12.01.08

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Antitrust Complaint About Microsoft, a So-called ‘Pirate’

Posted in Antitrust, Deception, Europe, Microsoft at 3:38 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Sailor
“Arrrr… show me your genuine Vista”

Those who deserve to be called “pirates” are probably those behaving like ones. The party that’s looting and cracking down on businesses seems to be either Microsoft or its BSA equivalents, which do all the legwork and distance Microsoft from any distasteful action. The previous post mentioned the BSA, whose role was also explained and demonstrated using evidence in [1, 2, 3, 4]. The BSA is a front.

Squeezing the Goose

The following incident we wrote about a couple of days ago, but articles at the time were in Dutch. Here are a couple in English:

1. Microsoft faces anti-trust complaint from software trader

Dutch software trader, Samir Abdalla, has filed a broad anti-trust complaint against Microsoft with the European Commission, charging that the firm’s pricing policies violate European Union treaties. The trader complains that Microsoft charges European users at least 30% higher prices than paid in the USA.

2. Dealer files antitrust complaint against Microsoft

A Dutch software dealer has filed a complaint against Microsoft with the European Commission, arguing that the company’s pricing policy in Europe violates antitrust laws.

Company owner Samir Abdalla’s complaint is that Microsoft charges at least a third more for its software in Europe than it does in the US. Abdalla’s lawyer, Gerard van der Wal of the Houthoff Buruma practice, said his client had begun a legal proceeding “this week” and was seeking clarification from the Commission.

Mr. Abdalla was right about overcharging because an unrestricted copy of Windows Vista cost about $710 in Holland (2007). Mr. Abdalla was probably a victim of Microsoft’s latest spree for revenue, which means cracking down and punishing those who spread the software as the company usually preferred. Here is another new incident:

Microsoft wins lawsuit

[...]

The lawsuit accused AllPro of distributing computer systems that were loaded with unauthorized copies of Windows XP Pro and Office 2003 software.

Microsoft needs money now, so it’s squeezing the goose.

The Propaganda Model

For Microsoft, it is very important never to publicly admit that counterfeited software is being spread with few hurdles (or none) because the company permits this to happen [1, 2, 3]. Microsoft prefers telling that world that it is a poor victim, an innocent angel. It even passes this type of arrogant message via the media, this time in India.

Microsoft Corporation India Pvt Ltd on Monday announced the availability of the Get Genuine Solution (GGS) for Windows Vista whereby Small and Medium Businesses (SMBs) can easily legalize their counterfeit or unlicensed Windows Vista PCs.

Here is an example of propaganda language from the article:

With piracy levels in the Indian market as high as 69 per cent, there is a large number of businesses with existing PCs in need of legalization due to counterfeit, under-licensing, mis-licensing and version piracy scenarios. According to a study on The Economic Benefits of Lowering PC Software Piracy 2008 a ten point reduction in PC software piracy would deliver an additional 44,000 new jobs, 200 million dollars in tax revenues, and 3.1 billion dollars in economic growth in India.

There is no mentioning of Free software; instead, it’s just more lies (typically via BSA and/or IDC) about the supposed loss to the economy. Whenever necessary, Microsoft invokes something like “anti-piracy” day and then uses it as an excuse/opportunity to shed some more crocodile tears.

This is what people read in the paper. The writers rarely make an attempt to show that Free (gratis and libre) solutions do exist.

“It’s easier for our software to compete with Linux when there’s piracy than when there’s not.”

Bill Gates

In the Egyptian press, the article “Pirates of the IT World” has just been published. Only the late portion of it contains a refreshing change which is a rebuttal from those who know better.

The term ‘software piracy’ was first brought to life by software companies to connote crime. A more neutral term is ‘copyright infringement of software.’ There is widespread criticism of software companies for using the word ‘pirate’ to describe a user who makes an illegal copy of software, since it implies that the copyright violator is a serious criminal. Much of this criticism comes from advocates for ‘open source’ software, i.e. software that is free to own, distribute and edit.

[...]

Open source is a software development method where every program must have its source code available to developers to modify the program. This contrasts with the ‘closed source’ method of software development. Advocates of proprietary software accuse open source software of being less innovative because developers do not receive monetary rewards for their products and are therefore less motivated to improve their products.

Some advocates of open source software, especially activists and professionals in the software industry, think that software should not be treated like ‘property’ and human knowledge should be shared with the general public so it is available for everyone’s benefit. They also believe that the source code (the instructions, in human-readable code, that allow a program to run) should be ‘open’ for anyone to use, change or improve the software for personal use or redistribution. There is also a general belief that open source software is more secure because anyone can fix security defects that might later be discovered in the code.

The remainder is just BSA accusations, which include extensive use of words like “piracy” and various self-serving claims. That, as a matter of fact, is another example of things that make journalism junk.

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2 Comments

  1. Slowcoach said,

    December 3, 2008 at 6:15 am

    Gravatar

    Earlier this year Vista Ultimate (full version) was on sale here in the UK for £370 which equated to around US$700 at the time. Today almost no-one stocks this version, I wonder why.

  2. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 3, 2008 at 6:55 am

    Gravatar

    Here is the reason for the high price:


    I received this just now:
    Hello Mr Burgessparker,

    Many thanks for contacting Microsoft regarding the difference in
    recommended retail prices between the UK and the US.

    I was sorry to hear that you were not happy with the cost of the
    purchase price of product here in the UK, in comparison with the cost in
    the US.

    The pricing model was developed using careful evaluation of the required
    infrastructure, associated costs and industry standard pricing models.
    Purchase prices are consistent and fair within geographic bands and
    calculated using GDP (Gross Domestic Product) per capita.

    I hope this helps you understand the pricing structure.

    Kind Regards,

    Clint McCarthy

    Response Management Team UK

    Microsoft Ltd

    Can anyone tell me WHAT, precisely, has GDP per capita got to do with
    product pricing? I have NEVER, when employed as a Group Management
    Accountant, been in ANY organisation that factors in GDP as part of it’s
    pricing structure.

    SNAKEOIL!


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