Iceland software resellers being screwed by disappearing clients and licensing contracts

I just read this really interesting blog post about what is happening in Iceland. I won’t go into detail as those interested should simply read it. Please note, it has some crude language and imagary. Basically the companies that are falling over due to the financial crisis have multi-year contracts for software licensing, and the software resellers are being held responsible for the outstanding yearly fees of customers that don’t exist anymore. Really nasty stuff.

I am generally against Microsoft bashing, because I find it both contrary to our message of software freedom, and that it turns off newcomers. Basically I believe we have so many positive and inspiring messages that we don’t need to use “because it’s better than M$, lolz” as a rationale for free and open source software (FOSS). However, stories like this are clear cut examples of how companies such as Microsoft can play pretty nasty when it comes to the bottom line. For another example of Microsoft playing dirty, if you haven’t already heard about the TomTom fiasco, here is a wrapup by Glyn Moody about why he thinks Microsoft are targetting embedded Linux companies.

It is very frustrating because ultimately in a free market, you wouldn’t have these spiderwebs of glass cutting down the competition, you would have the best products and services being able to shine. I think the great think about FOSS is that in spite of all this idiocy (and in many cases because of it), the general population is turning to FOSS and to openness.

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6 Responses to Iceland software resellers being screwed by disappearing clients and licensing contracts

  1. Tel says:

    The story that I heard was that Gordon Brown (unelected PM of the UK) secretly declared the whole of Iceland to be terrorists and used EU anti-terrorist laws to block all financial transactions both in and out of Iceland (and you know, it does make it kind of difficult to keep your company trading when your customers are not allowed to pay you and your suppliers are not allowed to get paid either).

    Most sane people reading this would think I’ve been sucking on the loony juice again but there is evidence.

    http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/daniel_hannan/blog/2008/10/24/gordon_brown_not_iceland_acted_like_a_terrorist

    What I actually came to talk about was the dimensions of the OLPC here

    http://www.olpc.org.au/laptop/hardware/specs.shtml

    “Approximate dimensions: 242mm x 28mm x 2mm;”

    I think you can be a little less approximate than that, 2mm thick? You guys should work for Apple.

  2. AlphaG says:

    Australia and this region are very different to what is expressed here in that blog.

    The contract in Oz is directly between the customer organisation and Microsoft. The Large Account Reseller (Microsoft Agent) then acts as a third party to satisfy orders of software and pass customer payments back to MS.

    Therefore is the customer does not pay an annual renewal for software assurance (which is a voluntary option the customer chooses to take) it is a contracual issue between MS and the customer though often facilitated by the LAR.

    The LAR is not responsible for the customers lack of contractual obligation and completing its terms and conditions.

  3. jdub says:

    @Tel: We’re not involved with http://www.olpc.org.au (so goofs like that come as no surprise).

  4. AlphaG says:

    Inline with the spirit of the post I thought this article is highly appropriate of what happens when you as a customer do want to exit some contracts and the cost savings/ramifications of doing so depending on how you used the software internally and at home. Maybe a good reason to deploy something else :-)

    http://www.zdnet.com.au/insight/software/soa/Exiting-Microsoft-deals-risky/0,139023769,339295535,00.htm

  5. greebo says:

    @AlphaG, thanks for that article, very interesting stuff. It does add concerns around the risks of such contracts, and when exiting such a contract becomes more expensive than staying in it (or at least more risky) than you start to realise how locked in you are, and hopefully this will encourage ICT purchasers to be more in control and not allow themselves to get into these kinds of contracts in future.

  6. SaaSonhand says:

    it happens most of the time with some of the IT industries…it’s nothing new…

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