Sell PCs without Windows urges think tankPublished: 24th Sep 2007, 23:42:14 | Permalink | Printable
And the Iyonix without RISC OS?Computers should be sold without a bundled operating system, free-market think tank Globalisation Institute urged this week. In a submission to the European Commission, the Institute argued "bundling of Microsoft Windows with computers is not in the public interest, and prevents meaningful competition in the operating system market."
Former RISC OS magazine and IT journalist Alex Singleton, who now heads the Brussels-based policy examining organisation, alleged the dominant position of Windows has slowed technical improvements and prevented new alternatives from entering the marketplace. His report goes on to say that interoperability and open standards would be encouraged in a more competitive market.
The plans, if seen through, would break Microsoft's monopoly in the desktop PC market. Although these proposals could then open up access to more file formats and Internet-based protocols for RISC OS users, they could also impact computers systems closer to home.
Alex, pictured, said: "Our submission to the European Commission, if implemented, would have implications for the sale of RISC OS computers. I think the A9 series would be excluded because really it doesn't count as a traditional desktop or laptop computer, rather as a specialist embedded product.
"For the Iyonix, it might well be such that Castle would have to sell it without the OS, especially given that it is being sold as a general purpose computer."
Alex's work was published a week after a top European court turned down Microsoft's appeal against an anti-trust ruling made in 2004 by the European Commission. The Commission fined the Redmond-based software giant nearly 300 million quid for abusing its OS monopoly by bundling media player software with Windows - which was alleged to have harmed competitors such as Real Networks. Microsoft was also ordered to reveal the finer secrets of its protocols for the benefit of third-party clients.
Alex's report was posted to European Commissioner for Competition Neelie Kroes, who lead the recent anti-trust case against Microsoft.
Alex added: "The fact is, when you go into a computer shop, the majority of consumers are not faced with a choice. Just because on the margins you are offered something else, I don't think those choices mean there is real competition.
"For two decades, Microsoft has enjoyed monopolistic power in the operating system market. We are calling for the European Commission to liberalise the market and let consumers benefit from cheaper prices, greater competition and more innovation."
On the anti-trust case, Microsoft general counsel Brad Smith said: "Everyone agrees that the version of Windows that we offer in Europe today is in compliance with the Commission's 2004 decision, and I'm also gratified that we were able to have the kinds of constructive discussions with the European Commission last year that enabled us to bring to market Windows Vista in conformity with the Commission's 2004 decision."
Microsoft spokesman Jenny Wong said: "You can already buy a PC with no OS, with Windows or with Linux, or indeed a Mac with the Mac OS so all such options are available and consumers make the choice already."
Download the think tank's report
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