03.24.12

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Microsoft Bribes, Anti-competitive Tactics

Posted in Antitrust, Europe, Microsoft at 6:54 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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Summary: Abusive behaviour from Microsoft and what vigilant people are saying

THE editors at IDG finally grew a pair and decided to approve a headline which calls out Microsoft for “bribe” in Europe — a sophisticated form of bribe (like EDGI) which ensures Free software won’t enter the government:

Microsoft is offering home-use licenses for Microsoft Office, Project (project management software) and Visio (a diagramming tool) through the Parliament’s administration office. Such offers are not unusual in Microsoft’s contracts with large organizations, but, said FSFE’s Karsten Gerloff, “political institutions like the European Parliament are bound to higher standards.”

The offer is for Parliament staffers only and will probably not be extended to elected members. However, “staffers are the ones who make the wheels turn. They’re the ones who do all the legwork, and they control access to the MEPs,” pointed out Gerloff.

“Competition and procurement issues aside, it doesn’t seem proper that the people making the rules for the European market should accept gifts from the very companies they’re regulating,” he continued.

In March 2011, the European Commission was accused of favoritism as it decided to move internal IT systems in the European Institutions to Microsoft Windows 7 without holding a public tender. The move flies in the face of the Commission’s own advice to avoid public procurement lock-in. FSFE is now concerned that the offer by Microsoft constitutes a bribe to increase further lock-in.

In other news, Ryan from our IRC channels has some thoughts on what Microsoft hopes to achieve with restricted boot:

securely boot a PC, and that corporations are salivating at the prospect of using it to lock end users into their operating system software, to keep the user trapped with whatever their computer happened to come with. The headlines designed to smear Linux are just paid for by Microsoft. The “bootloader attacks” that Secure Boot is supposedly meant to deal with are mostly attacks on the Windows Activation system that rely on bootloader exploits to make Windows believe it is an OEM copy that came with the PC so that the user may use a copy of Windows without paying for it.

Microsoft isn’t interested in stopping the malware of the week from stealing your identity or subverting your system and using it to display (sometimes pornographic) advertisements, which are just two of the things that Windows is known well for. They are interested in stopping the user from being able to run their own software on their private property and from getting away with using a less crippled version of Windows than what came with their computer without forking over more money through the Anytime Upgrade scam.

Where are the antitrust regulators when one needs them? We wrote about this subject before [1, 2, 3, 4, 5] and in the next post we’ll show just how radical Microsoft really is about eliminating the competition’s right to exist.

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