August 22, 2002

Taiwan expands Microsoft investigation

Andy Tai writes: According to this Taipei Times article, Taiwan, Republic of China's Fair Trade Commission (FTC) is expanding its investigation into MS's pricing abuses to Microsoft Singapore as well as the core Microsoft in the US. (Additionally referenced articles are from the United Daily News in Chinese and summarized below):
The focus of the investigation has shifted to "constrainting competition in the marketplace." FTC invesigators has visited Microsoft Singapore and will visit the Microsoft headquarter in the US. Because of the experiences of the US and European regulators focusing on Microsoft's monopoly to date with no concrete results, the Taiwan FTC tries a different approach and looks at Microsoft's constraints imposed on software customers. Microsoft has a clever, complex system of international operations, and Taiwan's customers actually obtain licensing rights from Microsoft Singapore. Now this case has become international in scope.

Meanwhile Taiwan's business software users are calling for the FTC to look into the new Microsoft licensing program starting on August 1, which they say is another type of price hike and consumer abuse.

The government is setting targets for national initiatives to increase GNU/Linux use: 50% of computers in the government and schools and 30% in private businesses will run Linux, and there will be a 20-billion-Taiwan dollar (US$ 600 million) Linux industry in Taiwan, in 2006.

To counter all this Microsoft Taiwan is increasing its PR efforts, including numerous donations of computers and one-Taiwan-dollar (3 US cents) MS software licenses to schools and non-profits. Taiwan MS President stresses that one main task of his company for the next year is to improve Microsoft's image.


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