Lotus and Novell have confirmed that they have ceased active involvement in the Business Software Alliance’s activities in Asia, citing concerns about Microsoft’s dominance of the anti-piracy body.
Both companies in New Zealand have also confirmed that they have not dealt with the BSA for several years in this country.
Novell New Zealand general manager Peter Revell says the networking company handles piracy issues itself - it has an anti-piracy group operating out of its Asia Pacific headquarters in Singapore.
Currently the BSA’s membership in New Zealand stands at three — Microsoft, Adobe and Autodesk.
Although Lotus and Novell are still worldwide corporate members of the BSA, the two companies’ Asia-Pacific legal counsels told Computerworld Hong Kong this month they have distanced themselves from the BSA in the region.
“We do not see eye to eye with Microsoft,” says Brian Ghows, Lotus’ Asia-Pacific legal counsel,” commenting on the nature of the back-off.
Novell Asia-Pacific lawyer David Sigler said, “We are no longer involved directly in any BSA campaign in Asia. We’ve had situations where Novell’s interests weren’t pursued.”
BSA vice-president Ron Eckstrom says the Computerworld Hong Kong story arose as a result of an article in the San Francisco-based “left-wing magazine” Mother Jones alleging improper practice by Microsoft and the BSA. Mother Jones is published by the US-based Foundation for National Progress, which describes itself as a non-profit activist organisation dedicated to advancing progressive causes through media.
“The article made several statements about the BSA which were inaccurate and the BSA is considering its options against Mother Jones,” says Eckstrom.
“This is old news. Novell in New Zealand has never participated in BSA activities and Lotus hasn’t for two years. In Asia, Novell and Lotus haven’t participated in the enforcement activities of the BSA for several years but they have in the marketing and education side. However, worldwide both companies are members of the BSA and fully support it. Both companies have always said their focus is on education. They accept and support the fact that different companies have different views on enforcement.”
Eckstrom, a Microsoft employee, denies that the BSA is dominated by Microsoft. “Different companies will be responsible for running the BSA in different parts of the world. In New Zealand it is Microsoft at the moment. In the past it has been Adobe.”