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Dell Says Re-Imaging HDs a Burden If Word Banned

timothy posted about 5 years ago | from the what-you're-used-to dept.

Microsoft 376

N!NJA writes "In an amicus curiae brief filed on Aug. 24, Dell asked the judge overseeing the Eastern District Court of Texas to reconsider its order blocking sales of Word, part of the original ruling in favor of Canadian software developer i4i. In the worst case, the brief argued, the injunction should be delayed by 120 days. 'The District Court's injunction of Microsoft Word will have an impact far beyond Microsoft,' Dell and HP wrote. 'Microsoft Word is ubiquitous among word processing software and is included on [redacted] computers sold by Dell.' 'If Microsoft is required to ship a revised version of Word in Dell's computers, a change would need to be made to Dell's images,' Dell wrote. 'Making such a change would require extensive time- and resource- consuming testing.' An addendum to the brief notes that it was authored in Microsoft Word, part of Office 2003."

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Frist porst (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29246967)

What the hell? Did I manage to net the first post?

First post(?) (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29246975)

What the heck is this? Submitted hours ago and still no comments?

Re:First post(?) (1)

Zen Hash (1619759) | about 5 years ago | (#29247391)

Looks like it was posted ~6:00PM with a timestamp ~8:00AM. I was confused too, seeing it appear for the first time halfway down the page. Then it disappeared from there, when it was corrected and moved back to the top of the page. I think I should go find something better to do tonight...

Re:First post(?) (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29247865)

Obviously no one gives a flying fuck, that's why there were not comments.

That's fine (1, Insightful)

ubrgeek (679399) | about 5 years ago | (#29247043)

So ship it but don't charge for the license.

Re:That's fine (5, Informative)

bkpark (1253468) | about 5 years ago | (#29247171)

Except that's not what the injunction says. The quotes I can find [mckoolsmith.com] say:

Today's permanent injunction prohibits Microsoft from selling or importing to the United States any Microsoft Word products that have the capability of opening .XML, .DOCX or DOCM files (XML files) containing custom XML.

Given that Amazon.com "sells" some ebooks for $0, I doubt that shipping Word without charging for the license would pass the "selling or importing" ban.

The injunction itself needs to be modified, and given the case Dell and HP make here, it seems like the original injunction was poorly thought out in terms of unintended consequences.

Re:That's fine (2, Interesting)

Brian Gordon (987471) | about 5 years ago | (#29247527)

Given that Amazon.com "sells" some ebooks for $0

What? That has nothing to do with anything

Anyway, the injunction prohibits Microsoft from selling or importing. There's no reason that would enjoin Dell from selling their stock.

Re:That's fine (4, Interesting)

Brian Gordon (987471) | about 5 years ago | (#29247541)

"Stock" of course meaning copies of Word already under license, not shares of ownership. >_<

In fact, since the licenses are already sold, Dell can probably keep selling Word through the end of their current contract..

Re:That's fine (4, Informative)

poetmatt (793785) | about 5 years ago | (#29247757)

No, the injunction was quite correct. Did you read what I4I said? They said they won't go after the existing copies, only new infringement. [slashdot.org]

Who else do you think has power to enforce this other than the patent holder?

This is an odd issue for the courts, as Microsoft did legitimately cheat I4I out (read the details), but on the flip side software patents are an unnecessary burden.

Re:That's fine (1)

bkpark (1253468) | about 5 years ago | (#29247795)

No, the injunction was quite correct. Did you read what I4I said? They said they won't go after the existing copies, only new infringement.

That "easy workaround" is an opinion of a third party "expert". If you rely on "legal advices" like that, you should be sued for criminal negligence (by stockholders).

Further, making more copies from the existing image will definitely get Dell and HP into trouble here. I guess depending on the licensing agreement, some of those copies may be considered "existing" before this injunction, but that gets into a very murky detail and it's not very clear at all, but just from common sense perspective, it seems to me by the time injunction goes into effect (in 60 days) a lot of the copies to be made from existing image will not be considered to have been "sold" before the injunction, so it will be considered "new infringement".

Coming back to the "easy workaround", it still poses the exact same problem for OEMs: they need to make technically unnecessary (but legally compelled) change to their master image, which incurs more or less the same cost that removes Word would incur.

Given that this is for a case that hasn't been concluded yet (remember that MS intends on appealing), it looks like this injunction is premature and causes undue harm to third parties, which means it was poorly thought out.

Re:That's fine (5, Insightful)

Zonnald (182951) | about 5 years ago | (#29248057)

Dell is not Microsoft.
If they have paid Microsoft for the right to Sell x Million copies of Office, then Microsoft has already sold x Million copies to Dell.
Does the injunction apply to resllers?

the injuction prohibits Microsoft from selling or importing

Re:That's fine (5, Informative)

KahabutDieDrake (1515139) | about 5 years ago | (#29248109)

All of this is absurd. There is no "undue" harm or burden on Dell or HP here. I speak as someone that worked in dell's testing lab for more than a year creating these images. It would be TRIVIAL for dell to make new images and put them into production. None of the hardware is changing, only the software and only the office suite at that. There is no known case where removing Office (or just word from the office install) would cause any issues. Other than not being able to open a number of document types, but then, that's the whole point. It might take them a week or two, but they have 60 days or more, so it's not like it's going to hurt them. Further, they make new images regularly for new systems, it's not like they don't do this shit every day.

At the end of the day, this is a further play by MS's lackeys to fight this legitimate injunction on behave of MS. Nothing more. Nothing less.

Re:That's fine (0, Redundant)

calzones (890942) | about 5 years ago | (#29247175)

brilliant post. mod up and close entire discussion. nothing more need be said.

Huh? (-1, Troll)

mnemonic_ (164550) | about 5 years ago | (#29247135)

Huh?

OEMs take on that burden at partnership (5, Insightful)

tyrione (134248) | about 5 years ago | (#29247173)

That's par for the course when you become an OEM. Deal with it.

Re:OEMs take on that burden at partnership (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29247259)

Not only that it's bullsh*t too. I can build 8-10 images in one day alone.

Re:OEMs take on that burden at partnership (2, Insightful)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | about 5 years ago | (#29247649)

If you're coping images as fast as you can, if you need to shut everything down to make new images you will have a massive backlog. And you don't have corporate bureaucracy double- and triple-checking that you didn't slip malware onto the image while nobody's looking.

Re:OEMs take on that burden at partnership (3, Insightful)

Brian Gordon (987471) | about 5 years ago | (#29247723)

I'm sure someone with a hundred million dollars riding on a good image would do more regression testing than building 10 images in a day would imply.

Re:OEMs take on that burden at partnership (5, Informative)

Trepidity (597) | about 5 years ago | (#29247309)

While true, it's also explicitly one of the factors that go into determining whether injunctions should be issued--- they're discretionary relief that is supposed to take into account any hardship the injunction might cause to nonparties.

Re:OEMs take on that burden at partnership (3, Interesting)

je ne sais quoi (987177) | about 5 years ago | (#29247437)

While I can understand your point, the thought that crossed my mind is that Dell is arguing that companies should be allowed to willfully neglect patents just so long they're important enough? That doesn't sound very fair to me.

No, that's not their argument (4, Insightful)

ClosedSource (238333) | about 5 years ago | (#29247511)

This court decision is being appealed and Dell is arguing that the injunction should be withdrawn until the legal process has been completed.

Third parties will be harmed while the patent holder isn't likely to see anyone buying their product instead of Word.

Re:OEMs take on that burden at partnership (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29247535)

how is dell a non-party? dell _is_ microsoft. dell is infested with windows like a dead horse with maggots.

Re:OEMs take on that burden at partnership (1, Interesting)

selven (1556643) | about 5 years ago | (#29247713)

Dell is willingly in a partnership with a criminal. That road is not supposed to be a smooth one.

I know Bill Gates and MS aren't criminals (1)

ClosedSource (238333) | about 5 years ago | (#29247927)

so who are you talking about?

Re:OEMs take on that burden at partnership (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29247321)

That's par for the course when you become an OEM. Deal with it.

Yeah, my gut response was "Boo fuckin' hoo, Dell."

Of course we know that's likely not the main reason Dell's doing this. I suspect the hidden hand of a bald sweaty chair-tosser.

Re:OEMs take on that burden at partnership (1)

ClosedSource (238333) | about 5 years ago | (#29247461)

Sure, because Dell wouldn't mind losing money as long as it keeps Balmer happy.

Re:OEMs take on that burden at partnership (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29248087)

Sure, because Dell wouldn't mind losing money as long as it keeps Balmer happy.

Big picture, my friend. Helping monkeyboy out would undoubtedly pay back in spades. Can you say "extra discount"?

Re:OEMs take on that burden at partnership (3, Interesting)

jackb_guppy (204733) | about 5 years ago | (#29247653)

It does not seam to hard to meet the Judge's request/order...

To help you build your business in today's challenging economic environment, Microsoft is offering a mail-in rebate on select Microsoft Office products that you purchase pre-installed on your new PC.
        None
        Microsoft® Office 2007 Basic and Adobe Acrobat 9.0 STD [add $149]
        Microsoft(TM) Office® Sm Business Ed 2007 -includes Publisher + Outlook 2007) Eligible for $50 Mail-in Rebate - MORE DETAILS [add $279]
        Microsoft(TM) Office® Professional 2007 Eligible for $100 Mail-in Rebate - MORE DETAILS [add $349]

Just remove options 2-4. It seams that all of Dell's machines can be shipped with Office/Word.

Re:OEMs take on that burden at partnership (2, Insightful)

porkThreeWays (895269) | about 5 years ago | (#29247883)

If someone steals a car, and I bought that car from the person, the original owner is still the owner of the car. If it's discovered that I have the car, I can't say "taking this car from me is really going to cramp my style." If the ruling is MS doesn't have the right to sell office, that's the ruling. Whether you agree with it or not, it must be enforced at all levels. Just because the ruling inconveniences others beyond MS has no bearing. They bought an "illegal" product.

Re:OEMs take on that burden at partnership (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29247933)

Seriously, Dell - cry us a river. Its an image and whatever is on deck to ship, already imaged. Its not every single new computer.

Re:OEMs take on that burden at partnership (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29247945)

I agree. Cost of doing business. Deal with it. Plus, Itoldjyaso. They coulda shoulda used open source. Nyah nyah nyah.

Heh (5, Funny)

Rob Simpson (533360) | about 5 years ago | (#29247183)

Not even Dell likes Office 2007.

Then Dell is doing it wrong. (1, Interesting)

deprecated (86120) | about 5 years ago | (#29247199)

How is Dell's poor management of their imaging system anybody else's responsibility? 'Extensive testing' is just code for 'we are a bunch of conniving lazy ass middle managers who depend on our outsourced technicians to tell us what to do.'

Re:Then Dell is doing it wrong. (2, Insightful)

risk one (1013529) | about 5 years ago | (#29247517)

No, it means "We have a single image that goes out to tens of thousands of customers in hundreds of different hardware configurations, If the software configuration in that image changes, we have to test with the maximum level of paranoia to ensure that we don't get a flood of complaints, and requests for refunds, that each have to be verified independently and will set us back millions of dollars."

I'm sure their imaging system is in order and whipping up a new image will take at worst a few hours. But I can certainly understand the cost of testing will be considerable.

And remember that this is an issue caused by absurd software patents, so for once the Slashdot groupthink is on the side of Microsoft.

Re:Then Dell is doing it wrong. (3, Insightful)

BobZee1 (1065450) | about 5 years ago | (#29247581)

How can REMOVING software from an image require testing? How does it make any sense that my computer will become less stable because it is missing LESS word processing software? Brilliant logic perpetuated by the microsoft apologists.

Re:Then Dell is doing it wrong. (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29247643)

How does it make any sense that my computer will become less stable because it is missing LESS word processing software? Brilliant logic perpetuated by the microsoft apologists.

English isn't your strong suit, Sparky: "missing LESS word processing software"? Very nice.

Another high UID moron speaks up, and embarrasses himself.

Re:Then Dell is doing it wrong. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29247791)

Another high UID moron speaks up, and embarrasses himself.

Your uid is *fairly* high, isn't it: 1013529

You might take care to remove the tell-tale characteristic signs from your posts, e.g. comma followed by capital letter - something extremely rare - before posting as an AC

*cough* patronising twat.

Re:Then Dell is doing it wrong. (3, Informative)

PhunkySchtuff (208108) | about 5 years ago | (#29247687)

Removing the software requires them to re-do the image from scratch.
Machines these days, even if you don't purchase Office with them, generally come with what's called the OPK - OEM Preinstallation Kit installed. It's a copy of Office, sitting there on the hard drive, just waiting for a serial number to be entered to activate it. Depending on the serial number entered, it will then become that particular flavour of Office.
Even if you chose the option that they have when configuring the machine to order to not have Office installed, I'm betting that you still get office on the hard drive, you just don't get the serial number to activate it.

Re:Then Dell is doing it wrong. (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | about 5 years ago | (#29247893)

Are you a politician?

You completely failed to answer his question which was - How does removing Word cause problems with hardware installs? It won't have any effect.

Re:Then Dell is doing it wrong. (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29248059)

Removing the software requires them to re-do the image from scratch.

I can see the answer right there.

Even if you chose the option that they have when configuring the machine to order to not have Office installed, I'm betting that you still get office on the hard drive, you just don't get the serial number to activate it.

And being a HP reseller, I can confirm that yes, it's still there even if you dont purchase office with it. I assume it would be the same with Dell products.

Re:Then Dell is doing it wrong. (2, Insightful)

ColaMan (37550) | about 5 years ago | (#29248011)

How can REMOVING software from an image require testing?

You've never heard of dependencies? I'd be willing to wager that in a typical Dell install there is at least one third-party app that needs some component of Office.

Re:Then Dell is doing it wrong. (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 5 years ago | (#29248051)

Yup, removing a library or application from an install (and Office contains both) never broke anything... I'll give you the benefit of the doubt over your English and assume you're not a native speaker, but your post also makes me wonder if you've ever actually used a computer before today.

Re:Then Dell is doing it wrong. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29247609)

It's fucking Word, its not like it is tied to the OS or anything.
That things as easy to remove as it is to blink.

Hell, things like this should already be automatic. Images should be able to be created dynamically by ticking some boxes and letting the program combine them.
If they aren't doing that, then they are really doing it wrong.

You, sir, are fucking retarded. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29247789)

Have you ever heard of "inventory" or "regression testing"? Dropping word would require re-imaging computers in retail stores and would require regression testing of their entire software build.

Re:Then Dell is doing it wrong. (1)

Tuoqui (1091447) | about 5 years ago | (#29247851)

How is Dell's poor management of their imaging system anybody else's responsibility? 'Extensive testing' is just code for 'we are a bunch of conniving lazy ass middle managers who depend on our outsourced technicians to tell us what to do.'

No it's shorthand for make the change and wait a few weeks while everyone pours in complaints.

BS (2, Informative)

Pecisk (688001) | about 5 years ago | (#29247213)

Of course it is BS, it is more or less doable, comparing to penalties which they will get themselves into if they won't comply. It's interesting that they just don't use 'lost sales' argument. It could have some consequences for Dell too?

Anyway, this case is ugly as it can get about software patents. It is not traditional troll case, but still I don't like it - I don't like software patents at all.

Dell tests its images? (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29247217)

I used to deploy OptiPlexes in an enterprise environment. SOP was:

- Remove from box.
- Start and assign computer name appropriate to asset tag.
- Install Altiris client.
- Install our image.

There were a few users who got OptiPlexes before I started working there, and were quite adamant about keeping the Dell base image. I will say this with confidence: if Dell does any testing of its base images, I sure didn't see it. I'm not really sure if their image qualifies as an operating system--it was more of a Dell advertisement.

redacted word (1)

reiisi (1211052) | about 5 years ago | (#29247227)

"all"?

Maybe I'd better read the friendly article.

Re:redacted word (2, Insightful)

reiisi (1211052) | about 5 years ago | (#29247315)

Okay, I read it.

Can't figure out what they could have redacted that would have been more damaging than the fact of the redaction itself.

If these briefs aren't filed as evidence against Microsoft in all the anti-monopoly actions, I'm wondering why.

(And we can start calling assertion contrary to evidence when people say Microsoft doesn't manufacture computers, since it sounds like Dell is just a subsidiary of Microsoft.)

Re:redacted word (1)

Quothz (683368) | about 5 years ago | (#29247463)

(And we can start calling assertion contrary to evidence when people say Microsoft doesn't manufacture computers, since it sounds like Dell is just a subsidiary of Microsoft.)

While Dell's claim is a bit ridiculous, I don't think that assertion follows. If I buy off-the-shelf Ace brand widgets to manufacture my Whatzidoodles, that doesn't make me a subsidiary of Ace.

Re:redacted word (4, Insightful)

ClosedSource (238333) | about 5 years ago | (#29247547)

It's most likely that Dell doesn't wish to publish their sales numbers outside of the normal reporting process, which isn't at all surprising.

Re:redacted word (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29247971)

Dell made a swear. :o

Poor excuses ... (1, Interesting)

meist3r (1061628) | about 5 years ago | (#29247261)

So two of the biggest hardware retailers in the world complain about how it's too boohoo complicated for them to change their OEM installation images that get automatically plastered onto every computer? No one does a manual install in the Dell or HP plants. The extensive time and resource consuming "testing" they're referring two most likely comes from the time they sit around their contracts testing how much Microsoft owes them now for this legal stunt. The most testing you'd have to do for this is to install an alternative on every model once and then you're good. I'mn not really aware of any hardware limitations that would prevent a word processor to run on any modern system.

They should be forced to ship their machines with something like OpenOffice. Microsoft can't complain themselves but that would expose them for the jerks they are so they bully their OEM holders to do their legal poo-flinging. Pathetic, just as expected.

Re:Poor excuses ... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29247519)

"They should be forced to ship their " This is pretty much the definition of fascism. How about we let companies do what they want. Just don't buy their products if you don't like them.
                                                  ^^^^^
Or do you really have that much of a problem with freedom?

Re:Poor excuses ... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29247561)

I actually worked at a computer manufacturer. Regardless of whether you think computer manufacturers should test their software or whether they are doing a crappy testing their product, it takes a ton of resources to get a master image out. You are testing multiple masters, not just one, based on different SKUs, etc. I admit, some of the testing we did were stupid but when you are consider MM units shipped and if a stupid error goes through you might pretty much bankrupt the company, you want to make sure you get enough testing.

As for OpenOffice, are you willing to ship out 1M+ units without good testing? Assembling your own computer is very different from shipping out 1M units all over the world + liability for computer tech support (regardless on whether you think Dell support sucks, it probably costs them $10~$20 per call; when you figure out a typical profit margin of 8% per unit, couple tech support calls will kill your margins).

Yes, my lord Mudd (1)

ClosedSource (238333) | about 5 years ago | (#29247565)

Fortunately for all of us, you are not King.

Cut the bloat (5, Insightful)

Zen Hash (1619759) | about 5 years ago | (#29247275)

If they hadn't preloaded all of their images with free trials and bloatware then this wouldn't be a problem in the first place. When I have to setup one of their machines, the first thing I always do is reformat and build a new image anyway without all of the extra crap that shouldn't be there.

Re:Cut the bloat (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29247659)

You have them because they're cheap. They're cheap because they suckered companies into paying to put the "free" trials on Dell's machines.

Convince whoever you're working for that your time spent reformatting Dell shit makes their machines more expensive than buying something that doesn't have bloatware - if there is such a thing anymore.

Re:Cut the bloat (1)

bkpark (1253468) | about 5 years ago | (#29247711)

If they hadn't preloaded all of their images with free trials and bloatware then this wouldn't be a problem in the first place. When I have to setup one of their machines, the first thing I always do is reformat and build a new image anyway without all of the extra crap that shouldn't be there.

Er, no. Since when do you get MS Office for free from Dell or any other OEM? I think even "free trials" of MS Office is unheard of.

More likely, they have a few different versions of the image which they install (or have pre-installed machines which they will ship) based on your customization at the time you order.

If they can no longer ship Word (which may or may not be the case, depending on exactly how the licensing agreement is worked out) then that means they have to junk all the images which previously had Word on it, presumably to replace it with a different version of Word that is considered non-infringing—or, in the extreme, don't ship any office productivity suite at all, but that would seriously hurt their business, especially in the small business section, where business owners with no IT department want to order things that "just work".

As much as I don't like bloatware (and I do repartition and format all my computers when I buy them from Dell, Asus, or anyone else), the problem is not the bloatware here.

Re:Cut the bloat (1)

bkpark (1253468) | about 5 years ago | (#29247737)

Or maybe not. I guess I was wrong [slashdot.org] .

Re:Cut the bloat (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29247775)

I think even "free trials" of MS Office is unheard of.

Just got my mother a Compaq system for 400 USD. It has a "Try Microsoft Office Free for 30 Days" shortcut on the Desktop. I'm not sure if it's a preinstalled version that gets a time limited activation or if it's a download but a "free trial" of Office does exist.

Re:Cut the bloat (0)

elashish14 (1302231) | about 5 years ago | (#29247725)

It's true. When you consider how much they make from selling free trials, it's more than worth it for what they would have to pay just to get rid of Word. Besides, that's what you get for getting involved in such a deal.

Corporations, like people, have this habit of complaining when their cheap schemes break down. What they don't realize is that if they never got into them, they would have never had to deal with it. Decision-making shouldn't come without this little thing called Risk Analysis.

And the Judge replies ... (1)

xirusmom (815129) | about 5 years ago | (#29247285)

... that's your f@#$ing problem ???

What, never heard of robotic jukeboxes? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29247365)

This excuse is laughable... one of the top five worldwide resellers doesn't have an automatic jukebox facility to perform a simple batch job consisting of:

- For each drive to remove Microsoft Word on;

- Place drive in SATA slot/bay;

- Re-image;

- Next;

Laughable.

And in any case they should prepare a small batch with the new image ready, to get started with, and then rotate the previous ones along the way...

Re:What, never heard of robotic jukeboxes? (1)

symbolset (646467) | about 5 years ago | (#29247433)

It seems more likely Dell requires the hard drive OEM to put the image on at manufacturing time.

Re:What, never heard of robotic jukeboxes? (3, Informative)

shis-ka-bob (595298) | about 5 years ago | (#29247481)

They do not use rewritable disks. They have disks that are evaporated aluminum on a plastic substrate. They have to remaster a new disk image and start running a separate batch for the non-Window version. This will also make for one more option to manage. They didn't say it was impossible, they just wanted to tell the judge that his decision has consequences that effect a major Texas high tech company.

Corporate interests are above the law (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29247441)

This will be a good practical example to the average voter that corporate interests are above the law and government that supports them. Enforcing the law can hurt corporate profits. The judge must be either naive or about to retire. He doesn't stand a chance against the corporate "super" governments. hmm, guitfit

Artificial costs and time requirements (1)

mysidia (191772) | about 5 years ago | (#29247457)

If re-imaging is the issue, don't re-image them. Prepare a patch to disable Word, and apply the patch to PCs before they ship out.

If the court orders you to do it, you do it.

"Months of testing" is Dell's normal procedure, not a physical requirement. They can obey the court's order by taking action to disable the software without months of testing.

A simple patch would be to delete the .EXE file required to start word (for example)

Pure Nonsense. Word isn't a default Dell option. (4, Informative)

allroy63 (571629) | about 5 years ago | (#29247471)

Anyone who has visited the Dell website with any recency knows that Word is not bundled as a default "freebie-included-in-price" option. The default option is "No Productivity Software Added." Adding MS Works (which includes MS Word 2003) costs $79. So what's the "imaging" problem? Are we supposed to pretend this particular retailer, whose model is different from others because of user-customization options, is incapable of providing machines without a software option (particularly given that this is their default configuration?).... The place this impacts Dell the most I'd imagine is in relation to Enterprise level customers, and all those Colleges and Universities they are partners with --- who sell pre-configured machines with Word installed to their students. Of course, everyone has moved into their dorms in the next "120 days" and it's not like Enterprise customers in Canada won't deal with this from every PC retailer. I smell a rat.

Re:Pure Nonsense. Word isn't a default Dell option (1)

allroy63 (571629) | about 5 years ago | (#29247489)

Correction, re-read tfa, get that this is Texas Court, and Canadian developer with rights... -- my bad.

Re:Pure Nonsense. Word isn't a default Dell option (2, Informative)

jonbryce (703250) | about 5 years ago | (#29247493)

A 90 day trial version of MS Office is generally included in the default image.

Ah yes (1)

RenHoek (101570) | about 5 years ago | (#29247483)

The worlds tiniest violin, let me play a sad tune for you..

Open Office! *slap* (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29247545)

Hell, it has even better back compatibility with old .doc files then word does.

Sue Microsoft? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29247551)

I have a question. Could the OEM sue Microsoft to recoup the cost of having to re-image and any other cost involved in order to comply with the court order?

Dear Sir (4, Funny)

fermion (181285) | about 5 years ago | (#29247595)

I am a small business owner that provides integrated computers systems and support to other small businesses. As part of the package I provide M!cr0s0ft Offices, supplied to me, with authenticity seals by M!cr0s0ft of China.

Recently I was informed that Microsoft, USA, wants to put a restraining order on this perfectly legal software claiming that it is byte for byte copy of their suite of office products. While I disagree with this, for instance MS Office clearly uses ribbons, while M!cr0s0ft Offices uses menus, I realize that this is a decision for the courts.

All I ask is that the restraining order be revoked. The only way I can provide value to my customers is that M!cr0s0ft provides a hard disk which I use to image all my other computers. I pay a license fee for each image, but otherwise the labor is very cheap. If I had to install each piece of software, or even create a new image, this would destroy my competitive advantage I have over the other bigger firms.

Please, do not place an injunction against M!cr0s0ft. If the courts do find the software infringes on Microsoft product, then Microsoft can sueM!cr0s0ft and recover damages, and I will have time to find another supplier. If M!cr0s0ft is found not to be infringing, then you will be destroying a legitimate small business for no reason. I know the knee jerk reaction in this case is to assume culpability, but I assure you there are many differences between the two products, and M!cr0s0ft is not infringing. Trust me. I am the entrepreneurial backbone of this country.

Re:Dear Sir (1)

selven (1556643) | about 5 years ago | (#29247721)

All you're missing is the mention of a hidden 25 million dollars.

Dance, little bitch. Dance. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29247617)

That's right, little piggy, defend your big daddy.
Oh yes, Microsoft, Dell love you long time. Dell beg for scraps and opportunity to sell your swell operating system.

Sue Microsoft (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29247621)

Question. Can the OEM sue Microsoft to recoup cost having to re-image and any others in order to comply?

Why not... (1)

TheShadowzero (884085) | about 5 years ago | (#29247647)

Just let Dell keep it's images, but next time it upgrades or changes the images in any way, Word will have to be removed? Or is that too much bureaucracy?

Don't they have to update the images often anyway? (4, Insightful)

vxvxvxvx (745287) | about 5 years ago | (#29247665)

With as much crap as Dell includes on it's default computers, certainly something is always in need of an update. They must have new images several times a year to keep the versions all current. One more image doesn't seem like such a big deal.

monopoly situation (4, Insightful)

drDugan (219551) | about 5 years ago | (#29247675)

"Dear Court:

Providing a different option will be hard for us.
Please provide us relief."

Seems to me like this issue is exactly why monopolies are bad for consumers.

The last PC I helped someone fix (bloated and slow, crippled with malware) didn't even
come with system reinstall disks - they had to order and pay for them separately once the
computer arrived. Oops!

[Redacted] (1)

yerktoader (413167) | about 5 years ago | (#29247689)

I wish Dell redacted their computers....

Reliance on Microsoft (2, Insightful)

kregg (1619907) | about 5 years ago | (#29247697)

Maybe this is a wake up call for people relying on *.doc and *.docx

Re:Reliance on Microsoft (1)

Kawahee (901497) | about 5 years ago | (#29247771)

Because if OpenOffice was found to be infringing on this patent and Dell packaged OpenOffice instead your post would read "Maybe this is a wake up call for people relying on *.odt", right? And that your post would also have a question mark next time.

Re:Reliance on Microsoft (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29248029)

1 although if you had been paying attention you would have seen that i4i stated that OpenOffice does not infringe on the patent.
2 the odt format is a standard, not a product, not exclusively owned by OpenOffice. unlike Microsoft products, you could get other products to read/write that format

Supply proper disks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29247705)

They could do something unthinkable and supply proper cd media to their customers. ? Supply a Windows CD, a driver CD, a CD with all their spyware, demos and useless apps that can be thrown away, and a Word CD which is complient with the law!
OR if Dell and HP don't want to support their customers, then sue Microsoft and anybody else they can think of along the way.
That seems to be "The American Way!" Sue! Sue! Sue them all!

Blame the patents (3, Insightful)

elashish14 (1302231) | about 5 years ago | (#29247741)

So now we see the far-reaching disaster that occurs when we enforce these stupid software patents - all the logistical nightmares, the impractical enforceability, the unwitting collateral damage, et cetera. Our greatest hope is that everything can blow up in everyone's face as big as possible with no real advantage to anyone in the end (that's right: dump as much spam in the fan as you can) and then we'll see how pointless it is to enforce software patents.

Sue all web page creators (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29247747)

HTML with CSS separates content from layout. This whole patent thing is retarded.

HD? High Definition? Maybe HDD? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29247753)

Yes, Hard Disk Drives.

Dell Brown nosing Microsoft. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29247765)

Dell does not have to do anything. The first time the systems go to the internet for an update, a fix could easily be applied. That is what a reasonable man would do.Dell is just brown-nosing MS. Guess, I will not be getting a Linux laptop from them since we know what side their bread is buttered on now.

oh cry me a river (1)

Errtu76 (776778) | about 5 years ago | (#29247769)

So a hardware manufacturer made a deal with a software manufacturer. That software has a problem and needs to be altered. Hardware manufacturer then says "yeah but that will cost us time, and time is money". Judge will hopefully say "Review your deal and next time make a better one to account for these kinds of things. For now, stop complaining and start re-imaging disks".

Re:oh cry me a river (1)

ClosedSource (238333) | about 5 years ago | (#29247955)

I don't know what the outcome will be, but I doubt that the judge will be reading from the anti-MS playbook.

Re:oh cry me a river (1)

Errtu76 (776778) | about 5 years ago | (#29248003)

I don't know what the outcome will be, but I doubt that the judge will be reading from the anti-MS playbook.

what anti-MS playbook? This could be any software manufacturer. The point is that the previous ruling has nothing to do with hardware manufacturers. It's like saying to an engine manufacturer they can't use one type of bolt anymore. Then car manufacturers will complain saying they already implemented the entire engine and can't replace the offending bolt without taking out the entire engine and rebuild it.

Boo Hoo (2, Insightful)

pembo13 (770295) | about 5 years ago | (#29247793)

Removing all the OEM crap is a burden as well

msbs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29247799)

On oem installs, most places re-image the machines anyway. I know we did where I used to work. Most retail set-ups do not include office anyway. What a bunch of malarky.

Dell just use Matrix42, Hallo. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29248025)

Dell could use Matrix42 and then they wouldn't have to worry about images or drivers.

Easy fix... (1)

B1oodAnge1 (1485419) | about 5 years ago | (#29248035)

Why not just make Microsoft compensate Dell for the extra work and expense required to change the images?

This makes no sense (4, Insightful)

Feanturi (99866) | about 5 years ago | (#29248049)

When Microsoft decides it's time to get more money and releases a new version of Office, as they have done several times in the past, does Dell charge them for having to change their image again? What about major OS service packs? They re-image for those too. It's part of their business. How is this any different from what would happen if MS released Office 2010?

Sounds like someone is trying to fool a judge (0, Flamebait)

computerchimp (994187) | about 5 years ago | (#29248093)

Sounds like Dell and HP are trying to pull a fast one on the judge.

Changing a master image by taking software such as Word and replacing it with a slightly different version of Word (trial copies too) is simple for any competent tech.....I think Dell and HP have people with skills in their employ. If they do not maybe they should get some Microsoft consultants to teach them about Windows automated installs and layered images.

If they employed bumbling idiots that designed their image creation processes it will cost them. But if that is the case who cares?!? they are flushing money down the toilet every day with the screwed up process!

-Costly testing? pffft!...eyes rolling..

Crybaby assed bitches... (0)

Sfing_ter (99478) | about 5 years ago | (#29248107)

Crybaby assed bitches! As my dear old departed daddy used to say, "Keep that shit up and you'll be wearin' lace panties!"

It's a fucking image for shit's sake, MAKE A NEW ONE. For :D

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