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Microsoft Bends To Norwegian Pressure

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the keeping-competitors-out dept.

Microsoft 117

Martin writes "Microsoft has agreed to change the terms of its school agreement contract with Norwegian regional municipalities, following a complaint by Norwegian open-source software company Linpro to the Norwegian Competition Authority. Microsoft 'introduced two kinds of flexibility in the agreement, that were previously missing,' the head of the company's Norway operations said. One of these 'kinds of flexibility' involved Microsoft not getting paid a license fee for each Linux and Mac computer in schools."

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I don't understand (4, Interesting)

rumith (983060) | more than 7 years ago | (#19539345)

How can one demand license fees for something they don't have the right to license in the first place (in case of Mac OS X, which AFAIK does not allow redistribution)?

Re:I don't understand (4, Insightful)

dsanfte (443781) | more than 7 years ago | (#19539385)

Easy, offer a huge up-front discount to the schools and sneak it into the contract. People who think they're getting a deal of a lifetime tend not to look too closely at the fine print (gifthorses and all that).

Not exactly. (4, Informative)

khasim (1285) | more than 7 years ago | (#19540911)

There's no "sneaking" involved. It's clearly stated. EVERY machine you have MUST be counted when calculating the license fee.

No matter what runs on that machine.

Or how old it is.

Or what it does.

If you do not want to go with the Microsoft contract, you may purchase retail versions of Windows for each machine. And hope that you're fully compliant. Because the fines for piracy are far more than the cost of just paying Microsoft for every single box you have no matter what.

Re:I don't understand (3, Interesting)

El_Muerte_TDS (592157) | more than 7 years ago | (#19539389)

Are you new?
Companies have been doing that a lot and for quite some time.
Its not just Microsoft, other example include SCO, MPAA, RIAA, News Corp, ... the list goes on.
They simply do it as long as they can get away with it.

Re:I don't understand (2, Insightful)

magores (208594) | more than 7 years ago | (#19540395)

Its not just Microsoft, other example include SCO, MPAA, RIAA, News Corp, ...

Search: Definition: "Low-hanging fruit"

Re:I don't understand (5, Informative)

badfish99 (826052) | more than 7 years ago | (#19539411)

It's not a fee for distributing OS/X; it's a fee per machine.

The usual licensing terms that Microsoft force on OEMs are that Microsoft must be paid a fee per machine sold, regardless of whether it has Windows installed on it or not. Of course the idea of this is to encourage OEMs to install Windows on every machine they sell, because they can't make a saving from not doing so. If you try to negotiate a "per copy of Windows" price instead of a "per machine" price, the licensing cost goes up to the retail cost, which is deliberately inflated to make it uneconomic.

I don't think they have that anymore to Dell... (4, Insightful)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 7 years ago | (#19539699)

Because Dell's Ubuntu machines are slightly cheaper than their Window's equivalents, last I heard. I don't think they would do that if they still had to pay per machine.

Though I am sure a lot of OEMs get the per machine treatment.

Re:I don't think they have that anymore to Dell... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19539909)

Because Dell's Ubuntu machines are slightly cheaper than their Window's equivalents, last I heard. I don't think they would do that if they still had to pay per machine.

Though I am sure a lot of OEMs get the per machine treatment.

Microsoft has been specifically forbidden in the U.S. for doing per machine sold licenses as a result of losing one of the antitrust cases. I'm not sure about the bundling B.S..

Re:I don't understand (4, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | more than 7 years ago | (#19539817)

That is the perfect explanation of the "Microsoft Tax." Someone should quote this on a regular basis when someone needs to explain to others what they mean by that.

Re:I don't understand (2, Insightful)

djauto23 (1091453) | more than 7 years ago | (#19539859)

Yeah, but it's a bit funny that they're also, according to TFA, charging for Macs. To me both cases seem absurd, but I guess this is what the world have come to, and hopefully now is moving away from.

Re:I don't understand (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19539417)

Consider this... almost nobody has actually gone to the store and bought a copy of Windows.

Re:I don't understand (5, Interesting)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 7 years ago | (#19539501)

almost nobody has actually gone to the store and bought a copy of Windows.

It's not about individuals buying Windows off the shelf. It's about keeping the big boxshifters (Dell et al) on the Windows treadmill.

A local grey-box assembler in Australia pays about AU$210 wholesale for an OEM copy of Vista Business. Dell pays about AU$40 for the same thing. When a basic business-capable computer can be put together for about AU$800, that difference in the MS tax between the two businesses is what's keeping Dell alive.

Dell's selling Linux boxes now, because most of the grey-box builders offer cheap computers with Ubuntu installed, and they don't want to be left behind. But you can bet your bottom dollar they'll be shitting bricks at the thought of having to compete without that MS built buffer.

Re:I don't understand (2, Interesting)

r_jensen11 (598210) | more than 7 years ago | (#19542905)

Dell's selling Linux boxes now, because most of the grey-box builders offer cheap computers with Ubuntu installed, and they don't want to be left behind. But you can bet your bottom dollar they'll be shitting bricks at the thought of having to compete without that MS built buffer.

Funny, I always thought that by offering Ubuntu in addition to the unadvertised Redhat, that Dell would be trying to hold onto its current corporate customers and attract new corporate customers that are currently using Windows and will continue to use Windows for a little while, just in case this 'Linux thing' 'ever takes off*'.

*We can debate whether or not Linux has already taken off, but from the corporate perspective, it's still a backend thing because most of their mission-critical desktop applications are neither ported over yet or have comparable products that they can transfer their data to.

Re:I don't understand (2, Insightful)

Thrip (994947) | more than 7 years ago | (#19540111)

Consider this... almost nobody has actually gone to the store and bought a copy of Windows.
Cite please? They seem to have a lot of boxes of Windows at my local computer store -- I doubt they'd waste the shelf space if no one was buying it.
I've been primarily using Linux for 9 years, but I personally have bought 2 copies of Windows at the store (one for my wife, one for me, in both cases because we had contract work that required it).

Re:I don't understand (2, Informative)

Firethorn (177587) | more than 7 years ago | (#19540217)

There's always the grocery store shelf possibility - Microsoft paid to have a big display.

Otherwise, I haven't ever noticed them getting a lot of shelf space - in the stores I frequent it's usually one shelf, down at the bottom, that has Windows,WinPro, Office, and Office Pro. Around the beginning of the year there's a big display with MS Money and Quicken competing.

Re:I don't understand (3, Interesting)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 7 years ago | (#19539429)

They're aren't licensing Linux or OS X to you, they just want money for every computer, which is two different things.... (yes, I agree it's pretty greedy and underhanded)...

Re:I don't understand (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19539531)

The article is not very clear, but I think the schools paid for site licences and now they will have a discount based on the number of computers on site not using MS software

Re:I don't understand (2, Insightful)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 7 years ago | (#19539923)

...the same way that a company can demand royalties on a product it contributed NOTHING to. I thank Norway for taking a stand against this kind of stupidity, and hope for a day when the US will.

Re:I don't understand (3, Interesting)

IdleTime (561841) | more than 7 years ago | (#19540837)

As a Norwegian who has lived and worked in USA for a decade, it's still a mystery to me why American laws are protecting the companies and not the people. This is just a result of the consumer protection laws and laws regulating what a company can or can not do.

To the government of Norway, people are the important ones.

Here in the USA the companies can do almost anything they want and you as a consumer is getting bent over and raped over and over again and all you do, is to say "Thank you! One more time please!" What the fuck is wrong with you?

Re:I don't understand (4, Insightful)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 7 years ago | (#19541069)

It is the result of the neoconservative movement. Anyone who speaks out for consumer rights or against ruthless business practices is labeled as some kind of extreme left communist, and here in America, that is considered to be a bad thing. In fact, under the current administration, being labeled a "liberal" is a bad thing. And unfortunately, not only do consumers wind up losing, but engineers and programmers also end up losing because of software patents and large monopolies like Microsoft (God forbid we should ever say that a business is too big).

Re:I don't understand (4, Interesting)

IdleTime (561841) | more than 7 years ago | (#19544003)

And yest, the average American thumps themselves on the chest and proclaim with great bravado "We are #1!'. And when you try to tell them, no, not really, you are more like 23-27 on all rankings and your citizens are treated like shit. Seeing the disaster that ensued after Katrina made me think what would have happened if such a thing had happened back home. The government would have put in any form ogf help possible including the military, It would have been a huge lift of help and the people cared for and a huge rebuilding project would have followed with one single goal, to get people back into better homes and built levies that could have withstand the strongest possible hurricane.

The worst part about the US society is that people are apathetic. As long as they get their Tv shows and celebrity news along with a healthy dose of bullshit about USA #1, they are happy. And they don't even have the imagination to think that people in other countries are better off.

The real funny part is that many Americans I have discussed with consider the Scandinavian countries to be socialistic but fail to realize that we have as many billionaires per capita as USA does, I even think Sweden has more per capita. Not to mention that even we have a national health care system, most of the players are private and not government run. And they make good money too. My experience is that Americans are socially dumber than Europeans and have been so brainwashed that they can not believe how bad the US society is.

Re:I don't understand (1)

notwrong (620413) | more than 7 years ago | (#19544555)

You make some good points, but given everything you say, why do you choose to live and work in the USA?

I'm not particularly pro-USA. I haven't even been there in the best part of a decade. I do think there are some things they do well or have done well though. The culture of innovation and entrepreneurship is richer and stronger than in many places in the world. Their democracy has been, and in spite of recent setbacks and policy mis-steps, still is, a big net positive for the world, IMO. The USA has the largest economy in the world, and is its only superpower. I'm not saying American hubris, nationalism or exceptionalism are well-placed - but it is an extraordinary country in several ways.

Re:I don't understand (2, Insightful)

gregorio (520049) | more than 7 years ago | (#19540113)

How can one demand license fees for something they don't have the right to license in the first place (in case of Mac OS X, which AFAIK does not allow redistribution)?
It's a per-machine distribution, as others already mentioned. The thing is, they will give you an extra discount on every single license, for two reasons:
  1. You're buying more of the same item. Even if you're not using, you're still buying it.
  2. You're lowering their licensing audit costs, as all they need to do is count the machines instead of inspecting their contents.
The thing is, once you reject their per-machine licensing scheme, their audits will ve very pedantic and will cost you a lot of money if any employee/student messed up and installed illegal copies of anything. And government contracts usually allow routine audits and accept full responsibility over contract breaches such as installing illegal copies.

Old as Standard Oil - the drawback (3, Interesting)

turing_m (1030530) | more than 7 years ago | (#19540447)

Ever heard of the "South Improvement Company"?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Standard_Oil [wikipedia.org]

"Smaller companies decried the deals as being unfair because they were not producing enough oil to qualify for discounts. In 1872, Rockefeller joined the South Improvement Company which would have allowed him to receive rebates for shipping oil but also to receive drawbacks on oil his competitors shipped. When word got out of this arrangement, competitors convinced the Pennsylvania Legislature to revoke South Improvement's charter. No oil was ever shipped under this arrangement."

This is a minor modification of Standard Oil's drawback, except it works on your customers as opposed to a company supplying you a service. The basic idea is to use your monopoly power to force another business entity to give you money every time they do business with one of your competitors.

Re:I don't understand (1)

AlHunt (982887) | more than 7 years ago | (#19540833)

I don't mind MS demanding anything they want. I wonder more about the people who agree to *pay*.

More ignorant anti-MS FUD, c/o Slashdot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19541513)

MS requires a "client access license" for each client accessing a Windows server. This has been done for decades, and has always cost far less than, say, a Netware server used to.

This is not "Microsoft charging a license fee for Lunix and OSX". This is a usage fee for the servers. It's because you aren't paying the same fee for a one-client SQL server as you are for a 1000-client email server.

Two things I can always count on: Ignorant Anti-MS FUD from Slashdot, and the sun rising in the east.

Ignorant anomymous MS shill, c/o Slashdot (2, Interesting)

catman (1412) | more than 7 years ago | (#19541875)

The deal was MS Windows licenses for all machines with cpu speeds above a low limit and memory sizes above another small limit. It had nothing whatsoever to do with CALS, and much to do with MS being incapable of understanding why anyone would not want to run Windows.

I saw similar shills on a blog claiming that Office 2003 and 2007 were perfectly compatible after a poster had shown his exact problem in going between the two versions. The replies from the fanbois were insulting, information-free and arrogant - much like normal MS output.

Full disclosure: I am a Norwegian, in a very small way involved privately in Skolelinux/Debian EDU and I do know about the deal.

Why does this not surprise me... (0)

jskline (301574) | more than 7 years ago | (#19539415)

Frankly, if they are getting paid for something that they have no legitimate right to, it would sure indicate how far reaching Microsoft is into our pocket books! If its true, does the FTC know about this??? Does the states governors know about it?? Hmmm... Does Apple even know about it???

Of course this is also so far fetched that I wonder if it's flame bait..

Re:Why does this not surprise me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19539467)

Wow 20th post, chut.

Re:Why does this not surprise me... (1)

MrMr (219533) | more than 7 years ago | (#19539471)

Why would the FTC complain? This is was money flowing towards the US from the enemy.

Re:Why does this not surprise me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19539503)

Huh, who is the enemy, Linux/Mac computers, that Norway is in Europe or that Norway as part of NATO since WW2 is an US allied?

Re:Why does this not surprise me... (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19539523)

You must be new here. Being an ally of the United States is no protection from our wrath!

Re:Why does this not surprise me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19541223)

Wrath, Indeed.
Good weapons, If only someone can teach bush how to aim.. or think.. does aiming requiring thinking??... scratch that...
damn... there must be *something* you'll can do right..

Re:Why does this not surprise me... (3, Informative)

MrMr (219533) | more than 7 years ago | (#19539617)

Enemies of the US are for instance:
NATO Allies:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/Archive/Article/0,4273,4 456801,00.html [guardian.co.uk]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Friendly_fire [wikipedia.org]
Industrial competitors:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enercon [wikipedia.org]
and Linux using flag burning commies that are trampling on the constitution of course...
http://www.technewsworld.com/story/31975.html [technewsworld.com]

Re:Why does this not surprise me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19539773)

Why so hesitant, you really mean:
- all foreigners whose money don't benefit US corporations.

Re:Why does this not surprise me... (4, Interesting)

rvw (755107) | more than 7 years ago | (#19540109)

Thanks for reminding me!

The American Service-members' Protection Act, otherwise known as "The Hague Invasion Act". You can read the legalled-up version, as passed a fortnight ago, at www.nrc.nl/Doc/ASPA.pdf [www.nrc.nl] . The long and short of it is that America will use military force against the Netherlands to free any of its nationals held by the international criminal court (ICC) at the Hague.

Enercon is prohibited from importing their wind turbines into the US until 2010 [1] due to infringement of U.S. Patent 5,083,039 [2]. Enercon claims their intellectual property was stolen by Kenetech (US Windpower, Inc.) and patented in the US before they could do so. Kenetech made similar claims against Enercon. According to the European Parliament; Kenetech seeking evidence for legal action against Enercon for breach of patent rights on the grounds that Enercon had obtained commercial secrets illegally, According to an NSA employee, detailed information concerning Enercon was passed on to Kenetech via ECHELON [1][3]

Re:Why does this not surprise me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19541739)

The long and short of it is that America will use military force against the Netherlands to free any of its nationals held by the international criminal court (ICC) at the Hague

Rubbish! we'll just invoke the NATO treaty and get the US to declare war on itself!

In the EU at least, international treaties take priority over national legislation (hence all the whining from Britain). YMMV

Re:Why does this not surprise me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19543763)

It won't work. In the US, international treaties are ranked above the laws, but below the Constitution.

The rules about what kind of trial that US Citizens are guaranteed is specified in the Constitution.

The Service Members Protection Act is virtually required by the Constitution, and setting it aside does not alleviate the President's duty to act.

Re:Why does this not surprise me... (1)

init100 (915886) | more than 7 years ago | (#19539613)

One could guess that the same thing happens inside the United States, not just abroad.

Re:Why does this not surprise me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19540069)

"The FTC deals with issues that touch the economic life of every American. It is the only federal agency with both consumer protection and competition jurisdiction in broad sectors of the economy."

The FTC also deals with "The enemy within." One of the keys is consumer protection.

That is probably genuine (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19539673)

Seeing the things the government in Poland does to cooperate with MS (like promoting and even selling MS soft via government websites) I'm quite prepared to believe the Norwegian deal was genuine. As far as I can understand MS in such deals, I would certainly vote for capital punishment for the government officers that agree to them.

http://www.oi.poznan.uw.gov.pl/ [uw.gov.pl] - the blinking link "Promocja oprogramowania" with the list of MS soft and prices as sold by the voivodship office.

This is new (0)

crossconnects (140996) | more than 7 years ago | (#19539497)

Somebody actually made them change that part of the contract!

Buyer beware (-1, Troll)

MarkByers (770551) | more than 7 years ago | (#19539519)

Once you have signed a contract, you are bound by that contract. Microsoft didn't have to change the details after it was signed. They did so only because they are a reasonable company. Norway should have read the contract before they signed it. If only they taught 'buyer beware' in schools the world would be a better place.

Re:Buyer beware (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19539565)

No, if the country's authorities say "That kind of contract is not in the public interest, you may not do business in Norway on that basis" then the contract is voided on both sides.

Microsoft have to find a different basis of contract for Norway, or quit doing business in Norway.

Fairly simple and brutal.

Re:Buyer beware (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19539577)

I'm not sure about Norway. However, Swedish contract law states that part of contact that are unreasonable may be deemed invalid. And consumer law is even stricter on this.

Re:Buyer beware (1, Insightful)

LordVader717 (888547) | more than 7 years ago | (#19539603)

If a contract's content is unlawful, that part can be ignored.

Re:Buyer beware (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19539651)

Thing is, it tends to void the whole contract. Then the school gets left with a bunch of Microsoft CDs they have no license to use; and Microsoft gets left with a bunch of the school's money they have no right to hold.

Now, that's fine by me; Linux and OpenOffice.org can do the job, as can pencil-and-paper. But is slightly chaotic for the school.

Re:Buyer beware (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19539669)

Why? When Microsoft choose to claim that the licenses held by the school are void and they need to buy new, they will first have to return the money.

Re:Buyer beware (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19539693)

"Thing is, it tends to void the whole contract."

I'm betting this one has a Severibility clause.

Severibility
A clause in a contract that allows for the terms of the contract to be independent of one another, so that if a term in the contract is deemed unenforceable by a court, the contract as a whole will not be deemed unenforceable. If there were no severability clause in a contract, a whole contract could be deemed unenforceable because of one unenforceable term.

Re:Buyer beware (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19539825)

In many countries all contracts are severable, that is the illegal parts are void but the remainder of the contract is binding. Also in most countries a contract has to be fair. For example, you cannot contract yourself into slavery by signing a contract which says you must do something but get nothing in return. I am guessing that in countries where both of these things happen then unfair terms in a contract can be voided without negating the whole contract.

Re:Buyer beware (1)

magores (208594) | more than 7 years ago | (#19540027)

Standard clause in contracts.

"Just because you, I, or someone else does not enforce a particular clause at a given time, or if a particular clause is voided for whatever reason... The rest of the contract still applies."

Of course, contracts don't say it in these words, but the intent is the same.

/Used to do contracts for a computer oem (specializing in the US federal/state/muni gov), and a book publisher, and a book wholesaler
//Never been sued
///Have successfully defended company against GSA auditors
////YMMV

Re:Buyer beware (1)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | more than 7 years ago | (#19540735)

It can be disobeyed. But that doesn't make it safe or economical to do so. Proving, in court, that that provision is illegal is very difficult and can be hideously expensive: ask anyone who's gotten involved in a pyramid scheme and attempted to get their "guaranteed money-back" actually returned to them, without spending far more than the refund is worth.

Re:Buyer beware (5, Interesting)

gnud (934243) | more than 7 years ago | (#19539681)

Norway should have read the contract before they signed it.

This is not a contract that all schools in Norway, or the norwgian directorate for education entered into. This is Microsofts licensing option for schools, used by SOME schools and school districts. I dare say the schools who used this licensing scheme did abide by it. Parts of this licensing agreement has now been deemed unlawful.

They did so only because they are a reasonable company

Did you even read the slashdot summary? Some parts of the contract are illegal in norway. So I think Microsoft will have to change them, since our justice department is bought, like yours. FTA:

- We made it clear to Microsoft that we were preparing sanctions, as the school agreements excluxded competitors from this market. Now that they have met our demands, we dismiss the case, says NCA(norwegian competition authority, my note) department director Jostein Skaar to Norwegian daily Dagbladet.

Re:Buyer beware (4, Informative)

gnud (934243) | more than 7 years ago | (#19539691)

Heh. Even after two previews. Since our justice department is NOT bought, like yours.

Re:Buyer beware (1)

evanknight (1070332) | more than 7 years ago | (#19541019)

Hey, now wait one second, our justice department isn't... oh wait.

Re:Buyer beware (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19540119)

Its not the schools who have signed the contract. The contract in question is signed by Microsoft and 12 of the 19 "counties" of Norway. The twelve contain 59,4% of Norway's population, and about the same percentage of the students.

Re:Buyer beware (1)

HappyUserPerson (954699) | more than 7 years ago | (#19542603)

Some parts of the contract are illegal in norway. So I think Microsoft will have to change them, since our justice department is bought, like yours.

Ummm Linpro, a company, goes to the government to complain about a competitor's contract. The government happily interferes on behalf of Linpro. So what Justice Department is bought again?

And to what detriment do this state of affairs have on business that relies on contracts in Norway?

Re:Buyer beware (2, Interesting)

killjoe (766577) | more than 7 years ago | (#19539711)

Why are you lying? The contract was found to be illegal, the country threatened sanctions, MS gave in. They are not a reasonable company, they simply wanted to avoid losing money by fighting in court or paying sanctions.

Re:Buyer beware (1)

cyber-vandal (148830) | more than 7 years ago | (#19539727)

A reasonable company wouldn't have put that illegal term in the contract in the first place. I won't get on to business ethics I'll just say that Micro$oft suxorz.

Re:Buyer beware (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19540039)

Once you have signed a contract, you are bound by that contract.

Not if the contract is unlawful you aren't. Most countries have limits on what can and can not be in a contract.

Microsoft didn't have to change the details after it was signed.

When a regulator finds you are violating the law (in this case competition law) then yes you do have to change your contract. That or go to jail one of the two.

They did so only because they are a reasonable company.

If they where a reasonable company that term wouldn't have been in the contract. Would you say that someone who was breaking into a car and stopped because a cop walked up and told him to stop was a "reasonable person"?

Re:Buyer beware (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19540205)

RE:["They did so only because they are a reasonable company."]

BullSh!t...

if microsoft was a reasonable company they would not have included such dirty tricks in their contracts in the first place, microsoft is just a mob of corrupt white collar criminals...

pull your head out of microsoft's ass so you can breath some fresh air, then maybe you can think clearly for once...

OEM Inflation Reduction (5, Insightful)

Shohat (959481) | more than 7 years ago | (#19539521)

As someone already pointed out, there is a per-machine fee charged by Microsoft, mainly due to the way licences are sold in volumes to OEMs (per machine, not per copy).
It would be very interesting to see the implications of forcing Microsoft to move away from this kind of licensing, and present numbers based on the actual Windows copy installations instead of OEM per-machine licensing numbers. While it won't change the market much and the actual number of copies installed, the updated numbers could very well indicate a market share lower than 85% for Windows.
Just my 2c. I might be horribly wrong :)

Re:OEM Inflation Reduction (2, Informative)

suv4x4 (956391) | more than 7 years ago | (#19539893)

As someone already pointed out, there is a per-machine fee charged by Microsoft, mainly due to the way licences are sold in volumes to OEMs (per machine, not per copy).
It would be very interesting to see the implications of forcing Microsoft to move away from this kind of licensing, and present numbers based on the actual Windows copy installations instead of OEM per-machine licensing numbers. While it won't change the market much and the actual number of copies installed, the updated numbers could very well indicate a market share lower than 85% for Windows.
Just my 2c. I might be horribly wrong :)


Well of course Microsoft counts only sold Windows licenses actually leaving their premises (virtually speaking). To verify quickly from an independent source, let's check TheCounter's OS Stats for June 2007 [thecounter.com] . 86% for XP+2000, and 91% if you add NT and 98 in the mix. Sounds as if things match. TheCounter has been fairly reliable metric in for browser usage, that's based on what the browsers report they run on (the huge majority of installed browsers out there don't lie about their OS).

Schools (3, Interesting)

pe1chl (90186) | more than 7 years ago | (#19539695)

Of course what makes this even more sensitive is that it is about schools.
Microsoft know very well that when they issue a contract with schools to use their software, and they can sneak in the clause that no other software than theirs can be (factually or economically) used by those schools, they can almost give away their software and still make huge profits.

After all, the pupils coming out of those schools are pre-programmed to accept only Microsoft software. They don't even know there are alternatives.
When they are employed somewhere, and they find Linux or OpenOffice, they claim "I have to be trained to work with this", and the employers are faces with training costs to use open software that they don't need to spend when Microsoft software is used.

This is put on the "cost of ownership" balance, and as training and other costs involving man-hours are often more expensive than software licenses, the balance quickly tips towards using Microsoft.

Re:Schools (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19539763)

If an employee can't sit down at an office application and figure out the basics in 10 minutes, they're not computer literate.

CAD and 3d applications require training, word processors do not.

Re:Schools (2, Insightful)

pe1chl (90186) | more than 7 years ago | (#19539831)

Unfortunately, this widepread opinion leads to very ineffective use of office applications. You can just as well give your employees Wordpad.

Furthermore, in many businesses employees are not selected on being computer literate. It is assumed that everyone can use a computer.
When Microsoft can twist the school system so that all young people are "Microsoft literate" instead of "computer literate", that has a very big effect on their future business and the viability of using alternative software.

Re:Schools (3, Informative)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 7 years ago | (#19539991)

[This views and opinions in this post are not necessarily reflective of the views and opinions of my employer]

No, it has an impact on the opinion of those students about software. When I started working at Red Hat, the "non-technical" employees were given a brief, 2 hour tutorial in how to use GNOME and OOo. They must be doing all right, because as far as I know they are still employed. The reason is simple: schools don't teach people the details of how to use office suites. In high school, such things were not considered relevant to the curriculum, and in college, such things were expected to have been learned in high school. Microsoft knows that it is just a question of exposure, and the way people think about their computer. How often do you hear the word "powerpoint" used as a synonym for "presentation" or "slideshow?" I've heard people refer to a presentation created in OOo, in OpenDocument format, refer to it as a "powerpoint."

Very few people even know how to use the features of MS Office that would necessitate some level of retraining in OOo. Very people even need those features -- most people just use a word processor (I know, everyone is queuing up the, "you obviously haven't been in the workplace very" comments, to which I reply: you obviously haven't been outside your line of work much) and a presentation creator. Spreadsheets are about the only thing where the incompatibility becomes noticeable, and even then, a 10 minute tutorial on where each button is would suffice for most people. The fact of the matter is, most people are not power users, and this is no more true today than it was 30 years ago. Most people just don't know about the powerful features their software offers them.

Re:Schools (1)

pe1chl (90186) | more than 7 years ago | (#19540163)

The people working at Red Hat probably are not a good representation of the average worker. And the management probably is looking at employee comments about Windows and Office a bit differently.

Where I work, the average worker is specialized on alpha sciences and other nontechnical things, and they use Word to write a letter or report. Some of them are freelancers hired at an hourly rate.
A few years ago we tried to switch to OOo. While it is true that at that time there were some minor problems, the main reason we went back to Microsoft Office was the constant complaining of employees that they did not know this package and "they knew how to use Office".

I seriously doubt that this was true. They probably had only superficial knowledge. But they just resisted to switch and claimed they lost time, wrote extra hours to compensate for that, and this quickly made the whole move uneconomical.

At Red Hat, the management probably would have said that if you cannot switch between Office and OOo in two hours you are not worth your money. And maybe rightfully so. But in the average company (or in our company at least) it does not work that way.

Of course, when people would learn OOo in school and then arrive at some workplace where it was used as well, the situation would be completely different.
That is why Microsoft wants schools to use Office, not OOo.

Re:Schools (2, Interesting)

jbengt (874751) | more than 7 years ago | (#19541227)

". . . schools don't teach people the details of how to use office suites."
Unfortunately, this is not true.
When I was in school, we still used typewriters, and calculators were just replacing slide rules.
But my youngest has had to submit her homework as MS Word .docs and MS Powerpoints in middle school and high school.
And my middle child has taken a for-credit "computer" class in the local college which only taught basic MS Office usage.
At least my oldest, who is in graduate school going for a PhD in computer science, tells me that most people in his department use Apples. He sometimes runs XP and Vista, usually in parallels, and uses Linux in the lab.
At that level the use of Open Office, Eclipse, Cygwin, etc., is common. But down here in the ordinary work world, which the schools tend to train for (in lieu of educating) the monopoly still monopolizes.

Re:Schools (1)

pe1chl (90186) | more than 7 years ago | (#19543489)

But my youngest has had to submit her homework as MS Word .docs and MS Powerpoints in middle school and high school.

This unfortunately is how it starts. They are not required to submit their homework "done in a wordprocessor", but "done in MS Word".
I have heard this discussion before. "I need a copy of MS Word". why? "because I have to use it for school". Can't you use OpenOffice.org? "No, we have to use MS Word!".
That inconvenience is usually solved with piracy, but MS will not be worried because when the student has found work it will be another license sold.

Re:Schools (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19540099)

> Unfortunately, this widepread opinion leads to very ineffective use of office applications.
> You can just as well give your employees Wordpad.

Office applications are ineffective, like a collection of hammers used for bashing screws. Spreadsheets aren't databases and word processors aren't DTP packages. That's besides the point as a user should be able to transition between different office suites with minimal effort.

> When Microsoft can twist the school system so that all young people are "Microsoft literate"
> instead of "computer literate", that has a very big effect on their future business and the
> viability of using alternative software.

I agree with that, but feel the blame could equally be placed upon the tuition. If students were taught word processing rather than instructed monkey-style which buttons to click in Microsoft Word, it wouldn't be such a big deal.

Wordpad (2, Insightful)

jbengt (874751) | more than 7 years ago | (#19541249)

"You can just as well give your employees Wordpad."
Please do. Wordpad is a decent program, much better than MS Word, unless you need some of the feature bloat, in which case Worperfect is better.
Still I prefer Gedit for most things.

Re:Schools (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19540131)

man-hours are often more expensive than software licenses
If we start counting man-hours, don't forget the cost of software that doesn't work, or stops working for no reason. That time is counted double, because the employ is waiting while some IT employ is fixing it.

And it's not just once (like training), it's all day long, every day, year-in year-out.

Training time is insignificant compared to the (lack of) quality of the software.

Microsoft og norske fylkeskommuner endrer samar... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19539733)

Re:Microsoft og norske fylkeskommuner endrer samar (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19540441)

Bork bork bork?

Re:Microsoft og norske fylkeskommuner endrer samar (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19540533)

A Møøse once bit my sister...

Re:Microsoft og norske fylkeskommuner endrer samar (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19540625)

No realli! She was Karving her initials on the møøse
with the sharpened end of an interspace tøøthbrush given
her by Svenge - her brother-in-law - an Oslo dentist and
star of many Norwegian møvies: "The Høt Hands of an Oslo
Dentist", "Fillings of Passion", "The Huge Mølars of Horst
Nordfink"...

Re:Microsoft og norske fylkeskommuner endrer samar (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19540595)

BORK!

Re:Microsoft og norske fylkeskommuner endrer samar (1)

catman (1412) | more than 7 years ago | (#19541989)

They do post articles in English as well - give them a few days and you'll find their translation. Meanwhile, Linpro's announcement in ENglish in TFA is pretty good.

Same old crap M$ has been pulling for years (4, Interesting)

rwyoder (759998) | more than 7 years ago | (#19539837)

From 1991-1993 I worked for a large PC builder. While there, I learned we had signed a contract that paid M$ a fee for pre-installing a M$ OS on every machine we shipped...including the ones shipped with Novell, SCO Unix, Banyon Vines, and no OS at all. When I asked "Why the hell did we sign a contract like that???", the answer was: "Because they told us to take it or leave it." We couldn't have been competitive w/o being able to ship with M$ OS's pre-installed, and M$ knew it. So obviously, nothing has changed in M$'s behavior in the last 15 years.

A weasel thought occurrs (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19540599)

What if you have two companies: one that signs the MS OEM agreement and one that doesn't. Your company then "subcontracts" from these two arms as many products required.

You may actually get away with merely calling them different NAMES and not full companies...

Extortion? (2)

QuietLagoon (813062) | more than 7 years ago | (#19540007)

Furthermore, schools were licenced by Microsoft for the total number of computers, regardless of the operating system or software used.

Isn't that similar to the illegal per-processor licensing scheme [usdoj.gov] that Microsoft was doing over a decade ago?

what i dont understand (2)

pjr.cc (760528) | more than 7 years ago | (#19540275)

I understand what the contract means - regardless of the OS you run, your going to pay a windows license for the box (even if it is running mac osx).

What i dont understand is how that is legal ANYWHERE in the world. How many govt types must MS own in the USA in order to get away with that? Thats just criminal behavior - akin to a mafia protection racket.. ok, so im exaggerating but not by a long stretch.

Can you imagine bridgestone knocking on your door one day demanding a "car type license" for your dunlop-fitted motorbike? its absolutely insane.

On a side note though, one person said dell make alot their cash from the difference between what they pay for putting ms vista onto a machine and what grey-box retailers pay. Now thats definitely not true, quite a large chunk of dell's customers are enterprise class, and if your enterprise class you buy machines (including laptops) without the OS. In fact, you choose the OS as an option and the base is no-os or freedos or something, every other option is a +$ option (including windows). Add to that the fact enterprise guys pay less for boxes (even when only buying 1) and its certainly not where dell are making their cash.

PENIS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19540385)

UPWARDLY MOBILE PENIS MUZZLES

And in tomorrows news.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19540629)

Microsoft signs patent deal with Linpro.

O.O (1)

theaceoffire (1053556) | more than 7 years ago | (#19540675)

I am sorry... am I the ONLY one to see "Microsoft bends to Norwegian Pressure" and hear a British man wink "Know what I mean, know what I mean"?

O.O I hope Norway used protection.

Re:O.O (1)

catman (1412) | more than 7 years ago | (#19542027)

The agency involved has to do with consumer protection. No worries.

Time to bust MS accounting... (1)

3seas (184403) | more than 7 years ago | (#19540779)

... and make them pay back to the funds they collected for property they do not own.

Hmm, Wouldn't this fall under Piracy - as mentioned http://yro.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=07/06/17/00 9218 [slashdot.org]

Certainly this is an act of consumer fraud and thieft.

Typically Slashdot (1)

hernyo (770695) | more than 7 years ago | (#19541191)

This is one of the stories when I decide not to read Slashdot ever again. Everybody hates MS regardless what they do - and everybody praises Linux and co, regardless what they do. There are a few original ideas in the comments, but very few...

Re:Typically Slashdot (3, Informative)

Ash-Fox (726320) | more than 7 years ago | (#19541529)

This is one of the stories when I decide not to read Slashdot ever again. Everybody hates MS regardless what they do - and everybody praises Linux and co, regardless what they do. There are a few original ideas in the comments, but very few...
Well, I for one love Microsoft for making deals like making people pay a Windows license for every computer, be it Mac, Linux or even BSD machine -- despite the fact they won't be running Windows.

Re:Typically Slashdot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19541679)

There are a few original ideas, though I don't see one in your comment, which I won't miss now that you are never going to read /. again.

Re:Typically Slashdot (1)

hernyo (770695) | more than 7 years ago | (#19542313)

You're partially right (phukken aggressive, but nevermind) - saying "everyone's asshole here" is just like saying "MS is fucked up" or "Linux rules": no arguments given.

Look, just like all of you, I like the Linux world much better than MS (note that I don't use the words love or hate). I agree that this shit what they did in Norway sucks. The one thing what annoys me is that every time a MS against Linux issue comes up, everyone repeats the same damn phrases, without giving any arguments, or any new arguments. Now, reading the same phrases every month is called wasting time - and is not even worth opening the lid.

Fortunately, the estimated 10% intelligent comments are worth both opening the lid and reading the remaining 90%.

Re:Typically Slashdot (1)

stony3k (709718) | more than 7 years ago | (#19541701)

Microsoft was caught doing something illegal - obviously they'll get bashed for this. I don't see anything wrong with that. Just like Apple got bashed (in spite of the fanbois) for the problems with Safari for Windows.

Re:Typically Slashdot (1)

Provocateur (133110) | more than 7 years ago | (#19542065)

'This is one of the stories when I decide not to read Slashdot ever again.'

Ya, last I heard it was as tough to give up as smoking.

Ironic (3, Interesting)

CptPicard (680154) | more than 7 years ago | (#19541289)

Got to love it when a country that supposedly has one of these competition-stifling, bureaucracy-laden welfare states actually has a government agency that cares for maintaining a genuine competitive environment for corporations, not only for wage-earning people... :-)

Re:Ironic (2, Interesting)

Man Eating Duck (534479) | more than 7 years ago | (#19541925)

Got to love it when a country that supposedly has one of these competition-stifling, bureaucracy-laden welfare states ...

Good to see we surprise you :)
I must live in a different Norway than the one you've heard of. We're only doing what all sane countries should, smack down on corporate BS when it threatens healthy competition. Our system is in place to ensure fair competition, not to "stifle it". It works very well, and discourages dirty business practices.

Re:Ironic (1)

CptPicard (680154) | more than 7 years ago | (#19542075)

I'm Finnish... and was being tongue in cheek. There are certain stereotypes across the Atlantic about the Nordic style of government :-)

I must admit that the Conservative element of our brand new centre-right government worries me in these regards; they are so eager to suck up to Americans that I'm sure they'd be willing to totally sell the farm in order to get a pat on the head from Microsoft... the parliament is unfortunately rather incompetent in technical matters, and with ideological bias thrown in, I'm not sure we'd be able to resist this sort of a "MS Tax". But we'll see.

Gives new meaning to (0)

Grand Facade (35180) | more than 7 years ago | (#19541295)



"All your computer are mine"

Re: Microsoft Bends To Norwegian Pressure (3, Funny)

smitty_one_each (243267) | more than 7 years ago | (#19542599)

Stand by for a massage from the Swedish Prime Minister.

Such a deal! (2, Insightful)

HangingChad (677530) | more than 7 years ago | (#19542665)

From now on, schools will only be licensed for PCs actually using Microsoft software,

And people wonder why I set up my latest business venture on a non-Microsoft platform. It's bad enough trying to deal with quarterly taxes, reporting, regulators...why would I want to add another profit leech to that mix?

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