Red Hat leads protest against Microsoft goverment-supported monopoly

Linux supplier Red Hat and 17 other software suppliers have launched a protest against a Swiss government contract awarded to Microsoft without any public bidding process.

According to Red Hat, the contract, worth £8m a year, was issued without a bidding process because the Swiss Federal Bureau for Buildings and Logistics said there was no “sufficient alternative” to Microsoft products.

Does this, as some commentators have suggested, indicate a wider Microsoft monopoly that European governments accept, despite their lip service for open source?

Perhaps the European Commission, which is considering whether to fine Microsoft for abusing its dominance of the operating systems market to promote its Internet Explorer browser, should review a couple of contracts awarded Microsoft by European governments.

The Red Hat group has requested the Swiss Federal Administration Court to reverse the Swiss government agency contract decision and hold a public bidding process.

“This public process will allow for fair consideration of the merits of open source and other non-Microsoft software products,” the group said.