Following a warning from Microsoft that it may stop selling Windows in South Korea, Linspire President and Chief Executive Officer Kevin Carmony has offered to license his company's distribution of Linux and basic office productivity software for use on every computer in the country for $5 million.
Carmony said he wrote to South Korea's President Roh Moo-hyun offering to demonstrate the software to the president or his representatives. He told of the offer in a letter entitled "How Korea Can Protect National Security and Save $200+ Million," posted on Linspire's Web site on Thursday.
By switching desktop systems to Linux, South Korea could save around a $250 million and free itself from "the monopolistic grasp of Microsoft," Carmony wrote.
Microsoft raised concerns about its hold over the South Korean market late last month, when it warned that it may withdraw Windows from the country if an ongoing unfair competition investigation there turns against it.
The Korean Fair Trade Commission (KFTC) is investigating two complaints that Microsoft abused its dominant position in the operating system market by tying instant messaging and media player software to sales of its OS.
But if the KFTC orders it to remove or rewrite Windows code, Microsoft might delay the introduction of new versions of the OS in South Korea, or remove the product from the market entirely, it warned in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Oct. 27.
When, as a result of similar complaints in Europe, the European Commission ordered Microsoft to offer a version of the OS without its Windows Media Player software, the company complied and did not withdraw its products from European markets.