Monopolistic business as usual at Microsoft

Monopolistic business as usual at Microsoft

Well, well. An interesting New York Times story reveals that, back at Redmond, all systems are functioning normally. Quote:

“Last summer, Orlando Ayala, then in charge of worldwide sales at Microsoft, sent an e-mail message titled Microsoft Confidential to senior managers laying out a company strategy to dissuade governments across the globe from choosing cheaper alternatives to the ubiquitous Windows computer software systems.

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

The memo on protecting sales of Windows and other desktop software mentioned Linux, a still small but emerging software competitor that is not owned by any specific company. “Under NO circumstances lose against Linux,” Mr. Ayala wrote.

This memo, as well as other e-mail messages and internal Microsoft documents obtained from a recipient of the Microsoft e-mail, offers a rare glimpse these days into the inner workings of Microsoft, the world’s largest software company. They spell out a program of tactics that were carried out in recent years, ranging from steep price discounts to Microsoft employees lying about their identities at trade shows.

The Microsoft campaign against Linux raises questions about how much its aggressive, take-no-prisoners corporate culture has changed, despite having gone through a lengthy, reputation-tarnishing court battle in the United States that resulted in Microsoft’s being found to have repeatedly violated antitrust laws.”

There is also the added complication that Microsoft’s “have Windows free if you were thinking of Linux” strategy is illegal in the EU — which now encompasses 25 countries.