse races. They don’t put the Miss America crown on the head of the girl with pretty eyes
and a nose like a rutabaga. You don’t come back from the dead (or Windows Mobile 6, which is worse than being dead) and topple Apple, Google, or BlackBerry with a phone that’s fine but flawed. You have to
do better than that. [...]

But I’m thinking he’s starting to lose it. I’m serious.

Think about it this way. You just lost the guy who was supposed to drag your company out of the last century and into the new one. He was preceded out the door by a half-dozen of your top lieutenants — the ones who weren’t already lured away by Google or Facebook. Financial analysts are asking you point blank if your company is, if not toast, then possibly a soggy bagel with mold around the edges. Despite
buckets of profits, journalists are writing your obituary. [...]

At least I have my Halloween costume all set. I’m going as Frankenballmer. He’s just the kind of guy you could see laughing maniacally while chasing people down the street with an axe. I can’t think of anything scarier.

In the next post we are going to write about Microsoft’s real results. It’s not as rosy as it would have the corporate press print.

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