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Norwegian competition authority drops Microsoft case
[June 15, 2007]

Norwegian competition authority drops Microsoft case

The Associated Press

Microsoft (News - Alert) Corp. voluntarily changed a Norwegian public sector contract after small rival LinPro AS complained that the terms gave the software giant an unfair market advantage, the Norwegian Competition Authority said Friday.

LinPro, which delivers Linux-based software, filed a complaint in March 2006, claiming that Microsoft's discount agreement with 12 Norwegian counties was a misuse of its market dominance.

The old contract required the counties and their schools to buy desktop software packages based on the number of computers at the schools to get a discount even if some of the programs were not used, the authority said.

The authority investigated the complaint, but on Friday said it was dropping the case because Microsoft and the counties had revised the contracts to drop the desktop license requirement. The new terms also allow schools to use competing software on some computers, without having to pay for Microsoft software as well.

However, Linpro Managing Director Trond Heier said the fact that the complaint led to a change in contract terms was a victory in itself.

"There are many, globally, who have tried to challenge Microsoft on unfair competition, but few who have succeeded," he said. Heier said he hoped the case would lead to greater awareness of consumers' options.

In a one-line statement, Microsoft Norway's Managing Director Knut Morten Aasrud said: "We are glad the competition authority has closed this case."


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