“Don’t bundle Windows with PCs” says Think Tank


From time to time, I stumble across something that makes me realise how much we can get used to things. In this case, how we simply assume that having Windows pre-installed on a PCs is somehow normal. Fact is, a lot of us cannot remember seeing a PC offered without Windows. This post presents some thoughts why that really is bad for all of us.

As a consumer, we seem to assume a pre-installed Windows is a good thing: We are getting something “free” with the computer. And that is of course intended: Consumers are kept in the dark about the true cost of the pre-installed OS because they cannot compare the price of a PC bundled with Windows to the price of a PC without Windows. The Linux community has often complained about this fact and tries very hard to get Linux pre-installed on computers. Slowly, very slowly, a few of the major PC companies start comply. But the cost savings for buyers are often negligible.

The Globalisation Institute shows a different approach: To promote competition, it is asking the EU to force manufacturers to sell computers without an OS pre-installed. No Windows, no Linux, no DOS, nothing. Create a level playing-field for everyone. As a result, consumers would actually see the cost of buying Windows and competing products would become a lot more attractive.

With choice, competition would no longer be limited to hardware where it results in quick innovation and lower prices. Can you imagine someone clamouring for a six year old video card? Asking the manufacturer to give them them a six year old piece of hardware rather than the most current one – at the same price? Yet that is what’s happening with Windows – buyers are asking for XP (first released in 2001) rather than this year’s Vista. And they are asking in such numbers that Microsoft is forced to react.

Clearly, something is wrong where Operating Systems are concerned. And rather than punishing Microsoft after the fact, lawmakers everywhere should read the paper of the Globalisation Institute and save everyone some money.


One Response to ““Don’t bundle Windows with PCs” says Think Tank”

  1. Yes, it’s about time that PC brands offer a choice. If Linux isn’t pre-installed, the customer of the latest (newest) notebook models always runs the risk that some of the spec is not yet fully compatible. It may take a couple of months until the developer communities have caught up.
    I am beginning to look for a machine and ideally would like to have a reasonably priced 15′ widescreen with a high resolution and decent specs. And I would like to have Ubuntu pre-installed and I don’t want the risk of something not working and I don’t want to pay for a Windows XP or Vista, which I will not use.

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