Microsoft cries foul over Asian plans for ‘anything but Windows’

“A plan by Japan, China and South Korea to develop an operating system alternative to Microsoft’s Windows software could raise concerns over fair competition, Microsoft said Friday,” Reuters reports. “Japan, the world’s second-largest economy, made a proposal at an Asian economic summit this week to build an inexpensive and trustworthy open-source operating system that would be based on a system such as Linux, which can be copied and modified freely.”

“‘We’d like to see the market decide who the winners are in the software industry,’ said Tom Robertson, Microsoft’s Tokyo-based director for government affairs in Asia.”

“Microsoft prefers competition between software applications to be determined in the free markets rather than by government agencies. ‘Governments should not be in the position to decide who the winners are,’ Robertson said.” Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: This is rich. Microsoft whining about unfair competition is pure hypocrisy. Let’s hope Microsoft can’t figure out a way to buy off Asian governments in order to change the Asians’ strategy of divesting themselves of the Windows hegemony. Anything that weakens Windows, breaking the stranglehold of mediocrity that OS inflicts upon the world, and promotes alternatives (any alternatives) sounds like an okay plan to us. It’ll help level the playing field for all. Could Microsoft’s house of cards finally be wobbling in the refreshing winds of change?

Related MacDailyNews articles:
Japan, China, South Korea: ‘anything but Windows for us’ – September 05, 2003
Mac users should not buy Microsoft software – May 16, 2003


  1. It should stand up in court. MS IS A MONOPOLY. It either needs to be broken up or a alternative needs to be avaiable. The best justice would be if MS takes Japan to court and the court says it is legal and forces MS to help subsidize its competition. OS X would be better suited to become an alternative if it was not tied to proprietary hardware. If Apple was smart, they would push Darwin, which is BSD based not Linux based as the alternative and have a scaled down version of OS X available to be ported to any system running Darwin. Keep the full version of OS X on high end Apple hardware.

  2. “Microsoft prefers competition between software applications to be determined in the free markets”

    Funny, arent the Japanese, Chines and Korean government markets choosing a Linux based system over MS. Looks like they lost out to the competition – who happen to better.

  3. According to what I read, they first looked at developing a new OS, but have instead decided to work on/with other systems. Maybe that’s why they settled with Be a couple of days ago. FYI Be was a powerful OS that ran on PPC and Intel boxes, and could run rings around WINDOZE on any given box. That code was sold to Palm, which just split into 2 companies. It goes to reason that Palmsource owns the OS now. It could be worth a mint, and if Apple is smart, they will buy PalmSource (the software side of the old Palm. They could then control the Palm OS, recover the old Newton software they sold to Palm, and the Be OS. makes sense to me. i know they are not going to make PDA’s, but this way they can assure continued integration with the PDA market.

  4. The Asian leaders understand that their general population needs to utilize the technology of the US and Europe, but they cannot afford the initial cost nor the cost-of-ownership especially in terms of the steep learning-curve and the perpetual patches/virus-proofing of using any Microsoft OS. They need something much simpler that can run on slower (very low cost) computers for next to nothing.

    This move is the 2003 version of publicly supplying water and electricity. Computers/internet are a utility that needs to be easily and cheaply accessible to everyone in their countries. Robertson is so incredibly ignorant concerning the needs of the poor majority in the world. There is no “free [computer software] market” when a day’s wages pay for a cup of rice.

    Microsoft should HELP these countries bring information technology to remote impoverished areas, not stand in their way!! Just when I thought that Microsoft couldn’t get any more evil, they manage to out-do themselves.

  5. I’m glad to see someone making a decision away from Microsoft, but it’s also a bit discouraging to see that they don’t think of OS X as an alternative. Maybe Steve needs to make a side trip to the three when he’s done with the Paris Expo.

  6. “i know they are not going to make PDA’s”

    the iPod is essentially a PDA without the input device built right on the unit(ie. no grafitti). It has a calendar, contacts, games, etc. Just need to make a retractable keyboard or touchpad and add a phone. That would make it ideal for me.

  7. At first it might seem like turnabout is fairplay, but in reality MS is right. It is dangerous for governments to supercede market forces. Also, please keep in mind, while there are any number of reasons to despise Microsoft, the company is basically an accident. In fact, Microsoft is the worlds greatest industrial accident. They did not create their monopoly status. Millions of zombie like IT people and consumers flocked to the Microsoft troft. No one held a gun to their heads. Microsoft’s success was born of the trust everyone had in IBM.

    By the time anyone realized the monster that had been created, it was too late.

    Now, Microsoft weilds it’s monopoly power like a hammer. The only thing I can think of worse is governments getting involved in decided which operating systems people should use.

  8. Read again: “bolster the popularity of Windows’ rivals, such as Linux, and boost their share in such markets as digital cameras, mobile phones and car navigation systems”

    Since when refusing to have Windows-derived OS in a digital camera or mobile phone is imposing you which OS to use on your laptop?
    The move has nothing to do with personal computing. It has to do with which OS will run the next digital peripherals, like – maybe – even a coffe-maker. I’d hate to see “Brewed with Microsoft” on its side. I think I’d vomit at evey cup.

    This is a move that go exactly against the trend you have just denounced. Microsoft is mad because the move would make the monster less-a-monster in those (hence world) digital market.

    Aren’t you glad your next car navigation system will not show you a blue screen of death while you are driving in the middle of nowhere?
    “Sorry, CarNavBlaster has just infected the system. Reboot in 3 minutes”

  9. I note someone concerned about governments getting involved in deciding winners and losers. The horse is out of the barn bub, gone for many years. How long has it been that many US agencies have called for specs that made certain Windows proucts would be bought? I didn’t see MS crying about that. MS should suck it up and face what their competitors (those left anyway) have been facing for years. Grow up and tuck your free market mantras back your tired pocket.

  10. >At first it might seem like turnabout is fairplay, but in reality MS is right. It is dangerous for governments to supercede market forces.<

    Your quote is only accurate for a capitalist market. When considering other types of economic markets, it becomes irrevelant. But that said, even in capitalist markets, the influence of government forces is large, but often hidden. I’d rather know about direct influence upfront, than have to deal with indirect influences, such as edicts to consolidate around the Windows operating system, for various government departments that had traditionally been cross-platform.

    That said, having a government attempt to deliberately diversify, and reduce the dependence of a country on a single for profit vendor, I’d say is a good thing.

  11. Finally? Maybe. Developing software with the millions of line code data to support everything from playing games to networking is no simple task. I think it sounds great to see something new and fresh. I use both MAC OS X and Windows XP. Using MAC OS X a little more since the virus mess. That does not mean I prefer OS X instead of XP; both have their advantages. I�ve been waiting to use LINUX but if you want the full version you�ll almost pay the same as OEM XP. Has LINUX really impacted the OS market yet? Some will tell you yes, while others not so sure. Governments should stay out of this? Come on, Microsoft is as big as any government. They have 39 billion dollars in cash reserves alone. What start up company can compete with that kind of money and survive? Initial startup costs for this new Asian merger, 78 million and a lot of years of development. I think it�s a wake up scare tactic for Microsoft. Their products should be less expensive ($99 full windows)($149.00 full office), decreased licensing fees, no extreme activation, etc., etc., etc. If the Asian software is developed and ready for worldwide distribution, Microsoft, would just lobby to increase tariffs on imported software and were back to where we started.

  12. >At first it might seem like turnabout is fairplay, but in reality MS is right. It is dangerous for governments to supercede market forces.<

    So is MS gonna ask the Dept. of Homeland Security to put that contact out for tender – you know, the one it awarded to MS without inviting any other bidders!

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