MSFT-Br Nailed for Gov’t Contract Irregularities

A TARDE (Bahia, Brasil): Microsoft and a business partner will pay $R5 million to settle a lawsuit by the federal business competition watchdog here — and, in an unusual move, will not receive the usual no-fault clause in the settlement, the kind that forecloses further litigation.

Imagine the SEC or FCC negotiating a deal with that sort of condition in it. Unheard of.

Judged “anticompetitive”: The practice of selling Microsoft products to federal agencies exclusively through TBA and imposing the condition that the customer purchase the product bundled with a service plan.

Esse tipo de acordo judicial é inédito na defesa da concorrência brasileira. A presidente do órgão, Elizabeth Farina, explicou após a sessão que o acordo não anula a condenação, já que a prática das empresas, de vender os produtos da Microsoft para órgãos do governo federal exclusivamente por meio da TBA e agregar ao pacote a comercialização de serviços, foi julgada anticompetitiva. A investigação começou em 1999 e a condenação ocorreu em agosto de 2004.

The settlement concludes an investigation launched in 1999.

The type of judicial settlement is unprecedented in Brazilian antitrust (“defense of competition”) proceedings. The president of the agency, E. Farina, explained after the session that the settlement does not erase the conviction, given that the practice of selling Microsoft products to the federal government exclusively through TBA, with the addition of services, has been found anticompetitive. 

More tomorrow. Sleepy from our trip to Santos along the highway of death: The Via Anchieta.

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