According to the deal, Mandriva was supposed to provide the software for Intel’s Classmate PCs in Nigeria. The firm shipped the first batch of 17,000 units and then the story got a rather interesting turn. According to Mandriva’s chief executive François Bancilhon, Microsoft kept pushing the Nigerian authorities and, in the end, they got what they wanted:

Now, we hear a different story from the customer : ‘we shall pay for the Mandriva Software as agreed, but we shall replace it by Windows afterward,’” Bancilhon wrote in an open letter to Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer. “Wow! I’m impressed, Steve! What have you done to these guys to make them change their mind like this?”

The Mandriva executive doesn’t accuse Microsoft directly of using certain means of persuasion to lure the Nigerian authorities to their side, but he hints it rather clearly:

It’s quite clear to me, and it will be to everyone. How do you call what you just did Steve? There is various names for it, I’m sure you know them.

Of course, I will keep fighting this one and the next one, and the next one. You have the money, the power, and maybe we have a different sense of ethics you and I, but I still believe that hard work, good technology and ethics can win too.”

Microsoft’s official response was pretty much what everyone expected, with the company claiming that their solution was better than Mandriva’s. Given the fact that Mandriva won the deal in the first place and Microsoft is notorious for its shady business practices we could safely assume that the Redmond company is innocent. </sarcasm>.