What's wrong with a new operating system? what's wrong with a suitable operating system targeting different language and culture background? Microsoft should build a better operating system to compete not by its monopoly power or its close tie with US government.
Microsoft: Asia not playing fair over OS
September 5, 2003, 1:16 PM PT
A plan by Japan, China and South Korea to develop an operating system alternative to Microsoft's Windows software could raise concerns over fair competition, Microsoft said Friday.
Japan, the world's second-largest economy, made a proposal at an Asian economic summit this week to build an inexpensive and trustworthy open-source operating system that would be based on a system such as Linux, which can be copied and modified freely.
"We'd like to see the market decide who the winners are in the software industry," said Tom Robertson, Microsoft's Tokyo-based director for government affairs in Asia.
Microsoft prefers competition between software applications to be determined in the free markets rather than by government agencies. "Governments should not be in the position to decide who the winners are," Robertson said.
Robertson said Microsoft, the world's No. 1 software maker, had a "direct and open line of communication" with Japan's government over software security, standards and development.
Japan's computer and consumer hardware industries--which include global heavyweights Sony, Matsushita Electric and NEC--have long searched for an alternative to Windows, which they contend gives the Redmond, Wash.-based software company too much control over the personal computer industry.
Japanese media have reported that the government would spend 1 billion yen ($86 million) on the project and endorse an open-source forum Japan's electronics makers set up.
But Japan's trade minister, Takeo Hiranuma, took a different tack at the ASEAN (Association of South-East Asian Nations) economics ministers meeting in the Cambodian capital Phnom Penh by raising security concerns over Microsoft's software.
Citing the recent high-profile virus attacks by the Slammer and MSBlast worms against Windows-based software, Hiranuma told reporters that it would be useful to "pursue a new kind--a different kind--of software code."
Microsoft's Robertson said all governments and consumers were concerned by security and that it was an industrywide issue.
"Pointing to a particular software vendor and to a particular software (standard) gets you nowhere," Robertson said.
Robertson said Microsoft has been working to have Japan participate in its Government Security Program, which gives national governments and international organizations access to Microsoft's source code, the underlying blueprint of its programs.
China and Taiwan have already signed on to Microsoft's government security initiative, as have Australia, Britain, Russia and NATO.
The Government Security Program, launched in January, aims to address concerns by governments over the reliability and security of Microsoft's software by providing controlled access to source code as well as technical advice on security.
"We are in discussions with Japan about the (Government Security) program," Robertson said, "And we're eager for them to join the program."
Asked if the establishment of an open-source initiative by Japan, China and South Korea would raise international trade concerns, Robertson, a former U.S. Trade Representative official, said it was too early to determine.
"You would have to look at what a government does--whether it's a protectionist issue," Robertson said, "As with any trade-related issue, Microsoft would look to its peers and colleagues in the information technology community for guidance."