Unbundle Windows from PCs urges EU think tank

Globalisation Institute, a European think tank, wants computers to be sold without pre-installed operating systems, in an effort to break Microsoft’s stranglehold on the market.

“There is no meaningful competition between operating systems for commodity computers. Microsoft’s dominant position is not in the public interest. It limits the market and has slowed technical development to the prejudice of consumers,” says Alex Singleton, President of the Globalisation Institute in his report submitted to the European Commission.

The report envisages a scenario in which operating systems are as competitive a market environment as hard drives and processors, with consumers offered a choice at the point of sale.

“We do not believe this would add complexity for consumers,” Singleton argues. “Consumers would simply be asked to insert an operating system DVD when they first turn on a new computer, which would then automatically configure itself.”

“Manufacturers would be able to bundle special hardware drivers with their computers and manufacturers would still be able to recommend particular operating systems. It is likely that PC manufacturers would compete by listing multiple operating systems that their systems had been ‘certified’ to run properly, rather than simply listing Windows compatibility.”

Unbundling operating systems would drive innovation, encourage open standards and interoperability, force competitiveness and subsequently drive down prices for EU businesses, Singleton argues.

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