Thursday, December 21, 2006

Microsoft Licensing under Investigation

Indonesia's Business Competition Supervisory Committee (KPPU) has launched an investigation over a memorandum of understanding between Indonesia government and Microsoft Corporation regarding licensing/legalization of softwares in govt offices, newspapers reported today.

Five years ago, Office of Fair Trade (OFT) in UK launched similar investigation over Microsoft Licensing based on complaints from other software providers that such program would cost UK gov't more than USD2 billion in four years time.
Microsoft-Government MoU was signed last month prior to the arrival of US President George Bush. KPPU fears the MoU is a kind of monopoly, against the fair business principles. Under such situation, government as the party in the MoU should also be investigated because the MoU may provides exclusive right to Microsoft. While the MoU is different with binding agreement, ie. it might be cancelled or not implemented, government should have realized early on the impacts.
Initially, I thought it was a MoU with broad spectrum of software licensors as parties in a fight against piracy. If that's the case, government should have signed similar MoU with Microsoft's competitors, while purchasing should be through open tender still.
Microsoft's competitors are clearly upset with the MoU and launched the campaign to drop it. SBY's administration then should explain to public what's the benefit or potential liabilities of signing the MoU with Microsoft and the other guys.

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