Bonum Certa Men Certa

3 New Counts of Antitrust Violation by Microsoft?

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Summary: Microsoft's list of offences grows these days (from illegal deals to bundling and kickbacks)

NOW that Intel is severely fined for its crimes (not enough after damage had been done, as an embargo would prove more effective), Microsoft ought to be careful because it engages in similar practices, sometimes with Intel, e.g.:



Let's look at articles and posts from the past couple of days to find new evidence of Microsoft breaking the law.

Secret Deals in Switzerland, No Tender



This is a subject that we covered in [1, 2]. It is not worth repeating the details, but here is another new article on the subject. It's summarised as follows:

The Swiss Federal Office for Construction and Logistics (Bundesamt für Bauten und Logistik, or BBL) is reported as having purchased Microsoft licenses in the order of 42 million Swiss francs (about $38 million). Because no public bids were tendered, open source organizations are now requesting a review of the decision.


Browser Bundling, Prevention of Choice



This too is a subject that we looked at last week. Opera and Mozilla are both complaining about Microsoft bundling [1, 2] and DaemonFC saw it for himself before he wrote:

IE 8 is bad enough on it’s own merits, but Microsoft has sank pretty damned low in turning it into a borderline trojan horse/spyware/browser search hijacker.


Dumping and Crippling



A source says that ASUS has admitted receiving kickbacks from Microsoft to kick GNU/Linux and another source says that Microsoft sells Windows below cost in order to just harm competition (GNU/Linux). Intel committed similar offences and in addition to this, says one person, Microsoft's hardware limitations are to be treated as an antitrust violation.

Why Aren't Hardware Limits on Netbooks an Anti-Trust Violation?



Continuing on today’s theme of asking dumb questions about areas of law I don’t know enough about, here’s a question about anti-trust law, spurred by the news that Administration Plans to Strengthen Antitrust Rules.

[...]

Why isn’t this illegal? Don’t the anti-trust laws prevent a software maker with a dominant position from dictating hardware to pc makers in order to protect the market share of a different product?


Whether a violation or not, the consumer suffers here.

“This anti-trust thing will blow over. We haven’t changed our business practices at all.”

--Bill Gates

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