This "law" has not been created by the government, but has been established by a corporation which has created a monopoly in the software and computing industries.
In a country where values such as consumer freedom, innovation, free trade and competition are held with utmost importance, why is one technology firm allowed to carry-out practices which are essentially illegal?
There have been many anti-trust suits filed and won against Microsoft by the EU and the USA, but these practices continue.
When one purchases a new PC, one is forced to buy Microsoft Windows for £99-230. This is included in the price of the computer and the consumer has no choice in the matter. The UELA then states that the consumer may receive a refund if the software is not used, but this is almost impossible to attain and there have been only a handful of cases in the UK where consumers have received a refund for their unused software.
Microsoft then creates a further grievance to the consumer by not including office software (which is essential on any computer) and making its operating system susceptible to viruses. Individuals or businesses then have to pay £130-430 for office software and £50 a year for antivirus software subscriptions. Consumers should have the option to chose not to buy Windows or these products and chose a free operating system (Linux, BSD, OpenSolaris).
These costs are then replicated in the public sector. Taxpayers are being forced to pay for these software licenses on all computers used in the public sector. If schools, hospitals, the police etc. switched to Free and Open Source Software, it could save the taxpayer a bundle and the money could be put to better uses such as employing more staff in schools or making computers available to children with learning disabilities.
The French police lowered its IT costs by 70% by switching to Linux – http://arstechnica.com/open-source/news/2009/03/french-police-saves-millions-of-euros-by-adopting-ubuntu.ars
Small businesses could also benefit from lowering IT costs, especially in these tough financial times.
The solution: remove this de-facto law/tax by creating a new law that prohibits hardware vendors from bundling software with computers. Individuals/businesses/government would then have the choice between purchasing software or using free software.
Why is this idea important?
Consumer freedom is essential for any progressive democratic country.
Using taxpayers’ money to pay for propriety software is criminal when considering the spiralling costs of IT in the public sector and the current cuts being made elsewhere.
Making computers cheaper has countless positive benefits for the economy, especially one based with growing technology and services sectors.
Monopolies benefit no-one other than the company holding that monopoly.