IT HAS SURFACED that Russian regulators initiated a case against some of the major notebook PC brands last month, charging that they are engaged in anticompetitive practices by preloading only Microsoft operating systems on their machines.
The companies named by the Commission of the Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS Russia) are Acer, ASUSTeK, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Samsung and Toshiba. FAS Russia has also contacted Fujitsu and said it will also send enquiries to some other PC makers including Lenovo, Sony and Roverbook.
FAS said in a statement, "It is suspected that the notebook manufacturers were engaged in concerted actions by pre-installing the operational system of the same vendor on the notebooks sold to consumers who in most cases did not have a possibility to choose and buy the required notebook model without a pre-installed operational system or refuse to use the product tied to their purchase (the operational system of the Microsoft Corporation)."
FAS Russia also said it had contacted Microsoft "as an interested party" and that Microsoft "confirmed that the licence agreements with PC vendors do not set any restrictions or requirements to sell PC with pre-installed operational systems, or any obstacles for returning the pre-installed operational system."
In addition, the Commission said, "To prevent future imposing of the operational system, Microsoft presented information on changes to the draft contracts with notebook manufacturers, which would obligate the latter to have procedures for returning operational systems from end users."
Anatoly Golomolzin, deputy head of FAS Russia and the Commission chairman, was quoted as saying, "FAS Russia looks positively at any initiatives towards changing the existing situation. If the draft license contract with OEM, presented to FAS Russia, comes into force, a buyer of any notebook with a pre-installed operational system will be able to take advantage of the return procedures and refuse to use the operational system, which will have positive effect upon development of competition on the market of operational system without infringing the users' rights and legitimate interests."
If Russia - the former core of international Communism - actually manages to abolish the 'Microsoft tax' that has burdened hundreds of millions of people for decades now, it'll be toweringly ironic, because the United States - the supposed champion of democratic free market capitalism - could never seem to find the ethical principles, will and wit to do it. µ
Tabs to more Ctrl and less Win. Such Fn.
Either that or it's a really intense holiday