Summary: Microsoft is sued by Red Hat for secret deals while the red ink seems to be quietly dripping
MICROSOFT’S illegal dealings in Switzerland are a subject that we wrote about earlier this month in:
- Is Microsoft Breaking the Law in Switzerland Too?
- Microsoft Uses Lobbyists to Attack Holland’s Migration to Free Software and Sort of Bribes South African Teachers Who Use Windows
- 3 New Counts of Antitrust Violation by Microsoft?
Switzerland, being a nation of banking for the most part at least in people’s minds, thrives in trust and responsibility. Swiss citizens knew what Microsoft was up to and they responded:
Asking Switzerland for more neutrality …
Well – a lot of people in Switzerland and almost 20 companies are not really happy. Among these companies is Red Hat. So Red Hat is joining the official appeal that asks the court to stop this contract, force BBL to evaluate the alternatives that exist and are in active use, even in Switzerland in the offical way of public tendering.
Effectively the appeal asks the BBL to defend competition. In a vendor neutral way. Based on technical merits. I think it is fair to ask. Let the court decide.
And ofcourse the irony of asking Switzerland of all countries to act in a (vendor-) neutral way is quite funny.
As the above already suggests, Red Hat’s legal team is stepping in.
Red Hat is a leader of an appeal by 18 technology companies of a Swiss government agency’s award of a no-bid contract to Microsoft. The challenge raises important issues of openness in government and of a level playing field for open source and other competitors of Microsoft. Red Hat is seeking a public bidding process that allows for consideration of the technical and commercial advantages of open source software products.
£8 million a year to Microsoft, with no public bidding. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg, say open source activists
Linux vendor Red Hat, and 17 other vendors, have protested a Swiss government contract given to Microsoft without any public bidding. The move exposes a wider Microsoft monopoly that European governments accept, despite their lip service for open source, according to commentators.
The Red Hat group has asked a Swiss federal court to overturn a three-year contract issued to Microsoft by the Swiss Federal Bureau for Building and Logistics, to provide Windows desktops and applications, with support and maintenance, for 14 million Swiss Franc (£8 million) each year. The contract, for “standardised workstations”, was issued with no public bidding process, Red Hat’s legal team reports in a blog – because the Swiss agency asserted there was no sufficient alternative to Microsoft products.
For Microsoft to stoop down to these tactics of secret deals is not particularly surprising. See the following writings about Microsoft’s financial situation, which suffers from endless dumping of software and hefty fines:
- When Microsoft Corporation Met Debt
- Microsoft 2.0: A Company of Debt
- Microsoft Could Soon Enter Debt
- References Roundup: Microsoft’s Financial Situation
- Quick Mention: Explanation of How Microsoft Ended Up Approaching Debt
- Planting Seeds of Doubt in Microsoft’s Future
- Quick Mention: Microsoft is Falling Into Debt
- Microsoft Fires Up Proxy War Against Yahoo as Debt Looms Over
- Quick Mention: Microsoft, Amid/Near Debt, Declares Legal War on Linux
- The Game of Economics
- Microsoft Debt and Tax Evasion
DaemonFC says that “Microsoft is trying to sell debt bonds” and Twitter explains that “the $30 billion of cash had conflicts with other reports of $20 and it’s more likely they have none.”
“Microsoft is actually done with buybacks.”Further he explains: “at the end of 2008 they said they would go $20 billion in debt to buy $40 billion of their shares. Over the last couple of weeks there were a number of articles that acted like this is what they were doing. I thought they had already done their buy backs.”
Microsoft is actually done with buybacks. They announced it one month ago and it is odd because the company has purchased its stock heavily for many years. At that stage, namely the point where undisclosed buybacks are complete (their scale is disclosed, not the purchasing pace), according to their plans they would be about $5 billion in debt. Unless they cut these buybacks short, it would only make sense for Microsoft to be in debt right now. But as Twitter says, “If Microsoft is done with buybacks, why are there so many BS articles about it? [...] and this earlier article acts as if no one was sure.” To quote: “We know not why a company the size and shape of Microsoft needs to raise money through debt issuance–it already has over $30 billion in cash at hand on its books–but if this is a cost-of-capital initiative that leads to the company buying back some of its own float, shareholders may be in for a treat.”
What exactly is going on here? Someone is not telling the whole truth as there are contradictions that we are able to identify. █
“There is such an overvaluation of technology stocks that it is absurd. I would include our stock in that category. It is bad for the long-term worth of the economy.”