Could there be a law to protect the free choice of operating system?

Heiki "Repentinus" Ojasild repentinus at fsfe.org
Tue Mar 5 14:19:09 UTC 2013


>  It is not about companies and marketplace. It is about consumers who
> consider options that provide a good balance between quality and price
> of the products they buy. Freedom to modify the product may be
> considered by some, but still it is within some balance.
>
> For example would you pay 100.000 euros for a car where you can replace
> engine, lights, seats, cpu, software etc, or would you buy a 15000 mass
> produced one? The example is exaggerated, but consider that even smaller
> price differences, make a lot of impact to certain people.
>
> So in almost every example I can think of, if companies are forced with
> legislation to break their products in multiple separate parts, prices
> would go up in the average case, and go down in few (geeky) cases. Do
> you really believe the average person is prepared to pay more for
> something that has not any immediate impact visible to him (not everyone
> is a mechanic or software developer). Most probably he'd just import his
> product from a country where they don't have those laws.
Your "analogy" is not analogous to the general purpose computer being
bundled with software. In the case of Microsoft's dominant market
position, the bundling actually raises prices. Sure, the users get
Windows cheaper than they would get it by buying it separately, but by
being forced to buy Windows they lose out on the option to buy several
cheaper OSes, many GNU/Linux systems at their zero price among them.
In case of the car, you are actually free to order the parts and
assemble the damn thing yourself.

This has everything to do with the market, which should be free.
Antitrust laws were invented for a reason.


-- 
Heiki "Repentinus" Ojasild
FSFE Fellow (en) / FSFE ├╝hinglane (et)
<repentinus at fsfe.org>
<https://wiki.fsfe.org/Fellows/repentinus>
<http://blogs.fsfe.org/repentinus/>



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