Forget EC Fines: Microsoft is "IT" for many EU Governments

Forget EC Fines: Microsoft is "IT" for many EU Governments

Summary: Although the European commission might be proud of its record of hitting Microsoft with fines that dig deep into Redmond's seemingly bottomless coffers, the fact is that for many European countries, Microsoft is still the first and sometimes only choice when it comes to government tenders.http://press.

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TOPICS: Tech Industry
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Although the European commission might be proud of its record of hitting Microsoft with fines that dig deep into Redmond's seemingly bottomless coffers, the fact is that for many European countries, Microsoft is still the first and sometimes only choice when it comes to government tenders.

http://press.redhat.com/2009/05/21/red-hat-challenges-microsoft-lock-in-and-seeks-open-competition-in-switzerland/

As last week's Switzerland example showed, some government's operate on the basis that IT is basically another word for Microsoft. That means tenders that specifically call for Microsoft products as if no other alternatives exist.

Hungary - where I am currently based - only a month ago agreed to put open source options on the tender list for government tech projects. Previously, government tenders would simply state, "Microsoft or equivalent products". Microsoft has splashed its cash around the country both in terms of marketing and lobbying that it has much of the public sector sown-up, as open source guru Richard Stallman remarked on a recent visit to Budapest.

And let's not forget that the UK only just agreed to "level the playing field for open source" software - basically admitting that up till now the game has been firmly rigged against non-proprietary software.

That said - that doesn't meant that all UK government projects are considering open source all of a sudden. The head of IT for the Olympics told me at a recent green IT conference that he had more or less ruled out open source because it was "high risk" in terms of issues such as application compatibility.

http://www.eweekeurope.co.uk/news/london-olympics-says-no-to-open-source-821

Yep - it seems that while the Olympics might carry lofty ideals of international cooperation and openness - that doesn't actually carry to the software running the event.

And it's not like the Olympics has money to burn - the event is way over budget already by billions of pounds - you'd think that the organising committee would be looking for the most cost-effective options available. Time's are tough it seems but not tough enough for some.

Topic: Tech Industry

Andrew Donoghue

About Andrew Donoghue

"If I'd written all the truth I knew for the past ten years, about 600 people - including me - would be rotting in prison cells from Rio to Seattle today. Absolute truth is a very rare and dangerous commodity in the context of professional journalism."

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Andrew Donoghue is a freelance technology and business journalist with over ten years on leading titles such as Computing, SC Magazine, BusinessGreen and ZDNet.co.uk.

Specialising in sustainable IT and technology in the developing world, he has reported and volunteered on African aid projects, as well as working with charitable organisations such as the UN Foundation and Computer Aid.

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  • Forget EC Fines: Microsoft is "IT" for many EU Governments

    Concur.

    What I just can't get out of my head is how predisposed 'anglo' countries (ie, UK, US, Australia, NZ, Canada) are to not using 'alternate' technologies.

    It's like they're either too proud to use anything but the most costly software - "let the poor countries use that open open source stuff"; or they don't want to be seen to be excluding the big players and multinationals - contrast South Korea, Taiwan and Holland and France.

    We've been <a href="http://www.itwire.com/content/view/11496/53/">banging on this door for ages</a>, and yet most of our governments are doing nothing to change their procurement ways.

    conz-fd600
  • Forget EC Fines: Microsoft is "IT" for many EU Governments

    In this connected world - the 'Windows' system has run its course.

    The Windows legacy is fundamentally designed like an island in the middle of the ocean, and for all its thid party sea defenses which have been added - it can't prevent a tsunami.

    I setup a dual boot PC for my niece. Windows XP and Ubuntu. She is a big bebo user - within a few weeks Windows had malware and various other viruses, the classic 'your computer is infected- download and install this antivrus type thing'. She was upset because her PC was unusable, taking forever to start Windows.

    She hadn't used the Ubuntu installation, as I'd set a time-out for it to default to Windows XP. I said I wouldn't be able to help for several weeks but if she needed the web/open office to use Ubuntu.

    She did, and she has had no problems with Ubuntu - the only problem it seems with kids is peer pressure - they want the latest (Vista-advertising works well at this level), and the most expensive - sadly free software is just not part of that equation.
    The main reason Ubuntu works for her because her account is as a 'user' not the Adminstrator/root as in Windows.

    I've said here before Windows 7 is good, stable - fairly quick - but the fundamentals are the same as XP/Vista - and this means in-built security. (a box saying click 'OK' doesn't constitute security)

    Windows 7 does a good job of consolidation - but its not really moving things forward - its to support the past - not the future.

    You still can't decifer the process list to find out what is MS and what isn't - and what shouldn't be running. You still need a good third party AV product, you still need to make Images in case of infection (so you are able to restore your system). A bloated registry means everything is loaded on graphics/development systems when someone just needs to write a quick text document.



    adamjarvis
  • Forget EC Fines: Microsoft is "IT" for many EU Governments

    It's unfortunate when a large government gets "locked in" to MS. Most of them are afraid of change, so they keep spending the citizens money on upgrades, and still can't ensure security. Proprietary doesn't equate to quality.
    ator1940