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30 March 2011, 09:39

Open source vendors turned down by Swiss Federal Supreme Court

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FOSS According to the Swiss Open Systems User Group, /ch/openSwitzerland, the Swiss Federal Supreme CourtSwitzerland has rejected a complaint by several open source vendors against the awarding of contracts to Microsoft without prior invitation to tender. Last summer, the Swiss Federal Administrative Court had ruled in a first instance decision that only the vendors of Microsoft software could object against the awarded contracts because only they offer the Microsoft products chosen by the Swiss Federal Government. The complainants had appealed against this decision on the grounds that the ruling didn't take into consideration the existence of products which compete with those offered by Microsoft.

However, the Swiss Federal Supreme Court didn't accept this argument: the court ruled that the complainants didn't provide conclusive evidence of the actual existence of such competing products. An objection by the complainants that such evidence is impossible to produce because no functional specifications have been established by the Swiss Federal Administration was overruled.

The original complaint was about the renewal of a licensing, maintenance and support contract worth 42 million Swiss francs (€32 million / £28 million) the Swiss Federal Office for Buildings and Logistics had awarded to Microsoft without public invitation to tender. This contracting practice, which the complainants say has existed since the 1990s, was the subject of a complaint by 18 open source vendors including various Swiss SMEs, Linux vendors Red Hat, Univention and Collax, and groupware specialists Zarafa and Open-Xchange.

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