First, the EU demanded that Microsoft sell a version of Windows in the EU market without Windows Media Player. Microsoft complied, with “Windows n” (for (n)o media player), a configuration that became an instant flop. Fortunately they were allowed to sell the regular configuration as well, which continued to sell decently. The reason “n” was a flop was Microsoft was allowed to sell it for the same price as the regular configuration. What do you know? Customers noticed, and decided to get the one that was full-featured. Something that was also pointed out by Microsoft proponents was that Windows Media Player was one of the few (if not the only) free media players on the market that came with no ad-ware or spyware. Maybe people preferred that, too.
Now, the EU is considering a proposal by their Globalization Initiative that says all PCs in the EU should be sold without an operating system. Now, maybe they mean the OS should not come bundled. Rather the customer will be allowed to tell the vendor which OS to install. That wouldn’t be too bad, though I imagine it would still confuse a lot of consumers who are not into studying which OS they need. I think a good compromise would be if the PC vendors were allowed to have a “default” option, such that if a customer just orders a PC, without specifying anything else, they’ll get the vendor’s standard configuration, keeping things simple. If the customer specifies a preference, that’s what they’ll get, without having to install it themselves.
Here’s hoping the EU doesn’t go off the deep end and take their computer industry back 25 years.