03.21.10

Given Choice, Customers Reject Microsoft

Posted in Antitrust, Europe, GNU/Linux at 6:13 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Håkon Wium Lie

Summary: Customers who buy new PCs choose Web browsers other than Internet Explorer, so a similar approach should be taken and applied to operating systems

Internet Explorer 9 (IE 9) already has some problems in it [1, 2, 3, 4], not just the security problems which led to attacks against many businesses [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12]. IE 9 will exclude Windows XP and according to another report, Opera is seeing “85% more downloads in UK” now that customers who are forced to put up with Windows on a new PC are given some choice (however biased it is [1, 2, 3, 4]). Our reader Tim writes:

It’s been reported that Opera has experienced a doubling of downloads since the Windows Ballot was introduced. I have argued that the ballot will make no difference to the average user who has never tried anything other than IE. I challenged at the time that the EU anti-trust case would have been better served looking at OEM rather than the browser issue which people seem to be able to make their own decisions about once they have done their own research.

[...]

[U]sers finally seeing Microsoft and its associated wares in their true light. With so many happy users enjoying alternate products on so many different platform, does Microsoft look cutting edge or does it look tired and old, struggling to keep up with better technologies and happy users of those products?

The FSF (Free Software Foundation) has recommended that the European Commission should unbundle PCs too, giving customers choice other than Windows (GNU/Linux would cost nothing to preinstall or put on the same image).

Is it not the next logical step? People would get an O/S ballot on any new PC. GNU/Linux distributions like Fedora are free (gratis). Dual-booting as standard is another option; it’s not just about restoration of competition, it’s about punishing Microsoft for crimes with which it got a monopoly on the desktop in the first place (fines are not suitable remedies as they do nothing to cure the problem or undo the crimes).

“We should whack them [Dell over GNU/Linux dealings], we should make sure they understand our value.”

Paul Flessner, Microsoft

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3 Comments

  1. phel said,

    March 21, 2010 at 1:18 pm

    Gravatar

    Attack on individual applications is a short sighted strategy. What the ICT-sector needs is a competitive market with several quite even competitors. What would work is more general regulation where dominant products loose certain market privileges once they get above a certain market share.

    An example would be to deny products with a market-share higher than 40% the privilege of bundling with other products. In this particular case it means that MS Windows, MS Office and related products must be marketed, sold and billed separately until their share drops below the given threshold. It solves the problem of the “Microsoft tax”, and is at the same time a generic rule which may be applied broadly across all ICT products and services.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    The Friedmanites and Republicans would hate the idea. Up to the financial collapse they have marketed the fantasy of self-regulating markets.

  2. uberVU - social comments said,

    March 21, 2010 at 5:28 pm

    Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Identica by schestowitz: Customers who buy new PCs choose Web browsers other than Internet Explorer http://ur1.ca/qvaz #gnu #linux…

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