Last week, after 6 years of investigation, the Brazilian government cleared Microsoft of allegations that the company prevented competition in the country's software sector. The antitrust win was a rare one for the software giant, which for the past few years has found itself the subject of major anticompetitive court cases in the United States and Europe.
"It is Microsoft's priority to conduct its business in a respectful manner and in agreement with the laws and regulations of the countries it operates in," Rinaldo Zangirolami, senior attorney of Microsoft Brazil, said. "We have acted responsibly while seeking to build the best products and services we can to meet the needs of our customers. We have collaborated over the past 6 years with the Brazilian authorities, and we are very pleased with the outcome of the case."
In 1998, Paiva Piovesan, a Brazilian software company that makes a money-management application called Finance that competes with Microsoft Money 2004, accused Microsoft of impeding competition. On May 19, Brazil's Economic Defense Administration Board (CADE), which is part of the country's Justice Ministry and is responsible for "ruling on questions regarding market competition," threw out the Paiva Piovesan complaint. The agency will publish its decision this week.
In related news, Microsoft Brazil President Emilio Umeoka recently complained that his country's decision to adopt Linux for use in public-use computers will set back Brazil for years. "If the country closes itself off, 10 years from now we will wake up and be dominant in something insignificant," Emilio Umeoka said this week. "Irrelevance is the beginning of the end. I know this is not the best way to create a base of development from which to export because there's no revenue from something that's free."
As noted in Friday's WinInfo Daily UPDATE, Umeoka said that the Brazilian government's decision won't hurt Microsoft's sales in the country; he's just concerned that Brazil will miss out on yet another enormous economic opportunity. But Brazil already accounts for South America's heaviest use of Windows rival Linux, a trend that other emerging countries, such as China, India, and parts of Africa, are copying. In Brazil, as in similar countries, Linux is experiencing huge growth with colleges, individuals, and even businesses.