Software languages and cross-border trade in the EU

One of the freedoms of the citizens of the EU is the principle that goods and services can flow from EU to EU state without undue impediments.

Businesses in the EU are on both sides of this principle; on one side are those that actively engage in this cross-border flow and on the other side are those that actively discourage this cross-border flow.

With software and computing hardware that relies on the software, then the most crippling impediment to this EU principle is restricting the displayed language that the product or service runs.

The canonical example of this is Laptops and Desktops intended for the retail market. For the corporate market then these computers are generally out-of-the-box multi-language or the language can be easily switched at will. For the retail market i.e. the citizens of the ¬†EU for whom this freedom of goods and services was intended to address, this ability to switch the language or at least select (one-time) the display language of the computer’s operating system is generally not possible (or the citizen incurs an additional cost).

Certainly if the manufacturer does not have a language then it cannot be presented, but if they do have the language available in one EU country then this language should be made available in all EU countries at the point-of-purchase with no additional cost.

This should be the minimum to uphold the principle of the freedom of goods and services by not adding an undue restriction to the ability of the citizen to purchase a product in one EU country for use in another EU country.