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Last post Author Topic: Dell: No refunds for Linux users who reject Microsoft's OS EULA  (Read 10676 times)

zridling

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hreula.jpg

Even if you never use Windows nor want to, Dell will not enable your legal Microsoft refund of Win7.

"By using the software, you accept these terms," it reads. "If you do not accept them, do not use the software. Instead, return it to the retailer for a refund or credit." UK-based school teacher Adam Drake recently tried the same Windows rejection trick. But his effort to secure a refund was in turn rejected by Dell. According to a company support rep, Drake was not entitled to a refund because his copy of Windows 7 was included with his machine for free. "The one that was charged to you is just for shipping and handling so that means you got the Windows 7 for free," the rep says. Presumably, the rep is mistaking Drake's copy of Windows 7 - which came preloaded on his system - with the Windows 7 upgrade kit that OEMs provided with Windows XP system around the time of the new OS's launch last fall. Drake made multiple efforts to convince her that the OS actually costs money and that he was indeed entitled to a refund.
__________________________
Ah, yes. This is the reason I don't buy commercial vendor systems. Even if I'm honest and agree not to use the software, I still have to pay as though I will use it. Go figure.

40hz

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Re: Dell: No refunds for Linux users who reject Microsoft's OS EULA
« Reply #1 on: March 19, 2010, 10:22:03 AM »
I'd also wish you good luck getting them to honor the warranty on your hardware if you switch your OS.

Most (if not all) consumer level companies require you to do a troubleshooting session with their phone support people before they'll authorize a repair or return. 99.999999% of the time, the troubleshooting people will only work with a machine running XP, Vista, or W7.

One of the big selling points for buying vs building is that you get a warranty and support when you buy. If you switch your OS, that part of the deal goes out the window. Literally.

So in addition to your hardware, also be sure to check if your WARRANTY is "compatible" with Linux.   

One more thing to think about if you're a NIX user.  :-\  
« Last Edit: March 19, 2010, 10:28:12 AM by 40hz »

Josh

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Re: Dell: No refunds for Linux users who reject Microsoft's OS EULA
« Reply #2 on: March 19, 2010, 10:43:23 AM »
I really fail to see why you would expect money back in this case. You are buying a system knowing that Windows 7 comes INCLUDED IN THE COST of the system. This is almost, to me, the same as asking for a refund on an ice cream cone that has sprinkles on it when you know full well that the sprinkles were part of the ice cream cone you ordered.

I think that Dell was right on the mark with this and fault them in no way.

40hz

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Re: Dell: No refunds for Linux users who reject Microsoft's OS EULA
« Reply #3 on: March 19, 2010, 11:53:08 AM »
I think that Dell was right on the mark with this and fault them in no way.

Most of the "understanding" for getting your money back if you aren't using Windows comes out of a "gentleman's" agreement between PC manufacturers, Microsoft, and various government regulatory agencies in order to avoid possible anti trust litigation.

Of course, all this needs to be done prior to you booting the machine into Windows. Do that even once and you own it.

A few years ago it wasn't too big a deal to get the "Windows Tax Rebate" on a new machine. Now that some time has passed, people (and regulators!) are starting to forget, so it's back to the "same old same old."

I wish the guy luck. But unless he's willing to invest a ton of time and grief into getting something like $35 back...well... "it just ain't gonna happen!"

Note: In return for their EULA being considered enforceable by US courts, Microsoft was required to insert the following clause into their license:

By using the software, you accept these terms. If you do not accept them, do not use the software. Instead, contact the manufacturer or installer to determine their return policy for a refund or credit.

So basically, Microsoft shifted the burden of handling refunds over to the manufacturers. But at no time did it close the door on the possibility of a refund if you didn't use their product. Nor have they ever publicly shared how this gets handled between Microsoft and the PC makers. But I'd be willing to bet that, at the very least, all the bigger manufacturers receive credits from Microsoft in such cases.

Like in most things involving money -  "size" does makes a big difference.

Note 2: Windows cannot be INCLUDED because it isn't sold. It's licensed. Licenses are legal agreements. And to be binding, they require consent on the part of the party entering into the agreement. They're not automatically binding - and they're definitely NOT products - no matter what Microsoft would like people to believe.

 :)




« Last Edit: March 19, 2010, 12:03:40 PM by 40hz »

Josh

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Re: Dell: No refunds for Linux users who reject Microsoft's OS EULA
« Reply #4 on: March 19, 2010, 11:59:18 AM »
And my wife always said size didn't matter....anyways.

I understand the thought process behind obtaining a refund for Windows if you decide not to agree to the license. However, that said, I believe this applies to the sale of the boxes product. When you buy a new system you are mostly paying for hardware, not software unless you upgrade to a higher tiered edition of a product, and as such the software costs are "absorbed", for lack of a better word, by the OEM. Microsoft sells OEM copies because it removes the burden of support from them and basically the manufacturer is purchasing the software with no means of support minus some sort of MSDN or Support agreement purchased independently.

Again, since most OEM companies purchase in bulk, they get a large discount and often times eat that cost. It is usually only when you upgrade to say Windows 7 Pro from Home Premium that an additional fee comes into play. Now, if you were to fight that one and say you didn't agree with the license you should be entitled to the difference between the inclusion price (0$) of Home Premium and the Professional version (typically 70-130$ depending).

Again, I really do not see this as a problem with Dell as they are large enough to where they can purchase these licenses en mass and minimize the costs of including Windows at very little to no cost to the consumer for their "default" edition.

40hz

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Re: Dell: No refunds for Linux users who reject Microsoft's OS EULA
« Reply #5 on: March 19, 2010, 12:18:13 PM »
@Josh - Just for the record, I couldn't agree more with you about the whole thing.

Personally, I think the guy is getting into a battle hardly worth fighting for the amount of cash vs effort it's going to involve.

But I also think Dell is being an idiot for crossing swords over such a piddling amount of cash when there's a customer satisfaction issue at stake.

If they said "OK. But just this once." the guy would have been happy, and it would have been over with nobody any the wiser. Now, it's up on the web - and an issue that was largely forgotten has been given a second shot at gaining some traction.

One lesson that I have learned the "hard way" over the years is that it's possible to be "absolutely right for absolutely all the wrong reasons."

I think this is a prime example of that.

------------

And my wife always said size didn't matter....

Well...I did qualify that comment by restricting it to matters involving money... ;D


Josh

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Re: Dell: No refunds for Linux users who reject Microsoft's OS EULA
« Reply #6 on: March 19, 2010, 12:21:15 PM »
I was referring to my wallet in this instance ;-) I've used that pun on her during our money quarrels before :)

Also, in regards to this whole topic, I do believe this user knew what he was doing before hand and CHOSE to start this battle before he purchased the system. That is just the impression I get from this whole thing.
« Last Edit: March 19, 2010, 12:29:19 PM by Josh »

40hz

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Re: Dell: No refunds for Linux users who reject Microsoft's OS EULA
« Reply #7 on: March 19, 2010, 12:37:54 PM »
I was referring to my wallet in this instance ;-) I've used that pun on her during our money quarrels before :)


Ah...I see...

A woman I know (who holds high position in one of the megacorps) shared this observation with me when I asked what motivated her to put in 60+ hours per week - and 200K+ air miles per year(!) - climbing the corporate ladder:

Caution: Adult Content behind spoiler:

Spoiler
"There are only two things that can never be too big: penises & paychecks."


After seeing how she operated at work, I have no trouble believing she wasn't just saying that for effect. This was one scary lady. (Big time scary!)

 ;D :Thmbsup:


zridling

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Re: Dell: No refunds for Linux users who reject Microsoft's OS EULA
« Reply #8 on: March 19, 2010, 11:05:32 PM »
I'm always amazed at the excuses people will make for Microsoft or Apple. Agreed, I'd never buy such a machine, as there are a variety of Linux vendors for those who want to go that way. But they don't come with "PAY US MONEY UP FRONT" frauds. Imagine if a restaurant said the same: "I don't care if the teenager in the kitchen spit on your steak, sir, you ordered it, and we've already charged your credit card. If you don't like spit on your food, don't eat here!"

No integrity. No principles. No honor in that position.

If all sales are final, then have the guts to say so up front, in writing, rather than playing one excuse off on the other party -- "It's Dell's policy, but Microsoft's fault," or "It's Microsoft's policy, but Dell's fault." If your word is no good, then what this looks like is theft. The article says it's $115, but even if it's $3, stop charging someone for not using it if you refuse to ship the system without a OS. Pretty soon we're justifying Lehman Brothers, AIG, and Citigroup behaviors -- Pay me for robbing you. ha!!
« Last Edit: March 19, 2010, 11:34:00 PM by zridling »

Josh

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Re: Dell: No refunds for Linux users who reject Microsoft's OS EULA
« Reply #9 on: March 20, 2010, 02:52:46 AM »
I'm also always amazed at the way certain groups try and twist stories like this. The same goes both ways. This was obviously a man who KNEW what he was doing prior to purchase, knowing full well that costs of the OS are built into the cost of the system. Had he wanted a system with no OS he could have gone elsewhere or chosen another model from Dell (They do sell linux machines last I checked).

Dell makes no money off the OS, they make it on the hardware and warranty services. I am not a Microsoft, or any company for that matter, apologist but in this case I see no wrong-doing on the part of MS or Dell. I see a man who knew about a battle he was attempting to start prior to entering the purchasing arena. MS nor Dell made enough money to warrant this fight and I feel this is a waste of customer service personnel's time and energy to try and explain that the costs of the OS are marginalized in the cost of the hardware and support packages. Sorry Zaine, but I feel this is simply an attempt at making one company look bad for all the wrong reasons. I will fault dell on customer service, or shody replacement parts at times, but this time the only party who did anything wrong was the man who knew what he was doing prior to the start.
« Last Edit: March 20, 2010, 03:09:20 AM by Josh »

Dormouse

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Re: Dell: No refunds for Linux users who reject Microsoft's OS EULA
« Reply #10 on: March 20, 2010, 06:34:27 AM »
The issue is about abuse of a monopoly.

Monopolists can and do abuse their market power by providing their product "free" (or at a price lower than the production cost) and this shuts out potentially cheaper products from the market. This is what is actually happening here. MS tries to get as much money as it can from OEMs, but knows that it needs Windows pre-installed on most machines and will charge nothing if they have to (as in netbooks when Linux had a large part of the market). OEMs will take that as it keeps people buying their machines. The people who make claims for not using Windows are doing so because they disagree with this (and because they don't use Windows, and because the licensing terms for Windows allow/force them to reject Windows but not the machine) rather than because they just want to get some money back. It is the same issue the European Union had with MS over Internet Explorer being pre-installed. Dell has to be the target for the user rather than MS because the user's contract is with Dell and not MS.

This is a well trodden path and they have usually paid up. Seems to have gone quiet for a while and now they are saying 'No'. They probably feel that there is less negative traction in the publicity now that W7 is the OS rather than Vista.

Josh

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Re: Dell: No refunds for Linux users who reject Microsoft's OS EULA
« Reply #11 on: March 20, 2010, 07:26:17 AM »
What abuse is occurring here? The customer is attempting to get money back for something he was not charged for in the first place, unless he CHOSE to upgrade to a higher copy of windows (ala Win7 Pro/Ultimate). Dell is not selling very many desktops with Linux because the demand simply is not there. These linux distribution makers could work with dell to get it included on their systems, as they have the netbook/notebook sector, but they apparently aren't working hard enough. It should not be a hard sell given that Linux is free from the start thus negating the cost or "monopoly abuse" factor, it just appears that the consumer does not want/care for Linux. They want what they are used to.

Again, this gentleman seems intent on trying to get money back that he did not spend. He is NOT paying for Windows, he is paying for the hardware.

Carol Haynes

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Re: Dell: No refunds for Linux users who reject Microsoft's OS EULA
« Reply #12 on: March 20, 2010, 07:33:26 AM »
Simple solution is to return the whole system to Dell and say you want a full refund because you don't agree to the license.

Certainly under UK (and EU) consumer law you have the right to return any items bought from Distance Sellers (ie online or by telephone) for a full refund for any reason within a limited period after purchase.

Dormouse

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Re: Dell: No refunds for Linux users who reject Microsoft's OS EULA
« Reply #13 on: March 20, 2010, 08:00:18 AM »
What abuse is occurring here? The customer is attempting to get money back for something he was not charged for in the first place

Not so. The cost of Windows is not nil. Therefore the cost is bundled in the whole package and he will be paying more than if Windows were provided free to Dell.

If the cost to nil were nil, then MS would be potentially subject to anti-monopoly legislation.

Dell is not selling very many desktops with Linux because the demand simply is not there. These linux distribution makers could work with dell to get it included on their systems, as they have the netbook/notebook sector, but they apparently aren't working hard enough. It should not be a hard sell given that Linux is free from the start thus negating the cost or "monopoly abuse" factor, it just appears that the consumer does not want/care for Linux. They want what they are used to.

It is probably largely true that most of the public will pay the extra cost of Windows rather than use Linux. But this is very much affected by the difference in price. The netbook market showed that people were happy to buy computers with Linux when their was a large price difference but switched away when the difference became very small. As things stand, the consumer does not get the chance to consider a difference in cost as a factor since Windows is included 'free'.

, this gentleman seems intent on trying to get money back that he did not spend. He is NOT paying for Windows, he is paying for the hardware.

Not so. He is paying for a hardware/software bundle. He would have paid less if Windows were not bundled.

But basically it is an issue about monopoly. MS don't maintain their power and profit by being best, but by being ubiquitous. This is just one small consumer's attempt to say that they shouldn't be able to get away with these business practices free of challenge.

Dormouse

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Re: Dell: No refunds for Linux users who reject Microsoft's OS EULA
« Reply #14 on: March 20, 2010, 08:03:07 AM »
Simple solution is to return the whole system to Dell and say you want a full refund because you don't agree to the license.

Certainly under UK (and EU) consumer law you have the right to return any items bought from Distance Sellers (ie online or by telephone) for a full refund for any reason within a limited period after purchase.

And he'd have a right to do so anyway if he doesn't want to accept the terms of the MS licence. This would probably be pretty effective as the cost of the return to Dell would be greater than anything they would need to refund him for not using Windows.

Edvard

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Re: Dell: No refunds for Linux users who reject Microsoft's OS EULA
« Reply #15 on: March 21, 2010, 11:06:22 AM »
I think the real point here is that the wording of the agreement itself makes the issue crystal clear:
Quote
By using the software, you accept these terms. If you do not accept them, do not use the software. Instead, return it to the retailer for a refund or credit.
Whether the software has a value of a hundred bucks or two cents makes NO difference.
The man's point is that whatever costs are involved, the terms of his purchase clearly state that he is entitled to a reimbursement of that cost if he disagrees with the license of the software in question.
Period.

Whether he "knew what he was doing" or not (that scheming, conniving little Linux fanboi...) is really beside the point.
What he is trying to do is what he is legally entitled to do.
At the end of the day, Dell and/or Microsoft are guilty of breach of contract if they refuse to give him a refund.
End of story.

Quote
I'd also wish you good luck getting them to honor the warranty on your hardware if you switch your OS.
40Hz: You may be interested in this:
Linux FUD Pattern #8: Linux will void your warranty.

Carol Haynes

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Re: Dell: No refunds for Linux users who reject Microsoft's OS EULA
« Reply #16 on: March 21, 2010, 12:05:22 PM »
Quote
I'd also wish you good luck getting them to honor the warranty on your hardware if you switch your OS.
40Hz: You may be interested in this:
Linux FUD Pattern #8: Linux will void your warranty.

That assumes that all vendors do what HP do (at least in theory).

My experience of warranty claims suggests that many computer manufacturers will do anything they can to avoid warranty claims - eg. any hardware upgrade (such as installing a PCI card) or even just removing the side panel on a system and using any operating system not supplied by the manufacturer (I have come across examples of upgrading Windows to a new version will invalidate the warranty).

I even came across an example where a computer supplied with Vista Profession and a free downgrade to XP Professional (which was included as a physical set of CDs in the box with instructions). The manufacturer told the user the warranty was invalid because they downgraded to XP and then encountered a hardware problem!

I have also come across a number of ISPs who provide free routers now but in the past provided free USB broadband modems that won't allow users to upgrade to a new version of windows because the old modem won't support the new version and they won't replace the ancient hardware. AOL(UK) was one example though I think they have recanted on that now they have been taken over by TalkTalk.
« Last Edit: March 21, 2010, 12:07:19 PM by Carol Haynes »

40hz

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Re: Dell: No refunds for Linux users who reject Microsoft's OS EULA
« Reply #17 on: March 21, 2010, 02:50:08 PM »

Quote
I'd also wish you good luck getting them to honor the warranty on your hardware if you switch your OS.
40Hz: You may be interested in this:
Linux FUD Pattern #8: Linux will void your warranty.

Hey Edvard! Long time no hear... :)


I agree with what Linux FUD Pattern #8 says. (Great article BTW :Thmbsup:)

But please note that I didn't say installing Linux would void your warranty. All I was saying was that it can create problems if you need to avail yourself of it.

Again, many of the PC manufacturers include a clause that requires the customer to "cooperate" with their phone support people on "resolving" their service issue. And said "cooperation" can often involve performing "one or more remote diagnostic procedures" before the manufacturer will process a warranty claim or (especially!) dispatch an onsite service tech.

Because most PC support personnel (and software) will only work on the Windows platform, if you are running Linux, they can't perform their diagnostics...hence you are not cooperating with them to diagnose your problem...hence it cannot be covered under the terms of the warranty - QED.

This isn't a theoretical problem either. I've had clients who were running Linux on Dell, Gateway (and a few other major brands) be told that they would need to reinstall Windows before the manufacturer's support personnel could render assistance.

One company (I forget which) even had a clause in their warranty that gave them the right to refuse support until all software and hardware not installed by the manufacturer was removed from the PC. In short, add anything to your machine and they could decline to provide support or initiate a warranty claim. I wouldn't be surprised if some companies didn't go back to the 'good old days' of slapping those miserable non-removable decals on the back of PC cases. You know the ones? They're usually silver, and say something like: WARRANTY VOID IF BROKEN OR REMOVED.

Not to say you couldn't get around any of this. But it's always a major hassle that requires multiple phone calls until you connect with someone who is willing to help.

And Carol is right. Many companies will go to extraordinary lengths to get out of doing a no-charge repair or replacement. One of the best ways to do this is just to bump the aggravation factor up enough that the person who owns the machine goes elsewhere. I have business clients who have my company fix their in-warranty XXX* machines because they'd rather cut us a check than get on the phone with the manufacturer's support department.

Come to think of it, I should probably pay a commission to XXX. Because once my organization has established credibility by handling basic PC repairs, it opens the door for us to talk to the client about all our other service offerings. I've acquired several very good business accounts courtesy of the shabby treatment some of XXX's customers received when they called the support number.

 :)
-----------------
* Note: Yes... I'm hiding the name of company XXX for obvious reasons. But if you talk to your friends and clients, or maybe recall a similar experience you've had, then you'll probably be able to figure out who I'm talking about.


« Last Edit: March 21, 2010, 02:52:11 PM by 40hz »

Innuendo

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Re: Dell: No refunds for Linux users who reject Microsoft's OS EULA
« Reply #18 on: March 21, 2010, 07:37:08 PM »
I think the real point here is that the wording of the agreement itself makes the issue crystal clear:
Quote
By using the software, you accept these terms. If you do not accept them, do not use the software. Instead, return it to the retailer for a refund or credit.
Whether the software has a value of a hundred bucks or two cents makes NO difference.
The man's point is that whatever costs are involved, the terms of his purchase clearly state that he is entitled to a reimbursement of that cost if he disagrees with the license of the software in question.
Period.

I agree. Not too long ago a major American car manufacturer had a nationwide advertising campaign that stated in their commercials that if you did not like a car you bought you could return it within 30 days.

What Dell is pulling is something akin to if someone tried to return the car to the dealer & being denied return privileges, IMHO.

app103

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Re: Dell: No refunds for Linux users who reject Microsoft's OS EULA
« Reply #19 on: March 21, 2010, 11:35:23 PM »
Dell does sell machines without Windows, at a cheaper price, so you are being charged for Windows when you buy a Windows machine.

That being said, if you don't want Windows, don't buy a Dell with Windows, and save some money and not deal with the hassles of fighting with Dell to get a refund on the unwanted OS.

Screenshot - 3_22_2010 , 12_31_11 AM.png
Screenshot - 3_22_2010 , 12_30_52 AM.png
Screenshot - 3_22_2010 , 12_39_55 AM.png
« Last Edit: March 21, 2010, 11:40:10 PM by app103 »

zridling

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Re: Dell: No refunds for Linux users who reject Microsoft's OS EULA
« Reply #20 on: March 22, 2010, 02:16:27 AM »
Dell does sell machines without Windows, at a cheaper price, so you are being charged for Windows when you buy a Windows machine. That being said, if you don't want Windows, don't buy a Dell with Windows, and save some money and not deal with the hassles of fighting with Dell to get a refund on the unwanted OS.

Yea, but they don't sell all their machines as an option to ship without Windows. The point is that Dell is not honoring Microsoft's EULA for Win7, which applies to OEM machines. And yes, I agree. I've never bought a Dell. Like Apple, you buy a Dell and do what you're told. Otherwise, the customer should just shutup and go somewhere else.

Yea, that makes buyers feel good.

Dormouse

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Re: Dell: No refunds for Linux users who reject Microsoft's OS EULA
« Reply #21 on: March 22, 2010, 03:45:32 AM »
Dell does sell machines without Windows, at a cheaper price, so you are being charged for Windows when you buy a Windows machine. That being said, if you don't want Windows, don't buy a Dell with Windows, and save some money and not deal with the hassles of fighting with Dell to get a refund on the unwanted OS.

The original article was about someone in the UK who bought a netbook. Presumably he did not have an option to make that purchase without Windows (if there was it would have been very straightforward for him to be refunded any difference in price or to reject the goods and get the one he really wanted). Dell had previously refunded $115 to someone who bought a notebook.

Carol Haynes

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Re: Dell: No refunds for Linux users who reject Microsoft's OS EULA
« Reply #22 on: March 22, 2010, 04:58:03 AM »
I have an idea - why don't we all buy a Dell notebook and then return them all because we reject the EULA. It would give Dell pause for thought (and other manufacturers) if they were inundated with returns.

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Re: Dell: No refunds for Linux users who reject Microsoft's OS EULA
« Reply #23 on: March 22, 2010, 06:11:27 AM »
Industry wide software return policy, is that if the package has been opened (so the product key can be read), it can not be returned. Dell's OEM product key is on the side of the tower. *Shrug* ...The key could have been read. May be poor planning, may not. But I agree that the guy in question was looking-for-a-fight when he placed the order.

40hz

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Re: Dell: No refunds for Linux users who reject Microsoft's OS EULA
« Reply #24 on: March 22, 2010, 07:49:42 AM »
but they don't sell all their machines as an option to ship without Windows.

Or at least without some operating system installed.

Getting a rig without an OS is a special order item for most manufacturers. I can't fault them for that. They need to do something to avoid the inevitable scam play: <*whine*>I don't understand...your ads all say that your machines come with Windows installed....

And then there's that little clause in the Microsoft OEM licensing contract about accounting & assurance for what got sold and shipped. Some ways to assure MS they're not giving copies of Windows away (more on that in a moment) is to:

  • Only sell non-OS machines to businesses or institutions - or in bulk
  • Not sell machines without an installed OS at all - or -
  • Just take the easiest way out and only sell machines with Windows installed.

Since Windows accounts for +90% of all desktops, that third option is the usual policy most OEMs and system aggregators follow.


Regarding the notion of a "free" copy of Windows - there ain't no such thing!  :tellme:

 OEMs can say a copy of Windows is "included" in the price. They can say something "comes with" Windows. They can even absorb the cost to keep their selling prices down. But at no time are they allowed to say or imply that the copy of Windows is" free." Microsoft doesn't allow that.

ALL copies of Windows are SOLD. Even the copies Microsoft occasionally gives away get charged to an internal cost center, or to the marketing budget. (Yes, MS "pays" for the copies they use just like everybody else - even if no cash changes hands.) There is no SKU code for free Windows. And if there is no SKU code - it doesn't exist.

Microsoft does this for two reasons: First, it's to ram home the notion that Windows has monetary value. Second, it provides a legal theory should they need to go after people who are acquiring copies through unauthorized channels.

DOS was widely bootlegged. And Windows for Workgroups (along with 95, 98, and 2K despite CD installation keys) was easily found on ten times more machines than the number of copies sold. And so it went until WGA came along and put a stop to casual piracy.

By insisting on getting paid for every copy, and taking reasonable steps to prevent people from illegally installing it through ignorance (i.e. that's the famous "any moron in a hurry" test), they've set the stage to get real protection from the courts. Which you might have noticed Microsoft has gotten since they introduced WGA.

And that's why there is not (and never will be) any such thing as a "free copy of Windows."

 :)



« Last Edit: March 22, 2010, 08:00:37 AM by 40hz »