The European Union has revealed it is to ban the sale and use of Apple Macintosh computers by 2006 - citing "the need for unification" in a directive unveiled today.

Directive EU01042005, which was passed during a late-night session in Brussels, will be adopted by all member countries on January 1, 2006, and prohibits the "sale, use, resale, leasing, and hire" of Apple Macs due to their lack of full compatibility with Windows computers, and the fact that no-one in the EU parliment can get a decent expenses package to wwork on them. The directive reckons that Apple's "lack of floppy disk drive" is discriminatory to EU residents, and that the Apple logo doesn't hail from the apple-growing regions of Southern France.

Apple iPods are excluded from the move -- although they must be renamed EuPods -- but Apple dealers across the EU angrily denounced the move.

Protest grows

"This is disasterous, an extremely bad day for computer users, and for Apple Mac users in particular," said Haarold Gremann of Macrwelt Dbh, a reseller in German. "We are calling all Mac users to take to the streets and protest this move in the strongest terms possible."

Stefan Cava, sales manager of MacAvanti, a Mac reseller in Rome, told Digit the move would spell the end for his business. "It's terrible. With the iPod, people are enjoying Apple, and now the EU will be taking the greatest platform away. I can't believe that Windows will win through the back door. I love my country, but I suggest Mac users all move to America, pronto."

Designer pressure

Designers will face tough punishments under the new law -- with even the eating of apples (and some oranges) at Windows computers liable for a fine of €5,000. People using the colour Aqua will face a lesser fine of €2,000.

The proposal will see member countries opening Mac Trash dumping sites from September, with companies and businesses being given three months to rid themselves of all Macs, including waterproof ones. In a similar move, MacDonalds will be renamed WinDonalds, and the 'Mac' prefix of some Scottish surnames will also be outlawed.

"It's time Europe dumped its so-called FireWire, Safari, and US-named Trash -- these are the work of the Devil, and are dirty," said Commissioner Hardy Haha, who proposed the directive. "I use Windows and the two-button mouse is a beacon of choice. One button mice are all about segregation. We had to take a stand."