Gazumped Linux vendor tells Ballmer “to look in mirror”

Employees at the Linux distributor, Mandriva, have issued a stinging rebuke to Steve Ballmer, after Microsoft allegedly muscled in on a deal to supply Windows on low-cost laptops for developing nations.

Gazumped Linux vendor tells Ballmer

Mandriva struck a deal to supply its operating system on 17,000 Intel Classmate PCs that were being supplied to the Nigerian Government.

However, according to a highly-charged open letter to Steve Ballmer on the Mandriva blog, Microsoft muscled its way into the deal.

“Then your people entered the game and the deal got more competitive,” writes Mandriva’s blogger, who is referred to only as “François”. “I would not say it got dirty, but someone could have said that. They fought and fought the deal, but still the customer was happy to get CMPC and Mandriva.”

However, Microsoft didn’t stop there, according to Francois. “So we closed the deal, we got the order, we qualified the software, we got the machine shipped. In other word, we did our job.

“And then, today, we hear from the customer a totally different story: ‘we shall pay for the Mandriva Software as agreed, but we shall replace it by Windows afterward.’,”the blog claims.

The blogger then asks Ballmer to examine his conscience. “Wow! I’m impressed, Steve! What have you done for these guys to change their mind like this? It’s pretty clear to me, and it will be clear to everyone. How do you call what you just did Steve, in the place where you live? In my place, they give it various names, I’m sure you know them.

“Hey Steve, how do you feel looking at yourself in the mirror in the morning?

“Of course, I will keep fighting this one and the next one, and the next one. You have the money, the power, and maybe we have a different sense of ethics you and I, but I believe that hard work, good technology and ethics can win too.”

The blog makes it clear that the view expressed are those of employees, and not Mandriva itself.

Microsoft has defended its conduct. “Microsoft operates its business in accordance both with the laws of the countries in which it operates and with international law,” a company spokesman says. “Microsoft does not comment on customer procurement processes.”

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