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Italian consumer group sues Microsoft over Windows refunds

By Emil · 22 replies
Jan 25, 2011
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  1. Italian consumer group Association for the Rights of Users and Consumers (ADUC) has filed a lawsuit against Microsoft, complaining that it is too hard to get a refund for unwanted preinstalled copies of Windows. ADUC argues that while hardware manufacturers share some part of the blame, Microsoft is primarily responsible.

    Read the whole story
  2. Mizzou

    Mizzou TS Enthusiast Posts: 783

    Think this issue needs to remain between the consumer and the hardware manufacturers.
  3. Leeky

    Leeky TS Evangelist Posts: 3,357   +116

    Your probably right, but in any case it needs to be completely clear cut and simple to get a refund. I actually think manufacturers should be forced to offer the option at point of sale as to whether an OS should be included.

    I'm not saying they should offer and support Linux, but the buyer should be given the option to either pay the price for Windows, or be offered a discount proportionate to the refund given if the buyer doesn't want it. It makes life easier for everyone.
  4. gwailo247

    gwailo247 TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,007   +18

    "Tech support, how can I help you?"
    "My computer doesn't work."
    "Ok, I have your order number right here, how can I help you."
    "Well, when I turned it on, it says insert system disk. I want to go online."
    "Well, ma'am, you chose to buy a computer with no operating system installed."
    "What do you mean, I said I didn't want Windows."
    "And we listened ma'am, no Windows on your computer"
    "But it doesn't work."
    "Yes ma'am, you need an operating system installed to have a computer work."
    "I thought you guys did that."
    "We do ma'am, we offer Windows, which you did not want. So we shipped you a system without an OS like you wanted."
    "How am I supposed to use it?"
    "Install an operating system on it."
    "can't you guys do that?"
    "yes, but you didn't want that."
    "why would you sell me a computer with no operating system on it? I want to speak to a manager"
  5. Hmmm...Buying a new computer.....with no OS pre-installed.......I'll be honest the thought NEVER occurred to me. I always just thought about building one. But I will say what gwailo247 says probably holds true as well.
  6. MrAnderson

    MrAnderson TS Maniac Posts: 488   +10

    I super agree with you.

    The OEM needs to provde hardware with out windows installed or simply state that this is the package take it or leave it.

    If customers stop purchasing harware from such OEMs as a result, the OEM will be forced to rethink the product line...

    I'm more worried about PC hardware going up in price as the result of market anaylysis saying PC purchasing is on the decline and the new focus on mobile devices... If you want a Windows free PC, I suggest there is nothing better than building your own.
  7. MrAnderson

    MrAnderson TS Maniac Posts: 488   +10

    My agreement was with Mizzou, sorry...

    **when I pressed reply I thought it was related to the comment I clicked on...**
  8. Leeky

    Leeky TS Evangelist Posts: 3,357   +116

    I did say priced with an OS, but also offered cheaper without it. So the everyday customers would avoid this, and only those that truly want it without Windows get it without it, and cheaper to boot.

    I guess its possible, but you'd have to be rather dim to deliberately order a computer without an OS, then moan because it doesn't have one. ;)
  9. Benny26

    Benny26 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,376   +52

    Europe forced Microsoft to offer browser choice...Maybe something similar could be in the pipeline for OS choice on new products for retailers in the future?..I've gotta admit, walking into my local PC superstore, it's just awash with Microsoft.
  10. gwailo247

    gwailo247 TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,007   +18

    I know, I've already been chastised by Cranky for trying to be funny. =)

    I just really can't imagine someone going to Dell to buy a "blank" computer. I can just see it, "look honey, if we don't buy Windows we can save a hundred bucks" and then the above conversation takes place when the computer arrives. they'd probably get more complaints from people who accidentally bought a system-less computer than they would about getting a refund for the Windows.
  11. Mizzou

    Mizzou TS Enthusiast Posts: 783

    The question is where do you draw the line. For example, let's say I want to buy an iPhone but I don't want iOS on it, I'd prefer to have android preloaded ... same for tablets, netbooks and so forth. You can't just single Microsoft out and ignore all the other manufacturers that are doing exactly the same thing. Is there some particular reason that Apple isn't being called to task in this lawsuit?
  12. treeski

    treeski TS Evangelist Posts: 1,006   +248

    I don't see why Microsoft should be obligated to refund a purchase of Windows that came with a computer. If you're buying the PC, it should be awfully clear that it comes with Windows. If you're not okay with that, take it up with the computer manufacturer. It's as simple as that.
  13. If you go to Some online stores in the U K you can purchase without an OS.
    Overclockers lists without operating system and has dropdown box to choose witch you want and extra cost.
  14. madboyv1

    madboyv1 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,521   +411

    Because the user bought a PC with a Microsoft OS. While I want to say Mizzou has an excellent point (with people wanting to use Apple Hardware with a non-apple OS), there inlies the problem: Apple makes the OS and the hardware, so they technically can say what THEY want to be put on their hardware, which is why they are so adamant against jailbreaking.
  15. Mizzou

    Mizzou TS Enthusiast Posts: 783

    This is straight off the Apple Store site for the Mac Pro which by the way carries an Intel processor just like the majority of PC's being sold today.

    If it's ok for Apple to manufacture the hardware and then effectively dictate that you run Snow Leopard how can you sue Microsoft when they don't even manufacture the PC that Windows is being loaded on? Went through the Mac Pro configuration options and didn't find an alternate OS option, so in other words if you buy this PC from Apple you can run Snow Leopard or you can run Snow Leopard. Shouldn't I be able to request a refund from Apple because I'd rather run Windows on the Mac Pro?
  16. tonylukac

    tonylukac TS Evangelist Posts: 1,376   +72

    Great goint, Italy. I bet the pope is involved. Just try to buy a computer with linux preinstalled, just try. Some kind of conspiracy prevents the sale of computers that cost $130 less without windows.
  17. Tanstar

    Tanstar TS Evangelist Posts: 656   +200

    Have you met the average computer owner? Most aren't very sharp. Are there really people that are computer savvy enough to use LINUX, but stupid enough not to build their own computer?
  18. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 14,168   +3,474

    Well OK. I picked this up as satire straightaway, and frankly I'm surprised that the UK contingent was apparently unable to do this, especially since it so resembles, (in style), Monty Python.

    And no, it isn't really funny, but it is quite whimsical, and a tad frightening as well! You can actually picture this conversation taking place, without too much stretching of one's imagination.

    If you're willing to accept a bit of constructive criticism, next time make the CS rep dumber, and give him an Indian accent. There should be a few times the customer is put on hold, while CS tries to figure out what an "operating system" actually is.

    (OK, I know writing in an "Indian accent" has a high degree of difficulty. Having been under British rule for so long, their pronunciation in English is spot on, to a degree where you can't really misspell words to match it).
  19. madboyv1

    madboyv1 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,521   +411

    My argument was more for the tablet/smartphone market, where they are the OEM for the hardware so they can dictate what OS runs on their hardware. Likewise, the same could be said for their mac books and mac pros; the hardware and original drivers are selected specifically for their OS. Granted the same could be said for other computer systems, but apple is sorta in it's own league in that regard. By default, other OEMs do not have to force one option; many do so because it is easier and I don't blame them. Also, many people in the EU who happen to have large voices tends to hate on Microsoft all the time; marketshare (in the PC sector) is a large reason why you don't hear much about Apple, except when they have a whole line of batteries 'gone done sploding' on people's laps/tables.

    Plus, people generally buy Macs BECAUSE they want the OS, or the name brand, or the spiffy modern looking casing. So I'm not sure where the argument is.

    Anyways, getting past semantics, the last paragraph of the news clip above is very true. Doing a cursory skimming of the OEM Pre-installed Windows 7 Home Premium Licensing terms, every single mention of refund is coupled with "from the installer/manufacturer". Considering how marked down prebuilt computers usually are, an OS is essentially a free add-on, so I don't really see the gripe. Either way, unless the EU for whatever reason decides to make a mess of things, this lawsuit is not going anywhere. =p
  20. fpsgamerJR62

    fpsgamerJR62 TS Rookie Posts: 489

    The way I understand it is that when you buy a branded / OEM PC, the OS is already part of the package price and you don't get to mix and match parts let alone installed software. If you don't want to use Microsoft Windows, then go the DIY route. The computer shop where I usually buy my parts and software also offers new PCs without any OS installed although they usually they install some version of DOS. One of the store techs once told me that most buyers of bare, i.e. no OS installed, PCs just want to skimp on the price of a Windows license and usually end up installing bootleg copies of Windows and Office once they bring their new PCs home.
  21. Leeky

    Leeky TS Evangelist Posts: 3,357   +116

    To suggest they are retarded is a bit extreme though.

    And yes I have, I fix 20+ computers a week for "average" users of varying experience, from those that can't even install a program to those that can quite confidently change settings and navigate the computer.

    Some have happily moved over to Linux. It depends very much on the intended usage of the computer. If its just web browser, watching the occasional video, and speaking to friends using msn, Linux is a very good alternative that turns a slower Windows based computer into something substantially faster.

    Like I said before, its not about forcing Linux on people, its about giving them the option to choose. Granted most will choose Windows, but some might be prepared to try something else.
  22. TorturedChaos

    TorturedChaos TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 821   +29

    I have to say the idea of buying a retail computer w/o an OS on it never really crossed my mind. Always went hand in hand in my mind - walmart POS computer, comes with windows. And its hard to see a huge amount of appeal to the average user tho. Most people who install Linux and want to run it just build their own computer.
  23. I'd have to disagree with you on the point about Indians speaking perfect english.
    Had to ring to Microsoft support the other day to activate my os.
    It was a nightmare trying to communicate the long set of Id-numbers to the Indian woman on the other end. Needless to say that didn't manage to activate my OS, as the key she generated from my the aforesaid Id wouldn't work.

    Otherwise I think you point has a certain, though limited, validity.
    I would love to save the OS license money on my 'personal' computer purchases (the other was work-related), as the first thing I do when I buy a computer is install LInux on it. - I stopped building my own pc's years ago.

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