OEM/Microsoft Tax Survey Established

by Adam Kosmin

Inspired by the ideas and work of Hans Kwint, I have decided to try and breathe new life into the OEM/Microsoft Tax Survey I started several months ago. In addition to collaborating with Hans, I am looking for assistance from our community.

Some of us know that Microsoft does not actually have a monopoly. Instead, the OEMs have established a distribution channel that initially defines and then attempts to control what software the majority of consumers run on their computers.

For us to correct this problem, we need to stop wondering about Microsoft's backroom deals and such and start focusing on the OEMs themselves. We need to show the FTC and other parties of interest that the average consumer is not presented with a choice when purchasing a personal computer. We need to stop settling for the occasional bone thrown at us when an HP or Dell preinstalls GNU/Linux on a fraction of its products and then buries the option 50 links deep on the product's site. This is not the "choice" I am speaking of and that I envision in order to establish a level playing field.

OEMs should stop bundling software entirely and move to a service model in which the software is installed because the consumer has asked for it specifically. This is not happening today. Instead, consumers are expected to pay for (sometimes multiple) copies of Microsoft's products, regardless of whether they have any intention of using the products.

Currently, the OEM/Microsoft Survey has roughly 400 products listed from popular companies, such as HP, Dell, Toshiba. This information is about three months old at the moment, but I see no reason why it can't serve as a foundation for an ongoing effort to study this issue. Rather than trying to keep all of the information up to date myself, I would like to see some of you come forward and take ownership of a particular company. You then would be responsible for keeping that page up to date and would have full control over that section of the survey.

So please take a look at the survey, and if you are interested, send me an e-mail and we'll discuss your involvement.

Load Disqus comments