Bloomberg article on complaint: "Microsoft Windows Sales Subject of Consumer's Complaint to EU"

ab Iago Dafydd dafyddabiago at
Fri Jun 30 15:41:18 UTC 2006

Here's a Bloomberg article. Please note that the complaint was made under my
English name (David Ferguson).

Microsoft Windows Sales Subject of Consumer's Complaint to EU
2006-06-30 10:54 (New York)

By Matthew Newman
June 30 (Bloomberg) -- European Union regulators are ``studying'' a consumer
complaint that Microsoft Corp. forces computer makers to sell machines that
are pre-loaded with Windows, excluding other operating systems such as

     The European Commission, the EU's antitrust regulator, discussed the
issue in a June 28 letter to the consumer that sent the complaint. The
consumer complained that Microsoft, the world's largest software
manufacturer, makes users pay for Windows even if they want to remove it or
buy a computer without the software.

    ``We received the complaint and we're studying it,'' Jonathan Todd, a
commission spokesman, said in a telephone interview today.

    The complaint comes as the regulator threatens to fine Microsoft as much
as 2 million euros ($2.5 million) a day for failing to comply with a 2004
antitrust ruling. The commission has also cautioned the company about
bundling products into its new version of Windows, which will be released
next year.

    The commission has already fined the Redmond, Washington-based company
497 million euros in March 2004 for abusing its market strength in other

    The most recent review stems from a June 19 e-mail sent to the EU by
David Ferguson, a Brussels-based reporter. Ferguson said in an interview
that consumers shouldn't be forced to buy something that they don't need.

   ``I have a Linux operating server and I have open-source software,'' he
said. ``I don't need a Windows license.''

    The commission is aware of consumers' ``difficulties'' in buying PCs
without an operating system or an alternative to Windows, Angel Tradacete, a
senior official in the commission's competition department, wrote to
Ferguson in a reply dated June 28. ``The commission intends to examine these
questions in greater details in the future.''

    Tom Brookes, a Microsoft spokesman, declined to comment.

   Linux, with backing from companies including International Business
Machines Corp., Novell Inc. and Red Hat Inc., had fourth-quarter 2005 sales
of $1.3 billion, according to industry research firm IDC.

    In the June 28 reply, Tradacete said the commission isn't aware of any
obligation for PC makers to sell their products with Windows. PC makers
receive rebates for including Windows, Tradacete noted.

    ``We suspect'' that PC makers' decision to pre-load Windows is based on
consumer demand, Tradacete wrote. ``If this information is confirmed, the
conduct of PC manufacturers would be justified by pure commercial reasons
and may not fall under the provisions of EC competition law.''
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