[Marxism] Microsoft and the Dutch Government

Jurriaan Bendien andromeda246 at hetnet.nl
Sat Dec 11 16:55:18 MST 2004

The Dutch daily paper De Volkskrant reports that 23 social organisations and 
enterprises have sent an open letter to the Dutch government in which they 
express their concern about alleged "exclusive" negotiations by government 
agencies with Microsoft Corporation. 

The digital civil rights organisation Bits of Freedom, the Consumer 
watchdog, Internet Society Nederland, Nederland Kennisland, and Stichting 
NLnet signed the letter, together with the Dutch Open Source Society, 
Novell, Unix and Red Hat Benelux. http://www.bof.nl/microsoft/

The rumour is that government departments and some city councils are close 
to signing a contract with Microsoft for software applying to some -245,000 
desktop PC's plus servers.

WebWereld http://www.webwereld.nl/ disclosed a letter on Friday in which the 
Dutch Local Government Association appealed to its members for participation 
in a joint deal, to cut costs. The Automatisering Gids reported a week ago 
that the go-ahead for the five year-contract was due to be decided on 16 

The protesting organisations said it was dubious that the 147 million euro 
contract has not been publicly tendered. In addition, according to a motion 
unanimously adopted two years ago, the government is supposed to reduce its 
dependence on any one supplier in the software market, and promote open 
source software. The protesting organisations also favour greater use of 
free software and open standards.

Prompted by the reports in the trade journals, the Socialist Party, 
Social-liberals, Labour Party and Green Left put questions to the government 
last week. Among other things, the parties queried why the government seeks 
business with a corporation that has already been convicted for violating 
fair competition laws. The Ministries involved so far refused to confirm or 
deny secret negotiations with Microsoft, prior to the official response that 
will be made to the parliamentary questions.


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