Bonum Certa Men Certa

Forced Windows Purchases: A Decade Later, Still No Improvement

The regulators are fast asleep. Apart from the fact that Microsoft makes profit from GNU/Linux preinstalls [1, 2, 3], it's still nearly impossible to find and then to get them.



Taiwan, China, Poland, [1, 2], and Hungary have formally complained about Microsoft this month, but not the United States. As pointed out yesterday (see the comment at the bottom), the American (US) regulators are indifferent because they are themselves corrupt. Meanwhile, says a reader, Steve Ballmer's trip to Portugal might be aimed at intercepting Free software.

It's not grim news all around though. Yesterday, for example, this article showed up and it proves that some people do get in trouble for buying Microsoft. Quebec's government comes under legal scrutiny, which is not exactly surprising given prior complaints about the procurement process there. It's equally bad in the UK and elsewhere.

Quebec's open-source software association is suing the provincial government, saying it is giving preferential treatment to Microsoft Corp. by buying the company's products rather than using free alternatives.

The lawsuit by Facil was lodged with the Quebec Superior Court on July 15 and made public on Wednesday. In it, the group says the provincial government has refused to entertain competing bids from all software providers, opting instead to supply public-sector departments with products bought from proprietary vendors such as Microsoft and Oracle Corp.


As a side note, speaking of lawsuits, Novell still has a lawsuit against Microsoft and it could win hundreds of millions of dollars. This was mentioned before as a possible reason for Microsoft to buy Novell once it becomes a suitable target (with .NET, patents and all that).

Steve Ballmer rides SUSEMicrosoft may have given up on its old strategy. See the previous post about a patents revenue strategy and recall those SCO analogies . Microsoft suffers from a customer retention issue. Could Microsoft buy out the lawsuit and the competitor? It could be less expensive than buying out threats like XenSource (using Citrix as a proxy) due to competitive bids and a large numbers of players in this space. Naturally, GNU and Linux can spread endlessly between vendors, which keeps them secure from hostile takeovers, but software patents change this. Novell and Microsoft actively try to change this using "licensing". This exclusionary move shows just why Novell and Microsoft are already becoming the same company.

“This exclusionary move shows just why Novell and Microsoft are already becoming the same company.”Let us return to exclusion at the OEM level. Exclusionary OEM contracts is something that we covered before and this article from the Czech Republic was mentioned some days ago. It shows just how impossible Microsoft has made it to choose an operating system other than Windows (or no operating system at all, i.e. just bare-metal hardware bundles). Over at Groklaw, Pamela just wrote: "Isn't it ridiculous that it's nearly impossible to avoid buying Vista on a new computer, even if you have no desire to get Vista? And then Microsoft counts such "sales" as indicating an interest in Vista."

Going a long way back, you can still find this detailed page on the impossibility of obtaining a Toshiba computer without Microsoft software. Not much has change since then.

I hope that this web page will prove useful to those people who want to purchase a laptop without Microsoft Windows. The short summary is:

* It is near impossible to buy a laptop without Windows * The Microsoft Software License Agreement allows you to return the software if you do not agree to its terms. * It is difficult, but not impossible to get Toshiba (at least in Australia) to send you a cheque in return for the Windows License.


Here is another good page, which is no longer live, but it has a copy on the Internet Archive.

My name is David Chun. I am an undergraduate student at UCLA, where I am in the UCLA Center for American Public Policy and Politics. I am working this spring as an intern at the Consumer Project on Technology. On May 25, 1998 through June 3, 1998, I called 12 computer manufacturers, known in the industry as original equipment manufactures (OEMs), attempting to buy computers without a Microsoft Windows operating systems.


This is not competition. It's free market distortion.

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