×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Should Microsoft Be Excluded From EU Government Sales?

kdawson posted about 6 years ago | from the good-question dept.

Microsoft 350

David Gerard writes "From Groklaw: Heidi Rühle, a Green Party MEP, has presented a question regarding whether or not Microsoft should be considered as having failed to fulfill the conditions to participate in public procurement procedures in Europe, as laid out in Article 93(b) and (c) of Financial Regulation — '(b) they have been convicted of an offense 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' — and the Commission anti-trust penalty just happens to fulfill both of those conditions." The EU Commission is required to respond within 6 weeks to such a question from a member of Parliament.

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

350 comments

Big Problem for MSFT (5, Funny)

mfh (56) | about 6 years ago | (#23024568)

The real question here is, how much would the necessary bribe be, and who is corrupt enough in the EU Commission to push this through for MSFT?

Also, will the next big US war be in the UK?

Re:Big Problem for MSFT (1)

PunkOfLinux (870955) | about 6 years ago | (#23024602)

If this happens, will it have as big of an effect on the MSFT bottom line as I hope/think?

Re:Big Problem for MSFT (3, Informative)

mfh (56) | about 6 years ago | (#23024626)

If this happens, will it have as big of an effect on the MSFT bottom line as I hope/think?
The market in question is the size of 1/2 of the USA, and MSFT is about to lose access to that... so there is your answer! :P

Sell MSFT now while you still can...

Re:Big Problem for MSFT (5, Informative)

neongrau (1032968) | about 6 years ago | (#23024728)

1/2 the size regarding landmass. i'm pretty sure the true (software) market size of the EU is larger when compared to the US.

Re:Big Problem for MSFT (4, Insightful)

truthsearch (249536) | about 6 years ago | (#23024826)

Software chosen by government tends to trickle down to corporations, which tends to trickle down to home users (although to a lesser extent). So if Microsoft software were to be replaced in EU governments it would eventually influence a population that's larger than the US and Canada combined.

Re:Big Problem for MSFT (1)

Mongoose Disciple (722373) | about 6 years ago | (#23024920)

1/2 the size regarding landmass. i'm pretty sure the true (software) market size of the EU is larger when compared to the US.

Well, this is "just" about EU government sales, and I think the idea is that the EU governments taken together are about half the size of the total US software market.

(Obviously, where government leads, others will probably follow.)

Re:Big Problem for MSFT (5, Insightful)

oliderid (710055) | about 6 years ago | (#23024926)

Not really...The issue here is whether or not the EU as an administration should order products/licenses from Microsoft.

The issue isn't whether or not Microsoft can do business in the EU. The European union bureaucracy is huge, but not that huge.

As an European and an user of open source products I don't support this proposition.

Microsoft has been punished already. Time to move on. Microsoft is already facing serious competitions and its dominant position looks less invicible than it used to be.
Technically/Financially Open Source is the way forward for public services. But if Microsoft can prove that their products are objectively better for an administration, then I see no reason why it shouldn't be used.

Leftists such as this green party are taking it as an easy ideological shot against big companies (they hate them). I don't support that.

Re:Big Problem for MSFT (3, Insightful)

neumayr (819083) | about 6 years ago | (#23025076)

It's an intended publicity stunt of course - the commision will not ban Microsoft. Unless there'll be serious climate changes in hell within six weeks.
And as such, I don't find it that bad - brings Microsoft's non-compliance back into public view, puts a little pressure in MS, though not too much..

That's a lot about being an opposition party is all about - spreading information (and sometimes propaganda of course) about something they care about.

Re:Big Problem for MSFT (5, Informative)

richlv (778496) | about 6 years ago | (#23025176)

actually, this is simply following their own procedures. if you have a law regarding procurements that states in what cases a company can not participate, you sort of are expected to follow it. mostly.
in this case the question would be whether a single company should be awarded an exception.

Re:Big Problem for MSFT (5, Insightful)

truthsearch (249536) | about 6 years ago | (#23025316)

Microsoft has been punished already. Time to move on. If Microsoft can prove that their products are objectively better for an administration, then I see no reason why it shouldn't be used.
Why should any government, or any organization for that matter, do business with a company convicted of illegally influencing their industries? And add to that the fact that Microsoft has not significantly adjusted their business practices, which demonstrates that they have not been adequately punished.

But this shouldn't be about punishment. It's about who you want to do business with. I don't think any government should buy licenses from a software company that's been found guilty of manipulating the software industry. If you can't play by the rules you shouldn't be allowed to play at all.

Re:Big Problem for MSFT (2, Informative)

jmpeax (936370) | about 6 years ago | (#23024636)

how much would the necessary bribe be, and who is corrupt enough in the EU Commission to push this through for MSFT?
Why would Microsoft want to push it through? The issue is about "whether Microsoft can be excluded in the future from all advertisements of public jobs".

That's bad for Microsoft.

Re:Big Problem for MSFT (1)

MRiGnS (1125139) | about 6 years ago | (#23024690)

Why especially in the UK? Their neither the most powerful country in the EU nor are any major EU-bodies located in the UK. Most bodies of the EU are located in the BeNeLux-Region, and Strassbourg, which is just south of that.

Re:Big Problem for MSFT (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23024860)

So if only Microsoft support OOXML - and governments can't buy Microsoft - maybe they'll reconsider making that the standard for all of their documentation?

Re:Big Problem for MSFT (5, Interesting)

poetmatt (793785) | about 6 years ago | (#23024862)

Where do you come up with this magic "EU is half of the size of the US business market" number? Where do you derive at this information? According to wiki, EU [wikipedia.org] and US [wikipedia.org] GDP are practically equal.

Anyway, it's the other way around about your statement. It's "who is corrupt enough to be bought off by MS to cancel this", not the other way around. Meanwhile, if MS even tries to cancel this it will backfire on them bigtime (antitrust round 3 anyone?). I'd say that this is pretty much guaranteed although the bigger question is how to enforce existing contracts through that duration and also the question of if the countries in the EU will have the balls to follow through on this.

Not to be totally ad hominem, but where is your incorrect logic coming from? The situation here is the exact opposite of what you posted, and coincides with your signature. WTF?

It's like one of those spam letters with a philosophical message at the bottom.

Re:Big Problem for MSFT (0)

Mongoose Disciple (722373) | about 6 years ago | (#23025062)

Where do you come up with this magic "EU is half of the size of the US business market" number?

No idea where those numbers came from, but I could buy that EU government sales are about half the size of the US market, and that's what the article is talking about.

Re:Big Problem for MSFT (1)

poetmatt (793785) | about 6 years ago | (#23025348)

I wouldn't know one way or the other if it is factually correct or not....

How or why would government sales be less in the EU than the US? (regardless of facts, since I wouldn't know where to pull something up to verify what you're saying there...I think some refined google searching still might have a hard time finding it)

Re:Big Problem for MSFT (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23024948)

> The real question here is, how much would the necessary bribe be, and who is corrupt enough in the EU Commission to push this through for MSFT?

Unfortunately, your US money is worthless. Mostly becuase you spunked away your whole economy with exactly the sort of short term corruption you seem to be advocating.

> Also, will the next big US war be in the UK?

In your dreams fat boy.

Re:Big Problem for MSFT (1)

Colonel Korn (1258968) | about 6 years ago | (#23025086)

"The real question here is, how much would the necessary bribe be, and who is corrupt enough in the EU Commission to push this through for MSFT?"

Outrageously huge, and everyone.

Wrong question (-1)

Crazy Taco (1083423) | about 6 years ago | (#23025308)

The real question here is, how much would the necessary bribe be, and who is corrupt enough in the EU Commission to push this through for MSFT?

Actually, a better question would be who is stupid enough to follow this idiot lawmaker into the self destruction of their government services?

Fact is, Microsoft doesn't need to bribe anyone. People NEED their software. You can't just pull Office out and plug in Open Office. Anyone knowledgeable about IT who works for any large institution (and I happen to work for a very large, Fortune 500 company) knows that once you pick a major software system to use, such as Windows and Office, you don't just rip those out overnight. Every sizable organization I've seen has written incredible amounts of custom software that integrates with Office and Windows. Just the number of custom apps and plugins written to work with Excel is usually incredible. You pull away Office, and especially Windows, and most all of your organization's software and processes suddenly stop working.

Any attempt by the EU to migrate off the Microsoft platform could likely take half a decade, if it even succeeds at all. Most such projects tend to fail unless they have very competent leadership, and most governments run a little short in that department.

And then, should they succeed in getting off the product, they will have to cope with likely having no 24x7 support hotline for Open Office, if that's what they choose to go with. So looking at all this, the question really does become, "Who is idiot enough to follow this idiot?"

Criminal organisation (5, Insightful)

tsa (15680) | about 6 years ago | (#23024574)

They're basically a criminal organisation according to EU law. I don't want to deal with an organisation that habitually breaks the law.

Re:Criminal organisation (5, Insightful)

Captain Splendid (673276) | about 6 years ago | (#23024616)

Yeah, I have to say it's nice to see somebody treating MS like the convicted monopolists they are (hint hint wink wink nudge nudge).

Re:Criminal organisation (1)

atcsharp (1257538) | about 6 years ago | (#23024668)

And how many of you right now are running a Windows terminal? Good job supporting "monopolists" Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

Re:Criminal organisation (1)

iapetus (24050) | about 6 years ago | (#23025402)

Sun16 home MCS_master $ uname -a
Linux my-machine.my.company.com 2.6.22-14-386 #1 Tue Feb 12 07:12:19 UTC 2008 i686 GNU/Linux

Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaat?

Re:Criminal organisation (3, Insightful)

tsa (15680) | about 6 years ago | (#23024760)

Fining them is better than saying "Don't do it again, naughty MS!" and wagging a finger at them...

Re:Criminal organisation (3, Insightful)

lordshipmayhem (1063660) | about 6 years ago | (#23024836)

This time isn't just a fine: it's exclusion from a vitally important marketplace, the one for European government software (at least, that funded by the EU). That will have a trickle-down effect on other European governments and on companies doing business with them, from construction firms to suppliers of pens and pencils. They all have to trade documents with the EU, electronically...

Re:Criminal organisation (4, Interesting)

peragrin (659227) | about 6 years ago | (#23024954)

Finally Regan's trickle down theory with practical applications. Go EU prove Regan right for once.

Re:Criminal organisation (1)

Colonel Korn (1258968) | about 6 years ago | (#23025110)

Reagan never had a theory in his life. Cheney and pals ran that puppet presidency just like they run this one.

Re:Criminal organisation (0, Flamebait)

jkrise (535370) | about 6 years ago | (#23025372)

Precluding them from doing further business and consequential damage to competition is much better than mere fines. I'm sure MS wouldn't bat a corporate eyelid before writing a check or checks needed to still compete in the EU.. like in the corrupted ISO voting process.

Re:Criminal organisation (2, Interesting)

Arthur B. (806360) | about 6 years ago | (#23024882)

What's inherently wrong with breaking the law?

Re:Criminal organisation (4, Insightful)

epee1221 (873140) | about 6 years ago | (#23025068)

It's not generally considered something the government should endorse, since it's the government that makes the laws to begin with.

Re:Criminal organisation (3, Insightful)

Colonel Korn (1258968) | about 6 years ago | (#23025100)

It sounds like you're describing the US government, clearly criminal by several measures of international law.

Re:Criminal organisation (-1, Flamebait)

oscariommi (51850) | about 6 years ago | (#23025144)

EU is basically a criminal organisation in that they habitually make unreasonable laws!

Which? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23025188)

They're basically a criminal organisation


Which of them is? Microsoft or the EU?

If I had to name anyone as being less accountable and more corrupt than MS it would probably be the EU. Not only that, reporters following on the trail of EU corruption have been known to be arrested before now. [telegraph.co.uk]

Microsoft or the EU. It's a tough choice.

But let's put the EU on one side (if only those of us who labour under it's ambitions could!) and rephrase the question. Let's make it "government" in general not just the EU.

"Should Microsoft Be Excluded From Government Sales?"

I think any government anywhere in the world ought to think very hard about this one. I'm disgusted at what when on at ISO. However, I don't think I would ban Microsoft outright now. If I were making policy for any governmental body I would be saying: "We will only consider tenders from vendors whose software will save into open formats" -- and by open formats I would not mean OOXML. And if MS wanted to offer a version of Office that would save -- natively -- into ODF, I'd accept tenders from them, and have those tenders considered on their merits. However, if I found anyone from Microsoft had attempted to influence buying decisions in any underhand way -- say by offering sweeteners to government officials -- I'd ban them for that, and not for a short period either. It would be for years.

Ummm, yeah... (2, Insightful)

R2.0 (532027) | about 6 years ago | (#23024658)

Lets suppose MS is "banned" from selling to the EU. Expect

1) MS to sell it's products through "resellers".

2) Thousands of EU ministries and departments applying for waivers because the ABSOLUTELY MUST HAVE Powerpoint for them to continue in their vital work.

Re:Ummm, yeah... (1)

polle404 (727386) | about 6 years ago | (#23024758)

well, they would be banned from selling to the EU parlament and it's various departments, but not peddling their bloatware to the citizens and corporations in EU...
so we're talking some 10+- thousands licences, not millions...

Re:Ummm, yeah... (3, Insightful)

jimicus (737525) | about 6 years ago | (#23024802)

Thousands of EU ministries and departments applying for waivers because the ABSOLUTELY MUST HAVE Powerpoint for them to continue in their vital work.

I think it goes rather deeper than that.

Where you have entire IT departments which are used to doing 90% of their work (desktop AND server) on Microsoft products, the effort and expense of suddenly discovering that Microsoft products are now verboten for new systems would be rather more than most could realistically bear.

I'm as interested in seeing Microsoft's position weakened as the next rabid /.'er but I don't think destroyed would be very good for IT - it's competition the market needs, not replacing one heterogeny (Windows) with another (Unix, albeit in a number of guises).

Re:Ummm, yeah... (5, Informative)

PinkyDead (862370) | about 6 years ago | (#23024914)

I would imagine that the exclusion would follow standard public procurement procedures within the EU, whereby Microsoft would be excluded from applying for public tenders because they weren't compliant with existing regulations.

Where they are already in place, they would not need to apply for tenders. If new departments etc came into existence, then they could use other presentation software and would have budgets for training etc.

So basically Microsoft wouldn't be able to grow their existing base, until they sorted out their compliance. But current users of their software would be unaffected.

Re:Ummm, yeah... (1)

scubamage (727538) | about 6 years ago | (#23025322)

Ahhh ok I understand, so in the UK all it requires to be above the law is to be significantly difficult to replace. So, I suppose that would mean the prime minister and most other officials are immune from scrutiny too, since it would be difficult to replace them despite there being numerous replacements in the wing. You seem to forget that there are numerous FREE alternatives to all microsoft products, almost all of which are compatible to some extent or another. If you make an exception for one company because it's not "easy" to punish them then why not make exceptions for all of them? I mean, just think about the paperwork you could save! The man hours! Hell, just throw away the law in the first place, right? Then you don't even have to have a court case! I mean if you start making exceptions for one others are going to follow. That is why the law is blind, and is meant to be applied with a blind eye to all factors not pertinant to the case. The fact that most of the government made the decision to support a criminal organization should not be a mitigating factor.

corepirate nazi FUDgepackers to be excluded... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23024664)

from the creators' wwwildly popular planet/population rescue initiative. moreover, they're in line for total/permanent disempowerment, due to their execrabilious behaviours (murder & mayhem to name 2) that have caused the need for the rescue initiative to become mandatory, as well as placing the planet/population in crisis mode. the lights are coming up all over now. see you there? let yOUR conscience be yOUR guide. you can be more helpful than you might have imagined. there are still some choices. if they do not suit you, consider the likely results of continuing to follow the corepirate nazi hypenosys story LIEn, whereas anything of relevance is replaced almost instantly with pr ?firm? scriptdead mindphuking propaganda or 'celebrity' trivia 'foam'. meanwhile; don't forget to get a little more oxygen on yOUR brain, & look up in the sky from time to time, starting early in the day. there's lots going on up there.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20071229/ap_on_sc/ye_climate_records;_ylt=A0WTcVgednZHP2gB9wms0NUE [yahoo.com]
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20080108/ts_alt_afp/ushealthfrancemortality;_ylt=A9G_RngbRIVHsYAAfCas0NUE [yahoo.com]
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/31/opinion/31mon1.html?em&ex=1199336400&en=c4b5414371631707&ei=5087%0A [nytimes.com]

is it time to get real yet? A LOT of energy is being squandered in attempts to keep US in the dark. in the end (give or take a few 1000 years), the creators will prevail (world without end, etc...), as it has always been. the process of gaining yOUR release from the current hostage situation may not be what you might think it is. butt of course, most of US don't know, or care what a precarious/fatal situation we're in. for example; the insidious attempts by the felonious corepirate nazi execrable to block the suns' light, interfering with a requirement (sunlight) for us to stay healthy/alive. it's likely not good for yOUR health/memories 'else they'd be bragging about it? we're intending for the whoreabully deceptive (they'll do ANYTHING for a bit more monIE/power) felons to give up/fail even further, in attempting to control the 'weather', as well as a # of other things/events.

http://video.google.com/videosearch?hl=en&q=video+cloud+spraying [google.com]

dictator style micro management has never worked (for very long). it's an illness. tie that with life0cidal aggression & softwar gangster style bullying, & what do we have? a greed/fear/ego based recipe for disaster. meanwhile, you can help to stop the bleeding (loss of life & limb);

http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/12/28/vermont.banning.bush.ap/index.html [cnn.com]

the bleeding must be stopped before any healing can begin. jailing a couple of corepirate nazi hired goons would send a clear message to the rest of the world from US. any truthful look at the 'scorecard' would reveal that we are a society in decline/deep doo-doo, despite all of the scriptdead pr ?firm? generated drum beating & flag waving propaganda that we are constantly bombarded with. is it time to get real yet? please consider carefully ALL of yOUR other 'options'. the creators will prevail. as it has always been.

corepirate nazi execrable costs outweigh benefits
(Score:-)mynuts won, the king is a fink)
by ourselves on everyday 24/7

as there are no benefits, just more&more death/debt & disruption. fortunately there's an 'army' of light bringers, coming yOUR way. the little ones/innocents must/will be protected. after the big flash, ALL of yOUR imaginary 'borders' may blur a bit? for each of the creators' innocents harmed in any way, there is a debt that must/will be repaid by you/us, as the perpetrators/minions of unprecedented evile, will not be available. 'vote' with (what's left in) yOUR wallet, & by your behaviors. help bring an end to unprecedented evile's manifestation through yOUR owned felonious corepirate nazi glowbull warmongering execrable. some of US should consider ourselves somewhat fortunate to be among those scheduled to survive after the big flash/implementation of the creators' wwwildly popular planet/population rescue initiative/mandate. it's right in the manual, 'world without end', etc.... as we all ?know?, change is inevitable, & denying/ignoring gravity, logic, morality, etc..., is only possible, on a temporary basis. concern about the course of events that will occur should the life0cidal execrable fail to be intervened upon is in order. 'do not be dismayed' (also from the manual). however, it's ok/recommended, to not attempt to live under/accept, fauxking nazi felon greed/fear/ego based pr ?firm? scriptdead mindphuking hypenosys.

consult with/trust in yOUR creators. providing more than enough of everything for everyone (without any distracting/spiritdead personal gain motives), whilst badtolling unprecedented evile, using an unlimited supply of newclear power, since/until forever. see you there?

"If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."

meanwhile, the life0cidal philistines continue on their path of death, debt, & disruption for most of US. gov. bush denies health care for the little ones;

http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/10/03/bush.veto/index.html [cnn.com]

whilst demanding/extorting billions to paint more targets on the bigger kids;

http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/12/12/bush.war.funding/index.html [cnn.com]

& pretending that it isn't happening here;

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/us_and_americas/article3086937.ece [timesonline.co.uk]
all is not lost/forgotten/forgiven

(yOUR elected) president al gore (deciding not to wait for the much anticipated 'lonesome al answers yOUR questions' interview here on /.) continues to attempt to shed some light on yOUR foibles. talk about reverse polarity;

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article3046116.ece [timesonline.co.uk]

EU is picking winners: Why. (2, Insightful)

CubeRootOf (849787) | about 6 years ago | (#23024688)

If Microsoft wasn't the best choice, why elminate them from the process?

Who is going to benifit the most from this, and what is the connection to this group?

Is there an eu msft that they are trying to shepard to the big time, or is it simple corruption?

Who wins with MS out of the picture?

Re:EU is picking winners: Why. (1, Insightful)

PunkOfLinux (870955) | about 6 years ago | (#23024718)

Everyone, because they'll probably settle on something open, such as Linux, OpenOffice, and MySQL.

Re:EU is picking winners: Why. (2, Insightful)

CubeRootOf (849787) | about 6 years ago | (#23024934)

Really?

Those are the only alternatives to Microsoft, AND the next best thing to it?

Which company is going to provide the install support across all of the offices, who is going to retrain all of the IT staff, who is going to replace every instance of closed format documentation that they already have in place?

I'm not asking that question from the standpoint of !nobody - ms is the way to go!, but from the standpoint, of who is going to be paid for that work, and what thier connection is to the minister who is proposing this.

Someone's nest is being feathered, as the open formats you describe are not free, and they do not come without cost.

This is why governments aren't supposed to pick winners: They are supposed to BLINDLY pick from the bids and estimates and select the one that delivers the most value. Removing MS in this fashion is removing the likely winner from consideration, and opening the field for someone else - You say everyone benifits: I say bologna. The best use of taxpayer dollars, whatever country, benifits everyone - as the taxes that WILL go to the second best option could be spent on schools, free wi-fi, socialized health-care, and dozens of other things that benifit people directly. An open document format? has anyone ever died because they didn't have access to microsoft office on thier linux desktop? because they couldn't use power point cross platform?

Wow -- what a stretch... but that is the context from which I am speaking. Let MS, Quadaffi corp, Google apps, and open source compete on a level playing field of blind estimates, and THEN let the politicians decide where the best value is. Eliminating someone from the field before the biding begins tilts the playing field unfairly, AND towards less justice.

Re:EU is picking winners: Why. (1)

Timesprout (579035) | about 6 years ago | (#23025250)

Which company is going to provide the install support across all of the offices, who is going to retrain all of the IT staff, who is going to replace every instance of closed format documentation that they already have in place?


IBM would bite your arm off for that contract.

Re:EU is picking winners: Why. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23024782)

Everyone else?

Re:EU is picking winners: Why. (4, Insightful)

causality (777677) | about 6 years ago | (#23024814)

If Microsoft wasn't the best choice, why elminate them from the process?

Who is going to benifit the most from this, and what is the connection to this group?

Is there an eu msft that they are trying to shepard to the big time, or is it simple corruption?

Who wins with MS out of the picture?

I'd say we all win when a strong message is sent to large corporations that says "we will not tolerate illegal behavior from you, and we will stand by this principle even if this means we must make some sacrifices". It's called having a spine. Ideally the goal is not necessarily to get MS out of the picture (unless they refuse to reform their business practices, that is) but to get this kind of behavior out of the picture.

"Nothing that you sell is so good or so vital that we will put up with your abuses in order to purchase it" is an attitude that I wish were more widespread. How this plays out and whether that message is actually sent will be interesting indeed.

Re:EU is picking winners: Why. (1)

Arthur B. (806360) | about 6 years ago | (#23024940)

Since here the people "taking a stand" are the same who make the law, it's not about saying "we will not tolerate illegal behavior from you", it's about saying "we will not tolerate behavior we don't like from you".

Re:EU is picking winners: Why. (4, Informative)

CarpetShark (865376) | about 6 years ago | (#23025170)

I'd say we all win when a strong message is sent to large corporations that says "we will not tolerate illegal behavior from you, and we will stand by this principle even if this means we must make some sacrifices". It's called having a spine.


Well said. I mean, come on... public money vs. convicted criminal organisation... it doesn't take a lot of ethics to work out that Microsoft products shouldn't be bought by our governments.

Re:EU is picking winners: Why. (5, Insightful)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | about 6 years ago | (#23025356)

If Microsoft wasn't the best choice, why elminate them from the process?

Microsoft has repeatedly broken the law to become the "best choice" by introducing artificial problems with competing products. It's the same issue as "should the government sign a contract with a concrete supplier who has the lowest price, but also has been repeatedly convicted of blowing of their competitors' factories and hiding bodies in the concrete they sell." According to the laws, no the EU should not be giving contract to either MS or this hypothetical concrete supplier.

Who is going to benifit the most from this, and what is the connection to this group?

It doesn't matter who benefits the most. The idea is for the the EU people to benefit by discouraging criminal acts that are harmful to them. If anyone else benefits, it is incidental.

Is there an eu msft that they are trying to shepard[sic] to the big time, or is it simple corruption?

Umm, I don't even understand what question you're trying to ask.

Who wins with MS out of the picture?

The people of the EU win.

I wonder who Heidi Rühle's campaign con (1)

xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) | about 6 years ago | (#23024716)

I wonder who Heidi Rühle's campaign contributors are. (Follow the money.) If I were a Green party supporter, I'd be pissed: my leadership ought to be focused on (duh) the environment and human health, not which way software contracts are steered down in IT.

Re:I wonder who Heidi Rühle's campaign con (5, Insightful)

neongrau (1032968) | about 6 years ago | (#23024864)

Green party != Greenpeace

After all it's a political party, and they must have more on their agenda than environmental and health issues.

Not every green party member can be minister for environment and/or health.

Re:I wonder who Heidi Rühle's campaign (3, Insightful)

AccUser (191555) | about 6 years ago | (#23024872)

If I were a Green party supporter, I'd be pissed: my leadership ought to be focused on (duh) the environment and human health, not which way software contracts are steered down in IT.
Each new release of Microsoft software drives hardware sales to meet the increased CPU and RAM requirements. Surely this is an environmental concern.

Using GNU/Linux on older hardware is more than feasible.

Re:I wonder who Heidi Rühle's campaign (3, Informative)

Sique (173459) | about 6 years ago | (#23024876)

Differently than in the U.S. most EU parlamentarians don't have an individual mandate, but are sent to the parliament by their party, which has to win the necessary seats in the parliament in the elections (so called list mandates).

So, Heidi Ruehle (if you don't have Umlauts, use 'ue' instead) doesn't have individual campaign contributors, more to the contrary, the rules of the Green Party demand a strict differentiation between "being in office" and "having a mandate".

Re:I wonder who Heidi Rühle's campaign (1)

Corporate Troll (537873) | about 6 years ago | (#23025112)

if you don't have Umlauts, use 'ue' instead

Everybody has umlauts on slashdot. They're called "html-entities" [w3schools.com] and are quite nifty. (They're actually very logical) For the u-umlaut, simply use ü

Of course you're right: at least the Germans have an alternate system. Try writing French without accents :-/

Re:I wonder who Heidi Rühle's campaign (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23024884)

I'm guessing she's probably trying to 'head them off at the pass', so the EU doesn't have to take Microsoft to court in the coming years....

We all know that Microsoft only plays by the rules, once they've been slapped on the wrist several times. Don't we? There's no chance of them ignoring a governing bodies order, right?

It's called forethought and knowledge of the law. Something that the Green Party MEP apparently has. Good on her.

Re:I wonder who Heidi Rühle's campaign (1)

Lord Pillage (815466) | about 6 years ago | (#23024898)

I think the Green parties in Europe are a little more progressive than simply shouting like a bunch of green peace protesters that the environment is dying and such. No one gets elected on a single policy therefore they have learned to diversify and adopt policies in other areas, other than just the environment and health, that will possibly indirectly affect the environment, or at least allow the government more resources to help it. Plus, any political party that refuses to ignore any issues that aren't considered their central policy would be shooting themselves in the foot. They need to be aware of what the public wants, and more importantly what the laws are and their effects, especially if they want to be a real contender in parliament.

Re:I wonder who Heidi Rühle's campaign (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23024900)

I think you miss the point of the Green party. Their goals have always been about forcing governments and companies alike to recognise social justice, whether environmental, economic or otherwise. True their foundations were the environment, but that was one of the greatest social injustices of the time (and unfortunately it still is to a large extent).

Re:I wonder who Heidi Rühle's campaign (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23024908)

So you think that politicians should only focus on the issues that were the main focus during their campaign and STFU regarding all other matters? Environmental issues are only a small part of EU politics and obviously every politician must have a stance in other issues as well. Not that I know precisely what issues she brought up in her campaign but it could be that she's like one member of parliament in my country (Finland) that is focusing intensively on IT matters but is a member of the Green Party simply because it's easier to get elected by being a member of a party rather than running independently (the election campaign is obviously easier that way and other party members will usually vote for your proposals in parliament).

Yeah (1)

WindBourne (631190) | about 6 years ago | (#23024936)

The green party is never concerned about bringing high paying jobs to EU (new programming possibilities), to replace the lower jobs that will go to China. Keep in mind, that back in the early 90's, many DOS and apple based companies did not make the jump to windows. They are LONG gone because their competitors jumped. I am guessing that many American companies will fight moving to Linux and will see competitors spring up elsewhere.

It's all tied together... (3, Insightful)

Benanov (583592) | about 6 years ago | (#23024998)

Environment? It's commonly accepted knowledge around here that later versions of MS operating systems require beefier hardware and upgrades than certain darling competitors. (I'm running modern versions of Ubuntu on computers my workplace was throwing out.)

That's increased power, more equipment that has to be recycled (lest it be landfilled), and more goverment money that could be spent on an environmental or human health program that instead goes into the pockets of an American Corporation.

To be honest, it's actually a rule that should be followed, not some stupid play for power and media attention. Those convicted of abusing their power aren't eligible for government contracts.

Re:I wonder who Heidi Rühle's campaign (3, Insightful)

aztektum (170569) | about 6 years ago | (#23025240)

Your complaint makes no sense. Elected officials should be enforcing *ALL* the rules, not just a few that helped get them elected.

Uh, no (-1, Troll)

Otter (3800) | about 6 years ago | (#23024750)

This is not going to happen because a) they can't instantly move all future EU IT to Gentoo, b) it would result in massive US retaliation against European companies and c) it would create an unworkable precedent for purchasing from all European and foreign companies, given that the Spitzer-ish head of anti-trust there is currently leveling charges against pretty much everyone.

In short, only a Green Party legislator or a Slashbot would imagine such a thing to be possible.

Re:Uh, no (4, Informative)

s0litaire (1205168) | about 6 years ago | (#23024906)

they are not talking of banning ALL Microsoft products! They are talking about barring Microsoft from Future tenders. The current contracts will be fulfilled, just no new ones will be accepted. Which I think is a good thing. It would provide a slow change over from Closed source OS to an Open source OS. As for the "Green" Aspect: how much of the worlds carabon foot print is caused by Tech support running around trying to Fix Windows BSoD's? and general buggines?

Re:Uh, no (1)

Otter (3800) | about 6 years ago | (#23025116)

they are not talking of banning ALL Microsoft products! They are talking about barring Microsoft from Future tenders.

Yes, that's precisely why I said "future".

As for the "Green" Aspect: how much of the worlds carabon foot print is caused by Tech support running around trying to Fix Windows BSoD's? and general buggines?

Given the gut on the typical Unix administrator, I think you'd really have to cut back on support calls to reduce total energy use if they're waddling down the hall instead of a Windows admin. It's an interesting theory, though.

Re:Uh, no (1)

Corporate Troll (537873) | about 6 years ago | (#23025156)

As for the "Green" Aspect: how much of the worlds carabon foot print is caused by Tech support running around trying to Fix Windows BSoD's? and general buggines?

Those techs better stop eating burritos! ;-)

Europe reminds me a lot of Japan in the 80's (-1, Flamebait)

notaprguy (906128) | about 6 years ago | (#23024762)

They're feeling their oats. Feeling rich. Feeling powerful. But look what happened to Japan eventually...they entered into a long period of stagnation that they haven't really gotten out of yet. The European's love of regulation will eventually cause them the same problems. When that happens it'll be interesting to see how they react when the countries/companies that actually drive the world economy fail to come to their rescue like we have to every 50 years or so. At risk of adding even more politics to this comment, I'm a hard-core democratic. Far from a flaming right-winger. I belive government plays an important role in society. But nothing is more wrong-headed than government that tries to do things they're simply not capable of doing. Regulating markets is generally one of those. Sure, if Microsoft broke antitrust laws then they should penalized. Last time I checked they were...to the tune of about $1 billion and counting. Trying to prevent them from freely participating in commerce in Europe is just plain stupid.

Re:Europe reminds me a lot of Japan in the 80's (3, Insightful)

MRiGnS (1125139) | about 6 years ago | (#23024832)

The European's love of regulation will eventually cause them the same problems. When that happens it'll be interesting to see how they react when the countries/companies that actually drive the world economy fail to come to their rescue like we have to every 50 years or so.
The EU *is* driving the world economy, that's the reason they feel powerful and want others to do it their way. If China takes over, in a couple of years, they will decide what happens to global companies.

Re:Europe reminds me a lot of Japan in the 80's (1)

Saffaya (702234) | about 6 years ago | (#23024982)

The law should be the same for all.
Whether a small company or a megacorporation.

Should MSFT be barred, they would think twice before engaging again in illegal activities in the EU.

Which is the intent of the law.

Re:Europe reminds me a lot of Japan in the 80's (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23025036)

Stagnation of Japan? Not really if you consider population factor.

Re:Europe reminds me a lot of Japan in the 80's (1)

Talderas (1212466) | about 6 years ago | (#23025168)

So, what is the government capable of doing? I mean honestly, what has the US government done that hasn't resulted in at least 25% of the funds budgeted for a department ending up as waste, fraud or corruption?

I hope they are... (3, Interesting)

cliffiecee (136220) | about 6 years ago | (#23024766)

According to TFA, the ban would only last five years. That's an apt punishment for Microsoft- other vendors and possibly open source contributers gain five years of experience supporting an "exclusive" market. As well, Microsoft might actually learn how to play nicely with the rest of the software world, and to compete fairly and deal honestly- competing more with innovation and excellence, rather than trying to subvert and corrupt everything around them.

(/me crossing fingers)

Quick Answer. (1)

AndGodSed (968378) | about 6 years ago | (#23024780)

Yes. They should be barred. For Ever.

Next Question.

(Otherwise we won't have a Star-Trek future. If MSFT keeps going that guy will never get off the face of the planet to meet the Vulcans)

Zefram Chochrane (1)

wattrlz (1162603) | about 6 years ago | (#23025020)

What did OSS have to do with his flight, though?

Re:Zefram Chochrane (1)

AndGodSed (968378) | about 6 years ago | (#23025272)

Who said anything about OSS?

Oh - and Maggies Farm is thee best Rage song EVA!

(ps: Thanks for the name - I forgot it... there goes five geek points...)

Cash cow (0, Troll)

notepad_doodler (1098017) | about 6 years ago | (#23024796)

How are they going to sue them in the future if they don't buy the stuff now? They can't tax their citizens anymore, who's going to fund the EU otherwise?

Is it just me? (1, Flamebait)

maleb (908783) | about 6 years ago | (#23024828)

...or are most people blind to the fact that just about every corporation out there today (and yesterday) had participated in monopolistic behavior at some point. I can name off quite a bit, so do all these too need to be banned from doing business?? Lol, Let who is without Sin be the first to throw a Stone!

Re:Is it just me? (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23025008)

You're missing the point. Being a monopoly isn't necessarily a bad thing. Abusing a monopoly, however, is a BAD thing and also illegal. Microsoft could have quite happily played along with the law and been a monopoly, but they chose to disregard the law and abuse their advantage in one market to gain advantages in other markets.

Re:Is it just me? (3, Insightful)

FireFury03 (653718) | about 6 years ago | (#23025142)

...or are most people blind to the fact that just about every corporation out there today (and yesterday) had participated in monopolistic behavior at some point. I can name off quite a bit, so do all these too need to be banned from doing business?? Lol, Let who is without Sin be the first to throw a Stone!

A crime is still a crime, even if lots of other people are doing it too. Abuses of monopoly positions are detrimental to competitors and customers - why shouldn't action be taken to prevent it?

And yes, other corporations currently abusing their position (and ignoring court rulings telling them to stop) should get the same treatment.

This is unlikely to happen (5, Interesting)

Biotech9 (704202) | about 6 years ago | (#23024852)

For a start this is not EU-wide. Basically there is an EU directive that states EU members are allowed to block contracts from companies breaking the rules listed in Article 93,
 

1. Candidates or tenderers shall be excluded from participation in a procurement procedure if:

(a) they are bankrupt or being wound up, are having their affairs administered by the courts, have entered into an arrangement with creditors, have suspended business activities, are the subject of proceedings concerning those matters, or are in any analogous situation arising from a similar procedure provided for in national legislation or regulations;
(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;

(d) they have not fulfilled obligations relating to the payment of social security contributions or the payment of taxes in accordance with the legal provisions of the country in which they are established or with those of the country of the contracting authority or those of the country where the contract is to be performed;

(e) they have been the subject of a judgment which has the force of res judicata for fraud, corruption, involvement in a criminal organisation or any other illegal activity detrimental to the Communities' financial interests;

(f) following another procurement procedure or grant award procedure financed by the Community budget, they have been declared to be in serious breach of contract for failure to comply with their contractual obligations.

2. Candidates or tenderers must certify that they are not in one of the situations listed in paragraph 1.
But that is not a mandatory for all EU states, it is only mandatory for EU institutions and some member states. But even that is a pretty massive lump of the EU market and would sting like hell (the ban would be for 5 years). Not only that but imagine the resources turned onto moving from MS to Open source solutions. It could end MS as a major player in the EU institutions and that would knock on into the private sector.

Not to mention the added bonus of all that cash heading into European projects like KDE and linux instead of overseas.

Not sure what the American Gov would think of it though...

Re:This is unlikely to happen (1)

ddrichardson (869910) | about 6 years ago | (#23025306)

It would be really interesting is if this threat snowballed into a migration to OSS from MSFT to pre-empt a perceived problem - you know, like the whole MSFT patent threat thing appears to have been intended to do to Linux adoption.

Re:This is unlikely to happen (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23025312)

Not sure what the American Gov would think of it though...
They'll of course start training for the Olympics in 2012, in the newly introduced discipline of chair-throwing.

Seriously though, the American Gov should stay the hell out of this, this is EU-soil. If MS starts conducting shady practices in the US then they can...oh...

"Sweep your own doorstep before you go criticising others" I think it goes.

This should be interesting (1)

Trevin (570491) | about 6 years ago | (#23024972)

If Microsoft does end up getting barred, it's going to show just how dependent the government's IT infrastructure is on proprietary Microsoft products. If they've already started making the switch to open and interoperable standards then there should not be any problem switching to other applications and platforms. If not they may actually need to violate their own restrictions at least long enough to get everything converted over.

That would just about scuttle the Airbus tanker... (0, Troll)

tjstork (137384) | about 6 years ago | (#23024994)

Regardless of the merits of the proposed EU exclusion of Microsoft sales, I can guarantee that the moment the EU said that Microsoft was barred, the US Congress would immediately find a way to scuttle the proposed USAF purchase of tankers from Airbus, no matter how good they are.

It's an election year, and trade is an enormously demagogued subject in America right now, and, with Presidential candidates even, stupidly, throwing a good trade partnership with Canada up for review, there's no doubt that Europeans would fair well.

Paradoxically, the best hope for Europeans, Canadians, and transatlantic sanity, would in fact be a Republican victory. You Europeans may not like the tone of we Republicans, but it is under us that trillions of dollars in trade flows freely across North America and across the Atlantic between our two parts of the world. I mean, you might like Obama better, but when you start losing jobs in Ottawa, Paris, London and Berlin because of a foolish trade war, then, would you at least miss Bush for his stance on free trade?

Re:That would just about scuttle the Airbus tanker (1)

Colonel Korn (1258968) | about 6 years ago | (#23025218)

As you imply, the best hope for the American economy relative to the Euro economy is for republicans to lose power.

Re:That would just about scuttle the Airbus tanker (2, Interesting)

Pojut (1027544) | about 6 years ago | (#23025244)

/start offtopic rant

While I don't label myself as Republican or Democrat (mainly because I share views that exist in both the extreme left and the extreme right), I do NOT want McCain getting into the white house. Too many ties to current politicians, to many years of "experience" to get corrupted. Reduced education budget (which is a big concern for me since my girlfriend is a teacher), excitement about continuing to pump billions into a country most of us will never even see while our own country is falling apart...basically having many of the same opinions and plans as what we have had for the past 8 years.

We do NOT need to give Bush another term under a different name. Likewise, we don't need someone like Hillary Clinton occupying the white house...she shares many of the same views as Obama, but she is dangerous...I think she would do us more harm then good, if for nothing else other than because of her pride and sense of entitlement.

We need Obama in the White House. It kind of pains me to say that, because I disagree with most of his opinions on the big issues, but he is the right one.

1. He has the LEAST amount of experience, meaning he would be more willing to take risks and try things others wouldn't. He would also likely be more willing to take advice from others.
2. When he speaks you feel as if he is speaking directly to you. Some of the stuff he says may be cliche, but being able to connect to the citizens of the country that way is vital.
3. He is a complete opposite of what we have had.. I don't know about you, but I am EXTREMELY pissed off at what has happened to my country recently. In the past 20 years or so, we have gone from being the worlds strongest, richest, and one of the most respected nations out there to being the annoying friend everyone else in the world wants to go away...but we have a sweet car and buy free drinks for everyone, so we are allowed to stick around.

Screw that. Like I said, I don't agree with many of his policies and opinions, but I still think Obama is the right one for the job because he lacks experience, can connect to the common middle-classer, and is a far step away from who we have had recently. /end offtopic rant

Re:That would just about scuttle the Airbus tanker (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23025286)

Have you looked at the current USD/EUR rate? I don't think that politicians can hurt sales into the US from the EU worse than this exchange rate.

yacc

Not Again (1)

mpapet (761907) | about 6 years ago | (#23025018)

**Every** company in the contracts procurement game would probably run afoul of these and numerous other rules. In gov't contracting the rules are there to ensure contracts go to the largest contractors.

SmallContractor wins? Fine.
Step 1. BigContractor appeals the award on technicalities like this.
Step 2. While the appeal is on, BigContractor uses the appeal as a stick to extract some of the awarded value from the SmallContractor.
Step 3. Profit! When they get their vig, BigContractor drops appeal.

Looks Good on Paper, but... (2, Interesting)

introspekt.i (1233118) | about 6 years ago | (#23025106)

Looks can be deceiving. I think excluding a source of solutions (as bad as we claim it is, regardless) could have a negative impact on the market and competitive. Of course Microsoft could be engaged in underhanded tactics (vis ISO standardization of Office Open XML..). I'd like to think that Microsoft's ubiquity may very well have raised the bar/baseline for many different software products.

Ubiquity of the (somewhat decent, I guess) baseline bundled Windows Mediaplayer results in raising the bar in competing media players (iTunes, Winamp?, etc.) Ubiquity of Internet Explorer results in stronger browser competition (Firefox, Opera, etc.). Microsoft makes noises like it's going to compete in other areas like web design products and you see companies like Adobe (attempt to) shore up their products to stay ahead of the baseline (Microsoft). I suppose you could throw office products in there as well, but Microsoft has that market so well cornered like that with its OS...and standards are an issue..

My point is this, Microsoft may be the devil, but the ubiquity of its (sometimes bad) products has resulted in a marketplace with competing products that are better than Microsoft products because they MUST be in order to compete. I'm not saying this is entirely due to Microsoft's presence, but it has definitely been a key factor in application progression over the past ~10-20 years.

For these reasons, I think removing Microsoft from this position could result in stagnation in some areas of application progression and improvement. Then again maybe it won't. Maybe other solutions are to the point that removing Microsoft from the picture completely won't affect much of anything. Regardless, I don't think that this is a decision that needs to be taken lightly in order to pander to constituents (politicians are amazing at pandering).

Rules apply to everybody Except MS (2, Insightful)

BanjoBob (686644) | about 6 years ago | (#23025326)

Microsoft has repeatedly shown that they really don't give a damn about rules. They are for everybody except Microsoft. Laws... The same thing.

Regarding Ethics, Morals, etc. Those are for wimps. These are not in the Microsoft vocabulary.

Microsoft expects to violate every norm of civilized society in order to maintain their market position. The world be damned.

It appears that only the EU has the balls to stand up to Microsoft and try and make them behave. Will it work? I doubt it but, it is making Microsoft stand up and notice. I see that MS has just released well over 50,000 pages of secret programming info to the EU so maybe (very small maybe) something good may come of this.

I really don't understand why any company needs to corrupt society as much as Microsoft does to maintain their position. Wouldn't it be cheaper to do provide a superior product honestly?

Is IBM taking lessons? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23025334)

Weren't Microsoft supposedly responsible for the recent trouble IBM had? [channelinsider.com]

Good on big blue if that's the case, Microsoft can't stand the taste of their own medicine.

Are there similar rules or laws in the U.S.? (1)

erroneus (253617) | about 6 years ago | (#23025354)

Even here in the U.S., Microsoft is a criminally convicted monopolist. G.W.Bush would probably "pardon" them if that were the case, but still.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...