sábado, 24 de septiembre de 2011

Open Letter to Neelie Kroes

Hi, Ms. Kroes.

First, I'd like to say that I'm not an european citizen. I'm
venezuelan and I'm living in Colombia at the time. If that's all it
takes to get this email dropped from your inbox, so be it. If you (or
someone from your staff) is still reeading it, I thank you.

During the last few days it has hit the IT mainstream media that
Microsoft, as part of their "Windows 8 Logo" program, will request
computer manufacturers to support UEFI's "secure boot". Manufacturers
that don't support it, won't get the privilege of putting a "WIndows
8" logo stamp on their computers. It has also been published that
manufacturers are willing to implement this _without_ giving the users
the possibility to disable this option.

In order for "secure boot" to be used, it requires using certification
keys to allow any operating system to boot the computer and that
provides Microsoft with a double advantage:
- Users wouldn't be able to use an older version of Windows
- Users won't be able to use a "non certified" operating system, like
say, GNU/Linux.

Given their strong position on computer manufacturers, whatever
Microsoft comes up with, manufacturers will follow. Unfortunately,
that power, as we can see here, is being used to hinder Microsoft's
competition and force the user to use Microsoft's latest OS instead of
any other OS they so choose to use (even older versions of Microsoft

Thank you very much.

Update: The mail has been forwarded to Mr Almunia, on the Competition front.  Email Address: CAB-ALMUNIA-COURRIER at ec.europa.eu

Update II: I got a response this morning (oct. 27th) from staff:

Dear Mr. Carmona,
Thank you very much for your messages of 24 and 26 September 2011 expressing concerns regarding the new Microsoft's Windows 8 security requirements. According to these requirements, the computer manufacturers ("OEMs") conforming to the Windows 8 logo program are obliged to use Unified Extensible Firmware Interface ("UEFI") secure boot. This might allegedly lead to anti-competitive effects in the market.
As you are probably aware, Windows 8 is currently under development and therefore not final. We will, however, monitor the further developments in order to ensure the full respect of European competition rules. Whether or not there is a violation of EU competition law, however, depends on a range of factual, legal and economic considerations. 
For more information about the competition-related activities of the European Commission we invite you to consult our website: http://europa.eu.int/comm/competition/index_en.html .
Feedback from interested citizens, such as yours, is a very valuable source of information for us which we take seriously, and for which we would like to thank you.
Yours sincerely,

Per Hellström   
Head of Unit   
European Commission   
DG Competition   
Markets and cases II: Information, Communication and Media  
Antitrust: IT, Internet and Consumer electronics