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

Fabian Keil freebsd-listen at
Tue Mar 5 15:14:41 UTC 2013

"Heiki \"Repentinus\" Ojasild" <repentinus at> wrote:

> > 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.

I frequently read that "many vendors" supposedly pays less for the
Windows license than they get for installing the additional bloatware
on top of it.

In this case not bundling Windows would actually make the whole
bundle more expensive (for the system vendor), even if you ignore
the customisation costs.

So far I haven't come across a reliable source that confirms this
theory, but at least the idea that the bloatware vendors pay the
system vendors something to include the bloatware seems reasonable
to me. After all the bloatware makes the user experience worse and
the system vendor gets the blame.

>                                                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.

Note that the bundled Windows versions usually differ from the ones
that can be bought separately. The latter are not only more expensive
but can also transferred to a different system more easily, (hopefully)
haven't been modified by a third-party and are thus potentially worth
more to a Windows user.

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