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Israel Gives Microsoft The Boot

Israel Gives Microsoft The Boot

by , 11:00 AM EDT, October 15th, 2003

The Register is reporting that the government of Israel is fed up with Microsoft, and has suspended all governmental contracts with the company through 2004, after the Israeli Antitrust Authority found Microsoft in violation of the country's strict 1988 Restrictive Trade Practices Law. Part of the reason for the outcry is Microsoft's continued ignoring of right-to-left languages, such as Hebrew and Arabic, languages that Apple has supported since OS X 10.2. From The Register:

In a bold assertion of independence, Israel has thrown the full weight of its antitrust legislation at Microsoft.

The Israeli Ministry of Commerce has suspended all governmental contracts with Microsoft, and indicated that the ban will last throughout 2004. The de facto suspension means no upgrades for the duration, at a time when Microsoft is looking to roll out its Office 2003 upgrade; and the Ministry is said to be examining OpenOffice as an alternative.


Register readers play no small part in this remarkable story. Apple users in and beyond Israel have long called for an alternative to the Microsoft monopoly that supports Hebrew. Although Apple has provided operating system-level support for Arabic, Hebrew, Urdu and other right to left languages since the release of Mac OS X 10.2 last year, Apple's largest software vendor has declined to provide support in its applications. Frustrated by lack of movement from either Microsoft or Apple to redress the balance, Apple users in Israel have threatened to sue Israel's antitrust department for failing to enforce its own laws.

You can read the full article at The Register's Web site.

The Mac Observer Spin:

Hey look, it's a country not afraid to pursue its own antitrust laws when it comes to Microsoft. Of course, it did take lots of pressure from different folks, according to The Reg, but at least the Israelis got around to it. Our own government let Microsoft off scot-free.

Between people being fed up with the battle against Windows' lack of security, developing countries keen on developing their own (free) open-source software, IT folks growing more and more interested in Mac OS X, and discontent over Microsoft's licensing terms, we might be close to being able to legitimately tag Microsoft as beleaguered. Almost, but not quite.

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