Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 24th Jul 2009 21:07 UTC
Windows The browser saga between Microsoft, the EU, and various browser makers just got a new chapter. We all know how the EU and Microsoft are in a legal tussle over the inclusion of Internet Explorer with Windows. Microsoft surprised everyone in June by announcing that Windows 7 would ship without Internet Explorer in Europe, a move it had hoped would silence the EU. The EU and Opera, however, were not impressed, and now Microsoft has caved in to the pressure.
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How about an OS option?
by ozonehole on Mon 27th Jul 2009 01:36 UTC
ozonehole
Member since:
2006-01-07

The browser war is all very interesting, but what would REALLY make a difference is if users could choose their operating system. Sure, you can erase Windows and install Linux. But you CANNOT buy a computer with both Windows and Linux pre-installed, and in fact it's nearly impossible to get just Linux.

Why? Because Microsoft prohibits OEMs from offering a dual-boot computer. If any manufacturer offers one for sale, they have to pay full retail price for Windows. In the competitive marketplace, that's enough to kill them. Several manufacturers have indicated in the past that they wanted to offer dual-boot computers, but they can't risk Microsoft's wrath.

So what about offering only Linux, and not paying anything to Microsoft? Again, same deal. When the netbook makers started offering Linux pre-installed, Microsoft had a heart attack and quickly jumped in with offers of Windows XP for US$30, but only if they took Linux off their machines. And since these same manufacturers offer a line of Windows-based computers, they couldn't simply tell Microsoft to shove it.

Microsoft has too much power to control what manufacturers can offer to the public. That has always been the problem, even back in the days of MS-DOS.

The EU doesn't need to tell Microsoft what browsers they can offer in Windows7. They need to prohibit Microsoft from intimidating manufacturers from offering dual-boot computers, or Linux-only computers. Then there would be real competition.

Reply Score: 2

RE: How about an OS option?
by rajan r on Tue 28th Jul 2009 22:00 in reply to "How about an OS option?"
rajan r Member since:
2005-07-27

Whatever you say may be true some 5-6 years back, but I point you to the settlement Microsoft had with the DoJ, which includes a prohibition on the very OEM deals you accuse Microsoft of.

If you have *any* compeling evidence that Microsoft is engaging in this, maybe drop the DoJ an email or two with them. I'm sure the Obama administration isn't too shy in taking on Microsoft for breaking its settlement with the Department of Justice.

I posit another explanation: it doesn't make commercial sense for OEMs to sell computers with Linux when so few customers will bother getting them with it. If it is a regular customer, the average profile of a Linux user is someone who is geeky - and thus less likely to buy from a large OEM - and therefore defeating the purpose of having the Linux option. The other likely market is organizations - preinstalled anything isn't going to appeal or sway many of them.

Building drivers and giving support can be a bitch too.

Reply Parent Score: 1