Windows-less Computers? Is it Really a Good Idea?

CNet reports that “the Globalization Institute, a Brussels-based European Union think tank, has recommended the EU require all PCs to be sold without preloaded operating systems such as Microsoft Windows.”

The recommendation is for PCs and Operating Systems to be sold separately, breaking Microsoft’s monopoly, increasing competition. I’m not exactly a Microsoft-fan, in fact just recently responded to Robert Scoble who asked: Why doesn’t Microsoft get the love?:

…just look at the examples above. There are a lot more. They all show a corporate culture that does not have the customer in focus. It’s hard to love such a company, no matter how great many of the individual employees are.

So, I guess it’s time to celebrate, the EU would finally break the monopoly. And we’ll be free to buy our hardware, OS, Software all separately, trying to get it all work together. No big deal … after all, no-one ever had to hassle with non-working device drivers even with the pre-installed, pre-configured systems? But wait, it gets better:

There is no reason why computer operating systems could not follow the same model as computer hard drives and processors, which comply with standards that allow for broad compatibility as well as competition in the market.

Now, this is a pretty poor analogy: as far as I know, the hard drive and processor come installed in the computer – or are they suggesting the EU mandate unbundling those, too? We could just buy the PC components separately, and assemble it ourselves. Hey, I have a friend who never buys complete systems, he loves building them. Oh, and he fixes his car, too.

But me, well, I happen to be the lazy consumer type, expecting these things to work out-of-the-box. Preferably one box. Answering my own questions: yes, selling windows-less computers is probably a good idea, but only to the extent there is a market demand for them. Certainly not mandated by governments.

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  1. Hey Zoli, You are right it is probably not a great idea when it is mandated but what I would like is that if I want to buy a pc without an os I don’t have to pay for it. On most pc’s I have bought recently the first thing I have done is to replace lame home edition with a pro or business edition that I have a licence for separatly. I would love not to have to pay that microsoft os tax on a new pc.

    Add to that the licence is not transferrable to another PC. What is with that. I can move a hard drive or processor to another machine if it is compatible, why not the os?
    Just my 2p,

  2. I dunno… you keep carping about how Microsoft’s software phoned home with this, and how Windows installed that without asking or telling…

    But you won’t ditch Windows.

    There are only two kinds of pain: LONG pain, and SHORT pain. You get to choose.

  3. Mike, you may want to re-read the post above:
    “Yes, selling windows-less computers is probably a good idea”.

    I’m clearly not against choice, and the ability to buy OS-less PC’s, I just don’t think it should be a government mandate. I also think Grandma who buys a Dell at Walmart wants it to work without installing anything.

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