Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Another fine for Microsoft

Yesterday EC commissioner Kroes anounced yet another fine for Microsoft, this time for an amount of € 899 million. This is the highest fine so far and sums up to a total of € 1.7 billion. The reasons for this third fine are basically the same. The EC ordered Microsoft to provide technical information on their server software products in order to enable other companies to develop applications that can run smoothly on the MS platform. However, according to Brussels Microsoft is asking way too much money for this information. Just recently, Microsoft announced to be more collaborative. Technical information on their main server products would be made available for free. The EC was not impressed, since Microsoft did not show any collaborative attitude so far. Brussels is still also looking into complaints of producers of other web browsers like Opera and Firefox. It is very well possible that these complaints may lead to another fine.
The EC announcement comes at a moment that we are finalizing our Quickscan SharePoint final reports (deliverables are due on Feb 29th). One of the issues we are addressing, is that a choice for SharePoint automatically sets course towards vendor lockin, especially on the server and maintenance side of the product. It is suggested that e.g. Firefox end-users can also take advantage of full functionality of MS Sharepoint (MOSS2007), this is not the case, however. For some functionality it's possible to install a Firefox plugin, but this does not provide an equivalent solution compared to IE users. During the site visits it was suggested that Microsoft showed a tendency towards more openness, thus providing better opportunities for interoperability. However, the news as summarized in the first paragraph does not give very much faith that substantial strategy changes indeed can be expected in the near future. Our conclusion to this point is rather straightforward: if you want the optimal SharePoint solution, it means you have to move to a MS infrastructure.

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