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Microsoft under fire from Linux Audience: Windows 8

It seems every story this week has centered around litigation issues. This time its Microsoft in the spotlight as another antitrust case could be in the making, regarding the upcoming Windows 8 operating system.

Linux users have already been airing their opinions about Windows 8, especially the secure booting feature. ZDNet have a report detailing Linux Australia members, who have complained to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) about Microsoft’s plans. They have apparently been instructed that they do indeed, have a case.

“Section 47 of the Act prohibits exclusive dealing. Broadly speaking, exclusive dealing occurs when one person trading with another imposes some restrictions on the other’s freedom to choose with whom, in what or where they deal. Exclusive dealing is only a breach of the Act where the conduct has the purpose, effect or likely effect of substantially lessening competition in the market. In an assessment of the effect of the conduct on competition, it is not enough merely to show that an individual business has been damaged. The wider market for the particular product or service must be considered.

The situation you described may raise issues of exclusive dealing, but it is unclear from the details provided whether it would be likely to meet the competition test described.”

It all started when Microsoft announced their intentions to use the Unified Extensible Firmware Interface’s (UEFI) secure boot feature for devices bearing the ‘Designed for Windows 8’ logo. This caused Linux fans a lot of concern.

The argument is based around the demand that software or hardware developed for the operating system will need to be signed and approved by Microsoft or the original equipment manufacturer to be able to execute.

The ACCC said that if they don’t proceed themselves with the case, that members are well within their rights to take legal action against Microsoft.

Other operating systems, including (ironically) older versions of Windows will not work if an OEM doesn’t bundle the secure keys with the new operating system releases, allow users a facility to update the secure key list or allow the secure boot feature to be disabled in the firmware options.

Kitguru says: Are Microsoft trending shaky ground?

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