11.13.11

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Bribing Governments and People to Become Microsoft Customers

Posted in Antitrust, Europe, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft at 11:18 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

People in business

Summary: Negative pricing and retaliatory offerings from a convicted monopolist with antitrust violations — is that the ‘new’ Microsoft?

WHEN Microsoft paid people to use its Google scraper (known as "Bong") journalists called it a "bribe" and it failed anyway (Microsoft loses billions per year online). Microsoft wanted to be able to spy on more Internet users for all sorts of purposes. Now, we also know that Microsoft uses Internet Explorer to spy on users by keeping track of all the pages they visit. But this browser is failing pretty badly, so what does Microsoft do? Bribe ‘em:

Somewhere along the line, Microsoft went from being the 800-pound gorilla in the browser market to begging users to switch back to Internet Explorer. Now, Microsoft is running a “where’s the love?” campaign to offer “free stuff” for users who download IE9. After all these years, hasn’t Microsoft learned yet that it can’t buy love? Is the company capable of competing on features at all?
While IE may hold a lead over Firefox, Chrome and Safari individually, it’s trounced by the trio overall.

There are several articles about it out there. Microsoft gets slammed for trying to merely buy its userbase and thus deprive smaller companies, removing their rivals’ customers to the point where they are in mortal danger. This is monopoly abuse. There is some other interesting news today which very much screams “EDGI”. Assuming this report is accurate, Microsoft is offering ‘free’ stuff to derail its Free/open source competition, which again, is definitely monopoly abuse and ought to be investigated. To quote:

Free Microsoft upgrade when you threaten open source?

Qamar Yunus, assistant director in the Cabinet Office ICT policy team, says that Microsoft provided its software for free when a government department decided to pilot open source LibreOffice as an alternative to upgrading its Microsoft software.
Yunus was making the point that considering open source helps improve competition. He added, though, that open source should be considered properly rather than simply as a negotiating tool, according to Guardian Government Computing.
Yunus was speaking at EHI Live in Birmingham. He said that extensive research has established that neither departments nor system integrators understand open source.
He was also reported as saying that the ‘myth’ that open source was less secure than proprietary had been dispelled, and every government department was now mandated to look at both proprietary and open source software.

Antitrust officials should take action against this. If they disregard monopoly-related rules, then what good is the rule of law anyway?

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3 Comments

  1. Michael said,

    November 13, 2011 at 12:23 pm

    Gravatar

    Calling Bing a “Google Scraper” shows your bias.

    Complaining about MS “spying” on people as you give Google a pass shows your bias.

    For an OSS advocate to complain about others *also* offering stuff for free shows your bias.

    kozmcrae Reply:

    Bing was caught red handed scraping Google. Google discovered Microsoft’s transgression and set a trap with specific and bogus data. It showed up in Bing unadulterated.

    Michael Reply:

    I am not defending Bing nor Microsoft. I am not saying one should not speak about MS’s sins in terms of Bing. I am noting how Roy’s language shows his bias. Bing is a search engine, not a “Google scraper”.

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