Microsoft tries to protect public sector business

— 6:07 AM on May 16, 2003

EE Times is reporting that Microsoft is now specifically targeting governments in an attempt to stave off the adoption of Linux. Apparently, Microsoft has instructed its executives to use whatever means necessary to avoid losing accounts to Linux:

Internal Microsoft e-mails obtained by the newspaper show that the software giant authorized its executives to draw from a special internal fund to offer the company's software at a steep discount or even free if necessary. Orlando Ayala, then a top sales executive at Microsoft, was quoted as saying, "Under NO circumstances lose against Linux" in an e-mail to Microsoft executives sent last summer.
If Microsoft is indeed authorizing all sorts of price slashing to prevent governments from switching to Linux, Redmond could be in big trouble. Offering steep discounts or free products isn't something that's normally frowned upon, but since Microsoft is a monopoly, deep discounting potentially breaks all sorts of rules. Because it appears that the price slashing is specifically aimed at locking out competitors, Microsoft could face a whole new wave of legal challenges.
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