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Open-source vendor seeks OS-free PCs

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OSS

An open-source software vendor is petitioning the Australian consumer watchdog to make it possible for all name-brand PC resellers to sell systems without an operating system on board.

Melbourne vendor Cybersource also asked the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to make it compulsory for Microsoft to offer access to all its document formats to enable interchange and interoperability with other operating systems.

Cybersource has issued a white paper on how Australian businesses were $200 million worse off every year because of bundling decision made overseas.

Chief executive Con Zymaris said a PC from any of the top brands - Dell, IBM, Fujitsu, etc - could not be purchased without paying for a copy of Windows as well.

"This tends to undermine viable competitors such as desktop Linux and hurts Australia's already shaky balance of trade," he said.

"In 1994, the cost of the hardware constituted 85 per cent of the total. Last year, it was 35 per cent with the software that one has to buy - Windows plus Office - making up 65 per cent of the cost," Zymaris said.

He said the margins for Microsoft were much higher last year, as the medium of distribution was now the CD or DVD, which cost much less than 15 floppies cost in 1994.

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