Those who keep denigrating government regulation really must take note of this major announcement by Dell in Europe: Dell is now selling Linux PCs to consumers at large. Unlike Dell US, which sells Linux on some its top of the line servers only, Dell Europe now has the freedom to sell operating systems other than Windows to anyone.
Why is this important? Because it means that, at least in Europe, Dell has the freedom to sell the systems that it wants to customers. If Dell wants to bundle its own music service, or its own software with the systems, it can now do that, just as Apple has been doing all along. It has this freedom in Europe because the European Union has put Microsoft on a very short leash. Consequently, Dell can move away from Microsoft without any fear of retribution from Microsoft.
This is not the case in the United States, of course. The US government has relaxed its controls on Microsoft’s monopoly power. Consequently, Dell, HP, Gateway and other computer manufacturers have little freedom to promote or to include services that compete with the services that Microsoft promotes through its Windows operating system. This means that Dell, HP and Gateway cannot compete with Apple! They cannot promote or sell services (such as a music store) on computers that they sell! In effect, Microsoft has enslaved these large corporations, and has relegated them to purveyors of commodity computers that net little profit.
So, if you’re wondering why Dell and HP are not offering digital music stores even when Microsoft’s store is clearly failing, look no further than Microsoft and the ridiculous lack of regulations in the American marketplace. In this absurd environment, an inept competitor like Microsoft is suppressing all competition and allowing Apple to run away with the booty. As an Apple stockholder, I don’t mind, but perhaps Dell stockholders should.