Italian Freedom Comes Through A Door Opened With The Thin Edge Of The Wedge

I love it. After the ruling of the high court in Italy that consumers should not have to pay for software they don’t want bundled on PCs, “FSFE, ADUC and ILS have sent a letter to the Italian competition authorities, calling on them to ensure that vendors will comply with the High Court’s decision, and respect the rights of their customers.”

Yes! I wrote such a letter years ago to Canadian Competition Bureau and was rebuffed for lack of standing, as if being Canadian was not enough. Let’s hope the Italians have more sense.

See Italian consumers shouldn’t have to pay for software they don’t want – Letter to Regulators.

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.
This entry was posted in technology and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Italian Freedom Comes Through A Door Opened With The Thin Edge Of The Wedge

  1. DrLoser says:

    DrLoser has some points: Italian enforcement of the law (particularly in the IT area) is, eh, weak, at best.

    Much appreciated, ram. I welcome corrections to anything I say, but it’s also nice to see a man on an adversarial site like this one make concessions where they feel it appropriate.

    I owe you an apology or two.

  2. dougman says:

    Linux = Lamborghini

    Windows = Edsel

  3. ram says:

    DrLoser has some points: Italian enforcement of the law (particularly in the IT area) is, eh, weak, at best. It won’t make much difference to operating systems sales/use either way. Italian IT merchants have their own “methods of procurement” and pricing, and Linux is already widespread in Italy — sometimes for reasons that are not advertised. An examination of the range of services offered by Italian webhosting and server colocation companies will no doubt prove interesting. The Italians are very competitive in certain areas of IT 😉

  4. DrLoser says:

    Another hilarious “open letter from the FSF(E),” I see. What’s wrong with just writing the damn thing and leaving it at that? Do these idiots have any good reason to expose their broken thinking in public?

    Oh, but let’s say they’re 100% correct. Still no good reason to boast, which is all they’re doing, is there? Let’s face it, Robert. An organisation only does this sort of thing when it knows that nobody important is listening and nothing is ever going to come of the “open letter” in question. It’s vainglory, nothing more.

    Leaving aside the almost supersonic speed with which the Italian legal system manages to implement its decisions (I assume you are already familiar with this), I can see a number of fairly obvious implementation issues with the High Court judgement.

    1) It isn’t going to result in more Linux desktops, laptops, whatever being offered as mainline products on Italian shelves. Sorry. That’s just the way it is.
    2) Let’s say I’m in charge of HP Italy Retail. (I pick HP because I personally own a Compaq and it comes with the usual deal of $50 crapware to offset the $50 Windows license.) I need to comply with this legal notice. What do I do?
    a) I stick a dirty great label on all my boxen and I prepare to refund $50 to anybody with proof of purchase.
    b) I charge every retail customer in Italy $50 extra for their PC.

    Now, actually, (a) makes a certain amount of sense. I’m sure you, like I, have bought a specific product at somewhere like Frys because it has a “$50 rebate” coupon, which is effectively what we are talking about. I don’t know the figures, but I believe the actual take-up rate for those coupons is about 20-25%.

    Great! All I need to do as Head Honcho, HP, Italy, is to charge my customers 25% of $50, or about €10! Problem solved!

    3) This isn’t really going to work very well when an Italian buys a computer from outside Italy, is it? I don’t see an enforcement mechanism here.

    4) This isn’t even relevant when you consider business customers in Italy (above the Mama e Papa level). Businesses buy their M$ licenses in bulk. If they’re big enough, they negotiate them with a M$ salesman. In other words, Italian businesses (like all other businesses) already know what the monetary cost of non-free software is. No rebate required!

    To quote a famous Italian from long ago, cui bono?

Leave a Reply