12.12.11

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Microsoft’s OEM Stranglehold at State of Legal Risk

Posted in America, Antitrust, Microsoft at 9:14 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

[written in 05/12/2011]

Statue of wisdom

Summary: By moving to mobile devices Linux is working around the OEM trap — a trap which Canadian courts are to look into

MICROSOFT does not sell Windows to Windows users. Microsoft sells (“licenses” actually) Windows in bulk to OEMs, and it uses potentially illegal tactics to block or suppress usage of GNU/Linux in this way, removing the end user from the decision-making process. We have written many articles over the years and also presented relevant evidence.

Mr. Pogson shows us the decline of Windows (which is mostly caused by the decline of the OEMs) and to quote part of his argument:

I am not writing about money, which is all M$ really cares about, but share of “seats”. M$ can raise its prices for years to come to keep the money rolling in from the suckers but they cannot lock in more users it seems. Consider this. In October, Wikimedia records 91% of visits were “non-mobile”, mostly that other OS. 9% were “mobile”, mostly not that other OS. In October a year ago, the numbers were 95.2% and 4.8%. M$ is losing 5% share per annum on the move to mobile alone. In 2010, M$ had 84.29% share but now have 78.38% share, down about 6% per annum. Now that Android 4 is out and Android will make a big move in tablets, the slide for M$ will be faster simply because more mobile devices will be produced.

This is a known trend and one that B&N mentioned in its complaint about Microsoft extortion.

More importantly, however, based on the Canadian press (Pogson too is Canadian), actions in the OEM level is also possible:

The Supreme Court of Canada has granted leave to appeal two decisions by the B.C. Court of Appeal that the final consumers of a product cannot sue the producers in a class action law suit if they did not purchase the product directly from the producer.

The decision involves efforts to set up two Canadian class action law suits; one involving high-fructose corn syrup producers Cargill Inc. and Archer Daniels Midland Co. (ADM), for conspiring to fix the price of the sweetener; and Microsoft Corp., for creating agreements with the manufacturers of computers that required them to buy only Microsoft products.

Therein we might finally see some action that sets precedence for other countries to unbundle PCs and Windows.

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3 Comments

  1. Michael said,

    December 13, 2011 at 1:32 am

    Gravatar

    FUD:

    Microsoft sells (“licenses” actually) Windows in bulk to OEMs, and it uses potentially illegal tactics to block or suppress usage of GNU/Linux in this way, removing the end user from the decision-making process.

    End users can buy Windows and you can get machines pre-installed with Linux. You made up the part about the end user not having choice.

    FUD:

    Therein we might finally see some action that sets precedence for other countries to unbundle PCs and Windows.

    Are you next going to force car makers to not include third part radios? This is just silly… why not support *choice*. I think OEMs should be free to make choices as to what they want to sell – if they want to sell systems with Windows – fine; if they want to sell systems with Ubuntu or Mint or whatever – fine!

    Why work *against* the consumer by trying to prevent the sales of complete systems?

    phel Reply:

    In reality less than 1/20 of PC models available in the market can be purchased by end-users without a windows license. Some countries countries are alredy considering new market regulations to stimulate competition in the ICT-sector by refusing dominant products the privilege of bundling with other products. If implemented operating systems for generic computers will have to be marketed, priced and billed separate from the computer is said OS command more than a certain (~40%) market share.

    mrkennie Reply:

    Funny, I’ve found it impossible to purchase a windows free PC from Dell for instance and even tried at my local PC World store. The evidence is staring you in the face. Look at Dell’s, HP’s etc etc website and what common piece of text do they all share? X recommends Microsoft Windows 7 ultimate whatever. You seriously believe ms has not enforced this as part of some agreement with oem’s? I do believe in choice and I personally believe I should be able to purchase a PC with or without Windows.

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