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Microsoft NZ In Commerce Commission's Sights

Computerworld New Zealand

Microsoft NZ may come under fire as the result of a complaint laid against it by Auckland firm Infraserv alleging anti-competitive behaviour.

In a news article published today Computerworld New Zealand reports that Infraserv, the operations arm of law firm Clendon Feeney, laid the complaint last week. The complaint asks the commission to investigate Microsoft on the grounds that its conduct demonstrates a major market problem and disregards New Zealand law (the Fair Trading Act and Commerce Act), and that the case is important to the national interest in competition in trade.

The complaint was spurred by Microsoft's changes to its licensing model and the introduction of a licensing programme called Software Assurance. Software Assuarance requires customers to pay two years in advance for the right to any Microsoft software upgrades. This is regardless of whether or not Microsoft releases any upgrade within those two years.

"Locking a customer into a two-year guaranteed income stream is much better than being reliant on customers deciding that an upgrade is good value before they spend their money. Being paid and not having to deliver anything is even better," says Clendon Feeney partner Craig Horrocks.

"What other supplier in the world, other than possibly government through taxation, can ask you to pay for somethiing which is not defined and if nothing is delivered still claims you receive a benefit?"

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