Bonum Certa Men Certa

Spanish Government May be Breaking the Law with Microsoft. European Commission Should Investigate.

Running cigarrns



Summary: Apparent cronyism in Spain warrants investigation; European Commission distracted by other Microsoft crimes

IT HAS BEEN a while since we wrote about illegal Microsoft contracts (there are lots of examples), but now that Spain appears to be colluding with Microsoft [1, 2, 3] the European Commission should step in to demonstrate that it performs and not only occupies its important role. As one person put it yesterday:

This may be illegal according to EU rules.



If the Spanish government has offered such a large contract without allowing other vendors to tender, then they are probably breaking EU anti-trust laws. The Spanish government has a monopoly in Spain over tax collection and schools IT procurement. Microsoft has a desktop and office suite monopoly. When two big monopolies get together like this and lock out other vendors, it is a major concern from the fair competition point of view.


Sanders says says he's not impressed, arguing that:

Currently, in order to win any kind of public service concession in Spain, all you have to do is to offer the government of Mr Zapatero some money or resources that allow Mr Zapatero€´s party to improve his image on the next election. Yes, what I€´m suggesting is that MS is probably involved on some corruption scheme of some sort with the Government. This is the way Mr Zapatero€´s administration work.


The European Commission sure seems preoccupied with yesterday's fights over crimes that Microsoft committed (and was never properly punished for). It should not, however, let the present crimes go unnoticed; it's better to prevent than to punish after the act. Here is the latest from Europe:

Microsoft Might Not Go Ahead With Hearing In European Antitrust Case



[...]

The European Commission was certainly not swayed by Microsoft’s arguments during a similar hearing six years ago—and the company’s chances this time around are not looking much better. In January, the European Commission said its preliminary view was that Microsoft had stifled competition in the browser market by packaging Internet Explorer and Windows. Google (NSDQ: GOOG) and Mozilla have since said that they support the European Commission’s preliminary findings. And earlier this month, a host of other tech companies, including IBM, Adobe (NSDQ: ADBE), and RealNetworks (NSDQ: RNWK), represented by the European Committee for Interoperable Systems, also joined as third parties in the case.


There are many vendors involved in this case, but they must not neglect the role of consumers, too. Not only choice in the market benefits consumers. For ethical reasons, for instance, the situation goes deeper than that.

'We recommend that we *informally* plant the bug of FUD in their ears. "Have you heard about problems with DR DOS?"'

--Internal Microsoft communication [PDF]

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