eWEEK Europe UK: Microsoft Facing £25m Argentinian Linux Lawsuit

Microsoft is facing an ongoing legal challenge in Argentina from an open source company which alleges the software giant used its Windows Starter Edition to dominate the country’s operating system market.

Argentinian software company Pixart SRL launched the lawsuit in September 2008 but the possibility of the case being heard has become more likely in recent weeks, according to the company’s lawyer Dr Uriel Blustein of Estudio Blustein & Asociados.

“It is a suit filed in the ‘National commission for Fair Trading’, for an alleged abuse of dominant position,” Dr Blustein told eWEEK Europe in an email this week. “The Commission in is the process of deciding whether the trial will take place,” (i.e. whether there is enough evidence to justify an investigation).

Don’t cry for us Argentina, says Microsoft

Pixart alleges that the market share of its Debian-based Linux distribution, Rxart, has been undermined by uncompetitive pricing practices from Microsoft. In a document outlining its case against Microsoft, Pixart argues that the existence of PCs pre-installed with a cut-down version of Microsoft Windows XP, known as Microsoft Stater Edition, was effectively used to undercut machines loaded with Rxart.

“Microsoft decided in late 2007 to pursue a policy of aggressive pricing subsidies to try to recover the market economically and financially suffocating Pixart SRL, mainly through a version of the operating system called ’starter edition’,” the document states.

Pixart claims to have had an installed base of around 320,000 units in 2005 but that base has been gradually eroded by the existence of Windows Starter Edition, and more recently Windows Vista Home Basic.

For more go to: eWEEK Europe UK

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