The Consumers’ Foundation (消基會) yesterday urged the Fair Trade Commission (FTC ) to investigate whether Microsoft Corp’s decision to stop sales of Windows XP operating system violates the Fair Trade Law (公平交易法).
“Microsoft has a monopoly position in Taiwan with a nearly 98 percent market share. It is unfair for the company to use its monopoly power to force consumers to pay a higher price to use the Vista operating system,” foundation acting chairman Hsieh Tien-jen (謝天仁) said at a media briefing.
Windows Vista costs up to NT$2,000 more than Windows XP, which Hsieh said was an additional burden on the consumer.
The foundation conducted a survey last month which showed that 61 percent of Taiwanese consumers said they were bothered by the fact that they could not choose the operating system that they prefer when buying new computers.
Another 56 percent of respondents said they would like to reinstall Windows XP into their newly bought computers that come with Windows Vista, while 67 percent said they disagreed with the decision to stop selling Windows XP.
The foundation said the survey showed that consumers were not only unsatisfied with Windows Vista, but also unhappy with the way Microsoft conducts business.
It said Microsoft shouldn’t have stopped selling Windows XP until it had come up with a better operating system, and consumers should have the right to choose the operating system they prefer.
Among the four editions of Windows Vista currently available, only users of Business and Ultimate editions are allowed to legally downgrade the operating system of their computers to Windows XP. Users of Home Basic and Home Premium editions are not allowed to do so.
FTC Commissioner Chou Ya-shu (周雅淑) said yesterday that the commission had launched an investigation on Aug. 4 to determine whether Microsoft had abused its dominant market position in Taiwan, but that it would continue to respect the company’s management autonomy.
In response, Microsoft Taiwan Corp said by telephone yesterday that it would conduct a large-scale survey after three months to obtain consumer feedback and find out what support consumers need.
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