Spanish Linux user group files European antitrust complaint against Microsoft

There is no reason to believe that Microsoft's practices violate EU competition rules, a commissioner said earlier this month

Spanish Linux user group Hispalinux on Tuesday filed an antitrust complaint with the European Commission against Microsoft over the use of the UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface) Secure Boot feature in Windows 8 PCs.

Hispalinux asked the European Commission to grant a preliminary injunction requiring Microsoft to modify its current agreements and requirements for manufacturers that force them to implement Microsoft's UEFI Secure Boot, José María Lancho, an attorney and head of Hispalinux, said in an email. It also asked the Commission to find that Microsoft is wrongfully increasing its monopoly position in the OS market because it is controlling the UEFI Secure Boot, he added.

Microsoft requires the UEFI Secure Boot to be installed by manufacturers on PCs that run Windows 8. While this protects PCs against malware and the installation of other unwanted software, it also makes it harder for users to install Linux-based operating systems on Windows 8 PCs. This practice is viewed as anticompetitive behavior by some critics, who have accused Microsoft of using the UEFI requirement to try to lock out other operating systems.

The European Commission did not immediately return a request for comment. But the European Union's Competition Commissioner Joaquín Almunia said in a response to parliamentary questions on March 4 that he is aware of Microsoft's Windows 8 UEFI security requirements.

"The Commission is monitoring the implementation of the Microsoft Windows 8 security requirements. The Commission is however currently not in possession of evidence suggesting that the Windows 8 security requirements would result in practices in violation of EU competition rules," Almunia wrote at the time.

"It appears" that manufacturers are required to give end users the option to disable secure boot, Almunia said.

The Commission will continue to monitor market developments to ensure competition and a level playing field are preserved among all market players, Almunia added.

But Hispalinux, which represents 8,000 users, contends that Microsoft's UEFI demands are anticompetitive. That is why the organization decided to file the antitrust complaint against this "obstruction mechanism," Lancho said.

Consumers lose control over their own machine because Microsoft takes control over the hardware, Lancho said. "The fact is that no software or operating system that needs the boot system to install or work, will be able to access the computer without Microsoft's prior permission," he said. This is "completely unjustified," he added.

"Microsoft's strategy, clearly designed to control the market and exclude competition, affects all software areas," he said.

A Microsoft spokesman in Brussels declined to comment on the matter.

Loek is Amsterdam Correspondent and covers online privacy, intellectual property, open-source and online payment issues for the IDG News Service. Follow him on Twitter at @loekessers or email tips and comments to loek_essers@idg.com

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags open sourceantitrustMicrosoftlegalJoaquín AlmuniasoftwareHispalinuxJosé María Lancho

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Loek Essers

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?