EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

06.10.11

Government Procurement in the UK

Posted in Europe, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft at 12:09 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

How the vocation of taxpayers’ money is determined

Coin towers

Summary: The exclusion of important and viable market players by putting the “Microsoft” brand name, for example, right there inside the requirements

THE BUSINESS of procurement sure is funny. In Switzerland it was such “funny business” that it led to a lawsuit which we covered mostly one year ago in:

  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
  15. Microsoft’s Allegedly Illegal US Procurement Gets Frozen After Lawsuit

The practice of illegal procurement which excludes competition to what’s currently being used is an issue we have covered many times since 2007. We wrote about the situation in the UK under posts such as:

  1. Has Microsoft Unleashed Its Trolls at the UK Authorities?
  2. Microsoft UK’s Chief ‘Accomplice’ Jumps Ship
  3. Richard Steel’s and Microsoft Ballnux Franchise (Updated)
  4. Signs of Microsoft Corruption in the United Kingdom and Czech Republic
  5. The Newhamicrosoft Saga: Part Deux

The important factors which which are cronyism and nepotism sure play a role everywhere, government procurement included. It is worth understanding just where it happens and when it happens; as this new article explains, Microsoft somehow ‘wins’ not because it has technical merit but because it is embedded into the policy. To quote:

European public sector IT contracts are unfairly favouring large suppliers such as Microsoft by ignoring the rules governing the use of trademarks in tender requests, according to a new report.

[...]

Where tenders were found to include trademarks, the overwhelming majority mentioned ones belonging to Microsoft.

Bertrand Diard, chief executive of open-source data management vendor Talend, called on the UK government to enforce best practice and to encourage fair competition for UK public sector contracts.

“The current process of IT contract tender [in Europe] is rife with issues,” he said. “If there is to be any development for open standards in the UK, then responsibility falls upon the shoulders of those in the Cabinet Office to follow through on their initial plans.”

Under EU rules, public sector bodies should avoid using trademarks in tender notices for software packages and information systems, in order to encourage competition.

In the wake of its long-running anti-trust dispute with Microsoft, EU officials had be keen to encourage public sector organisations to consider alternatives to Microsoft’s technology, particularly in areas where the Redmond-based firm dominated the market, such as desktop operating systems and productivity tools.

Had platforms been assessed based on their technical features (and antifeatures), Microsoft would rank quite low. As an educator, Mr. Pogson explains what is wrong about Windows, for starters:

We don’t need more

* DRM,
* phoning home,
* re-re-reboots,
* ABI/APIs,
* exclusive dealing,
* stuff KLUDGED to the OS like mud pies, and
* complexity.

Enough! Use GNU/Linux to be free of this burden on IT. I have been using GNU/Linux for IT almost exclusively since 2000 and I have only had a few problems, not usually involving security, in all that time whereas with that other OS people are getting rafts of problems to fix monthly like a woman’s curse.

One regular reader of ours told us that Mr. Pogson had been laid off possibly because of his preference for GNU/Linux, which in the education sector is not so widespread. In some sense, he may have been expelled, so to speak, for having other opinions (which are very defensible by the way). Similarly, one British journalist insinuates that by issuing veiled threats following the Bristol incident (see links at the bottom for background), the side which empowers and profits from proprietary software in the British public sector only reinforces the perception that those who favbour Free/open source software suffer retribution. One article says: “A Linux shop has spoken out in defence of boo-hissstems integrators otherwise blamed for dominating the industry, stifling competition, ripping off tax payers and presiding over public IT failures so infamous they discredited the last government and stained the reputation of an entire profession.”

Another article, from the excellent journalist Mark Ballard, speaks about the threats. To quote: “The big IT suppliers are so powerful, it is said, they control the vast majority of public sector IT, which is done in their commercial interest. That may count as quid pro quo from supplier’s perspective. But when that supplier is part of an oligopoly servicing a monopoly, it is a little unfortunate for anything trying to breathe outside that comfortable little world that has become known as government IT.” For some background, see the links we posted under government and public sector earlier this week. We reproduce them below.

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

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

3 Comments

  1. Needs Sunlight said,

    June 11, 2011 at 3:08 am

    Gravatar

    I’ve seen it selectively enforced.

    Micromoles will specify “Microsoft” brand products in their tenders but if one is aiming to buy non-M$ stuff they then squawk about not being allowed to put brands and make all kinds of trouble about even writing the request for proposals.

  2. Needs Sunlight said,

    June 11, 2011 at 3:16 am

    Gravatar

    This is one instance where it is an advantage that the phrase “open source” was denied trademark status. It can be freely used in request for proposals. Of course it is always possible to simply use key parts of the definition in the RFP instead. Even Apple (for the time being) can be specified in this way because of the open core nature of the OS and kernel.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Apple too is treated as a brand now (Apple or iThings), not as a standard.

What Else is New


  1. Links 25/6/2019: Mesa Releases, Less Microsoft in Apache

    Links for the day



  2. The European Patent Office Remains a Crooked Patent Office That Harms Staff and Abolishes the Rule of Law

    The EPO remains a sordid mess, but those who follow mainstream media might not know anything about it because it's not covered anywhere in 2019



  3. USPTO and EPO Faking Growth by Granting Patents on Everything in Nature, But Campaigners Strike Back

    The patent microcosm is eating the world; everything under the Sun must be patented, they insist, even life itself (so they can 'pirate' the Commons and then charge us a tax for 'access' or 'license' to it)



  4. IBM Happy That Patent Quality at EPO Collapsed and It's Easy to Get Software Patents

    The EPO keeps granting illegal European Patents and the media almost never mentions this illegality because it's in too amicable a relationship (typically financial) with the EPO



  5. The Linux Foundation's Staff Uses Windows and Microsoft. Now the Foundation Outsources the Coding and Hosting, Too (to Microsoft of Course).

    The disturbing turns of the self-described "Linux" Foundation, which seems to be promoting proprietary software and even Microsoft rather than Linux and Free/Open Source software while the role or capacity of Torvalds is being gradually diminished



  6. Links 25/6/2019: Raspberry Pi 4, Ubuntu's Change of Mind, Wayland’s Weston 6.0.1

    Links for the day



  7. Patent Extremism: Stacking the Panels, the Surveys, the Hearings, the Debates

    Projection tactics would have the public believe that those who oppose corruption are simply radicals; patent polarity has come to the point where if one isn't a "true believer" in blackmail (patent trolls) or opposes bribery, then one is simply a "fringe" and akin to terrorists



  8. Links 24/6/2019: Linux 5.2 RC6, Skrooge 2.20.0, ZFS vs. OpenZFS

    Links for the day



  9. The EPO Needs a President Who Obeys the Law, Not One Who Obeys Battistelli

    Succession based on nepotism at Europe's second-largest institution served to shown how inherently broken things had become and why cover-up of injustices is nowadays paramount (not fixing the flaws/ills but merely perpetuating them)



  10. With Water (Treatment) Already Patented It Won't Take Long for Patents (and Patent Royalties) on Air

    A 'paper economy' is what Europe turns into if the current trajectory is followed (led by lawyers, not producers)



  11. Bill Gates Said He Was on a “Jihad” Against GNU/Linux, But GNU/Linux Users/Developers Engaged in Self-Defense Are Foul-Mouthed 'Microsoft Haters'?

    Microsoft, which routinely commits very serious crimes, tries to come across as some sort of philanthropy whereas those who share their work with the public (for greater good) are described as erratic, rude and unworthy of respect from corporations (outcasts basically, deprived of income source)



  12. What Patents the EPO Has Just Awarded (With a Special Reward), Not Just Granted

    The EPO's practice of elevating some patents over the other patents (European Patents) is perhaps more of a societal liability than the EPO cares to realise



  13. Required Reading: Mental State of Team Battistelli/Campinos

    On the heels of yesterday's article about Team Battistelli/Campinos, here are some recommended/required papers on the problem which likely plagues the Office



  14. Links 23/6/2019: Wine 4.11, FreeBSD 11.3 RC2

    Links for the day



  15. Microsoft Apparently Did a Patrick Durusau on Wim Coekaerts to Broaden Its Control Over GNU/Linux

    Microsoft tactics for defection and takeover of the competition (without coming across as hostile) aren't new tactics; internal documents from Microsoft explain how to achieve this



  16. EPO Directors Would be Wise to Rebel Against Team Campinos While They Still Have the Job

    As the EPO continues its bold journey towards dictatorship (where presidencies are passed between friends and ‘circles’ are former colleagues or close confidants) Techrights urges those who have power to speak out — e.g. EPO judges and Directors — to do something before it’s too late



  17. American Front Group Open Invention Network (Riding the Linux Brand) is a Proponent of Software Patents in Europe

    The impact of American multinationals in Europe is difficult to deny; in fact, we're observing the same old lobbying/lobbies still working hard albeit more covertly (typically using front groups)



  18. Say 'Hey Hi' to Software Patents

    Using the “AI” (“HEY HI”) hype the ‘community’ of patent maximalists hopes that every little (and possibly very old) algorithm will suddenly sound amazing and innovative — to the point where it becomes unthinkable to deny a patent monopoly on it



  19. A Personal Note From Ted MacReilly (How Microsoft Works Against GNU/Linux)

    A tongue-in-cheek write-up highlighting the ways Microsoft insiders think and how they strategise against GNU/Linux and Free/libre software



  20. The Linux Foundation's New Vice Chair, Wim Coekaerts, Worked for Microsoft

    The Linux Foundation is boosting the Microsoft boosters and calls that "community"



  21. Links 21/6/2019: GNOME 3.33.3, 32-Bit Support Further Neglected, DragonFlyBSD 5.6.1 Released

    Links for the day



  22. Leaked: Harassment of EPO Directors by Team Campinos

    “New BIT organisation and staff changes,” a novel kind of newspeak, means that Directors are being severely punished without due process at all (“hidden disciplinary measure without disciplinary proceedings”)



  23. Patent Professionals in Europe Have Devolved Into a Marketing Industry

    Lies, buzzwords and hype waves is all that the patent bubble in Europe boils down to these days; loads of bogus patents get granted only for European judges to smack these down (if one can afford the court battle)



  24. Almost Six Months After Iancu Said He Would Make Software Patents Great Again Nothing Has Actually Changed

    We're just a fortnight away from the ludicrous plan of Iancu celebrating 6 months (without accomplishing anything)



  25. Links 20/6/2019: Kubernetes 1.15, Alpine 3.10.0 and Librem 5 June Software Update

    Links for the day



  26. Ignore the EPO's Dumb Festival and Focus on the Abuses Against the Workforce and Its Quality of Work

    Don’t lose sight of the appalling behaviour of the management of the EPO; the last thing it wants is press coverage about its gross abuses and corruption — an aspect it spent literally millions of euros to bury (gaming the news cycle)



  27. Microsoft Attempting to Destroy the Careers of Its Critics, Including Free Software Proponents

    Microsoft isn't changing and has not changed; the tactics described above are still being used, even by its "Open Source" (or "Open at Microsoft") people, who did this to me



  28. Links 19/6/2019: Linux Mint Vs Vista 10, Qt 5.13 Released

    Links for the day



  29. The Linux Foundation's Business Model

    The Linux Foundation's plan, illustrated



  30. Links 18/6/2019: i386 Abandoned by Canonical and a New osquery 'Community'

    Links for the day


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