05.25.09

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Can the United Kingdom and Hungary Still be Sued for Excluding Free Software?

Posted in Courtroom, Europe, Free/Libre Software, Law, Microsoft at 5:55 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“If you believe that discrimination exists, it will.”

Anthony J. D’Angelo

Summary: Does collusion with Microsoft (or favouritism) permit Switzerland- and Quebec-like action to go forward and expand?

YESTERDAY we wrote about an almost-unprecedented lawsuit that had been initiated in Switzerland because of Microsoft corruption in procurement. There was a similar lawsuit in Canada last year, but the latest one in Europe could open the floodgate to more such lawsuits in the areas. How about the corruption in Hungary [1, 2, 3, 4] for example? Here is a new short article from ZDNet UK:

Hungary – where I am currently based – only a month ago agreed to put open source options on the tender list for government tech projects. Previously, government tenders would simply state, “Microsoft or equivalent products”. Microsoft has splashed its cash around the country both in terms of marketing and lobbying that it has much of the public sector sown-up, as open source guru Richard Stallman remarked on a recent visit to Budapest.

And let’s not forget that the UK only just agreed to “level the playing field for open source” software – basically admitting that up till now the game has been firmly rigged against non-proprietary software.

This implicit admission of misconduct is something which relates to writings such as:

One of our readers writes to say: “Looking in Google’s results, it’s hard to find the announcement that Newham and others gave Microsoft the boot. There as a fair amount of noise that they were going to FOSS. Then more noise that they had “regretted” their decision and signed a lengthy contract with Microsoft. Then a few years later there was a quiet announcement that quickly disappeared that mentioned that they cancelled the contract with Microsoft and went with FOSS + open standards anyway.

As we noted the other day, Microsoft continues to escape the juridical system in the EU. Here is one of the latest reports about it:

?Microsoft Antitrust Hearing in Europe Canceled

[...]

The regulators’ attendance was important, Microsoft said, because they may have been more sympathetic to the company’s argument that the bundling of Internet Explorer in Windows did not represent a breach of European law. The commission typically consults with the national regulators before issuing sanctions and fines in the case….

Jonathan Todd, a commission spokesman, said the panel was puzzled by Microsoft’s request. He said the hearing would have been attended by Neelie Kroes, the competition commissioner for the European Union and ranking executive. Usually, the hearings are conducted only by a staff hearing officer.

More here:

Microsoft has turned down the chance to give oral evidence to the European Competition Commission – because the date clashes with a big beanfeast for regulators in Switzerland.

Microsoft has meanwhile grown closer (personal relationships) to some European regulators. Will justice ever be served?

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