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Date: 2003-05-15

Microsoft dokumentiert vermutete Kartellrechtsverstoesse

Microsoft verschickte ein Memo welches die ungewöhnlichen und kostspieligen Taktiken des Monopolisten im Kampf gegen die freie Linux Konkurrenz dokumentiert. Demnach sind für das Finanzjahr 2003, 180 Millionen USD in einen Spezialfond geflossen damit Microsoft unter keinen Umständen bei grösseren Institutionen und Regierungen gegen Linux verliert.
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For Microsoft, market dominance doesn't seem enough
Thomas Fuller/IHT IHT
Thursday, May 15, 2003

BRUSSELS More than 90 percent of the world's personal computers run on Microsoft software. For Orlando Ayala, that was not enough.

Last summer, Ayala, then the top sales executive at Microsoft Corp., sent an e-mail message titled "Microsoft Confidential" to senior managers laying out a strategy to dissuade governments around the world from choosing cheaper alternatives to the ubiquitous Windows operating system.

Ayala's e-mail told executives that if a deal involving governments or large institutions looked doomed, they were authorized to draw from a special internal fund to offer the software at a steep discount or even free if necessary. Steve Ballmer, the Microsoft chief executive, was sent a copy of the e-mail message.

The memorandum, which focused on system software for desktop computers, specifically targeted Linux, a small but emerging competitor. "Under NO circumstances lose against Linux," Ayala said.


The memo said nearly $180 million had been allocated for the purpose in the 2003 financial year, which ends in June; $140 million of that was earmarked for consulting services for server software, where Microsoft has a leading share of the market but faces strong competition.

Servers are the powerful computers corporations use to store data, manage Web sites or perform other network tasks. The software that runs servers is the subject of one of the two antitrust cases open against Microsoft in the European Union. In broad terms, Microsoft is accused of illegally leveraging its overwhelming dominance in the PC software market into the server market.


Linux, the biggest open-source threat to Microsoft, has a tiny share of the market for personal computer software. But the server market is one area where Linux has momentum. Linux was installed with 26 percent of the server hardware sold to corporations last year, according to International Data Corp., a market research company. Windows was shipped with about 44 percent of servers, according to IDC.

The use of Linux is being encouraged by many governments, especially in Europe, as a cheaper and perhaps more secure alternative to Windows software. The French government, for example, has a Web site that recommends Linux systems for its departments.


In the face of this competition, the Microsoft documents show the significant resources the company devotes, and the unconventional tactics it sometimes uses, to combat Linux.

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edited by typo
published on: 2003-05-15
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