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Please, Stop Picking on Microsoft

I've long known the obsession that some have for taking a chunk out of Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT  ) . I had it once, while still an employee of Sun Microsystems (Nasdaq: JAVA  ) , a longtime rival of Mr. Softy.

But lately, Microsoft's biggest haters aren't toiling away in Silicon Valley. They're about 5,000 miles away in Brussels. That's the home of the European Commission, which recently won a $600 million judgment against Mr. Softy for including -- gasp! -- Windows Media Player with copies of the Windows operating system.

Now a think tank called the Globalization Institute has submitted a report to the EC recommending that all PCs destined for Europe ship without an operating system. Quoting the report (downloads a PDF file):

For two decades, Microsoft has enjoyed monopolistic power in the operating system market. The Competition Commissioner has signaled the desire to see more competition in this sector. Unbundling would foster a competitive market, increase consumer choice, and reduce prices. [Emphasis mine.]


Raise your hand if you think this is a good idea. OK, interesting. Now, raise your hand if you've ever installed an operating system on a PC or a Mac from nothing more than a cursor prompt. Thought so.

Can we please ask Steve Jobs what he thinks of this? How happy would Mac addicts be if they had to install the forthcoming Leopard OS on a barren iMac? Not very. But that's how it would be if the global goons and their EC pals get their way.

Why not just write a check to Red Hat (NYSE: RHT  ) and Novell (Nasdaq: NOVL  ) ? Linux users already know the vagaries of building a PC from the ground up.

Here's the ugly truth, folks. Even if you loathe Windows, as I do, Microsoft is doing you a favor by bundling its OS with your favorite PC, just as Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) does me a favor by bundling OS X with my MacBook Pro.

Sometimes convenience simply trumps choice.

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