Superior Linux Technology won't be enough

by Tom Adelstein

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Not much has changed since Microsoft started selling preload software. Today, we cannot know if people would still buy Microsoft products because the Government protects the monopoly. What percentage of the market would Microsoft have in a fair market?

The only way we can answer that last question is to stop manufacturers from preloading Windows. Until then, we do not have a free market. Microsoft has no way to prove itself otherwise.

While we can see the power of preloading an operating system today, we didn't think much about it in 1992. Today, 95% of the people who own computers use what comes on their PCs.

Preload agreements seemed like a clever marketing tool. In the least they gave someone an edge. At the other end of the spectrum under the Sherman and Clayton acts they should be potentially felonious.

Back when these agreements started, preloads gave OEM's a good price on DOS. But OEMs had to agree to buy Windows, too. They would have to pay for DOS and Windows for every computer they shipped, whether DOS and Windows were on it or not. We don't know what agreements exist today because disclosure goes beyond the scope of the US Government's enforcement of their agreement with Microsoft. Everything is done in secret without public disclosure.

What do Linux folks want?

*We ask the US Administrative branch to cease and desist from lobbying on behalf of Microsoft.

* We ask the US Congress to evaluate the administration's role with regard to Microsoft.

* We ask that Microsoft be prevented from continuing or entering into preloading agreements.

* We ask for a comprehensive review of Microsoft's political activities.

* Finally, we ask that all OEM manufcaturers disclose their policies with regard to selling Microsoft products. We feel that such disclosures should be included in companies' SEC filings. We also believe that separate schedules of payments to and from Microsoft and OEMs be disclosed immediately.

That might even the playing field.

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