EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

08.28.08

Forced Windows Purchases: A Decade Later, Still No Improvement

Posted in Antitrust, Asia, Dell, Europe, GNU/Linux, Law, Microsoft, Vista, Windows at 7:12 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The regulators are fast asleep. Apart from the fact that Microsoft makes profit from GNU/Linux preinstalls [1, 2, 3], it’s still nearly impossible to find and then to get them.

Taiwan, China, Poland, [1, 2], and Hungary have formally complained about Microsoft this month, but not the United States. As pointed out yesterday (see the comment at the bottom), the American (US) regulators are indifferent because they are themselves corrupt. Meanwhile, says a reader, Steve Ballmer’s trip to Portugal might be aimed at intercepting Free software.

It’s not grim news all around though. Yesterday, for example, this article showed up and it proves that some people do get in trouble for buying Microsoft. Quebec’s government comes under legal scrutiny, which is not exactly surprising given prior complaints about the procurement process there. It’s equally bad in the UK and elsewhere.

Quebec’s open-source software association is suing the provincial government, saying it is giving preferential treatment to Microsoft Corp. by buying the company’s products rather than using free alternatives.

The lawsuit by Facil was lodged with the Quebec Superior Court on July 15 and made public on Wednesday. In it, the group says the provincial government has refused to entertain competing bids from all software providers, opting instead to supply public-sector departments with products bought from proprietary vendors such as Microsoft and Oracle Corp.

As a side note, speaking of lawsuits, Novell still has a lawsuit against Microsoft and it could win hundreds of millions of dollars. This was mentioned before as a possible reason for Microsoft to buy Novell once it becomes a suitable target (with .NET, patents and all that).

Steve Ballmer rides SUSEMicrosoft may have given up on its old strategy. See the previous post about a patents revenue strategy and recall those SCO analogies . Microsoft suffers from a customer retention issue. Could Microsoft buy out the lawsuit and the competitor? It could be less expensive than buying out threats like XenSource (using Citrix as a proxy) due to competitive bids and a large numbers of players in this space. Naturally, GNU and Linux can spread endlessly between vendors, which keeps them secure from hostile takeovers, but software patents change this. Novell and Microsoft actively try to change this using “licensing”. This exclusionary move shows just why Novell and Microsoft are already becoming the same company.

“This exclusionary move shows just why Novell and Microsoft are already becoming the same company.”Let us return to exclusion at the OEM level. Exclusionary OEM contracts is something that we covered before and this article from the Czech Republic was mentioned some days ago. It shows just how impossible Microsoft has made it to choose an operating system other than Windows (or no operating system at all, i.e. just bare-metal hardware bundles). Over at Groklaw, Pamela just wrote: “Isn’t it ridiculous that it’s nearly impossible to avoid buying Vista on a new computer, even if you have no desire to get Vista? And then Microsoft counts such “sales” as indicating an interest in Vista.”

Going a long way back, you can still find this detailed page on the impossibility of obtaining a Toshiba computer without Microsoft software. Not much has change since then.

I hope that this web page will prove useful to those people who want to purchase a laptop without Microsoft Windows. The short summary is:

* It is near impossible to buy a laptop without Windows
* The Microsoft Software License Agreement allows you to return the software if you do not agree to its terms.
* It is difficult, but not impossible to get Toshiba (at least in Australia) to send you a cheque in return for the Windows License.

Here is another good page, which is no longer live, but it has a copy on the Internet Archive.

My name is David Chun. I am an undergraduate student at UCLA, where I am in the UCLA Center for American Public Policy and Politics. I am working this spring as an intern at the Consumer Project on Technology. On May 25, 1998 through June 3, 1998, I called 12 computer manufacturers, known in the industry as original equipment manufactures (OEMs), attempting to buy computers without a Microsoft Windows operating systems.

This is not competition. It’s free market distortion.

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

6 Comments

  1. Jens Staal said,

    September 11, 2008 at 1:25 pm

    Gravatar

    I can definitely agree that it was nearly impossible to get a laptop without windows here in Europe. I checked with Dell and others and they all refused (Dell only offered an ubuntu installation for companies and not to individuals, and many vendors could customize hardware, but not leave out a default Windows installation!). The only one I found was the danish company Zepto, where the Windows Tax was refreshingly visible as you assembled your computer…

    Ps. I do hope that your rants about Novell proves to be false… because I am a very happy OpenSuse 11 user … Ds.

  2. Jose_X said,

    September 11, 2008 at 3:36 pm

    Gravatar

    >> Ps. I do hope that your rants about Novell proves to be false…

    Could you be more specific. BN posts a bunch of facts along with opinions. What are you disputing?

  3. Roy Schestowitz said,

    September 11, 2008 at 3:41 pm

    Gravatar

    It’s not disputed that OpenSUSE works. In fact, I often stress that it’s one of the best distributions out there. Technical behaviour and ethical behaviour are separate though and we needn’t fall for one to encourage the other. It’s better to put one’s money and userbase where it serves Free software, as opposed to the Microsoft ‘cabal’.

  4. Jose_X said,

    September 11, 2008 at 6:52 pm

    Gravatar

    The newest Mandriva (2009 beta? and even 2008.1?) have gotten very good reviews. Lot’s of people also seem to like Mint (Ubuntu deriv I think). PCLOS is like a cousin of Mandriva. Fedora tends to be among the more cutting edge. There are many others, but it’s difficult to know what will strike a random person’s fancy.

    We can use and contribute to make any distro the best. Why would be pick the one that most helps Microsoft maintain their monopolies? I have 0 interest in Microsoftizing Linux. Using Linux software is the beginning step of making Linux what you want it to become with the help of the developers and the rest of the community. .. Um.. choose wisely?

  5. Roy Schestowitz said,

    September 12, 2008 at 1:12 am

    Gravatar

    Yes, I’m on my Mandriva in my main PC at the moment.

  6. Jens Staal said,

    September 12, 2008 at 4:17 am

    Gravatar

    I was a “disto hopper” between some of the major distros (kubuntu, fedora etc) and got stuck at the OpenSuse mostly because of the complete “look and feel” of it…and the chameleon is cute. That only illustrates that there are often irrational reasons that makes the final call…

    It was not until after that I heard about the MS-Novell thing.
    Personally I am no fanatic MS hater as such, but I am very much against their monopolistic position and how their dominance feeds itself. I am a strong believer in a market with several equally strong alternatives (competition drives development) and do not wish a total demise of the MS OS, but a more level distribution of OSes which will inspire software/game makers to produce cross-platform products.
    In particular, the lack of choice of not buying Microsoft’s product when you want to buy a new piece of hardware is something that angers me quite a bit.

    Because of this, I am not quite yet ready to leave my favorite distro (OpenSuse) for plain ideological reasons… but if things get worse and some of the dystopic things mentioned on this blog and elsewhere starts to be true – I will definitely abandon it. On the other hand, Novell does not earn one cent from me running their software…

What Else is New


  1. Erosion of Patent Quality Enables Patent Extortion With Large Portfolios of Low Validity Rate

    Revisiting the EPO's vision of poor patent examination and the effect of discriminatory granting practices, favouring patent bullies such as Microsoft (which actively attacks Linux using low-quality and usually pure software patents)



  2. The EPO's Francesco Zaccà Presenting in Turin Alongside Patent Trolls (Like the Patent Mafia Sisvel) and Lobbyists/Front Groups for Software Patents, UPC

    Benjamin Henrion (FFII) on seeing the EPO alongside patent trolls and other nefarious actors, doing what they do best, which is undermining public interests and harming patent quality



  3. The EPO, USPTO, and Patent Microcosm Peddle Myths About Patents in Public Universities and Research

    Tackling some of the commonly-spread myths about patents as "saving lives" and "promoting research" (in practice leading to the death of poor people and promoting trolls)



  4. Large Corporations' Lobbyist David Kappos Disgraces Former Employer USPTO by Meddling in Their Affairs on Software Patents, Downplaying the Supreme Court

    The latest lobbying from David Kappos, who blatantly exploits his connections in patent circles to promote software patents and work towards their resurgence after Alice v CLS Bank



  5. Journal of Intellectual Property Law and Practice Calls the European Patent Office “Rotten”, Other Sources Scrutinise Recent Moves

    The patent office which was once known for being the best bar none is rotting under the Frenchman Benoît Battistelli, who made himself and his friends the main clients of the Office



  6. PTAB Emerges as Hero of USPTO Because Quality of Patents Improves, Software Patents Are Effectively Dead (or Dying Once Reassessed)

    With help from the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) -- not just patent courts -- software patents drop like flies by the thousands



  7. Creative Technology, Now Operating in 'Patent Troll' Mode, Shot Down by the ITC; Jawbone Too Shot Down

    Some good news from the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC), which may have put an end to Creative's new war on Android (using old patents)



  8. Corporate Media in India Misrepresents Startups to Push for Software Patents

    A parade of misinformation as seen in Indian (but English-speaking) press this week as questions about patentability of software resurface



  9. Links 25/8/2016: Linux Turns 25, NetworkManager Turns 1.4

    Links for the day



  10. Links 24/8/2016: More From LinuxCon, Uganda Wants FOSS

    Links for the day



  11. Links 23/8/2016: GNOME 3.22 Beta, Android 7.0 Nougat

    Links for the day



  12. The Linux Foundation Gives Microsoft (Paid-for) Keynote Position While Microsoft Extorts (With Patents) Lenovo and Motorola Over Linux Use

    This morning's reminder that Nadella is just another Ballmer (with a different face); Motorola and Lenovo surrender to Microsoft's patent demands and will soon put Microsoft spyware/malware on their Linux-powered products to avert costly legal battles



  13. Not Just President Battistelli: EPO Vice-Presidents Are Still Intentionally Misrepresenting EPO Staff

    Evidence serving to show that EPO Vice-Presidents are still intentionally misrepresenting EPO staff representatives and misleading everyone in order to defend Battistelli



  14. Battistelli the Liar Causes a Climate of Confrontation in French Politics, Lies About Patent Quality (Among Many Other Things)

    Battistelli's lies are coming under increased scrutiny inside and outside the European Patent Office (EPO), where patent quality has been abandoned in order to artificially elevate figures



  15. The Collapse of Software Patents and Patent Law Firms Trying to “Overcome” Alice

    The United States continues its gradual crackdown on software patents (which are viewed as abstract and thus unpatentable), whereas in Europe things are murkier than ever



  16. Apple's Patent Wars Against Android/Linux Make Patent Trolls Stronger

    Apple's insistence that designs should be patentable could prove to be collectively expensive, as patent trolls would then use a possible SCOTUS nod to launch litigation campaigns



  17. Links 22/8/2016: Linux 4.8 RC3, Linux Mint 18 “Sarah” KDE Beta

    Links for the day



  18. Links 21/8/2016: Apple and Microsoft Down, Systemd Spreading to Mount

    Links for the day



  19. Links 20/8/2016: Android Domination, FSFE summit 2016

    Links for the day



  20. Patents Roundup: Trolls Dominate Litigation, PTAB Crushes Patents, Patent Box Regime Persists, and OIN Explains Itself

    Another roundup of patent news from around the Web with special focus on software patenting



  21. The Cost/Toll of the 'New' EPO and Where All That Money Goes or Comes From

    The European Patent Office has become a servant of the rich and powerful (including large foreign corporations) and even its own employees now pay the price associated with misguided new policies (or 'reforms' as Battistelli habitually refers to these)



  22. Links 19/8/2016: Linux Mint With KDE, Linux Foundation's PNDA

    Links for the day



  23. The End of an Era at the USPTO as Battistelli-Like (EPO) Granting Policies Are Over

    The United States is seeing the potency of patents -- especially software patents (which make up much of the country's troll cases) -- challenged by courts and by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB)



  24. Battistelli's European Patent Office Goes to the United States to Speak About the UPC and Software Patents

    The European Patent Office is showing its utter contempt -- not just disregard -- for the very fundamental rules that put it in its place and brought it into existence



  25. Turkey Subjected to the European Patent Convention (EPC) But Benoît Battistelli is Not?

    The ‘constitutional crisis’ at the European Patent Office in the context of Turkey, which has signed "the EPC and as such recognises the competence and the decisions of the institutions which have been introduced in the convention."



  26. Links 18/8/2016: EFF Slams Vista 10, Linux Foundation Makes PNDA

    Links for the day



  27. Links 17/8/2016: GNOME and Debian Anniversaries

    Links for the day



  28. Personal Audio LLC and Patent Troll Jim Logan Demonstrate the Harms of Software Patents and Why They Must Never Spread to Europe

    Jim Logan of Personal Audio (a notorious Texas-based patent troll) is still fighting with his bogus patent, having already caused enormous damage with a single software patent that should never have been granted in the first place (due to prior art, not just Alice)



  29. The Patent Microcosm Hopes That the Originators of Software Patents Will Undermine the Patent Trial and Appeal Board

    Now that the actions of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), which have been consistently upheld by the CAFC in precedential decisions, are suddenly being questioned the patent microcosm gets all giddy and tries to undermine PTAB (again)



  30. That Time When the Administrative Council Helped Battistelli Crush Oversight (Audit Committee) and What ILO Said About It a Month Ago

    Things are becoming ever more troublesome at the EPO as the Administrative Council enjoys inaction from the International Labour Organization (ILO), in spite of its role in destroying much-needed oversight at the behest of Battistelli


CoPilotCo

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

CoPilotCo

Recent Posts