Do consumers want bundling?

I think he’s on to something… Todd Bishop at the Seattle PI’s Microsoft blog is talking about consumer expectations with regards to Microsoft’s bundling practices

…Office isn’t bundled with Windows. But the reader assumed it was. Which raises a couple interesting questions: Is that because computer users want their operating system to come with as many extras as possible? Or is it because Microsoft’s allegedly anticompetitive bundling practices have conditioned consumers to expect Windows to come with a bunch of additional programs?

I think the answer is yes. When a non-computer person buys a computer they want it to do everything out of the box. The “consumer choice” advocated by Microsoft’s naysayers is, to a great extent, confusing to more technically unsophisticated end users. I’m not saying that consumers shouldn’t have a choice when it comes to software– they should… but perhaps bundling isn’t such a bad thing. However, I like it when the OEM does it– that way you have a choice of buying a computer with MS Office pre-loaded OR a computer from the vendor down the street with OpenOffice.org installed… the choice is yours, and it is up to the OEMs to provide that choice.