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AFUL and FFII Asking for Evidence of Difficulties Buying/Selling a Computer without Windows in EU
Friday, April 15 2011 @ 12:32 PM EDT

This looks worth doing. FFII and AFUL would like to crowd source evidence-gathering about the difficulty for customers and OEMs in Europe trying to buy a computer or sell one without having to pay for Windows:
"We want to crowd source the collection of evidence", says AFUL's President Laurent Séguin. "If the EU finds anticompetitive agreements that foreclose competition or abuse a dominant position on the relevant market, that would be a magic bullet."
Have you experienced that? Have you seen or know of any such contracts? What were you told when you tried to buy a computer without Windows preinstalled or tried to sell them? Are you a software vendor that tried to get your software preinstalled and couldn't? If you have such evidence or know where it can be found, here is where you tell the EU Commission all about it, if you are so inclined.

A member of Parliament, Jens Rohde (ALDE), asked for an answer to the question of whether the Commission would consider the preinstallation of Windows a problem:
On 8 February 2011 a review of the free software program ‘Ubuntu’ was broadcast on ‘Gratis og helt Ubuntu’ in the programme ‘so ein Ding’ on the Danish TV channel DR2*.

According to the review, the software program Ubuntu was quite satisfactory and considered to be comparable to Windows and Mac OS. But when users buy a computer in the EU, Microsoft is preinstalled. Users therefore have to remove the preinstalled Windows in order to install Ubuntu. This means that they are not free to choose which software program they want to install and use on their computer.

Tying two separate products may have an anti-competitive exclusionary effect on the tied market, because it can reduce the number of potential buyers in the market for the tied product (see TFEU Art. 102(2)(d)). In a related case — T-201/04 of 27 September 2007 — the Commission found that Microsoft had abused its dominant market position in PC operating systems by tying Windows to Windows Media Player.

This leads me to ask the Commission if it believes that, or will consider whether, the sale of computers with preinstalled Windows hinders competition as regards software programs? If so, will the Commission then consider putting an end to the preinstallation of Microsoft Windows on computers?

And here is the answer he got (in Microsoft Word 2007 format, sadly) from Mr Almunia on behalf of the Commission:
Microsoft's behaviour could infringe EU competition rules if Microsoft were to implement anticompetitive agreements that foreclose competition or abuse a dominant position on the relevant market(s).

It should be noted that Microsoft is not present on the PC hardware market. It is primarily the Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs), who act as intermediaries on behalf of end users, and provide them with an "out-of-the-box" product, by combining PC hardware, client PC operating system and applications for which there is demand.

The Commission is aware of the difficulties encountered by consumers who want to purchase a PC with a non-Microsoft operating system or without any operating system at all. At the moment, the Commission is however not in possession of evidence suggesting that this is the result of practices in violation of EU competition rules as laid down in Articles 101 and 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.   

  The Commission will continue to monitor the developments in this field so as to ensure that competition and a level playing field are preserved amongst all market players.

I don't think it's actually the case that the Commission has never been presented with such evidence in the past, as you can see here, a link from 2001. So maybe that's what the answer means about "at the moment". Perhaps they investigated the BeOS situation back then, and didn't find enough to go on. But that would be astonishing.

On the other hand, the EU Commission has shown that it will act, and meaningfully, if it has evidence at hand. It was, after all, Neelie Kroes who said in 2007 that Microsoft can't impose its products on the market:

"The court has confirmed that Microsoft cannot regulate the market by imposing its products and services on people," Kroes said. "The court has confirmed that Microsoft can no longer prevent the market from functioning properly and that computer users are therefore entitled to benefit from choice, more innovative products and more competitive prices."
But while it's obviously hard to find a computer without having to pay for Windows too, who is responsible? Is it contracts, with Microsoft forcing it to be like that? Or just individual OEMs who all do the same thing coincidentally?

Snort.

Here's Article 101, referenced in the EU Commission answer, so you can get an idea of the kinds of things that qualify as anticompetitive there:

Article 101
(ex Article 81 TEC)

1. The following shall be prohibited as incompatible with the internal market: all agreements between undertakings, decisions by associations of undertakings and concerted practices which may affect trade between Member States and which have as their object or effect the prevention, restriction or distortion of competition within the internal market, and in particular those which:

(a) directly or indirectly fix purchase or selling prices or any other trading conditions;

(b) limit or control production, markets, technical development, or investment;

(c) share markets or sources of supply;

(d) apply dissimilar conditions to equivalent transactions with other trading parties, thereby placing them at a competitive disadvantage;

(e) make the conclusion of contracts subject to acceptance by the other parties of supplementary obligations which, by their nature or according to commercial usage, have no connection with the subject of such contracts.

2. Any agreements or decisions prohibited pursuant to this Article shall be automatically void.

3. The provisions of paragraph 1 may, however, be declared inapplicable in the case of:

- any agreement or category of agreements between undertakings,

- any decision or category of decisions by associations of undertakings,

- any concerted practice or category of concerted practices,

which contributes to improving the production or distribution of goods or to promoting technical or economic progress, while allowing consumers a fair share of the resulting benefit, and which does not:
(a) impose on the undertakings concerned restrictions which are not indispensable to the attainment of these objectives;

(b) afford such undertakings the possibility of eliminating competition in respect of a substantial part of the products in question.

I think the Commission is thinking of 1(e), but I wonder why 1(d) wouldn't also apply? I'm not a lawyer, but if I have to pay Windows in order to get a computer with GNU/Linux, why isn't that unequal treatment? I mean Windows users don't have to pay Debian anything to get a Windows computer.

But the Commission, I gather, would need to see it memorialized in a contract between Microsoft and OEMs. Here's Article 102, which lists what kinds of behavior would violate the rules:

Article 102
(ex Article 82 TEC)

Any abuse by one or more undertakings of a dominant position within the internal market or in a substantial part of it shall be prohibited as incompatible with the internal market in so far as it may affect trade between Member States.

Such abuse may, in particular, consist in:

(a) directly or indirectly imposing unfair purchase or selling prices or other unfair trading conditions;

(b) limiting production, markets or technical development to the prejudice of consumers;

(c) applying dissimilar conditions to equivalent transactions with other trading parties, thereby placing them at a competitive disadvantage;

(d) making the conclusion of contracts subject to acceptance by the other parties of supplementary obligations which, by their nature or according to commercial usage, have no connection with the subject of such contracts.

I gather the Commission views (d) as the one that might convince them, if you knew of any contract with an OEM that required Windows pre-installation and nothing else allowed to be sold on the hardware or prohibiting selling the hardware without software, or something like that. That's hard to find, because unless it's in writing, or you work at an OEM and have inside information, there is no evidence that it's Microsoft doing it and not just market conditions. By that I mean, the OEM could be viewed as just doing what the market demands, so it's the OEMs that are responsible for the results, not Microsoft. If I were an OEM, I'd probably want to talk to a lawyer before doing a thing. Microsoft is Microsoft.

Even if it doesn't convince the Commission, I do think it would be worthwhile to let them know that you tried to buy a computer without Microsoft on it and couldn't, if that did happen to you in Europe, mentioning where you tried to buy it specifically. If they get enough complaints, I would think (a) and (b) might conceivably come into the picture in their minds in time. I always believe that education is valuable, even if one can't control or predict any immediately gratifying results.

Here's the full press release, except for contact info, which you can get from the link:

**************************

Share your operating system bundling tales with the EU

Berlin, Paris Apr 14th 2011 -- The FFII and AFUL ask consumers affected by operating system bundling or businesses involved in bundling to provide their evidence to the European Competition authority.

"My choice is Debian GNU/Linux", explains FFII Vice president René Mages. "Why have I been compelled to pay and erase Windows 7 at purchase time?"

The European Commission admits it was aware of the difficulties encountered by consumers who want to purchase a PC with a non-Microsoft operating system or without any operating system at all. But they also say they lack evidence suggesting that this is the result of practices in violation of EU competition rules.

"We want to crowd source the collection of evidence", says AFUL's President Laurent Séguin. "If the EU finds anticompetitive agreements that foreclose competition or abuse a dominant position on the relevant market, that would be a magic bullet."

Commission Contact Submission Form: Information on competition problems affecting consumers

About AFUL (http://aful.org/)

The French speaking Linux and Libre Software Users' Association (AFUL), aims to promote libre software and the use of open standards. AFUL is a non-profit association that gathers users, professionals, companies and other associations based in more than a dozen French-speaking countries and regions (France, Belgium, Switzerland, Quebec, French-speaking African countries, etc.).

Partner of many media, AFUL is present at many exhibitions, conferences and meetings. In particular, it has an active role against bundled sales (Workgroup against bundled sales, (Racketware and Non aux Racketiciels, comparative list bons-vendeurs-ordinateurs.info of computer vendors and bons-constructeurs-ordinateurs.info of computer manufacturers), in favor of interoperability (member of AFNOR, participation to Interoperability and accessibility Referentials by DGME, formats-ouverts.org website, etc.), as well as on issues concerning Author Copyrights.

About FFII

The FFII is a not-for-profit association registered in twenty European countries, dedicated to the development of information goods for the public benefit, based on copyright, free competition, open standards. More than 1000 members, 3,500 companies and 100,000 supporters have entrusted the FFII to act as their voice in public policy questions concerning exclusion rights (intellectual property) in data processing.on on competition problems affecting consumers.

Links

Answered Written Question from MEP Jens Rohde (ALDE) to the Commission: The preinstallation of Microsoft Windows

Article 102 on the Functioning of the European Union

Related press releases

EU tells open source to start paying MS patent tax

Microsoft will trump competition ruling with patents


  


AFUL and FFII Asking for Evidence of Difficulties Buying/Selling a Computer without Windows in EU | 280 comments | Create New Account
Comments belong to whoever posts them. Please notify us of inappropriate comments.
Corrections thread
Authored by: myNym on Friday, April 15 2011 @ 12:38 PM EDT
Please put abbrev of correction in the title, if possible:

Coorrect -> Correct

[ Reply to This | # ]

Off topic thread
Authored by: myNym on Friday, April 15 2011 @ 12:40 PM EDT
Use clickies if you can, See Red comments below comment pane.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Newspicks discussion here
Authored by: myNym on Friday, April 15 2011 @ 12:41 PM EDT
Please supply a clicky to the newspick you are discussing, as they will scroll
off the page.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Comes here
Authored by: myNym on Friday, April 15 2011 @ 12:43 PM EDT
If you have Comes doc work, please post here.

[ Reply to This | # ]

GrokOn discussion here
Authored by: myNym on Friday, April 15 2011 @ 12:44 PM EDT
Ian Al beat me to suggesting GrokOn, but that would be my preference also.

Anyway, discussion pertaining to keeping us alive, here please.

[ Reply to This | # ]

PJ Kudos, Thanks, and Accolades here please
Authored by: myNym on Friday, April 15 2011 @ 12:46 PM EDT
In case you haven't had a chance to thank her yet.

PJ - Thanks. Words cannot convey how much.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Buy your computer elsewhere
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, April 15 2011 @ 01:29 PM EDT
Southern Germany here. The last time I bought a machine was several years ago,
maybe eight, nine years, could be more. The machine is long gone. I tried
several stores - effectively every store in a range of about 30 kilometers
around our home and none was willing to sell a computer without Windows. Some
just told me they would make a loss, one threatened me with in-house security.
Finally I bought a computer with a Windows license and the first action I did
was getting rid of this crap, Windows 98 or so. Shudder.

cb

[ Reply to This | # ]

Success in the UK
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, April 15 2011 @ 02:17 PM EDT
Bought from www.novatech.co.uk, no OS was an option when picking the box. No
problems.

[ Reply to This | # ]

remember Sweden
Authored by: Superbowl H5N1 on Friday, April 15 2011 @ 02:19 PM EDT

A few years ago, someone in Sweden did try to buy a machine without windows and did try taking it up with the appropriate Swedish agency. Hopefully, those who were involved will see the FFII request and respond.

It's worth noting that M$ monopoly, where it counts, is not on the desktop directly but instead actually a monopoly on the OEMs. This is driven home in the statement from Mr Almunia on behalf of the Commission.

---
Here's where you can get the computer RMS uses:
http://freedomincluded.com/

[ Reply to This | # ]

Application of 1(a)
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, April 15 2011 @ 02:49 PM EDT

1. The following shall be prohibited [snip] (a) directly or indirectly fix purchase or selling prices or any other trading conditions;
I would suggest that having to pay more for a computer without MS installed on it as opposed to a computer with MS installed on it is price fixing in some form.

RAS

[ Reply to This | # ]

Application of 1(b)
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, April 15 2011 @ 03:15 PM EDT

(b) limit or control production, markets, technical development, or investment;
Isn't that exactly what MS did when the Netbook market was forming?

If I'm not mistaken, a number of suppliers were building some good hardware and dumping Linux on them. Along came MS specifying what the maximum specs are as allowed by MS and the market virtually disappeared.

RAS

[ Reply to This | # ]

AFUL and FFII Asking for Evidence of Difficulties Buying/Selling a Computer without Windows in EU
Authored by: rsmith on Friday, April 15 2011 @ 03:33 PM EDT
One of the reasons that I shop buy my computer at a local shop is that they
offer the possibility of buying a PC without windoze on it.

(The other factor was that thay had someone on staff who actually knew what
Linux was and who could confirm that the mobo I wanted would actually work with
Linux! Note; this was approximately 14 years ago!)

---
Intellectual Property is an oxymoron.

[ Reply to This | # ]

AFUL and FFII Asking for Evidence of Difficulties Buying/Selling a Computer without Windows in EU
Authored by: Dogeron on Friday, April 15 2011 @ 04:53 PM EDT
The issue is far broader than just not being able to buy a PC with Windows.

Even if you buy a machine with an alternative installed you may not be able to
upgrade it without owning (or at least having access to) a Windows machine.

For example, within the last year I purchased an Advent Vega tablet from Curry's
(part of the Dixon Group) here in the UK. This tablet runs Android so one would
think upgrading it would be simple and not require the use of a Windows powered
box. But you'd be wrong the upgrade was supplied a self extracting Windows
executable (no idea why they didn't put it as a zip file) which despite trying
could not be extracted on a Linux box.

So even if you made a conscious decision not to use Windows you had no
alternative, you either had to own one or at the very least get the use of a
Windows PC.


---
Dogeron

.... _
... (0)>
... / /
.. / / . )
.. V_/_
Linux Powered!

[ Reply to This | # ]

AFUL and FFII Asking for Evidence of Difficulties Buying/Selling a Computer without Windows in EU
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, April 15 2011 @ 04:55 PM EDT
We (small NGO in Germany) are customers of Dell notebooks and
our sales person has never had any problem selling us
notebooks without Windows.

I believe Dell calls it "N"-series (such as Latitude 6420N)

[ Reply to This | # ]

EBay and ohter auction sites.
Authored by: tz on Friday, April 15 2011 @ 04:59 PM EDT
I can take out my hard drive and sell it when I upgrade.
If I get stuck with Windows and try to sell it, they won't let me even if I've
never booted to it.

Perhaps they have a point about not selling a laptop so ala-carte as not to have
a hard drive or memory, but the critical problem is I can sell EVERY OTHER
INDIVIDUAL PIECE if I replace it but not MICROSOFT SOFTWARE.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Market conditions
Authored by: artp on Friday, April 15 2011 @ 05:04 PM EDT
Marketing's mantra is that a company MUST differentiate.

So I walk down the grocery store aisles. I see about 100 feet of breakfast
cereals, 50 feet of shampoos, two or three whole aisles for frozen foods, six
aisles around the pharmacy for stuff to put in your bathroom medicine cabinet,
an aisle of vitamins and food supplements, six choices for milk brands in eight
different varieties, 64 1/2 kinds of yogurt...

There are still several different kinds of automobiles to buy, tools come not
only in different brands, but in a dizzying variety of configurations, ice cream
has surpassed the number of flavors that Baskin-Robbins carries, belts can be
purchased in 400 different styles, shoes create a market for storage methods,
the auto store has 42 different kinds of deodorizer to hang on my rear-view
mirror.

Computers themselves come in all sorts of sizes, shapes and purchases. Do I want
to listen to music on an iPod, iPad, Android tablet, laptop, or tether myself to
a desktop? Do I want to read books in a similar manner? What kind of networking
do I want to use to connect to the Internet - 10BaseT, wireless, ISDN, DSL,
satellite, broadband?

Then we come to the OS. One "choice" stares us in the face. Who killed
all the market droids?

If anybody has to ask whether there is manipulation of the market, they need to
take off the mask over their eyes and the banana out of their ears.

---
Userfriendly on WGA server outage:
When you're chained to an oar you don't think you should go down when the galley
sinks ?

[ Reply to This | # ]

I'm not in Europe, but...
Authored by: mexaly on Friday, April 15 2011 @ 11:10 PM EDT
Wanted a new Dell laptop in the USA. Chose my hardware, Vista only. I wanted
XP. I bought XP after I bought my Vista box. IIRC I asked about the no-OS
option and it wasn't available either.

XP was available at the same time on a different model, but not for the model I
wanted.

I wasn't trying to dodge Windows, I was just trying to dodge Vista. I knew the
issues. I wanted the hardware even if I had to trash the preload.

---
IANAL, but I watch actors play lawyers on high-definition television.
My thanks go out to PJ and the legal experts that make Groklaw great.

[ Reply to This | # ]

AFUL and FFII Asking for Evidence of Difficulties Buying/Selling a Computer without Windows in EU
Authored by: electron on Saturday, April 16 2011 @ 01:11 AM EDT
It is difficult to purchase an entire computer in New Zealand without it either
being having Apple MacOS (uncommon) or MS Windows installed.

When I most recently purchased a new fully assembled computer from a shop (Dick
Smith Electronics) I was told that they wont sell any computers without Windows
already installed.



---
Electron

"A life? Sounds great! Do you know where I could download one?"

[ Reply to This | # ]

  • New Zealand - Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, April 16 2011 @ 04:27 AM EDT
Mixed experience
Authored by: ile on Saturday, April 16 2011 @ 03:05 AM EDT
The public institution I work for (in the EU) makes us buy computers for our
projects out of a restricted list of providers and choice. We can actually tick

the No operating system box, and we get a rebate :)

Until recently they came with MS Windows installed even if I had ticked the No
operating system choice...

And my worst experience was when I could not install any distro. When I said
that we were made to buy out of a restricted list, I did not explain that those

providers have tendered for the supply contract and that they have to validate
their products against a checklist, which includes being able to run linux for
normal PC boxes. My institution rolled out its own distro at some point, as a
matter of fact (now they simply go with Ubuntu, but they allow me to run
anyone I want). So when I buy a computer from the list I have the normal
expectation that I will be able to install at least one Linux distribution.

Alas, that was not to be the case on that occasion. I could not install any.
What transpired in the end was that the provider had upgraded the BIOS from
the validated version, and we had to roll back the firmware. Fortunately, one
of the IT guys was a Debian fiend who became as interested as I was in
getting the issue solved.

But we had absolutely no help whatsoever from the reseller of the machine
nor from the provider; it was good old nitty gritty configuration files and Web

searches for clues...

So I know I am far better off in that respect than most people, but I still have

trouble in trying to get a proper OS on our work machines...

[ Reply to This | # ]

Distributors have their own reasons for installing Windows
Authored by: ailuromancy on Saturday, April 16 2011 @ 05:06 AM EDT

Years ago, distributors were paid to install carpware (The proper spelling of this technical term is not Groklaw comment compatible.) The value of carpware to a distributor exceeded the cost of a Windows license. Carpware is not available for Linux. As a result, if you wanted a computer with Linux, it would have to come without carpware too, so the distributor had to increase the cost to compensate.

The market has changed. Some distributors now sell the same machine with no OS or Windows, and it is cheaper without an OS. I do not know if this is because Windows is now so expensive that its cost is not covered by carpware or because users know the value of carpware and distributors would lose customers if they installed the most lucrative carpware available.

Computers are low margin products. From the point of view of a distributor, the advantage of Windows is that you can sell high margin software to go with it. In fact, if you order a Linux box on the net, you often have the option of buying antivirus software and Microsoft Office at the same time even though this software will not run on Linux. It looks like distributors believe the myth that Linux users will not pay for software. The evidence is that Linux users will pay more.

I had a look for computers without Windows this morning. I found some reasonable Desktops without much effort. They were cheaper than identically specced Windows boxes, which used to be unheard of.

Laptops were a disappointment. Laptopsdirect actually have some with Linux pre-installed, but they are all Intel. What happened to Via Nano? Where are the new ARMs? I would even settle for an AMD ($1.25x109 did not work).

[ Reply to This | # ]

No offense meant to anyone
Authored by: IMANAL_TOO on Saturday, April 16 2011 @ 07:42 AM EDT
No offense meant to anyone, but I am starting to feel uneasy about what is to
come in the UnXis matter after May 16. No offense meant to anyone, but no-one of
the posters at Groklaw have even come close to the niveau of PJ.

PJ, while I expect you to ignore even sincere flattery it is my hope that you
will reconsider your decision. A sense of desolation is probably hitting all
your readers, with little or no option to help out in a consistent and
persistent manner even close to what you have achieved.

---
______
IMANAL


.

[ Reply to This | # ]

    AFUL and FFII Asking for Evidence of Difficulties Buying/Selling a Computer without Windows in EU
    Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, April 16 2011 @ 07:42 AM EDT
    I thinkg that the definitive ruling for EU should be found here French Court orders refund. I believe that the ruling actually stated that bundled software had to be refunded at retail price and windows at OEM price.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    OEMs must unbundle the costs and subsidies and state terms so fair discounts can be assessed.
    Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, April 16 2011 @ 08:17 AM EDT
    There are two main issues that can be used to beat OEMs over
    the head about an illegal cartel agreement brokered by
    Microsoft to fix prices and exclude competition for desktop
    OS.

    1) The OS, hardware, OEM's 30 day support costs, patent
    licensing costs that the OEM pays and what software patents
    specifically and what code the patent covers, and any
    crapware or advertising subsidies, advertising rebates etc.
    that the OEM receives and all the terms and conditions that
    are attached to it regarding the OEM qualifying for the
    subsidies should be published so that the costs can be
    correctly unbundled. An ombudsman should be appointed to
    check if the unbundled actually are correct. If a cost
    cannot be clearly justified as a charge on for example plain
    hardware or unsupported Linux, then it should be refundable.
    For example software patent royalties should not be
    chargeable to a customer buying hardware without an OS.

    2) In public sector contracts, any discounts, payments in
    kind, and associated terms and conditions should be made
    public and the law should be that for these purposes, all
    NDA clauses will be null and void. The reason for this is
    that such payments and terms and conditions are more often
    that not, in breach of fair competition and fall foul of
    public sector rules regarding anti-collusive or anti-
    corruption laws covering public sector tendering. For
    example if a supplier takes a payment or a subsidy from
    Microsoft to offer only certain bundles that exclude
    competing products, then that is essentially a kickback paid
    in order exclude competition and falls foul of anti-
    collusive tendering rules if there is more than one supplier
    offering Microsoft products. The release of confidential
    tender pricing information to Microsoft by a number of
    suppliers is also in breach of anti-collusive tendering
    rules. It is therefore essential that suppliers break down
    costs, payments and demonstrate that no price negotiation
    took place with Microsoft if more than one seller of
    Microsoft is involved. In other words, the tenderer is
    supposed to quote a price and then stick to it. Microsoft as
    the main supplier should be required to stick to the same
    rules and not be allowed to quote a high price and then
    lower it based on feedback on whether it will be accepted or
    not when they find that others quote lower, since the others
    are not allowed to do that.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    I would like EU to enforce same prices and terms for virtual Windows OEMs as physical OEMs
    Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, April 16 2011 @ 08:24 AM EDT
    This would clear the way for OEMs or Linux distributors like
    Ubuntu to supply Linux as the standard install on all PCs and
    Windows as an optional extra. I can also see OEMs installing
    Ubuntu as standard and those who want Windows installing it
    as a optional paid commercial package from the Ubuntu or
    another commercial repository.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Bying computers in the Netherlands
    Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, April 16 2011 @ 05:37 PM EDT
    All computers which I bought in the Netherland from 1990 till recently (half
    year ago) have been bought without an operating system. While computers from
    large brands as HP, Dell etc come preinstalled with Windows, computer from
    smaller local computer stores can often be bought without an operating system.
    Also some larger distrubuters like Computerland, Alternate, Paradigit give you
    the opportunity to buy computers build to your specifications, in which case you
    can opt out of an operating sytem. The strange thing is that those special
    builds are in my experiance not more expensive then branded one's with the same
    specs.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    AFUL and FFII Asking for Evidence of Difficulties Buying/Selling a Computer without Windows in EU
    Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, April 16 2011 @ 06:37 PM EDT
    They might wish to look at the way Microsoft controlled netbook specs. Steve
    Ballmer is reported to have said the following in August of 2009:

    "Our license tells you what a netbook is. . .. Our license says it's got to
    have a super-small screen, which means it probably has a super-small keyboard,
    and it has to have a certain processor and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah."

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    AFUL and FFII Asking for Evidence of Difficulties Buying/Selling a Computer without Windows in EU
    Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, April 16 2011 @ 07:03 PM EDT
    The only way to get a machine without windows on it where I am is to build it
    yourself. This works just great for desktops and you get a better machine that
    way as well. Laptops unfortunately are still a problem as assemble your own is
    not a realistic option yet.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Apple without Windows
    Authored by: Superbowl H5N1 on Sunday, April 17 2011 @ 07:37 AM EDT

    I get the impression that if one goes to an Apple reseller, one that mostly deals in Windows, you'll be hard pressed to either buy a machine or come away without Windows.

    One person I knew went to such a shop and the sales people were loathe to admit having any in stock. It took a talk with the manager to get them to bring the Apple out of the back. Even then, there was an effort by the sales person and the manager to try to FUD the sale and turn it to a Windows sale, telling her there were no apps for Apple, and so on.

    Another person I know went to a different shop to buy an Apple (instead of buying online) and ended up being sold Windows in a VM along side his Mac -- even though the intention was to never run Windows again.

    That's two examples of having difficulty buying computers without Windows.

    ---
    Here's where you can get the computer RMS uses:
    http://freedomincluded.com/

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    Is MS willing to make the same commitment it did for browser choice?
    Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, April 17 2011 @ 09:26 AM EDT
    A couple of years ago MS proposed to the EU to make the following commitment regarding the browser choice. I'm pasting bellow the parts of the commitment that refer to the MS - OEM relation. MS said (read the 1st paragraph) it was ready to make this commitment not because it feels it did anything wrong but rather to show to the world it's good faith. Why can't the EU officially ask (not force) if MS is willing to make the same commitment regarding OS choice and not Browser choice and if not to clarify it's position. It will be very interesting to hear what MS will have to say

    Here is the part of the commitment about the OEMs:
    (2) OEMs will be free to pre-install any web browser (or browsers) of their choice on PCs they ship and to set any browser as the default web browser.

    [...]

    (4) Microsoft shall not retaliate against any OEM for developing, using, distributing, promoting or supporting software that competes with Microsoft web browsers, in particular by altering Microsoft's commercial relations with that OEM, or by withholding Consideration. Without prejudice to the application of EC competition law nothing in this Commitment shall prohibit Microsoft from providing Consideration to any OEM with respect to any Microsoft web browser where that Consideration is commensurate with the absolute level or amount of that OEM’s development, distribution, promotion, or licensing of that web browser.

    (5) Microsoft shall not enter into any agreement with an OEM that conditions the grant of any Consideration on the OEM’s refraining from developing, using, distributing, promoting or supporting any software that competes with Microsoft web browsers. Without prejudice to the application of EC competition law nothing in this Commitment shall prohibit Microsoft from entering into an agreement with an OEM for any joint venture that limits the development, use, distribution, promotion or support of the jointly developed web browser technology to use with or in a Windows Client PC Operating System or a Microsoft web browser

    (6) Microsoft shall not terminate a direct OEM license for Windows Client PC Operating Systems without having first given the OEM written notice of the reasons for the proposed termination and not less than thirty days’ opportunity to cure. Notwithstanding the foregoing, Microsoft shall have no obligation to provide such a termination notice and opportunity to cure to any OEM that has received two or more such notices during the term of its license

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    • OEMs? - Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, April 17 2011 @ 04:21 PM EDT
    I'm trying to find out what was the EU reaction in 2001
    Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, April 17 2011 @ 10:28 AM EDT
    I don't think it's actually the case that the Commission has never been presented with such evidence in the past, as you can see here, a link from 2001. [...] Perhaps they investigated the BeOS situation back then, and didn't find enough to go on. But that would be astonishing.
    I didn't find anything regarding the reaction of the EU to this letter. I've emailed the author and asked him about it. Will let you know if he replies.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    AFUL and FFII Asking for Evidence of Difficulties Buying/Selling a Computer without Windows in EU
    Authored by: macrorodent on Monday, April 18 2011 @ 12:41 AM EDT

    In Helsinki, it is not at all hard to buy a desktop PC without Windows, if one settles for a no-brand machine assembled from components or a "barebone" kit by a specialist computer store. In my experience, the result is good and you can also specify Linux-friendly components when making the order. Of course, if you don't know about this option, finding a Windows-less machine is impossible.

    What really is difficult is getting a laptop without Windows or Apple's OSX. After the original Linux-based notebooks disappeared from the market, I have not seen any options for avoiding the Microsoft (or Apple) tax here. I guess one could order something from abroad, but that does not really count for this question. Another problem is that such a machine would not have the Finnish keyboard layout.

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    AFUL and FFII Asking for Evidence of Difficulties Buying/Selling a Computer without Windows in EU
    Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, April 18 2011 @ 01:22 AM EDT
    It is completely obvious what Microsoft are doing. But somehow they are like one
    of those people that somehow the rules never seem to apply to them. I really
    don't understand whyt the authorities are so reluctant to investigate this
    obvious abuse of monopoly.

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    Success with system builder in Finland
    Authored by: AliasMarlowe on Monday, April 18 2011 @ 03:37 AM EDT

    In both 2009 and 2010, I got single desktop PCs built by the local branch of a rather small Finnish chain. In each case, they deducted euro100 from the initially quoted price when I indicated I did not want Windows included. They also said (but not in writing) that all of the components were supported by modern Linux distributions. Indeed, both PCs are at home, running Ubuntu without any problems, and I'm posting this from one of them. However, I have no idea whether they would supply laptops without Windows.

    If a modest plug is permitted, the supplier was Cruzbroker.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Discussion on Ubuntu Forums
    Authored by: Superbowl H5N1 on Monday, April 18 2011 @ 03:59 AM EDT

    The topic is being discussed on Ubuntu Forums. I hope that some of the material finds its way to the FFII and AFUL.

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    Here's where you can get the computer RMS uses:
    http://freedomincluded.com/

    [ Reply to This | # ]

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