Compulsory Windows purchasing by way of PC bundles is one of the biggest hurtles to alternative OS adoption. Some people have been able to fight it: “Reading the Slashdot article about Dave Mitchell from Great Britain, who got a 47 pounds refund from Dell for returning his copy of Windows was an inspiration for me to check, if it is possible in Poland, too. This is my success story.”
How to Get a Refund for Windows in Poland
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2008-09-01 8:38 amzima
Asus and (especially) Acer laptops aren’t really in the same league as Thinkpads; if I have to buy inferior hardware to get Linux, there’s still something wrong…
Sure, there are Thinkpads that ship with Linux…but I haven’t noticed them anywhere in PL/they would end up much more expensive/no X-series among them (and I’m in the market for one currently)
PS. And you should also mention that on many laptops sold in PL with “Linux”, the OS usually doesn’t support all of the hardware (witnessed by me in case of Acer, Benq and Fujitsu-Siemens), often is completelly unuseable (Acer), sometimes not installed (LiveCD thrown into the box – Fujitsu-Siemens, Benq); essentially they have Linux just for show/not to be accused of promoting piracy (most of those machines will end up with pirated Windows)
If you really want to push the debate on open source, and excercise your rights, everyone buying a computer to run linux should follow the example here.
Buy the computer then politely demand the refund. Microsoft are (or, at least, used to be, and were legally proved to be) using economic pressure to drive the bundling of Windows XP computers, consumers should use Economic pressure to register their dissatisfaction.
After all, by doing this, you are only excercising your rights, AND proving to the retailer that it is in their interests to give the consumer choice.
I am not a lawyer, but it would be worth investigating what your rights are when a retailer offers Linux boxes, but only at a higher price. Buying the cheaper Windows box AND THEN demanding a refund on the XP cost would really drive home the point.
Edited 2008-08-30 20:45 UTC
I have been trying to do the same here in India for a Windows Vista Home Premium license that came preloaded with a HP Pavilion laptop.
I have tried making calls, e-mailed both Microsoft and HP regarding this but have not received any reply till date.
Can somebody help me out with this ?
Edited for spacing
Edited 2008-08-30 22:04 UTC
2008-08-31 7:07 pmKaritku
Return the laptop and buy something without Microsft OS. So f**king simple.
2008-08-31 7:24 pmstestagg
Find out which local organisation is responsible for preserving consumer rights, and contact them.
Well, if Lenovo doesn’t sell it [the laptop] without an operating system, and will only sell it with Microsoft Windows, why is this? Do they have a licence with Microsoft that they will only sell laptops with Windows, and not other operating systems? If so, it should be relatively easy to subpoena Lenovo to prove or disprove this.
If the above is true, then:
a) any reasonable government should be finding Microsoft guilty of anti trust and monopolistic actions
b) find Lenovo guilty of participating in illegal activity
Thus resulting in both being heavily fined – I’m in favor of 80% of their gross income for 5 years. That’ll make them think about doing that sort of behaviour again.
A solid judiciary system is needed that does not bow to political pressure (to let these criminals off), and ensures that any appeals are dealt with in a swift manner, solidifying the original decision in cement.
I’m well and truly sick of the rich, powerful corporates bending the law to their own needs. That is not justice.
edit: I don’t give a $hit about corporations – nearly all of them are bastards that continously break the law, including tax laws to benefit themselves, with little benefit to society. I see no reason why they have more legal rights than individuals, that is not a just legal system – it’s a legal system that bases decisions on money and power, not on merit. The US legal system is a good example of such a bad judicial system, probably explains all the weird, screwed up decisions that get made over there (not that Australia is any better).
Edited 2008-08-31 00:51 UTC
2008-08-31 7:31 pmstestagg
Microsoft have been found guilty of this in the past, and, IIRC, managed to get out of paying the fine.
However, the OEM licensing agreements with large companies are all trade secrets, and hevily defended by NDAs. So it is difficult to prove anything. There is evidence that Microsoft use fixed-term, re-negotiable licence agreements to force OEMs to play by their rules. If an OEM refuses to play nice, the next time the licence negotiations come round, they will find that the unit cost for Windows will have doubled, or something. This is very difficult to detect, and even more difficult to bring legal action against.
2008-08-31 10:32 pmmelkor
And how hard is it to make laws to *force* them to reveal to the courts. I don’t have a problem with them hiding it from individuals, that’s part of their rights. But – if a court of law asks to see these documents, then they *must* oblige. They can hold a closed court session if they must, like what was done many times with SCO vs IBM. Court documents from such sessions are repressed from public records. They have no excuses. I’m positive that Microsoft still engages in illegal behaviour – and they will keep doing so until a government comes along and hammers them for it. Unfortunately, all of the attempts so far (even the EU’s) are just pussy footing around. Europe is too scared it’ll pi$$ off the US of A, the US government is putting trade pressure on other countries not to penalise “one of its own”, it’s truly despicable.
The only countries with a backbone these days are Iran, North Korea and Venezuela, all of which the US would love to wipe off the face of the Earth. Oh, and I’ll add Russia now – I bet the US won’t take on them, shows that the US is just a bully…oh you got me started…
Anyways, back on track – the US DOJ needs to start taking *proper* action against Microsoft and other practioners of illegal trade practices. Pronto. Even if it does hurt the US economy. Morals first, money 2nd. I find it so surprising in a country that is so religious, that money is more important than morals, and even more so, that the people let it happen. But then, that’s what I expect with dumb Chrisian fundamentalists. Oh, you got me started there.
I guess I should own up – I’m a extreme left, anti capitalist, pagan. And proud of it.
Two cases of getting a refund from Dell in the Netherlands (80 Euro and 220 Euro respectively):
The Polish Office of Fair Trading and Consumer Protection is currently investigating a case against laptop manufacturers as for why they include only Microsoft software with their hardware and don’t give any other options (Linux, no operating system, …). The case is likely to get submitted to the European Comission, which will investigate it in whole EU.
Edited 2008-08-31 09:42 UTC
2008-09-01 4:45 ammelkor
And they’ll probably get a slap on the wrist financially (that they can easily afford), and probably done far too late to be of any good…
In the end, Microsoft may pull out of the European market (if they deem the cost of doing business is more than the profits).
This is very good, that someone decided to fight with “the system” and won :-). Thanks to this story, other people can try to do the same and save some money. H
However, I was just thinking, whether it would be possible to do the same thing with the hardware of a laptop or a computer? Could one buy a laptop, and then request a refund for e.g. a hard drive, because one does not want to use it (because, e.g. one wants to use only Mendriva Flash)? Is there a difference between requesting refund for pre-install windows and e.g. hard drive?
Edited 2008-08-31 10:11 UTC
2008-08-31 7:33 pmstestagg
Yes, the hard drive is sold directly to you, Software is licenced.
This means that in order to legally use the software, you have to agree a Licence Agreement (EULA). Something you buy, you own and therefore can do anything you want with.
I know I’m at risk of sounding like a Microsoft fanboy, and I do admit I’m a developer working in a company that mainly uses Microsoft technology, but here’s my question: why hasn’t anyone mentioned Apple yet?
I don’t approve of some of Microsoft’s business practices, but isn’t Apple doing the exact same thing? Can you buy an Apple computer anywhere without Mac OS X installed?
2008-09-01 9:02 amzima
You ar really asking this seriously? Perhaps you’ll also ask why one can’t buy Wii/X360/PS3/PSP/DS/TVs/DVD players/tosters/microwaves without their OS/firmware?
(hint: how is Apple supposed to force…Apple by illegal means to install by default only OS by…Apple on their computers? Nvm that they don’t use this “dominance” to assure lower prices of their hardware + OS combo, quite the contrary;
oh, and Apple officially supports Bootcamp; did any MS OS could even recognise other operating systems/not erase their bootloader?)
2008-09-01 9:15 amTommyCarlier
Yes, I was asking this seriously. I’m just trying to introduce a different point of view (advocate of the devil ;-)).
And I think your answer is very valid.
In fact, quite the opposite of my previous question is true: Apple doesn’t prohibit anyone from running a different OS on their hardware, they prohibit people from running their OS on different hardware.
There are some similar experiences of well-succeed windows refund of windows OEM that comes with notebooks of the Dell brazilian branch:
(in brazilian portuguese, sorry)
I recently bought an Inspiron 530 PC from Dell Belgium (via the website). I intend to install NetBSD on it, but it shipped with Windows Vista Home Premium and MS Works 9.0, no choice here.
After reading this story 🙂 I filled in a form on their customer support website, stating that I was happy with the purchase in general, but did not accept the Windows and Works EULA, claiming to have the right for a refund according to their Terms of Sale (Algemene Voorwaarden en Policies). Few days later I received an e-mail saying that I could indeed get a refund of 216.37 euros, minus 18.15 administration and return costs, but I didn’t even have to return the cd’s.
No discussion whatsoever, cool!
…just buy laptop with Linux pre-installed. In Poland it’s much easier than for example in UK, from my experience, to find off the shelve laptop with Linux pre-installed. I have bought 2 Acer laptops, with Linux and Asus Eee PC recently in Poland and I’m very satisfied. Of course I don’t use Linpus Linux and Xandros, but it’s just a matter of re-installing with your favourite distro.
I never buy any hardware with Windows operating system because I don’t have to.
Edited 2008-08-30 17:57 UTC