Microsoft Corp. tried to have references to free software removed from a document approved at the United Nations-sponsored Internet summit in Tunis two weeks ago, a blog discussion has revealed. But the attempt failed.

Several weeks ahead of the second phase of World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) in Tunis, the Austrian government invited numerous companies and organizations to participate in a conference to help draft a briefing paper, called Vienna Conclusions, which Austrian government officials planned to present at the summit.

The original draft of that briefing paper contained a reference to free software, but the final draft did not, after a request from Microsoft’s Austrian subsidiary to the Austrian government to have it removed. That briefing paper was one of many used to craft a final document, which did contain a reference to free software, despite Microsoft’s attempts to have it read otherwise.

“We presented our position in public; we needed to correct a one-sided perspective,” Thomas Lutz, public affairs manager and a member of the management board at Microsoft

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