HP France in trouble due to alleged monopolist behavior

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Saturday, December 16, 2006

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Hewlett-Packard (HP), the world's largest information technology corporation, is in trouble in France due to alleged monopolist behavior.

In France and abroad, the corporation commonly bundles its PCs with Microsoft's Windows operating system, without giving the consumer the choice of an alternative operating system, such as the 'free' operating system GNU/Linux.

Union Fédérale des Consommateurs-Que Choisir, a French consumer group, along with two French retailers, sued HP, alleging that it was violating a French law that prohibits linking the functionality of a product to another product. The group insisted:

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  • that the consumers should be allowed to be able to buy "barebones" computers without any pre-installed software and / or operating systems,
  • and that the consumers should be allowed make the choice of the software which they wish to install by buying them separately.
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The legal affairs director of HP France responded by stating that a PC without Microsoft Windows is not a product because it does not work.

In the meantime, Microsoft is in trouble in Europe due to the anti-trust laws of the European Union. On July 12, 2006, EU announced a 280.5 million euro fine against Microsoft and threatened new penalties of 3 million euros ($3.82 million) a day beginning July 31.

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