“Due to licensing terms dictated by Microsoft to all vendors in the industry, a PC must ship with an operating system installed. It can be Windows. It can be Linux. For our large customers, we’ve even shipped a few machines with PC-DOS on them. However, until those licensing terms change, it won’t be possible for us to ship anything to any customer "bare metal."”
see Expanded Lenovo Linux Offerings – Perspectives – Lenovo Blogs
How times have changed. Since those days all the OEMs are shipping GNU/Linux and FreeDOS in place of that other OS and usage of GNU/Linux has multiplied. Many regions do offer GNU/Linux on retail shelves, but still not in Winnipeg.
Ask yourself, why did M$ insist it’s customers not ship bare metal? Did M$ want to ensure end-users had less choice of OS? Did M$ want to ensure it had a larger market-share than it was otherwise earning on price/performance? Were they afraid people would realize the price they paid for that OS?
A market that does not offer choice of OS is broken and governments should have smacked M$, OEMs and retailers long ago over the practice of bundling the OS. It’s clearly an anti-competitive act. Where I live one can buy a bare-metal PC but only as a “bare bones” system to which you must add components or as parts. That worked for ATX PCs but it does not for notebooks and tablets which so far don’t have many user-changeable parts. Freedom in ATX is fading with the decline in “desktop” PCs. They’ll likely be available for years longer but unless we demand notebooks and other PCs offer a choice of OS, bundling will be coming back in a big way. M$ may yet try to get OEMs to ship nothing but M$’s OS.
One of the effects of preventing disablement of “secure boot” on ARMed PCs for “8” is preventing installations of other operating systems, the ultimate “bundling with glue”. M$ will do anything to remain relevant. So far it looks as if they are misfiring but we must be vigilant. Keep pestering retailers about */Linux. Maybe they will offer choice if we demand it.