The EU: First they wanted WMP out…

James Robertson is no fan of Microsoft, but yesterday he had to call out the machinations of the EU as “stupid”. I agree.

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.


2 thoughts on “The EU: First they wanted WMP out…

  1. People are not stupid. They can learn what an OS is, and witch one they like.
    Just the same way they chose their hardware after comparing features, prices, etc.
    Another check box to tick is not a big deal.

  2. Yes, but will they be required to install it themselves?

    I think people have grown used to the idea that they’re going to get Windows with a PC, or Mac OS X with a Mac for that matter. I like the idea of people being able to choose their OS, but there should be a “default” option for those who don’t want to bother with that choice. They could offer the choice, just not say, “You must tell us what OS you want.” A lot of customers are likely to say, “What are you talking about? I just want a PC that runs, that does something!” Secondly, I would hope that vendors would be allowed to install the OS for customers. Forcing customers to install it themselves, whatever the choice is, will dissuade people from buying PCs.

    For those who want to choose their OS this idea has merit, but I don’t think consumers should be forced to make a choice if they don’t want to. That just makes buying a computer more complicated for them.

    If Europeans are satisfied with choosing and possibly installing their OS themselves, more power to them. This was just my opinion.

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