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By | Kelly Fiveash 26th May 2009 10:22

Red Hat sticks lawyers on non-neutral Switzerland

There's no real alternative to Microsoft

Red Hat is heading an appeal against a Swiss government agency’s award of a contract handed to Microsoft without any public bidding.

The Linux software vendor said late last week that it was joining 17 other tech firms in disputing the Swiss Federal Bureau for Building and Logistics’ decision. The agency gave Microsoft the three-year contract - worth 14 million Swiss Francs (£8.1m) per year - without seeking any other bidders.

“The challenge raises important issues of openness in government and of a level playing field for open source and other competitors of Microsoft,” said the Red Hat legal team in a blog post.

“Red Hat is seeking a public bidding process that allows for consideration of the technical and commercial advantages of open source software products.”

The Swiss agency justified the no-bid procurement procedure because it could not find a “sufficient alternative” to Microsoft’s software, according to Red Hat.

Unsurprisingly, Red Hat disputes such a rational. The firm filed a brief with the Swiss Federal Administration Court last week, in which it demanded that the court reverse the agency’s decision and hold a public bidding process.

“This public process will allow for fair consideration of the merits of open source and other non-Microsoft software products,” said Red Hat.

Other companies appealing against the Swiss agency decision include Collax GmbH, Corvent GmbH, iNodes AG, Open-Xchange GmbH and 4Synergy GmbH. ®

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