The Register is reporting that Israel has just acknowledged that Microsoft Israel is a monopoly, and that legal ruling means no upgrades of MS products through all of next year. They are looking into OpenOffice instead:
"The Israeli Ministry of Commerce has suspended all governmental contracts with Microsoft, and indicated that the ban will last throughout 2004. The de facto suspension means no upgrades for the duration, at a time when Microsoft is looking to roll out its Office 2003 upgrade; and the Ministry is said to be examining OpenOffice as an alternative.
"It's a consequence of a much-anticipated legal verdict: Israeli Antitrust Authority director general Dror Strum has finally acknowledged that Microsoft is a monopoly. Register readers play no small part in this remarkable story. . . . Several groups have lobbied for Microsoft to be subjected to Israel's strict antitrust legislation. But the issue was forced by the Online Freedom Foundation lobby group, whose head Oded Lavi has fought the legal battle that brings to light a hitherto unpublished agreement between Microsoft and Israel's former Antitrust Authority director David Tadmor, signed in 1999.
"The agreement specified that any restrictions imposed as a consequence of the US Department of Justice's antitrust action against Microsoft would be applied in Israel. They weren't enforced, until now. "
It all began as a dispute over Microsoft's refusal to provide Hebrew support in its Macintosh Internet Explorer browser or Office suite, thus effectively freezing Apple Computer out of the Israeli market. Register readers began writing effective letters, some examples of which are included in the story, and the rest, as they say, is history.
And people say you can't change the world.