MS kontra Linux. Fuers Archiv

Thomas Templin thomas.templin at
Di Mär 26 21:59:17 UTC 2002

Donnerstag, 21. März 2002 00:20 Thomas Templin wrote: 
Eine etwas brauchbarere Quelle zum gleichen Thema:
Makers of PCs Fear Wrath Of Microsoft
Competitors Decline Requests For Linux Configuration 

 By Jonathan Krim
 Washington Post Staff Writer
 Monday, March 25, 2002; Page A04 

Many computer makers are so fearful of possible retaliation from 
Microsoft Corp. that they have refused to even discuss configuring 
machines with a competing operating system known as Linux, 
according to testimony of an executive of Red Hat Inc., a Linux 

In written testimony as part of ongoing federal court hearings into 
how Microsoft should be sanctioned for breaking antitrust laws, Red 
Hat's chief technology officer said "it was as if a skunk had come 
into the room" when he would approach computer manufacturers such 
as Compaq Computer Corp., International Business Machines Corp. and 
Dell Computer Corp. about carrying Linux on personal computers.

Linux is growing in popularity for networks of business computer 
systems, but is rarely found running personal computers, in part 
because it is cannot offer applications such as Microsoft's 
dominant Office suite of word-processing and spreadsheet programs.

But Michael Tiemann testified that Linux on personal computers also 
is "taboo" among manufacturers because of a fear that Microsoft 
would retaliate if machines were not shipped with the software 
giant's Windows operating system.

"As the representative of the only competitor in the domain in 
which Microsoft remains all powerful, I have often felt, more than 
the Maytag repairman, that I have the loneliest job in town," 
Tiemann testified.

At one point in 2000, Red Hat had a deal with Dell to put Linux in 
desktop and laptop personal computers, but it was later abandoned, 
Tiemann testified. He said Dell balked at helping Red Hat do the 
necessary technical work to make Linux function because he was told 
Dell feared it would jeopardize its relationship with Microsoft.

Federal District Court Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly has questioned 
whether a portion of Tiemann's testimony is hearsay, in which case 
she would ignore it. But some of it aligns with internal Microsoft 
documents, produced earlier by state prosecutors, showing a 
concerted effort by Microsoft executives to pressure computer 
makers not to use Linux.

North Carolina-based Red Hat would benefit if the judge accepts 
sanctions sought by state prosecutors, which go well beyond a 
proposed settlement of the case between the company and the 
Department of Justice.

Among other things, the states would require that Microsoft to 
auction off a license to Linux re-sellers to carry the Office 
package of programs, which would make Linux more attractive to 
computer makers and users. The states argue that this is an 
important provision to help ensure competition in the market for 
operating systems.

"Most of my current clients bemoan the fact that they are forced to 
keep Windows on their desktops just to run Office," Tiemann 
testified. "Cisco, a current Red Hat client, has asked me 
point-blank if I would go to Microsoft and request that they port 
Office to Linux. Red Hat contacted Microsoft about it, but 
Microsoft has not returned our calls."

Microsoft spokesman Jim Desler said yesterday that "we see no great 
demand" for Office on Linux, and that engineering a version that 
would work would not provide sufficient return on the investment of 

Microsoft does license a version of Office that runs on the Apple 
Computer operating system.

"They [Red Hat] just want to take our years of research and 
development without paying a red cent," Desler said.

Microsoft also argues that Office was never a part of the antitrust 
case, and that a Linux licensing requirement is another example of 
the states pursuing sanctions designed purely to help its 
competitors rather than consumers.

Microsoft attorneys began cross-examining Tiemann late Thursday, 
and will resume today.

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