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05.06.13

United Kingdom Needs to Learn From Portugal How to Challenge Microsoft Procurement Corruption

Posted in Europe, Microsoft at 1:42 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Portuguese Windmill

Summary: ESOP has successfully stopped illegal Microsoft deals that make a nation dependent on Microsoft at the expense of this nation; UK still too slow to respond to such state-sanctioned corruption

EUROPE continues to suffer from a large-scale passage of wealth (from the middle and lower classes to the super-rich, sped up by false panic and austerity) and many continue to ignore the causes as well as the symptoms. I tried to explain this to some younger people today, but most are distracted by fashionable consumption and the daily struggle for survival; studying and activism are luxuries to them. Some cannot even find or keep a job.

At the end of last month there was a Web riot over the UK’s broken sites which require those in a tough position (usually unemployed) to use old Microsoft Windows. As Glyn Moody framed it: “Remember the bad old days when the UK government forced people to use Microsoft software in order to interact with it online? Remember how we thought the UK government had finally moved on, recognising that it should use truly open standards allowing citizens the freedom to adopt whatever software they wanted, not least through the fine, open standards-based Gov.uk site?”

“At the end of last month there was a Web riot over the UK’s broken sites which require those in a tough position (usually unemployed) to use old Microsoft Windows.”Well, “Benefit Claimants Must Use Ancient Microsoft Software,” as Moody’s headline clearly states.

The situation in South Korea is even worse due to ActiveX.

How did they end up in this position in the first place? Well, one component of it is corrupt procurement which specifies Microsoft brands rather than technical requirements (we gave examples before). There has been a “9% increase in no-bid contracts since 2009,” says the corporate press and of course it involves the public sector:

At the start of his first term President Obama asked federal agencies to cut back on noncompetitive contracts, calling them “wasteful” and “inefficient.” Things didn’t work out as planned.

Over in Portugal, which suffered a lot of Microsoft bidding/no-bid corruption, these practices are being challenged now [via] and ESOP is behind it again:

Straight from the press release, ESOP, a Portuguese association of open source companies, challenged in the Fiscal and Administrative Court of Almada, a public procurement, 31A2012 for licensing and maintenance of Microsoft software, launched in September, last year, costing about 550.000,00 €.

The court decided it was indeed illegal and decided in favour of the accusation.

We need to do the same thing in the UK, but Microsoft has far too much political power here, as we showed in dozens of posts. What’s needed is a movement with capacity to pressure the government over rigged bidding, unfair pricing, neglect of national sovereignty, and so on. We need a British ESOP.

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