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04.08.09

Microsoft Breaks the Law in Germany and Gets Convicted, Fined

Posted in Europe, Fraud, Microsoft at 6:00 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Crime scene

Summary: Collusion charges against Microsoft lead to hefty fines

THIS JUST in via The Register:

The German competition authority, the BundesKartellamt, has fined Microsoft €9m for colluding with retailers to set the price of “Office Home and Student 2007″.

There are more articles in German and in English.

It is worth emphasising that Germany fined SCO for its slander of Linux and it can probably do the same to Microsoft.

Since Germany is determined to punish for collusion, the authorities should also take a look at EDGI schemes and the "<OEM> recommends Windows" scheme. There are many more examples of ill or illegal business practices.

Related readings:

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7 Comments

  1. spartan2276 said,

    April 10, 2009 at 1:31 pm

    Gravatar

    Roy you should try to look into what MS is doing to US retailers, for some reason all the Linux netbooks have vanished from big name sales stores such as Frys and Best Buy. I remember you could buy a netbook with linux on best buys website and at any best buy store, but now no longer the case, I have read a couple of blogs about people complaining about it. And also on ZDNet, although I can’t remember the link.

    To me this seems like MS has paid these retailers/Distributers/Manufactures to only sell XP netbook versions. Why can’t I go an get an HP Mini with XP but not with the Customized Ubuntu interface at best buy, yet they are both from the same manufacturer. So the Coke / Pepsi analogy goes out the window.

  2. Roy Schestowitz said,

    April 10, 2009 at 1:40 pm

    Gravatar

    spartan2276,

    I don’t have any ‘smoking gun’ memos, but I suggest you read:

    http://boycottnovell.com/2008/07/26/asus-possibly-sells-out/
    http://boycottnovell.com/2008/07/27/asus-express-gate-visibility/
    http://boycottnovell.com/2008/12/21/asus-shafting-linux/
    http://boycottnovell.com/2008/09/11/asus-express-windows/
    http://boycottnovell.com/2008/09/10/manipulation-by-proxy/
    http://boycottnovell.com/2008/07/28/pressure-to-stop-selling/
    http://boycottnovell.com/2008/08/19/oem-tactics-beos/

    It would be helpful if there were confirmed leaks, but we have none about sub-notebooks, except:

    http://boycottnovell.com/2008/05/10/leaked-memo-dumping-laptop/

  3. pcolon said,

    April 10, 2009 at 1:54 pm

    Gravatar

    The only Linux netbook available @Best Buy, in Rochester, NY, is a dusty eeepc701. The others (eee1000, Acer Aspire one and HP) are XP.

    Seems like if you want a Linux netbook you either pay the MS-Tax or import it.

  4. Dan O'Brian said,

    April 10, 2009 at 7:16 pm

    Gravatar

    To me this seems like MS has paid these retailers/Distributers/Manufactures to only sell XP netbook versions.

    …OR… the retailers got a lot of complaints/returns from customers who bought the Linux-based netbooks and so they stopped selling them and are now only selling the XP-based netbooks.

    Let’s not do any research before whipping out the conspiracy theories, eh?

  5. Ed Landaveri said,

    April 11, 2009 at 12:18 am

    Gravatar

    Spartan sounds correct. I haven’t seen any netbooks at Fry’s, or MicroCenter in Orange County, CA. It wouldn’t surprise me if MS have paid the retailers and manufactures for doing so. I found a student that bought one but had to pay the MS tax ’cause she couldn’t find the ones with Ubuntu.

    They’re trying to hide the fact that these devices exist, and the regular users have their hands tied when choosing what to buy. It also influences the fact that for example when given to choose two netbooks the one that comes with Ubuntu have lower hardware spects that it’s XP counterparts. I want a netbook that have the hardware same hardware specs than the XP ones. It seems like discrimination and collusion between the OEM’s and MS.

    Another question I have maybe someone can help: What can be done against this? How can we force the OEM’s to spell out the price you pay for the Operating system everytime you buy a laptop or computer here in the US? I know somewhere in Europe they were forced to do this. What can we as consumers can do about this? It would be the first step towars getting the choice of OS every time anyone buys the computer or at least consumers know how much they are charged for buying the piece of crapware that comes preinstalled with those machines? Last year I talked to the a Dell representative about getting a laptop without Windows, he told me that they’re offering Ubuntu on some systems, I told him I wanted something with higher end hardware and I could install my own, but he replied that that’s the way they do it. All of my boxes are custom build (no brand) because I didn’t want to pay the MS tax but I needed a laptop for my daughter. They push MS crapware whether you like it or not! This have to be stopped. Thanks

    pcolon Reply:

    System76, Emperor Linux have GNU/Linux laptops & desktops. Don’t know if they also have what MS likes to call “naked PCs”, that is, computers without an OS.

    Here, in western NY, we have a couple of small computer stores that are selling unbranded PCs and eeePCs with GNU/Linux. They also sell some of them with XP but they usually get returned primarily because hardware configs are the same for windows as it is for FOSS (4 & 8gb SSD).

  6. Dan O'Brian said,

    April 11, 2009 at 9:34 am

    Gravatar

    “Keir Thomas has responded to the recent raft of news stories pointing out that Linux’s share of the netbook market isn’t as rosy as it used to be. Thomas thinks the problem boils down to a combination of unfamiliar software and unfamiliar hardware, which can ‘push users over the edge.’ This accounts for the allegedly high return rates of Linux netbooks. In contrast, although far from superior, Windows provides a more familiar environment, making the hardware issues (irritatingly small keyboard, screen etc.) seem less insurmountable; users are less likely to walk away. ‘Once again Microsoft’s monopoly means Windows is swallowing up another market.’”

    Ya don’t say…

    Well, I guess that just goes to show that you guys are too eager to shoot first and never ask the question later.

    As I suggested above, it turns out I was right about the # of Linux netbook returns and that’s a much more likely reason for the retailers having stopped putting them on shelves.

    http://linux.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=09/04/11/000245

    Being pro-Linux doesn’t mean you guys need to attack everyone who isn’t and theorizing about conspiracies.

    I’m pro-Linux, and I don’t do that. IMHO, the best way to advocate Linux is to make the FLOSS software the best software out there. The best products usually win in the end (the only time they don’t is when the company that makes said software goes out of business, but FLOSS can’t go out of business).

    You guys hurt FLOSS more than you help it buy reinforcing the idea that the FLOSS community are a bunch of tin foil hat wearing nutjobs.

    Luckily it’s only the vocal minority that are the tin foil hat wearing nutjobs, but it still gives a poor impression to the majority of people who aren’t F/LOSS converts.

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