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[school-discuss] Shocking news about Microsoft's ability to kill Open Source


I'm scheduled to speak at the Desktop Linux Consortium on November 10th at Boston University. My subject relates to Linux in State and Local Government, a subject about which I have some knowledge.

This morning I discovered from a reliable source that we will not be invited back because Microsoft offered BU a Gold Partnership agreement and marketing money to never "do this again".

Jsut slightly infuriated, I inquired anonymously about the situation. I contacted the Department of Justice and spoke to an attorney. Imagine my surprise to discover Microsoft didn't do anything wrong. What they did doesn't violate the law. I couldn't believe it.

Imagine, all the time spent trying to stop them from restraining trade and it means nothing. They can pay companies to "not sell" Linux. They can provide "marketing money" to make sure their products are put ahead of others, make sure certain products don't get shelf space, advertise on every page featuring Linux or Open Source Software and they don't break the law. Basically, they're not considered criminals as far as I can tell.

Now, if they threaten you with bodily harm, that's different. But what does one get other than maybe a settlement if they do? That's something else I found out.

I've followed Microsoft's antics for years now and seen some amazing things. Some of those include what I thought were "kickbacks". But in reality, they must not be kickbacks. I guess if they won a contract and paid the procurement officer, that would be a kickback. But, no one has accused them of that - at least not in any way about which I know. Price cutting, sure they do that. Lobbying, they do that too. Whining, I hear they whine and spin. Evidenttly, nothing is wrong with that either.

So, all I can conclude is that we shouldn't call them crooks. We might wind up the subject of a defamation suit.

I wonder if we could suggest a boycott?

Would doing that be a violation of law?