December 1, 2003

Lindows.com responds to MS threats against Dutch resellers

Hostilities between the Microsoft monopoly and the upstart Linux distribution aimed squarely at the desktop market are continuing, inside and outside the courtroom. The Register reported over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend that Microsoft has attempted to intimidate small resellers in the Netherlands to keep them from offering LindowsOS for sale. Microsoft has been contacting the retailers by phone, telling them they would like to set up "meetings" in order to avoid legal action based on the Lindows name. Updated

Microsoft claims that it owns the word "Windows," so that other firms cannot use it or a likeness of it (such as Lindows) for their own products. In fact, they have filed a lawsuit against Lindows.com over that very issue. Trial date for the case has been set for March 2004.

The Register reported that at least one of the resellers, Hans de Vries of DV Computer Systems, has told LindowsOS CEO Michael Robertson that he will have to stop selling Lindows if Microsoft takes them to court because his company simply cannot afford the legal expenses.

Although Robertson canceled a planned visit to the Netherlands on Nov. 28 -- during which he had hoped to attend some of the Microsoft/reseller meetings -- he has not given up the idea of protecting resellers from Microsoft's monopoly muscle.

LindowsOS spokesperson Cheryl Schwarzman told NewsForge.com this morning by email that "Microsoft has canceled their 'appointments' with LindowsOS resellers but Michael will still come to Holland on Dec 8th to support Hans de Vries and resellers like him. Lindows.com will launch LindowsOS 4.5 in Holland to show Microsoft how much we take care of our resellers and OEMs -- no matter how far away they may live from us."

We asked for a comment from Robertson but Cheryl told us later in the day that "Michael is on his way to the Netherlands. He will be in Amsterdam on the 8th, 9th, and 10th to meet with resellers of LindowsOS and to offer them support in any way possible."

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