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IT News Thread, Member of EU Parliament asks if Microsoft should be excluded from public procurement in Other News; Groklaw - Member of EU Parliament asks if Microsoft should be excluded from public procurement On march 2004, the Commission ...
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    Geoff's Avatar
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    Member of EU Parliament asks if Microsoft should be excluded from public procurement

    Groklaw - Member of EU Parliament asks if Microsoft should be excluded from public procurement

    On march 2004, the Commission adopted a decision declaring that Microsoft had seriously violated EU competition rules by abusing the dominant position in the software market, causing a huge damage both on competitors and consumers. On 17 September 2007, the Court of First Instance (CFI) rejected Microsoft's appeal (Case T-201/04). Microsoft has not appealed the CFI ruling, which can be deemed to have the force of res judicata. Following the 17 September 2007 judgment, the European Commission imposed on 27 February 2008 a substantial fine (899 million euros) on Microsoft for its non-compliance up until 22 October 2007 with its obligations under the Commission's March 2004 Decision to provide interoperability information on reasonable terms.

    While Microsoft's behaviour had negative effects on millions of offices in companies and governments around the world, this fine for flouting the European competition law represents the highest amount ever imposed in fifty years of EC Competition law for abuse of dominant position. Furthermore, this fine follows a previous one of 280.5 million euros that was imposed in July 2006 essentially for the same reasons.

    Pursuant to article 93 (b) & (c) of the Financial Regulation, which implements article 45 (2)(c) & (d) of Directive 2004/18/EC on public procurement, candidates or tenderers shall be excluded from participation in procurement procedures if: (b) they have been convicted of an offence concerning their professional conduct by a judgment which has the force of res judicata; (c) they have been guilty of grave professional misconduct proven by any means which the contracting authority can justify;

    Considering that Microsoft continued to abuse its powerful market position after the Commission's March 2004 decision requiring it to change its practices, and given the fact that it is already the third time in four years that the Commission had to impose fines or penalty payment for non-compliance with a Commission decision, and bearing in mind that the 17 September 2007 CFI judgment has the force of res judicata, does the Commission consider that Article 93 (b) and (c) of Financial Regulation, read in conjunction with article 45(2) of Directive 2004/18/EC, could be applied to Microsoft in this particular case and with regard to any ongoing or future public procurement procedure? If it is the case, could we therefore consider that Microsoft does not fulfill the conditions to participate in such public procurement procedure?
    So if this gathers any steam, in theory, no new MS software for 5 years.
    Last edited by Geoff; 10th April 2008 at 03:31 PM.

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    Ouch. I better get some Linux SysAdmin training.

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    Diello's Avatar
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    Jeez... MS are no saints, but the EU witch-hunt is getting a bit OTT...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Diello View Post
    Jeez... MS are no saints, but the EU witch-hunt is getting a bit OTT...
    Agreed!

    Is (s)he suggesting that public procurement will be stopped but private procurement (i.e. businesses) can continue?

    Great for compatibility

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    webman's Avatar
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    MS deserve whatever the EU throw at them.

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    agreed

    Quote Originally Posted by Diello View Post
    Jeez... MS are no saints, but the EU witch-hunt is getting a bit OTT...
    Yeah I agree, they are dominant but this is getting too much. I woudl rather see better negotiated deals so public sector can buy MS software and also other software i.e. from Symantec, Sophos, Adobe etc so its affordable. I still think the 31.50 for MS Office is too much and would be better at around 15-20 mark, so if they want to hit them then get them to lower the prices especially Adobe who are just numpties when it come to the prices of their products.

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    localzuk's Avatar
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    The rules are the rules. It isn't a witch-hunt if they are just following the same rules as everyone else...

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    Diello's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by localzuk View Post
    The rules are the rules. It isn't a witch-hunt if they are just following the same rules as everyone else...
    Funny - I don't see Ford, or BMW, going through the same process. "Ford, you need to hand over all the details and blueprints of how you make your cars to Vauxhall. They've not been as successful as you, so you must help them challenge you".

    Yes - MS have done things wrong, yes, they can annoy the *@%# out of us at times - but there's a point at which it's no longer redressing any sort of balance, and just having a go at the clever kid.

    You see it everywhere - Look at Ubuntu, once the darling of the Linux community, now it's so successful, you get the hardened Linux community members rubbishing it, saying it's Linux for wimps.

    Are the same rules being applied however? I don't see BMW being put through anti-trust because you can buy their cars with SatNav. Surely you shouldn't be able to get SatNav with your car and should have to go out and buy a solution for that feature separately? ....................

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    Funny - I don't see Ford, or BMW, going through the same process. "Ford, you need to hand over all the details and blueprints of how you make your cars to Vauxhall. They've not been as successful as you, so you must help them challenge you".
    The car analogy doesn't work here, because car manufacturers do abide by standards - their measurements are made in millimeters that everybody can understand. In this case MS defined the 'standards' and made it so only their products will be able to sufficiently interact with each other. In theory you should be able to fit a third party wheel to a ford car - but I still cannot find any software that interacts with an exchange server to the level that MS products do - the EU essentially ruled that this is not because MS do it 'any better' than anyone else - but because MS have been going out of their way to prevent interaction as a way to block competition.

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    It won't happen talk about cutting your nose off to spite your face. It is however a serious bargaining chip there's no way MS will allow this to happen so the EU may get a result. They just need to keep the pressure on MS bit time.

    Trust me i'm no mass MS fan but the whole of the EU not buying MS software just think how many third party companies that would be unintentionally affected, it could cost the the industry millions and leave the EU open to all sorts or legal action and all just to give MS the big V.

    ----------------------------------------------------------

    Look at Ubuntu, once the darling of the Linux community, now it's so successful, you get the hardened Linux community members rubbishing it, saying it's Linux for wimps
    It's important to remember that it's these idiots that are holding back mass Linux adoption with their esoteric attitude.
    Last edited by cookie_monster; 10th April 2008 at 06:17 PM.

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    webman's Avatar
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    Bodies affected would have little option than to upgrade to open source solutions for new installs. I don't really see that as a bad thing.

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    Diello's Avatar
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    "They would have little option than to" - isn't that what got MS into trouble? Limiting choice based on an almost religious zealously? FOSS should be successful (or not) based on it's merits vs. the competition, not because people have been forced into it.

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    As i say it would cost companies a fortune to 'just' quickly port their software over to an alternative platform especially smaller companies. I know a friend who works for a not so small company and it cost them a fortune and allot of time (years) to move their products from AS400 to Windows. A move like that could put them out of bussiness.

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    Surely that's better than the vendor lock-in promoted by Microsoft? Many businesses use Microsoft simply because it's Microsoft, and aren't aware of the many benefits open platforms can provide.

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    torledo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cookie_monster View Post
    As i say it would cost companies a fortune to 'just' quickly port their software over to an alternative platform especially smaller companies. I know a friend who works for a not so small company and it cost them a fortune and allot of time (years) to move their products from AS400 to Windows. A move like that could put them out of bussiness.
    I bet they were shocked at the increased TCO of running a windows environment for their applications.....

    they must be scratching their heads as to why they just didn't upgrade to the iseries instead and keep their apps on the latest incarnation of a rock solid, plonk-it-in-the-corner-and-forget-about platform

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