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Wacky International Expansion

I had just finished a Michael's Minute about our international growth when a disturbing incident crossed my desk which actually verifies that we are gaining meaningful international business that Microsoft wishes to halt. Below are the emails that describe the situation, followed by my original Michael's Minute.

Date: November 25, 2003 13:01
Subject: Microsoft Trial

Hello Kendall,

i,ve got a strange phone call this morning from Microsoft Netherlands. They are saying that they are preparing a trial here agains lindows and they want to involve my company DV Computer Systems ( in this trial because i sell my computers with Lindows Operating System (I'm am the only bronze builder here).

Next Friday they are coming to me , to talk to me about this. What i understand from that phonecall is that they want that i stop selling Lindows OS computers.

I don't like this but when they are taking this to court and involve me then i must stop selling Lindows OS because i don't have the money for lawyers.

I hope you or your staff have any suggestions.

Grtx Hans de Vries
DV Computer Systems

Below is the reply I sent to Hans de Vries. I also CCed the CEO of Microsoft, the head of MicrosoftEurope and a representative of EU commission investigating MS's anti-competitive behavior in Europe.

Re: Microsoft Trial--


First, thanks for working with as an international partner.

Your email was very disconcerting to read because it seems like another example of Microsoft attempting to eradicate all competition through any means. While they say they invite competition, behind the scenes they seem willing to take any actions - including blatant extortion - to squash competition.

I want to assure you that we will do what we can to support you. I understand you have a meeting this Friday. Although it's the Thanksgiving day holiday weekend here in the US and I was hoping to spend time with my family, I will commit to personally attend that meeting and sit alongside you.

Please confirm the meeting today with the Microsoft representative and I'll make travel plans accordingly.

Thanks again for being our partners. Together we are bringing CHOICE back to the PC business.

-- MR

Michael Robertson
CEO, - World's Most Affordable Choice

Here is this week's Michael's Minute, which interestingly enough, talks about international growth:

Michael's Minute: Wacky
International Expansion

Last week's issue of BusinessWeek quoted Microsoft's CEO as calling Linux "wacky." Those of you keeping score at home will need to add that to the list of descriptors emanating from Redmond directed at Linux ("cancer," "un-American," "unreliable," etc.). It should be obvious to even the casual observer that Microsoft is launching a multi-pronged attack intended to derail Linux. Their smear campaign is looking for negative words to attach to Linux. MS is funding SCO, enabling them to hound companies with lawsuits. (Just recently MS demanded all documents between and SCO/Caldera as part of our trademark lawsuit, illustrating how closely MS is tracking SCO.) At the same time, they're offering sweetheart deals to block Linux adoption around the world. What's remarkable, is that us "wacky" competitors are gaining ground, in spite of resistance from the richest company in the world. Regions around the world are moving towards desktop Linux in a meaningful way -- not just with public proclamations of intentions, but actual deployments. Here's a review:

Just a few examples of the international expansion of Linux.  Click on the green areas to read specifics.

Canada - announced a 30,000 machine deployment, government adoption, and the opening of a local office. Canadian retailers, such as Sub500, have already been selling desktops and laptops for some time.

China - Sun kicked off a significant partnership, laying the foundation for a million-desktop Linux installation next year. Their Chinese version should be ready by the end of the year and gives Linux an important stronghold in a country yet to widely embrace the PC revolution.

Germany - SuSE has done well in their own backyard with the city of Munich announcing a high profile wholesale migration to Linux on the desktop and on servers. More cities are sure to be right behind them.

Israel - One of Israel's top technology retailers Newron has begun selling boxed software and pre-installed LindowsOS computers.

Italy - Questar, a leading importer of software titles is pushing Linux in a big way including sponsorship (along with IBM) of LinuxDay in 80 Italian cities, bundling with magazines, reselling software and will shortly begin signing up computer vendors.

Japan - Edge has powered Japan to the number 2 desktop Linux market behind only the US. They're marketing products in almost all major Japanese retail outlets, they have tier-two vendors selling computers and are showing impressive early successes.

Latin America - 40,000 value-priced LindowsEspañol computers are being manufactured and will be available in one of the largest Latin American retail chains, just in time for Christmas demand. This is a great illustration of how low-cost computers are driving demand in emerging markets.

Netherlands - DV Computer systems is offering a wide range of desktops (from 325 euros) and laptops (from 823 Euros) all running desktop Linux. In the Netherlands, has several consultants, and a number of software resellers.

Turkey - While they have not been mentioned in the press, Turkey is one of the earliest countries to embrace desktop Linux.  Led by Komtek, one of the leading technology importers, the Linux population in Turkey is exploding.

This is by no means an exhaustive list of countries or regions moving towards desktop Linux. These are developments that has direct knowledge of and can speak about publicly. The first deployments are always the most difficult. Look for more rapid global expansion in 2004.

-- Michael

P.S. Legal Update: Our trial against Microsoft for the use of our name has been pushed back from its December 1st date, to March 1st, 2004

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