Switzerland: 0wned by Microsoft, OK by court?

DISCLAIMER: I am not a lawyer and this is my PERSONAL blog. This article reflects my PERSONAL opinion and does not necessarily represent the position of my employer.

UPDATE: The text of the court decision in swiss-german is here

More background here

So there we have it. The Bundesgericht in Switzerland has decided. And it’s result is stunning, to put it mildly. In layman terms, this is what has been ruled:

  • Open Source cannot offer an alternative to Microsofts offering
  • The authorities cannot be asked to do market research to find alternatives.
  • Hence it is perfectly fine to NOT tender at all and hand over the money to Microsoft.

The appeal that has been filed has not been accepted by the court, so there was no case effectively. The court ruled that FOSS failed to deliver an alternative to Microsoft. How FOSS could have shown an alternative at all as there was (and is) no tender, no rundown of needed capabilities, no description of requirements was not of interest.

Are you surprised? Well – I am. This effectively means that Microsoft’s monopoly in swiss authorities is now here to stay. By not even asking the authorities to do some due diligence wrt market research, it effectively means that the free market has just been removed from the equation.

I will update this story with more details in teh next few hours, please bear with me. I have to translate legal swiss language to english and IANAL …

Here some comments in german, more to come: Blog entry DigitaleNachhaltigkeit

CC BY 4.0 This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

3 thoughts on “Switzerland: 0wned by Microsoft, OK by court?”

  1. Too bad for Switzerland. But having worked with the Govt. sector over a decade, I have seen numerous FOSS projects being replaced with MS products eventually. The fragmented nature of FOSS limits its ability to produce credible references in comparison with the marketing might of MS. Moreover, most decision makers come brainwashed by reports and guidance from the so called Industry Analyst groups that are heavily inclined towards MS and closed platforms. Naturally, no one wants to take the risk of walking the unbeaten path and getting stranded.

    Looking forward to updates with more details.

    -Aron

  2. We from Wilhelm Tux, a Free Software Advocacy Organisation of Switzerland, have analysed the decision by the Federal Supreme Court and found it to be quite positive for the future of Free Software/FOSS. The court basically says, that if you are a FOSS-supplier you should have proven that there are indeed alternatives that fulfil requirements of functional equality and feasibility and of cost effectiveness.

    However, many of the other statements by the court look rather positive.

    Our analysis is here, unfortunately in German only:
    http://www.wilhelmtux.ch/index.phtml?PID=72&MID=1

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