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Wednesday, October 12th, 2005, 2:44 am

Microsoft’s Dirty Briberies

Bill Gates
Bill Gates arrested in his younger days (photo in public domain)

THE O/S industry continues to worry me. As a recent item suggests, if not practically reveals, Microsoft makes Windows-powered Dell computers cheaper than blank hard-drive computers, probably by subsidising hardware under the table.

This leads me to recalling a progmatic Ballmer reference to a $100 PC, possibly relying on kick-backs, lock-ins, steering of users towards MSN filled with adverts, not to mention extortionate Microsoft Office licences. When costs for hardware are being covered, it can be perceived as illegal practice if not bribery, which led to anti-trust lawsuits in the past. Software suffers the most from such legal loopholes due to (1) ‘duplicability’ and (2) compatibility, which make software different from most physical world analogies. Rules must adapt immediately to prevent a closed-circuit whereby competition is denied access.

If you are using Windows, be aware that 9 more vulnerabilities have been discovered today (check your favourite newsletter’s headlines for more details). Additionally while on the subject, Microsoft may soon be able to cash in on its own critical bugs, which is by all means outrageous.

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