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Microsoft Sued Over Vista-To-XP Downgrade Fees

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the can't-win-for-losing dept.

The Courts 479

Krojack writes with this excerpt from Computerworld: "Los Angeles resident Emma Alvarado charged Microsoft with multiple violations of Washington state's unfair business practices and consumer protection laws over its policy of barring computer makers from continuing to offer XP on new PCs after Vista's early-2007 launch. Alvarado is seeking compensatory damages and wants the case declared a class-action suit. ... Irked at having to pay a fee for downgrading a new Lenovo notebook to XP, Alvarado said that Microsoft had used its position as the dominant operating system maker to 'require consumers to purchase computers pre-installed with the Vista operating system and to pay additional sums to "downgrade" to the Windows XP operating system.'"

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And for $20 more ... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26851571)

Linux can be installed.

Re:And for $20 more ... (5, Insightful)

Daengbo (523424) | more than 5 years ago | (#26851713)

There's a big question about whether the courts can punish a manufacturer for what businesses in the retail chain sell.

I'd like to see MS taken down several notches, but unless there's some smoking gun, I would expect it.

Re:And for $20 more ... (3, Interesting)

hackstraw (262471) | more than 5 years ago | (#26852005)

Actually, where I work we paid 3x for Windows to run Linux on a machine. 1 for Vista, 2 to change that option to XP, and 3 we have a site license for XP.

Granted some of this was due to stupidity of people here, but the shear fact that we even had to pay beyond our site license for Windows to run Linux makes the phase "Microsoft tax" more than just a saying.

Re:And for $20 more ... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26852031)

Granted some of this was due to stupidity of people here, but the shear [sic] fact

Including yourself, I take it.

Re:And for $20 more ... (4, Insightful)

cdrguru (88047) | more than 5 years ago | (#26852135)

If you are going to buy pre-made computers with an operating system, what do you expect? The market for computers without an operating system is zero, so nobody sells them that way. You can, however, put your own together for often somewhat less than the cost of the pre-made computer.

Then you get to choose how to put an operating system on it. Usually, for most people, it is very expensive to do this because you end up paying full retail price for the operating system. Whereas the pre-made computer folks are selling you a finished product with an operating system they paid $50 for instead of $200 like you can.

However, if you have a site license, are paying for MSDN, Action Pack, Empower or any one of a myriad of other programs, you pay zero for the operating system on your nice put-together computer.

Now how many people can actually do this? Oh, maybe 1%. Do you think you are going to get anywhere selling a product that only 1% of the people in the US can actually use?

Re:And for $20 more ... (0, Flamebait)

MrNaz (730548) | more than 5 years ago | (#26852293)

"myriad other" NOT "myriad of other"
The word "myriad" is not used in the same way collective nouns are.

Re:And for $20 more ... (4, Informative)

TheVelvetFlamebait (986083) | more than 5 years ago | (#26852387)

From Wikipedia: [wikipedia.org]

In English, the term "myriad" is most commonly used to refer to a large number of an unspecified size. In this way "myriad" can be used as either a noun or an adjective. Thus both "there are myriad people outside" and "there is a myriad of people outside" are correct.

Re:And for $20 more ... (3, Interesting)

TheVelvetFlamebait (986083) | more than 5 years ago | (#26852363)

It wouldn't hurt to offer a wiped hard-drive as a purchase option. Even if 1% of people would use it, it would cost extremely little to implement, and it would definitely not hurt other sales.

Re:And for $20 more ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26852197)

There are hundreds of companies that sell PCs with Linux pre-installed. It's hard to feel sorry for you if you're dumb enough to buy Windows when you actually want to run Linux.

Also, why the fuck would you downgrade Vista to XP if you're just going to format and install Linux anyway? How is that in any way Microsoft's fault?

Just giver her Windows 7 (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 5 years ago | (#26851573)

and call it even.

Re:Just giver her Windows 7 (4, Funny)

hansraj (458504) | more than 5 years ago | (#26851597)

Actually, what you are suggesting is very odd!

Re:Just giver her Windows 7 (2, Insightful)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 5 years ago | (#26851815)

I don't know if it's a weird psychological experiment you're doing, but after reading your title "Just give her Windows 7", I read your post as "and call it eleven".

Re:Just giver her Windows 7 (-1, Offtopic)

geekoid (135745) | more than 5 years ago | (#26851933)

heh, I do weird stuff like that on /. often. I've even started several memes.

Speaking of which; Giraffe!

Re:Just giver her Windows 7 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26851929)

Why? Windows 7 is "just not all that."

I don't understand this "Windows 7 is better than gawd" crap that is peddled here and elsewhere. It's not. It is Vista plus a service pack. It fixes NOTHING that was wrong with Vista. Talk about hype..Microsoft stumbled into one of Apple's brainwaves for a brief moment and this created Windows 7.

Re:Just giver her Windows 7 (-1)

Vectronic (1221470) | more than 5 years ago | (#26852009)

"It fixes NOTHING..."

Actually it does, however superficial the changes may be, but I cannot stand Vista, SP1 or not, even on a Q6600 with 2GB's of Ram (not the best machine, but certainly enough), it is intolerable for me, however, Win7 (as it currently stands) runs quite well even on my P4 2.6GHz with 1.5GB's of RAM, which is well below most peoples PC's these days.

The copy/move/delete dialogs, and the missing information/links panel in folders (ie: XP Explorer, the new ones are a huge waste of space) are about the only thing that annoys me. That and ATI's *beta* drivers (at the time), crashed it.

It's by no means the perfect OS, but a lot of us seem to prefer it far more than Vista, which, is at least more on the upswing than a backstep. But it is all just preference, and expectations.

Re:Just giver her Windows 7 (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26852017)

I completely agree with this.
Where is all this "modular operating system" i heard so much about? All the kickass features they went on about? The "change" we all wanted?
So much for that, yet another case of Microsoft's poisoned food.
When i saw Windows 7 Beta, all i heard was "VISTA VISTA VISTA VISTA" echoing in my head over and over.

Screw Microsoft, they can go to hell now, i am sticking with WinXP for now and fully switching over to Linux later on, i've had enough of their bullshit.

upgrade! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26851575)

is not a downgrade is a upgrade.

Am I missing something...? (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26851611)

You want another one of their products and it's somehow your RIGHT to have it for free ?

It came with a version of windows on it, if you don't like it, buy another version.

Re:Am I missing something...? (4, Insightful)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 5 years ago | (#26851699)

It should be my RIGHT to choose - ie. not to pay for Vista if I'm not going to use it. A sale is a sale, Microsoft shouldn't care whether it's Vista or XP.

Re:Am I missing something...? (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 5 years ago | (#26851943)

Nope, life begins at install~

Re:Am I missing something...? (1)

angelwolf71885 (1181671) | more than 5 years ago | (#26852101)

its not abortion its gene therapy

Re:Am I missing something...? (0, Troll)

the_humeister (922869) | more than 5 years ago | (#26852117)

Okay, I want Windows 98 on my computer. I'll sue Microsoft to get it too.

Re:Am I missing something...? (5, Insightful)

jlarocco (851450) | more than 5 years ago | (#26852295)

It should be my RIGHT to choose - ie. not to pay for Vista if I'm not going to use it.

It IS your right to choose. And when Lenovo tells you that they're selling a machine with Vista on it, and you choose to buy it, you're making your decision. I know it may sound crazy, but if you don't want a PC with Vista, you shouldn't buy a PC with Vista.

I'd be a bit more sympathetic if they didn't tell her it came with Vista, but that doesn't seem very likely. All of the machines on lenovo.com make it very clear which operating system they have installed. And when you buy a machine in a store, there's almost always a sticker on the box listing the OS, amount of memory, hard drive storage, etc.. She knew what they were selling, and she chose to buy it.

less freedom if you're a monopolist (5, Interesting)

Trepidity (597) | more than 5 years ago | (#26851779)

If Microsoft were letting OEMs sell either version of Windows for vaguely similar prices, it'd be okay. The issue is that they're effectively giving away Vista, while charging for XP. Now companies often can give things away as loss leaders, but monopolists are more constrained in whether they can undertake that sort of activity.

This case is somewhat unusual because most of the lawsuits regarding dumping are e.g. giving away IE to kill Netscape, not giving away one of your products to try to kill one of your own other products. But it's possible that Washington state business law (vs. federal anti-trust law) has something that reaches that.

Re:less freedom if you're a monopolist (3, Interesting)

PsychicX (866028) | more than 5 years ago | (#26851957)

I don't get it. It SOUNDS like this is alleging that Microsoft is behaving anti-competitive by suppressing their OWN product in favor of a newer one that people don't like. In other words, it appears that the suit alleges that Microsoft is conducting anti-competitive behavior against itself. Am I misunderstanding something? For that matter, why are they even required to give the older product at the same price? You can't frame Vista and XP as competitors and say Vista's anti-competitive behavior is destroying XP, because competition laws product companies, not products.

Again, let me know if I'm totally missing something here.

Re:less freedom if you're a monopolist (3, Interesting)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 5 years ago | (#26852155)

I don't get it. It SOUNDS like this is alleging that Microsoft is behaving anti-competitive by suppressing their OWN product in favor of a newer one that people don't like. In other words, it appears that the suit alleges that Microsoft is conducting anti-competitive behavior against itself.

Actually, the idea here is that MS is forcing one product on everyone who buys a computer (bundled price) then charging a second price to get a different version. Theoretically, they have to refund the cost of Vista, but I'm not aware of any reason antitrust laws would require them to sell XP. More complexly, one could argue that some of the changes in Vista itself could constitute abuse as it is bundled with "anti-features" designed to benefit MS over the purchaser... but that's a lot harder to demonstrate to the courts.

You can't frame Vista and XP as competitors...

Not all antitrust abuse addresses harm to competitors. Some, such as price fixing, directly harms consumers and they can ask for reparations in civil court.

You people have it wrong. (5, Informative)

urbanriot (924981) | more than 5 years ago | (#26852065)

Microsoft isn't charging extra. The OEM's are charging extra for Windows XP Downgrade which Microsoft allows users and OEM's to install FOR FREE. OEM's have migrated to Vista and don't want to maintain deployment sets, support documentation and drivers for both operating systems so they're charging this extra XP tariff.

As a small OEM, I give my clients the option to go with either Windows XP or Windows Vista, as we sell relatively similar base models so it's easy for us to maintain concurrent deployment sets for both operating systems. This extra charge isn't Microsoft's fault.

Re:less freedom if you're a monopolist (1)

RoFLKOPTr (1294290) | more than 5 years ago | (#26852455)

The issue is that they're effectively giving away Vista, while charging for XP.

So Microsoft isn't allowed to change their price scheme? Should they charge money for free buttons and hats they give you at conventions? Should they charge money for the public betas of their software? No. Windows XP is old. Very old. It costs Microsoft a lot of extra money to keep supporting it alongside Vista... and Ms Alvarado should be glad they still offer it for sale. Obviously she thinks XP is a better product, so why isn't she willing to pay more for it?

Re:Am I missing something...? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26851903)

Yes it is, because the original product was nonfunctional.
You've never exchanged a defective consumer good?

Re:Am I missing something...? (1)

falconwolf (725481) | more than 5 years ago | (#26852245)

You want another one of their products and it's somehow your RIGHT to have it for free ?

It came with a version of windows on it, if you don't like it, buy another version.

She did buy another version but was charged for the version she didn't want.

Falcon

She's right actually (5, Insightful)

Finallyjoined!!! (1158431) | more than 5 years ago | (#26851623)

She had paid the "Microsoft tax" already, on the purchase of the PC.

Why should she have to pay another "Tax" to [downgrade to] something that works???

A pox on Microsoft...

Re:She's right actually (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26851879)

Most of her lawsuit if you RTFA is likely to get thrown out.

"Microsoft did so in order to maintain, protect and extend its market power in operating systems software into the next generation of personal computing, to lessen competition, to promote Vista and to enhance its monopoly position"

Um, the only thing that would have been different had she gotten XP was the not promoting Vista part.

I'd say what it comes down to is once MS stopped supporting XP via release, they stopped discounting XP as well. Vista was heavily discounted to manufacturers, so it became cheaper for Dell, HP, Lenvolo and the like to put Vista on computers.

Do you expect Lenvolo to foot the bill because you want a more expensive product?

Re:She's right actually (1)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 5 years ago | (#26852103)

She has mistaken a court of law for the court of public opinion.

Re:She's right actually (3, Insightful)

Artraze (600366) | more than 5 years ago | (#26851945)

It may feel like a tax, but what you're paying for is a product. And, more importantly, a more desirable and a semi-custom (as Vista is the default) product. So it really only makes sense that the "downgrade" is more expensive, as that's just the way the market should fall.

On top of that, XP is the previous generation and was released six years ago (IIRC). Plus, it'll be two generations old in a year or so when Win7 comes out. Why should MS continue to offer a product that was replaced more than a year ago and will soon will be phased out? The fact that they're offering a retail version is really more than they need to. The longer it's around, the longer they need to support it.

I don't like MS, but I like whiners even less. Windows XP is a product that costs $200 dollars retail. If you want it, buy it. Windows Vista is also a product, that costs $100-$500 (IIRC). Whether or not MS gives computer makers some deal on some product has got nothing to do with the price of tea in China. So these people should shut up and be glad they don't have to dish out $200.

Re:She's right actually (1)

Leonidas89 (1354713) | more than 5 years ago | (#26852449)

Becouse going from Vista-To-XP it's an upgrade. And it's one of the best choices you can choose to make your pc last at least two bootings. Not having her in technical support 3 days after using vista is not a good thing for micro$oft, isn't it? and well... They HAVE to sell vista somehow.

Update (5, Funny)

Mr. Conrad (1461097) | more than 5 years ago | (#26851625)

The suit has been canceled after Emma Alvarado was abducted by a mysterious, well-organized, group of mosquitoes. When asked for a comment on the strange occurrence, Bill Gates is said to have laughed awkwardly while pressing his fingertips together. More on this as it develops.

Re:Update (3, Informative)

mail2345 (1201389) | more than 5 years ago | (#26851689)

The suit has been canceled after Emma Alvarado was abducted by a mysterious, well-organized, group of mosquitoes. When asked for a comment on the strange occurrence, Bill Gates is said to have laughed awkwardly while pressing his fingertips together. More on this as it develops.

For those who don't get it: Bill Gates Unleashes Swarm of Mosquitoes [slashdot.org]

Re:Update (4, Funny)

geekoid (135745) | more than 5 years ago | (#26851949)

"...well-organized, ..."

well that leave Microsoft out~

Paying for what ails you (5, Informative)

unlametheweak (1102159) | more than 5 years ago | (#26851653)

I often hear people bitching about Microsoft's operating systems and the problems with doing business with Microsoft and its Partners. Why don't people just get a computer with a non-Microsoft operating system. Linux, Apple, Plan 9, BSD; there are plenty to choose from.

Re:Paying for what ails you (4, Funny)

Finallyjoined!!! (1158431) | more than 5 years ago | (#26851679)

You must be new around here!!

Or, just a callow youth.

Re:Paying for what ails you (1)

Bunny Guy (1345017) | more than 5 years ago | (#26851687)

I did - I love my eeePC - scrubed Xandros - installed ubuntu - not goin' back

Re:Paying for what ails you (1)

Amazing Quantum Man (458715) | more than 5 years ago | (#26852091)

Ditto--- eeebuntu-nbr!

Re:Paying for what ails you (4, Informative)

Tom9729 (1134127) | more than 5 years ago | (#26851693)

Because it's hard to find a computer that doesn't come with Windows at Walmart/BestBuy/etc.

Re:Paying for what ails you (1)

unlametheweak (1102159) | more than 5 years ago | (#26851785)

Because it's hard to find a computer that doesn't come with Windows at Walmart/BestBuy/etc.

You'd think that people who shopped for a computer at a Walmart wouldn't have the money or the sophistication to research "multiple violations of Washington state's unfair business practices", find a lawyer and start a class action law suit. Or if they were that sophisticated then why wouldn't they spend their mental powers and time and effort building their own custom computer without the help of the Geek Squad.

Re:Paying for what ails you (3, Informative)

the_humeister (922869) | more than 5 years ago | (#26852203)

Here you go [walmart.com]

Re:Paying for what ails you (5, Insightful)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 5 years ago | (#26851725)

The OS she wants is Windows XP. Why should she pay for two operating systems if she's only going to use one of them?

Re:Paying for what ails you (1, Insightful)

unlametheweak (1102159) | more than 5 years ago | (#26851811)

The OS she wants is Windows XP. Why should she pay for two operating systems if she's only going to use one of them?

You can't always get what you want. But if you try some times, you just might find that you get what you need.

Re:Paying for what ails you (1)

SpeZek (970136) | more than 5 years ago | (#26852097)

Nobody is stopping her from buying a machine from a local parts-shop with a copy of XP. This is akin to buying a new car with a stereo in it, and then replacing the stereo; you wouldn't expect Ford to reimburse.

Re:Paying for what ails you (0, Redundant)

the_humeister (922869) | more than 5 years ago | (#26852179)

I just bought a car and want a different engine in my car. Why should I have to pay for the two engines when I'm only going to use one?

Re:Paying for what ails you (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26852413)

At least you can sell the other engine.

paying for two (0, Flamebait)

falconwolf (725481) | more than 5 years ago | (#26852453)

I just bought a car and want a different engine in my car. Why should I have to pay for the two engines when I'm only going to use one?

You can sell the engine you don't want and someone can install and use it in another car. Try to install Dell's OEM version of Vista in another PC and there's a good chance it will not work.

Falcon

Re:Paying for what ails you (4, Funny)

db32 (862117) | more than 5 years ago | (#26851801)

People keep trying to use...

If (cake.have) then eat(cake);

This of course fails because everyone knows...

#define cake=LIE;

Windows is just a pane...

Re:Paying for what ails you (1)

supermanwashere (1376171) | more than 5 years ago | (#26851817)

Go find one for me. Of all the OSes you listed only Apple is easy to find, and that's on overpriced hardware.

This is what happens when you become a Microsucks Certified Unprofessional.

Apple prices (1)

falconwolf (725481) | more than 5 years ago | (#26852421)

Go find one for me. Of all the OSes you listed only Apple is easy to find, and that's on overpriced hardware.

Apple's hardware prices have been comparable to Windows PCs for years.

Falcon

Re:Paying for what ails you (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26851819)

Because, like it or not, Windows is an industry standard.

get another operating system (1)

falconwolf (725481) | more than 5 years ago | (#26852325)

I often hear people bitching about Microsoft's operating systems and the problems with doing business with Microsoft and its Partners. Why don't people just get a computer with a non-Microsoft operating system. Linux, Apple, Plan 9, BSD; there are plenty to choose from.

People buy MS Windows, preinstalled, because that's all they know. Because most PC have Windows preinstalled they don't realize they have other choices.

Falcon

just silly (3, Insightful)

nhstar (452291) | more than 5 years ago | (#26851669)

This would be like suing ford or gm for not continuing to keep last years engines for sale in new cars... this is just silly.

Re:just silly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26851691)

Yeah, it's not as if the hardware could

Re:just silly (1)

supermanwashere (1376171) | more than 5 years ago | (#26851837)

Bad analogy. This is like Ford or GM telling you you have to use a specific brand of fuel or road to drive your car. Which is illegal.

Re:just silly (2, Insightful)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 5 years ago | (#26851881)

Uh, no.

Re:just silly (1)

i.of.the.storm (907783) | more than 5 years ago | (#26851983)

No, it's not. What are you smoking? That would be an appropriate analogy if HP was dictating that you had to use only Kingston branded RAM in their machines. Microsoft just isn't offering free support and OEM deals on their old product anymore.

Re:just silly (4, Insightful)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 5 years ago | (#26851867)

If the engines were completely interchangeable, had zero manufacturing cost and this year's engine had worse mileage...

Re:just silly (4, Insightful)

DodgeRules (854165) | more than 5 years ago | (#26851891)

This is more like being charged a fee to buy last year's model car because you don't like this year's version. Not silly at all. Why should I pay a fee to get an older model that suits me just fine? Next thing you know Microsoft will drop support for XP and then charge them extra when they want to refresh their XP install. If you don't pay, we won't unlock XP and make it "legal". Note: Microsoft is not authorized to read this post or use my ideas without paying me $1,000,000 in cash.

Re:just silly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26851977)

Have you patented it ? ... too bad I just did it.

Re:just silly (1)

i.of.the.storm (907783) | more than 5 years ago | (#26852003)

That analogy falls flat because there are issues involved with supporting an older OS that don't exist so much with old cars. Older cars are not more likely to get broken into, whereas older versions of Windows are generally easier targets for malware writers. And it's not last year's version, it's more like the version from 8 years ago...

Re:just silly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26852109)

Wow, good job pointing out why it should be even cheaper than it is. Slap a "I acknowledge that this software is no longer supported by the manufacturer" check box on the order form and you're done. Will even save on tech support fees. Brilliant!

Re:just silly (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 5 years ago | (#26852055)

Why should I pay a fee to get an older model that suits me just fine?

Because it's not manufactured anymore. A company that manufactures anything isn't responsible for maintaining it or offering it forever. If you want an antique, you pay antique prices.

If Microsoft doesn't want to give you XP, you don't get XP from Microsoft. You get it somewhere else if you're so addicted to it. Somebody's basement CD collection, The Pirate Bay, China. I'll sell you a copy (minus the hologram) for $25.00. I'll even through in a copy of the latest Ubuntu release for free!

Re:just silly (1)

bigngamer92 (1418559) | more than 5 years ago | (#26852169)

However she is not being 'forced' to buy this year's model. It's that the dealership is forcing her to pay a premium to buy an older model (aren't car analogy's fun?).

Of course it is very difficult to find a clean install or a non-premium xp install. But that goes more into the whole "You have to sell the OS we want you to" thing, which DOES need to be investigated.

Re:just silly (1)

nelk (923574) | more than 5 years ago | (#26851969)

This would be like suing ford or gm for not continuing to keep last years engines for sale in new cars... this is just silly.

It would be more like Ford telling a car dealership that they cannot sell last year's model (which they have in stock) to a customer who wants it. Instead, they need to sell the new model to the customer first, and only then can they sell the old model (so long as the customer gets rid of the new model first).

Yes, this is just silly (but in a different way than your comment suggested).

Re:just silly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26852013)

This would be like suing ford or gm for not continuing to keep last years engines for sale in new cars... this is just silly.

It would be more like Ford telling a car dealership that they cannot sell last year's model (which they have in stock) to a customer who wants it. Instead, they need to sell the new model to the customer first, and only then can they sell the old model (so long as the customer gets rid of the new model first).

Actually no. This is more like Ford telling a car dealership "Hey, customers get $2000 off if they buy a 2009 car," Having the 2008 and 2009 models costing the same price before discount, and then having the customer wanting to buy the 2008 model and screaming that they have to pay a fee because they want the older model

Re:just silly (5, Funny)

gandhi_2 (1108023) | more than 5 years ago | (#26852283)

You guys are all smoking crack with these bad car analogies.

It's like Ford is Baby Jesus, Chrysler is 3 rabbis, and AMC is a scorpion.

So baby Jesus is born. The 3 rabbis are standing around, praising the event. This scorpion comes walking up...but the first rabbi throws his shoe at it. The scorpion takes off. About an hour later, the scorpion comes back. The scorpion almost makes it to baby Jesus, but the second rabbi throws a shoe at it. The scorption takes off. About an hour later, the scorpion comes back again! This time, the 3rd rabbi walks into a bar with a parrot on his shoulder. The bartender says, "that's cool, where'd you get that?" The parrot flies out of the freezer and replies, "may i ask what the turkey did?"

That's how I read it anyway.

Re:just silly (1)

Eil (82413) | more than 5 years ago | (#26852319)

If you're going to resort to a car analogy, at least choose the one that applies.

Almost every car you can buy comes with two to three engine options depending on how fast the car can go versus how fuel efficient it is.

But almost every new PC comes with a single OS option: Vista. And it has only one speed.

Well what did she expect? (0, Redundant)

WiiVault (1039946) | more than 5 years ago | (#26851707)

I mean it's never free to upgrade. Vista -->XP, of course MS needs to charge for an upgrade of that magnitude!

Get back to me... (0, Redundant)

djupedal (584558) | more than 5 years ago | (#26851747)

...when MS is sued over Vista R & D by the shareholders. [networkworld.com]

Re:Get back to me... (1)

shentino (1139071) | more than 5 years ago | (#26852235)

as long as MS is extorting obscene profits do you honestly think the shareholders are going to complain?

As much as I dislike MS... (4, Insightful)

HangingChad (677530) | more than 5 years ago | (#26851809)

And their history of anti-competitive behavior, I'm not sure this is the right case. Now if the case was making hardware makers decouple the hardware and software costs, that might be different. If MS could raise the price of XP in a competitive environment, even if they're competing against their own products, more power to them. The only element that's not right is the one that's been wrong for a long time. MS using it's monopoly position to run the OEM's and leverage their market position to freeze out competition. This case doesn't really get at that. Sounds more like someone whining they can't get XP.

But today there are a lot of good operating system choices. MS isn't the only game in town...as far as you can get past the OEM issue...not even the best game in town. If you could buy a retail copy of Windows from someone like Dell, and that cost was essentially the same as the price quoted on a new PC or laptop, then the market can really decide what the best OS for the money really is. When you don't have a choice, you don't have a market.

Re:As much as I dislike MS... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26851937)

Company X sells product A for 100 bucks. When they come out with product B which is more expensive than product A was. How can it not be obvious that something's awry when they arbitrarily raise the price on product A above and beyond that of product B... Especially when it's obvious that they're leveraging their monopoly on said types of products and they have a pretty obvious record of abusing that monopoly in the past?

They are essentially the only game in town, no matter how much we point to Linux or Mac OSX. You know that and so does Microsoft. Let's get real.

Oh grow up (2, Interesting)

indytx (825419) | more than 5 years ago | (#26851885)

From the article: "They have been forced to pay substantially more to acquire the Windows XP operating system than they would have to pay in a competitive marketplace," the complaint read. A competitive marketplace? Seriously? This person could have purchased something else. She could have bought a computer with Linux. What did people expect? A "competitive marketplace for Windows XP?" Companies take products off the market or replace successful versions with newer, "better" versions. Microsoft wanted to quit selling and supporting XP. Was Vista "better" than XP? Most people would say "no," but that doesn't change the fact that Microsoft can still shoot itself in the foot and sell something else.

I'm no Microsoft fan, but it sounds as if $59.25 to get a completely different commercial OS, XP, isn't an egregious fee when you purchased the crummy consumer version of the newer OS, Vista. On the other hand, had I bought a more expensive version of Vista for my business (which I have not done), I would expect that Microsoft would throw in XP for free, maybe so I could run some legacy software for my business that was not completely tested or compatible with Vista.

This makes about as much sense as someone buying a coach ticket on an airline complaining about not getting free drinks like First Class. The alcohol really isn't the issue, even though it may seem that way.

Re:Oh grow up (1)

zxjio (1475207) | more than 5 years ago | (#26851965)

You totally miss the point. Having one product from a company compete against another product from the same company and calling it a competitive marketplace is a joke. For an end-user looking for a commodity, consumer computer, the "just works" straight from the box variety, there is no viable alternative for Microsoft. Therefore, their requiring that she buy two of her products in order to use one is a ridiculous abuse of their monopoloy power.

Re:Oh grow up (1)

supernova_hq (1014429) | more than 5 years ago | (#26852075)

Paying $59.25 for windows XP would be no problem, if you could return Vista for a decent amount!

Re:Oh grow up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26852125)

There's one born every minute with Microsoft...

Pay up or we'll force you to use Vista!

In a competitive market XP is the saleable item and no OEM would be shipping Vistaster. Consumers shouldn't be forced to pay for 2 licenses when they only want a functional OS.

Now, you go and grow up!

Re:Oh grow up (4, Insightful)

Falstius (963333) | more than 5 years ago | (#26852159)

I'm no Microsoft fan, but it sounds as if $59.25 to get a completely different commercial OS, XP, isn't an egregious fee when you purchased the crummy consumer version of the newer OS, Vista.

In order to purchase the XP 'downgrade', you also had to purchase Vista Business. So the actual cost over Vista Home was closer to $150 dollars. Linux, or no OS, was probably not available as an option, arguably because of Microsoft's unfair business practices.

Re:Oh grow up (1)

DiegoBravo (324012) | more than 5 years ago | (#26852189)

> Seriously? This person could have purchased something else. She could have bought a computer with Linux.

It's very probable that this person wants to run Autocad, Photoshop, or some 3D games for her childs, etc, etc, etc...

Epic fail on bad analogy... (3, Insightful)

rts008 (812749) | more than 5 years ago | (#26852249)

This makes about as much sense as someone buying a coach ticket on an airline complaining about not getting free drinks like First Class.

No, it's not like that at all.

Closer would be buying a First Class ticket, then being charged extra to move back into the almost empty coach section.

Make it stick (2, Insightful)

mlwmohawk (801821) | more than 5 years ago | (#26851901)

Microsoft deserves every last bit of it. make it stick, make it hurt.

I'd like to see computers sold at a price and have the OS as an option. Car makers deal with optional engine types and other optional features. Why can't computer OEMs.

Re:Make it stick (2, Insightful)

dark42 (1085797) | more than 5 years ago | (#26852081)

Car makers deal with optional engine types and other optional features. Why can't computer OEMs.

Because of the support nightmare it would cause when Joe Sixpack discovers he can't run his $10 game from Walmart on his new Linux-preinstalled computer (and he chose Linux because he didn't know it wasn't Windows, and he was cheap).

Re:Make it stick (1)

mlwmohawk (801821) | more than 5 years ago | (#26852425)

Because of the support nightmare it would cause when Joe Sixpack discovers he can't run his $10 game from Walmart on his new Linux-preinstalled computer (and he chose Linux because he didn't know it wasn't Windows, and he was cheap).

Then the OEMs have to opportunity to create an "aftermarket" business, just like the automakers.

Re:Make it stick (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26852267)

I'd like to see computers sold at a price and have the OS as an option. Car makers deal with optional engine types and other optional features. Why can't computer OEMs.

Huh? How many car companies sell cars with engines as separate and optional?

This is a dumb suit. She's complaining because Microsoft stopped offering discounts to manufacturers, forcing them to go to Vista. Lenovo (in this case) offers the legacy option of XP for a fee because of this, instead of just saying "we're not selling XP anymore because Microsoft isn't giving us a discount", and somehow it's Microsoft's fault?

Look, I understand people here have a real hard-on for Microsoft's demise, but let's be serious. Nobody sued Adobe when they stopped selling CS3 upon release of CS4.

Tied Selling is illegal in many states (5, Informative)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 5 years ago | (#26852079)

The issue is that in order to buy XP, people were forced to buy Vista as well. That practice is called Tied Selling and it is illegal in many states.

Re:Tied Selling is illegal in many states (2, Informative)

cdrguru (88047) | more than 5 years ago | (#26852177)

I don't think anyone is actually required to buy XP and for most retail purposes, XP is simply unavailable.

Try to buy the old version of just about anything else. Once the manufacturer drops it, it is gone. There is no more. Try to buy a computer to run OS/2 Warp. Just try. It is gone. The proper attitude is XP is just as gone as OS/2. For some reason, Microsoft got talked into making it partially available through certain OEM channels but not retail. I'd say it is a problem with Lenovo rather than Microsoft because Microsoft isn't selling the product at all. To anyone. At any price.

Re:Tied Selling is illegal in many states (1)

gbjbaanb (229885) | more than 5 years ago | (#26852373)

Ah, but here the manufacturer hasn't dropped it - you can buy it, because you cough up the cash after paying for Vista to get the copy of XP.

Now, if you could keep the copy of Vista and sell it on, I'm sure there wouldn't be much of a problem, but as it is - if you want the officially supported and sold (by MS, Lenovo can only sell it because of MS's downgrade option) copy of XP, you have to buy Vista first.

For OS/2 and others, there simply isn't the option at all to buy it.

Re:Tied Selling is illegal in many states (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26852377)

No, the issue is Microsoft released a new OS and decided to stop selling their old one. They aren't required to keep selling stuff if they release new things just because people liked the older models. It might make good business sense, but that doesn't make it a legal requirement.

The other issue is that she decided to buy a laptop from a company that doesn't provide OS-free products. That's not Microsoft's fault.

Thus I can buy a MacBook without latest OS X? (1)

alohatiger (313873) | more than 5 years ago | (#26852111)

Anybody upset that they can't buy a MacBook with an older version of OS X?

I have not been charged extra (2, Informative)

adiposity (684943) | more than 5 years ago | (#26852123)

Currently, Lenovo charges the same price for Vista Business and Vista Business downgraded to XP Pro. I order this option all the time. They also offer the same price for Vista Ultimate vs. Vista Ultimate downgraded to XP Pro.

While I'm not crazy about this setup, you must remember that you are effectively buying two license. At any time, you have the right to upgrade to Vista for free. Yes, you shouldn't have to buy the Vista license, but Lenovo at least is not charging business customers anything extra at the moment.

-Dan

XP supply inconsistencies = legal trouble (5, Interesting)

ErkDemon (1202789) | more than 5 years ago | (#26852151)

Yep, MS could get into trouble for market abuse for their current inconsistencies over who is "allowed" XP and who isn't.

If they'd simply pulled the plug on XP totally, and said, "that's it, we aren't going to sell XP any more, because it's old and we don't want to be lumbered with the after-sales support forever", then that might be a legitimate manufacturer's decision.

But they didn't do that, because they didn't want to lose the netbook market. So they said that netbook manufacturers could continue to buy, install, and sell-on XP, but laptop manufacturers couldn't. When you say to a company, "We have a product, we're selling it to other people, but we refuse to sell it to you to work with your products, because we now want you to buy a different product from us", then that starts to get dodgy.

It's a bit like if a car-seat manufacturer has two ranges of car seats, their older smaller range and their new wider deluxe range. They want manufacturers to build the wider seats into all new luxury cars that can take them, but if they discontinue the older range, they'll lose the section of the market that supplies cars where the newer seats don't physically fit. So they continue to sell both ranges, but tell manufacturers that they are "banned" from selling the older seats fitted to the larger cars, even if those same cars have been sold fitted with those same seats in the past. That level of interference is getting into "illegal restraint of trade" territory.

The question is, how much control should a dominant component manufacturer have over how their products are used? Should they be allowed to micromanage what people do with their products with these sorts of restrictions and conditions? If a product has already been certified for XP, should they be allowed to then tell a manufacturer that they can still buy copies of XP, but they're are no longer allowed to preinstall them on those particular machines because new MS policy is that those particular customers should be buying something else? Even if this upsets both the suppliers and the customers?

Now to me, it sounds like MS are probably legally in the wrong here (as they have been so many times before when it comes to OEM contracts). And they probably know that they're in the wrong, but figure that the stakes here are so high that they'd rather break the law and worry about the consequences later ... after all, none of their suppliers are going to want to sue them for fear of unofficial retaliation.

So this customer has decided, look, this is complete s**t - I should be able to buy the current software that I want on the machine that I want, without my supplier saying that they aren't allowed to do that because of some arbitrary rule imposed illegally on them by MS. So she figures, (a) it's unlawful and unfair, (b) someone should do something about it, (c) the laptop manufacturers won't, (d) she has the receipts that prove that this illegal behaviour by MS has cost her money, and (e) if it's illegal, and she's provably been damaged by it, then she's in a position to take a stand and sue, and maybe have the court ruling force MS to stop breaking the law (as she sees it).

Re:XP supply inconsistencies = legal trouble (1)

cdrguru (88047) | more than 5 years ago | (#26852223)

I don't know if OEMs cannot ship a laptop with XP or if no OEM wants to offer anything except a downgrade option. I suspect Microsoft has strongly encouraged (financially) that nobody sells computers with XP as the original, default operating system. They may be able to subdivide the classification of "computers" in such a way as to have OEM builders put XP on some machines of a particular class. Maybe. Or, the netbook OEMs are able to put XP on the machines because they are paying more for it - the same price that any other OEM could use XP for.

I do not believe anyone (especially the plantiff here) is going to get a court to enforce "I want what I want" no matter what. The essential question is going to be what is the material difference to the customer that causes harm? Is Vista harmful and XP not? Not in the eyes of the court. I don't think this is going to go anywhere at all.

Re:XP supply inconsistencies = legal trouble (1)

rtechie (244489) | more than 5 years ago | (#26852391)

The issue is complicated. Microsoft has every legal right to change their pricing structure whenever they want. What they did is stop selling the "site" discounted XP licenses to OEMs. Starting in 2007 that was passed to Vista. This means that in effect the OEMs with the big discount pay less for Vista than for XP. That's what these fees are about.

As far as I'm aware, netbook makers pay the same price for XP i.e. they're paying more. Possibly more than they ever have.

You might notice this has nothing to do with the consumer. If the OEM choose to resell the XP license for $5,000 I suppose they could do that. I have a feeling the $69 fee is intended to cover the extra cost of the XP license.

About the only legitimate complaint for the consumer is if they're stiffed on the Vista license. After a downgrade they should have a license for both XP and Vista.

There's also I believe a legitimate case to be made about the transferability of licenses. The dubious pack-in terms that you can't transfer an OEM Windows install are basically garbage. You bought a licese to the software, you should be able to install it wherever you want (as long as it's only 1 PC at a time).

As far as monopolies go I'd have more sympathy if people weren't obviously singling-out Microsoft. For example, we just gave $35 billion to the Big 3 auto cartel (and they ARE a cartel) virtually guaranteeing no significant innovation in the auto market. Telsa, for example, is folding because of the bailout. Yet nobody's talking seriously about breaking up GM, Chrysler, or Ford.

State's rights trump. (1)

tjstork (137384) | more than 5 years ago | (#26852233)

Hey, the mantra of the traditional conservative is state's rights. It certainly is of mine, and here, Washington, despite its more liberal bent, is perfectly entitled to be more liberal, than say, Texas. If you want to do business in that state, then, hey, you gotta play by their rules. The desire of the businessman for national consistency is not an excuse to trump the rights of the residents of the various sovereign states who are signatories to the treaty that is the Constitution.

You can't always git wot u wont (1)

MrKaos (858439) | more than 5 years ago | (#26852265)

Alvarado said that Microsoft had used its position as the dominant operating system maker to 'require consumers to purchase computers pre-installed with the Vista operating system and to pay additional sums to "downgrade" to the Windows XP operating system.

Well, she wanted Windows but she got Windows.

I fail to see how this has legs (1)

magamiako1 (1026318) | more than 5 years ago | (#26852395)

My take on the situation is that this person is stupid. For one, there's nothing wrong with what's going on. There are plenty of analogies above that make similar points regarding car stereos and engines.

If you don't like what is offered, then don't pay for it.

Simple answer for Microsoft next time: Tell everyone "fuck you" and not offer the older at all with the exception of the volume market and business market. This is all some stupid, frivolous lawsuit like this is going to accomplish.
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