Feeds

EU investigates MS, EU buys scads more Windows servers

Monopoly leveraging - a Commission Do it to Yourself guide...

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

The European Commission is currently deciding what it can do to stop Microsoft using its dominant position on the desktop to carve itself a similar monopoly in the server market. But at the same time, the European Commission's IT purchasing policies are supporting that very process. The Commission uses Windows clients, is upgrading these to Windows XP, and has just invested in a large number of Windows 2000 Advanced Server application servers to support them.

Presumably, one of the factors slowing up a decision on the antitrust matter involves the Commission trying to figure out how it can stop itself doing this kind of stuff. This particular contract award, made to Dell, is listed in an EU Tenders Electronic Daily (TED) notice published on 28th January. It has a value of 12.7 Million Euros, and is for "Acquisition of 'Office and application servers' (entry-level, mid-range, high-end) including associated equipment (options and extensions) and add-on software, and maintenance and associated services." The servers, according to the contract notice issued last June, are 237 entry level, 445 mid-range and 68 high-end, and the contract is for two years,with three possible extensions of one year each, with "maintenance, upgrades and associated services" covering six years, again with three possible one year extensions.

By the standards of EU spending this is actually a pretty small contract, and could be seen as a follow up to previous purchases, as the Commission says it bought 240 "office and application servers" between December 1999 and December 2001. The choice of Windows 2000 as the OS may also have significance, although the fact that the decision-making process took place well in advance of Windows 2003 Server being finished means it couldn't have been a credible option for 2003 delivery.

It would surely be politically difficult for the Commission to allow its Informatics Directorate to follow Microsoft down the .NET road, so a Win2k purchase now allows it a couple of years breathing space before it has to confront that decision. Or quite possibly longer - the commission has a lot of purchasing power, advantageous framework agreements with Microsoft, and other IT suppliers, so if it wants to buy Windows 2000 for longer than Microsoft would prefer, well, it probably can. (In which case one wonders about the necessity to upgrade the clients to XP, but there you go).

The Register's sources in Brussels, even the Unix-loving ones, are unperturbed by the latest deal, which they see largely as the short-term continuation of existing Commission policy at the applications level. It does not, they feel, change the policy of encouraging open source and using Unix (at the moment, particularly Sun) as the mid-range and high-end production platform of choice. Their Lenin-like confidence in their ultimate triumph is commendable.

But in the longer term the Commission is going to have to confront the issue of monopoly leveraging on its own doorstep and decide how far, and for how long, it intends to run with Windows as its application platform of choice, and Windows applications servers munching their way up the food chain. If the pattern is to buy a pile of Windows servers every two years, then we should expect the contract notice to appear in TED around the middle of next year. Should be interesting. And it'd perhaps also be interesting to see how it was going in encouraging open source clients, and perhaps associated applications servers, a little bit before then. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Netscape Navigator - the browser that started it all - turns 20
It was 20 years ago today, Marc Andreeesen taught the band to play
UNIX greybeards threaten Debian fork over systemd plan
'Veteran Unix Admins' fear desktop emphasis is betraying open source
Sign off my IT project or I’ll PHONE your MUM
Honestly, it’s a piece of piss
Return of the Jedi – Apache reclaims web server crown
.london, .hamburg and .公司 - that's .com in Chinese - storm the web server charts
Chrome 38's new HTML tag support makes fatties FIT and SKINNIER
First browser to protect networks' bandwith using official spec
Admins! Never mind POODLE, there're NEW OpenSSL bugs to splat
Four new patches for open-source crypto libraries
Torvalds CONFESSES: 'I'm pretty good at alienating devs'
Admits to 'a metric ****load' of mistakes during work with Linux collaborators
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.