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Hidden Fees Discovered For "Free" Windows 7 Upgrade

CmdrTaco posted more than 4 years ago | from the nothing-is-free dept.

The Almighty Buck 406

An anonymous reader writes 'Thousands of recent computer purchasers who are expecting to receive free upgrades to Windows 7 when it is released on October 22 may be surprised to learn that some big computer makers are quietly tacking on hefty processing fees as high as $17 to mail out those disks to some buyers.' How about they process $0 to click a link and download a file?

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406 comments

ron is gay (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29643123)

really gay

Digital distribution has been needed for a while (5, Interesting)

Fittysix (191672) | more than 4 years ago | (#29643151)

The RTM of windows 7 has been out for 2 months now? 3 by the street date of Oct 22nd.
This time is of course used for manufacturing, marketing, etc.
Meanwhile they should be offering fully updated ISOs directly on the windows site for everyone and anyone to download - the OS itself contains its own validation so there's no harm in letting anyone download it. Then you buy your key digitally with a steam-like system, this would even benefit Microsoft by serving as a key registration system.

Re:Digital distribution has been needed for a whil (1)

von_rick (944421) | more than 4 years ago | (#29643215)

Exactly. I don't know of anyone who actually purchased boxed copied of Windows, except at universities where it's about 1/10th the actual cost. All the flavoursof Win 7 should be directly available for download once you've got your verification code after the payment.

Re:Digital distribution has been needed for a whil (2, Interesting)

VernonNemitz (581327) | more than 4 years ago | (#29643321)

Time to get the torrents ready....

Re:Digital distribution has been needed for a whil (2, Interesting)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#29643359)

They still might charge you a handling charge. If you look at this week's Staples flyer, they put their Vista PCs on clearance, with a free upgrade to Windows 7..... but then the fine print says you have to pay shipping and handling to get it. Great.

Staples is not an honest company. I recently bought some printer paper from them minus a $25 mail-in rebate. They never bothered to tell me that it's on a credit card and therefore I have to spend the money - I can't just cash it and put it in my savings like I originally planned. :-|

I hope Staples ends-up like Circuit City (bankrupt).
I hope Comcast ends-up like Baltimore Gas & Electric (controlled by the government).
I hope RIAA's building blows up.

Re:Digital distribution has been needed for a whil (2, Insightful)

argosreality (923829) | more than 4 years ago | (#29643667)

Not an honest company? Take it you didn't bother to actually read the rebate offer or the price tag which both make mention of it being a visa debit card? That has nothing to do with dishonesty but rather being too lazy to read what you are in essence agreeing to. Are rebate cards a crappy deal? Yes, just the same as rebates in general are.

Re:Digital distribution has been needed for a whil (3, Informative)

Carnivore (103106) | more than 4 years ago | (#29643749)

Can't you just put $25 from your checking account in savings and use the credit card to buy groceries? I hate the MIR dance as much as anyone does, but you win if you get the rebate.

Re:Digital distribution has been needed for a whil (1)

Flowstone (1638793) | more than 4 years ago | (#29643477)

They should just do a single ISO capable of installing anyone of the 32 flavours of win7. Like they did when vista first came out, anyone remember those "upgrade" dvds?

Re:Digital distribution has been needed for a whil (3, Informative)

C0vardeAn0nim0 (232451) | more than 4 years ago | (#29643561)

and it's not like they don't have the resources in place already. my company has an agreement with MS that allowed me to purchase - legaly - a copy of office 2007 enterprise for R$ 26.00 ( that's $ 15.00 american bucks), download an instalable .EXE and run it. it's now working under wine on my personal notebook.

at the company, for business use, we have access to ALL microsoft software products free. all available for download as instalable .MSI, .EXE or burnable .ISO

this handling fees, this is plain old greed IMHO.

one more way that shows how apple handles this much better. you can buy snow leopard upgrade for a few bucks, then install it on top of tiger. tiger users are not eligible for the cheap upgrade, only leopard users are. but apple didn't put any verification on the upgrade. they just trust tiger users will do the right thing and buy the full package. wanna bet it's paying off ?

Re:Digital distribution has been needed for a whil (1)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 4 years ago | (#29643671)

How much does your company pay for this feature from Microsoft? Its not free, believe me...

Re:Digital distribution has been needed for a whil (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#29643751)

I don't know of anyone who actually purchased boxed copied of Windows

How do Mac owners who use Boot Camp or Parallels ordinarily get their genuine copies of Windows?

Re:Digital distribution has been needed for a whil (1)

twotailakitsune (1229480) | more than 4 years ago | (#29643251)

They tried to do something like that with upgrading inside the vista line. People could not under stand that the vista disk was all of the vista's in one.

Re:Digital distribution has been needed for a whil (4, Insightful)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 4 years ago | (#29643531)

I think that exposes the truth of copyrights to consumers a bit too clearly for corporate comfort.

Windows has traditionally been about receiving the product. You go to the store, give them that ungodly sum that they charge, and then come home with your shiny box and DVD. Now, online distribution is coming up, and Microsoft likely will go that way, but allowing them access to the whole thing before buying a key puts the issue into the spotlight too much. They've already downloaded the system for free, and now they'd be paying several hundred dollars for a code to unlock it. At that point even the simplest minded consumer will put together that all they really paid for was that key and the other stuff costs really nothing (which has always been the case, but it's not been so obvious).

If Microsoft only allows a download after paying the fee then there's still some level of abstraction. IE, the consumer feels like they're buying at least a big file.

Just my take on the issue anyways.

Re:Digital distribution has been needed for a whil (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29643679)

Windows has traditionally been about receiving the product. You go to the store, give them that ungodly sum that they charge, and then come home with your shiny box and DVD.

For the tiny minority that buys windows retail.

For the vast majority windows is included pre-installed with the PC, is never upgraded (until they get a new PC) and comes with a recovery DVD if you're lucky.

At that point even the simplest minded consumer will put together that all they really paid for was that key and the other stuff costs really nothing...

The simplest minded consumer will be the ones who are definitely *not* buying retail Windows and will see no change at all.

similar to Snow Leopard (4, Insightful)

InsertWittyNameHere (1438813) | more than 4 years ago | (#29643153)

Similar to paying $9.99 for going from Leopard to Snow Leopard (if you bought a Mac with Leopard recently).

It's annoying but it's not hefty.

And in this (Win7) case the price seems to be a manufacturer thing and not a MS thing. Ranging from $0 to $17.

Re:similar to Snow Leopard (4, Insightful)

gbarules2999 (1440265) | more than 4 years ago | (#29643281)

I agree. On the dial-up our neighbors have next door, it would take a good month to download Windows 7. I may be a biased Linux user at times, but blasting Microsoft for the OEMs that are sending out DVD's seems a bit backwards. Perhaps that price is a bit high, but hey, look on the bright side - an OEM is giving you a disc of Windows for once, and they're not charging full price for it.

Re:similar to Snow Leopard (-1, Flamebait)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 4 years ago | (#29643559)

"Shipping and Handling" is a scam in whatever form it takes. This is especially true when those charges are excessive.

Re:similar to Snow Leopard (4, Insightful)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 4 years ago | (#29643711)

Yes because it costs nothing to dedicate floor space and people to package and label and track products, and make sure they get on the right UPS/FedEx truck.

Sure, it could be built into the item's cost, but it doesn't cost the same to ship an item to New York or to Zimbabwe. Which is why it's usually listed as a separate charge. But hey, if you feel "ripped off", then don't buy it.

Because transportation wants to be free! (5, Insightful)

Savior_on_a_Stick (971781) | more than 4 years ago | (#29643721)

"Shipping and Handling" is a scam in whatever form it takes. This is especially true when those charges are excessive.

Yes - charging shipping to pass along a variable, customer dependent charge is outrageous!

Get back under your bridge.

Re:similar to Snow Leopard (2, Interesting)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 4 years ago | (#29643605)

blasting Microsoft

Can you find "Microsoft" anywhere in the title or synopsis? A shiny gold dubloon the the first person who can do that.

Re:similar to Snow Leopard (1, Insightful)

b4dc0d3r (1268512) | more than 4 years ago | (#29643295)

Nope, nothing like it. More like paying your neighbor's kid to go to the store and buy the upgrade disk. Only the store promised it would be free, so you're just paying the middleman.

Why should a middleman profit by selling you something prematurely, making it your responsibility to purchase and install the software at a later date? That's your time and money, for a free upgrade. I understand the part about installing it yourself - if you don't want to do that, then delay your purchase. But paying any sort of fee for a free upgrade is just not how you do things.

Re:similar to Snow Leopard (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29643555)

Why should a middleman profit by selling you something prematurely, making it your responsibility to purchase and install the software at a later date?

Well, if you'd just been a little more patient and waited until what you *actually* wanted was available, you wouldn't be in this situation, would you?

Re:similar to Snow Leopard (1)

mh1997 (1065630) | more than 4 years ago | (#29643763)

Well, if you'd just been a little more patient and waited until what you *actually* wanted was available, you wouldn't be in this situation, would you?

Well, if you'd just been a little more patient and waited until what you actually *needed* was available, you wouldn't be in this situation either, would you?/

Not Hefty? (1)

MosesJones (55544) | more than 4 years ago | (#29643389)

Now I get the bit that as someone else rips you off for a similar amount then its standard practice, but not hefty?

People out there sell games for $5 and that is to get something new. $9.99 or $17 is a rip-off as there is clear margin in the work.

1) The DVD printing is already done
2) These guys should have an automated warehouse for shipping
3) That means the only element is shipping cost

Remember that Media costs et al should be excluded as this is a "free" upgrade so its just the processing costs that you are paying for. This means shipping ONLY as everything else SHOULD be automated in a modern supply chain that is shipping a standard size product.

So how much would it really cost to ship these items $2? $3? That gives a profit of $7 per shipment for Apple and $14 for the manufacturer who is shipping on the Microsoft stuff.

That is a hefty amount as it represents an additional set of margin for the supplier.

Re:similar to Snow Leopard (5, Insightful)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#29643405)

Yeah except Microsoft and the stores are saying Win7 is a free upgrade. Misleading and deceptive. Like when I visited a car dealer and "won" an 1 gigabyte MP4 player for "free". Yeah the actual item may have been technically free, but the S&H cost $30 so basically I paid for it.

I returned it and now I'm going after paypal to get a refund, since the battery only lasted 15 minutes. What good is that?

Re:similar to Snow Leopard (3, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#29643487)

Apple also charged around $10 for the 'free' upgrade I got from 10.2 to 10.3 (yes, they did advertise it as free for anyone who bought a Mac after a certain date). I took it to mean that the license for the software was free, but you still paid for producing and shipping the physical disk and box.

Re:similar to Snow Leopard (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#29643691)

Did you know it was only 1 GB before you paid the shipping?

The Sansa Clip 4GB was discontinued, so stores are discounting it; Amazon sent one to me for $43 (that's with the free shipping).

Re:similar to Snow Leopard (1)

fireslack (1039158) | more than 4 years ago | (#29643533)

It is similar to paying $9.99 for Snow Leopard, except the fact that Apple never advertised free Snow Leopard upgrades. PC vendors have promised free Win7 upgrades. I'm not fanboi, but why even bring Apple into this?

Re:similar to Snow Leopard (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29643625)

I don't know about Snow Leopard, but in the past Apple certainly has described these updates as "Free*" (plus shipping and handling).

Re:similar to Snow Leopard (0, Redundant)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 4 years ago | (#29643593)

Can you find "Microsoft" anywhere in the title or synopsis?

Get rid of Vista for $17? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29643169)

When I mentioned this to my office colleague, he said $17 was a quite a bargain if that's what it takes to it makes Vista go away.

Re:Get rid of Vista for $17? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29643423)

and he thought he's so cool with his hip vista-bashing statement, didn't he? :)

Free lunch (1)

BumbaCLot (472046) | more than 4 years ago | (#29643171)

How many people out there consider the hours of work this upgrade will take to be free as well? Everyone who purchased a computer has obviously been using it for months, and chances are the majority of them won't know how to or be too afraid to attempt the upgrade themselves. $17 really is irrelevant compared to what they will expect a lot of you on here to do for them. Would anyone here charge under $100 to babysit a stranger's PC while this was going on?

Re:Free lunch (0, Troll)

Overunderrated (1518503) | more than 4 years ago | (#29643233)

Oh definitely. We should all be running (ancient obscure OS that makes me sound cool) still, and never upgrade.

Re:Free lunch (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#29643509)

>>>We should all be running (ancient obscure OS that makes me sound cool)

You mean like Commodore=64 GEOS, the AmigaOS, and Windows 98 on an a 300 megahertz cpu? Does this make me look cool? "Survey says!" Bzzzz. Sorry that's not up on the big board. How about: "Silicone implants"? Ding-ding-ding. We have a winner!

(Actually I think implants make a person uncool but I know I'm in the minority.)

Re:Free lunch (2, Funny)

Zerth (26112) | more than 4 years ago | (#29643705)

(Actually I think implants make a person uncool but I know I'm in the minority.)

Well, they do tend to be designed to increase surface area(without increasing tissue volume) and thus radiate more heat, so technically...

Re:Free lunch (1)

DocMAME (933222) | more than 4 years ago | (#29643765)

But I liked writing programs for GEOS! ...once I figured out what that crazy object oriented stuff was all about. Ahh, the good old days... makes me want to go home and fire up one of my 64s or 128s and play a little.

Re:Free lunch (1)

Gilmoure (18428) | more than 4 years ago | (#29643521)

NetBSD?

Re:Free lunch (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 4 years ago | (#29643577)

Well, it was supposed to be the bee's knees in it's day.

What happened between then and now besides a little time passing?

Re:Free lunch (2, Insightful)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#29643441)

Since the PC manufacturers are advertising the free Vista-to-7 upgrade, the CD you receive is probably custom-tailored to work with your machine and its installed drivers. So it's not really any more difficult than popping-in the Win7 Restore CD and waiting.

Re:Free lunch (1)

Professor_UNIX (867045) | more than 4 years ago | (#29643483)

So they can keep running Windows Vista until it is EOL'd then. Nobody is forcing you to upgrade to Windows 7 and you could have just as well have waited until after October 22nd to buy your new PC to receive it pre-installed with Windows 7 if it worried you that much that you needed to have it.

$0 to click and download a file (4, Insightful)

Xest (935314) | more than 4 years ago | (#29643173)

Because of course the infrastructure to serve 3gb of data to each customer doesn't cost anything?

Not that I'm defending the practice of charging for a free upgrade, free upgrades should be free, postage free too, but suggesting doing it digitally means there would be no cost is ignorant. In the UK with the extortionate costs of bandwidth I think posting a CD first class via Royal Mail might in fact be cheaper.

A lot of people would just want to stick the Windows 7 DVD they receieve through the post in the drive too. Downloading an ISO and knowing how to burn an ISO rather than copying the file across like they do usually when writing CDs (if they've ever even written one before) would be too much for some users.

Re:$0 to click and download a file (3, Insightful)

von_rick (944421) | more than 4 years ago | (#29643279)

If you're getting your DVD in your post box for free, that's a different matter altogether. But if you have to pay $17 for that shiny object, giving a download option and not charging anything for it seems like a better option.

Re:$0 to click and download a file (1)

bignetbuy (1105123) | more than 4 years ago | (#29643495)

Paying for the infrastructure to support that 3GB/customer download (with some downloading multiple times) is a heck of a lot more expensive than just shipping out some discs.

Shipping discs is the cheaper option here.

Re:$0 to click and download a file (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29643547)

Bullshit. THis is NOT 1990.

Put them on Amazon S3. One download 7 GB is between 70 cents and 1,40 usd if i have gb prices right in memory.

There are also other offers.

NO infrastructure is needed - all can be rented for very reasonable per gb prices.

Re:$0 to click and download a file (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#29643549)

You can't be serious. I pay $15 a month for a 750k connection, or 240 gigabytes* total data if I max it out. If you do the math that's 19 cents for a three gigabyte download of Windows 7, and therefore not "a lot more expensive" than shipping a disc.

*
* By a strange coincidence that's Comcast's maximum allowable download, except they charge $50 a month. Hmmm. I'm glad I picked the cheaper $15 Verizon instead.

Re:$0 to click and download a file (1)

mariushm (1022195) | more than 4 years ago | (#29643657)

Only you won't be able to max that out by probably more than 2-3 days. They'll cut you off saying you're flooding someone or you have viruses. The price is cheap because they figure people that want to download stuff a lot will get faster connections and you won't use your connection to download stuff.

Well, this is in US... here I have 24/4 cable in Romania and once every 2-3 weeks I download 50-60GB over 24 hours with no problems whatsoever and I pay 20$ for it..

Re:$0 to click and download a file (1)

mariushm (1022195) | more than 4 years ago | (#29643713)

One 1000 mbps unmetered server in Europe (NL) is about 1600 Euro a month (quad core, 4 to 8 GB of memory, SAS/SCSI raid drives, the works).. Even colocated, the price is still reasonable, about 6-8000 Euro a month.
In US, choopa.com has unmetered gigabit at 3995$ a month.

That's 330 TB or about 338.000 GB or about 110.000 downloads... Let's say 100.000 downloads and 10.000 Euro for the server(s) and bandwidth and it still costs you only 10 cents for each download.

Re:$0 to click and download a file (4, Funny)

GaryOlson (737642) | more than 4 years ago | (#29643519)

OK, let me summarize what Xest [slashdot.org] said in a different manner:

--If you are not of the computer literate and want to upgrade to Windows 7, the $17 shiny thing seems like a bargain.

--If you are of the computer literate and don't know a method for downloading the Windows 7 iso, turn in your Slashdot ID; you are banished.

Re:$0 to click and download a file (1)

ByOhTek (1181381) | more than 4 years ago | (#29643589)

Actually, I think he was saying that they would be more likely to snail-mail ship you the CD for free, rather than allow you to download it for free, because snail-mail shipping is cheaper than the requisite bandwidth.

Re:$0 to click and download a file (2, Funny)

thue (121682) | more than 4 years ago | (#29643287)

It definitively does not cost $17 to server 3 gluon-bits (gb) to a customer. Neither does it cost much to serve 3 GiB to a customer.

And if bandwidth is that much of a problem then serve it over a password-protected bittorrent. Or non-protected bittorrent, relying on the windows key for security.

Re:$0 to click and download a file (1)

wjh31 (1372867) | more than 4 years ago | (#29643455)

but torrents are only for illegals!

Re:$0 to click and download a file (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29643415)

The original poster makes no claim whatsoever that offering a download link would cost nothing. He's making a suggestion that, instead of charging a processing fee for a CD, a download link at no cost to the CUSTOMER would be better.

Consider taking people's words at face-value before you fly off the handle and label them as "ignorant".

Re:$0 to click and download a file (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29643439)

I don't know which part of the UK you live in, and it may possibly be one of the outlying islands off the coast of Scotland, but I suspect not, and I would hazard a guess that you're just part of the recent trend of Brits who go to places like the BBC have your say and moan about EVERYTHING. I live in the UK. I run a business. I have broadband internet in several locations, plus servers and iPhones and all sorts of internet connected stuff. The UK does not have extortionate bandwidth costs, you're just taking shit.

Re:$0 to click and download a file (4, Informative)

Xest (935314) | more than 4 years ago | (#29643735)

See here for costs on the current generation network:

http://www.thinkbroadband.com/news/2111-cbc-pricing-by-bt-wholesale-holding-back-uk-broadband.html [thinkbroadband.com]

At absolute best (which no ISP ever manages to achieve), it costs them 52p per gigabyte of data, so around £1.56 to allow you to download Windows 7. Realistically, if you check somewhere like PlusNet their out of allowance charges are £1.74 per 2gb of data, so around £2.61 to download Windows 7 for an end user at retail.

Oh and er, a 1st class stamp in the UK costs only 36p, envelopes cost next to nothing in bulk, so around 40p so far, call it 50p once you've printed the labels and posted and that's ignoring Royal Mail's bulk discounts and such.

21cn costs are here, but this isn't rolled out to most of the UK:

http://www.thinkbroadband.com/news/2111-cbc-pricing-by-bt-wholesale-holding-back-uk-broadband.html [thinkbroadband.com]

However, it's still well over the 36p price.

The reason you don't know the first thing about bandwidth costs is because you probably use consumer ADSL or similar and don't actually use that much bandwidth. If you do then you're likely being subsidised as that's how many ISPs work, low end users don't use anywhere near their bandwidth limits so are paying to subsidise other users.

Still, at the end of the day my point stands, it's much cheaper to just post the discs first class than it is to setup an infrastructure (which costs on top of the bandwidth costs) for downloading. The above of course is just the costs for the consumer also, chances are you'll have your own bandwidth charges on top at the server side. If you provide a download then, the consumer may be paying 3 to 5 times as much as if you post it and charge them for the stamp and envelope etc.

Re:$0 to click and download a file (1)

armer (533337) | more than 4 years ago | (#29643471)

Downloading an ISO and knowing how to burn an ISO rather than copying the file across like they do usually when writing CDs (if they've ever even written one before) would be too much for some users.

Really? I don't think it would be that hard to read the accompanying readme.txt describing how to burn an .iso. They may be Windows users, but they aren't completely stupid...

Re:$0 to click and download a file (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29643627)

LOL, reading something? Yeah, that'll happen! And there will be the inevitable people who can't even buy the right media to burn.

Re:$0 to click and download a file (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29643505)

Keep in mind that you're replying to a post made by Rob Malda. A long time ago, Malda realized that the best way to generate ad revenue for the site was to post inflammatory and ignorant things on the front page so that it would generate discussion in here, where the big splash adverts get displayed (unless you're using AdBlock Plus of course). He knows that whether it's to agree or to criticize, any publicity is good publicity when you're counting on ad revenue. Malda knows full well the costs of bandwidth, he runs this site after all. He's just not going to state that, because that would kill the discussion as well as those advertising pennies he's hoarding. He'll always take some naive, extremist point of view and expect more level-headed people to fill in the blanks...so not only does he get his advertising revenue, he also gets massive amounts of completely _free_ content in the comments section.

Re:$0 to click and download a file (1)

Ant P. (974313) | more than 4 years ago | (#29643553)

Downloading costs you £10 for 3GB? You must live in a really horrible place, because I've been complaining about my £60/mo ISP even though I could download that in under an hour...

Re:$0 to click and download a file (1)

war4peace (1628283) | more than 4 years ago | (#29643673)

I agree. Furthermore, if we stop thinking like slashdotters ("oh, the sheer simplicity of burning an ISO...") we end up realizing that there's a huge percentage of people out there who barely know which side up should the disc be inserted into the drive. And I don't mean to bully their lack of tech knowledge. They deserve having this option, and rest assured they won't install/upgrade the OS themselves. They'll call someone and ask them to do it.
Anyway, I would like for everyone to be able to opt out (download the OS or get the physical disc). Would make everything more fair.

hidden? (1, Insightful)

martas (1439879) | more than 4 years ago | (#29643197)

i never quite understood how fees can be hidden... do they sneak into your apartment and take the CA$H hidden by the XYZ fairy under your pillow, or something?

Re:hidden? (2, Informative)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | more than 4 years ago | (#29643283)


i never quite understood how fees can be hidden... do they sneak into your apartment and take the CA$H hidden by the XYZ fairy under your pillow, or something?

Generally if it wasn't mentioned in the literature provided or it was only in the small print, then its is considered 'hidden' since you had to look for it to find out.

Re:hidden? (2, Informative)

b4dc0d3r (1268512) | more than 4 years ago | (#29643343)

Or if the retailer says "Qualifies for a FREE upgrade to Windows 7", that's a hidden fee. The cost is $0 and if you have sales tax, the tax is on $0 (as opposed to a gift like on The Price Is Right where the receiving party is responsible for sales taxes and/or licenses).

Re:hidden? (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#29643571)

Another example of a hidden fee is when you consolidate your 2 bank accounts into 1 bank account, and ask the manager to close the empty one, but instead he leaves it open...... so when you get your monthly statement, you discover not only is your "closed" account still open, but you've been charged a $10 fee for being under the minimum balance. Grrr. Funny how the manager never mentioned that hidden fee when I was talking to him.

Re:hidden? (2, Interesting)

jours (663228) | more than 4 years ago | (#29643761)

Looking at HP's press release (for example), it's not all that hidden.

http://www.hp.com/hpinfo/newsroom/press/2009/090625xa.html/ [hp.com]

The program will enable customers who purchase qualifying HP PCs to enjoy the benefits of a new Windows-based PC immediately and receive a free(1) upgrade to Windows 7 when it becomes available in October...

(1) Shipping and handling fees may apply depending on retailer/reseller.

Re:hidden? (1)

Seth Kriticos (1227934) | more than 4 years ago | (#29643311)

Not exactly. It's like this: Distributor sells a product and says it comes with an upgrade once it is done. Normally you would expect that the price for shipping, etc. is already calculated within the original sales price and one day a packet arrives with no additional hassle or cost.

Adding shipping costs afterwards without explicitly mentioning it (no, page 83 of the small-print is not explicit) is simply ripoff.

The OS is free, not... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29643199)

Well, the upgrade to Windows 7 Operating System is free. The OS is free and not the CDs. But, yeah a download or something would be a neat idea, but then it would likely be hacked in like 2 seconds.

Re:The OS is free, not... (5, Funny)

noundi (1044080) | more than 4 years ago | (#29643523)

But, yeah a download or something would be a neat idea, but then it would likely be hacked in like 2 seconds.

As opposed to any other software ever released by MS?

how many people know how to burn an iso? (1)

alen (225700) | more than 4 years ago | (#29643207)

i can imagine all the calls to Dell. i burned the iso to a dvd and it still won't boot

HELP! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29643397)

How to burn the ISO?

I burned three already. The wife's cat is charred and my fingers have bad blisters.

And I still cannot upgrade after three reboots!

Re:HELP! (3, Funny)

GaryOlson (737642) | more than 4 years ago | (#29643539)

"Ok, ok. Please record the iso to a dvd."
"Record? I don't have any blank records. How would I hook up the record player to my computer!"

Re:how many people know how to burn an iso? (2, Insightful)

noundi (1044080) | more than 4 years ago | (#29643545)

i can imagine all the calls to Dell. i burned the iso to a dvd and it still won't boot

Then they should provide an executable binary which upon execution upgrades. No need for an iso.

But I don't have Vista... (1)

jfbilodeau (931293) | more than 4 years ago | (#29643231)

Since I don't have Vista, does that mean I don't have the privilege of paying for that fee?

Re:But I don't have Vista... (1)

bignetbuy (1105123) | more than 4 years ago | (#29643503)

I'll take your $17 and ship you not one, but TWO discs filled with amazing non-Vista software!

Re:But I don't have Vista... (1)

jfbilodeau (931293) | more than 4 years ago | (#29643597)

Sure! As long as it's not some of those patent-infringing copyright-adverse socio-communistic free and open-source software CD. It would be a waste of a good CD, since I can already download them -- and mostly likely, I'm already using it ;).

Is this news? (3, Informative)

codeguy007 (179016) | more than 4 years ago | (#29643241)

I am sure I read when they announced that the free upgrade doesn't include shipping. Also the Vista upgrade, I got with my laptop didn't include shipping. Maybe the manufacturers and sales reps aren't being clear, I don't know. I do know when I was talking to my sister about free upgrade when she purchased her new computer, I definitely told her she would need to pay the shipping.

Let's think logically. (2)

Capsy (1644737) | more than 4 years ago | (#29643261)

Ok, when I purchased a new notebook from ibuypower, it came with Vista 64-bit, and a free coupon to upgrade to Win7 64-bit. Even if I have to pay $17 to have it shipped to me, who cares? I just got a free licensed copy of Win7 64-bit. Definitely beats paying $120-$200 on the same thing at Best Buy or Walmart. Besides, hidden fees on free things are old news.

Free as in Microsoft... (1, Insightful)

GerardAtJob (1245980) | more than 4 years ago | (#29643263)

You should know... when Microsoft say FREE, it ALWAYS COME UP WITH AN HIDDEN COST. ALWAYS!!

You can't download... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29643291)

You can't download a holographic seal of authenticity now can you?

Oh nos! (5, Funny)

goldmaneye (1374027) | more than 4 years ago | (#29643303)

Not the dreaded upgrad fees! Those sound expensive!

Digital Dist is NOT FREE! (4, Informative)

slasher999 (513533) | more than 4 years ago | (#29643305)

I don't get in today's age of informed individuals how people still think digital distribution is "free". Maybe your personal site is dirt cheap, but larger companies that use a ton of bandwidth pay a fortune for that bandwidth and the management and guarantees that go along with it. I work for a small company that doesn't have a large website and we do nothing like digital dist, but our bandwidth still costs over $2m per year. I agree downloads vs sending disks would be cheaper, but saying it would be free is just plain ignorant.

Re:Digital Dist is NOT FREE! (1)

imsabbel (611519) | more than 4 years ago | (#29643349)

Yeah, true.
In fact, if i look at the bulk rates, its about the same price to mass produce and bulk-mail DVDs than to offer them to download.

Still, both prices are well below this processing fees...

Re:Digital Dist is NOT FREE! (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29643525)

Bandwidth is still relatively cheap. 1TB costs from $35-80 depending on the service provider, higher requirements come with cheaper rates. Even "cloud" services are pretty cheap, Amazon was about $170-250 for 1TB that last time I looked. If your bill really is $2,000,000 a year, you should investigate your network as stop employess from running torrents 24/7.

Re:Digital Dist is NOT FREE! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29643567)

As in 2million?? Thats an awfully lot of bandwidth....

Re:Digital Dist is NOT FREE! (5, Interesting)

amoeba1911 (978485) | more than 4 years ago | (#29643787)

If you are paying $2million/year for the bandwidth of a small company that doesn't have a large web site and doesn't do digital distribution, you're overpaying by a whole lot.

It sounds like:
A. you're getting majorly ripped off
B. your company claiming to be spending $2m/year but in fact paying a lot less and pocketing the rest of the money
C. all the computers in your company are a zombies spamming 2 million emails per day and performing dos attacks
D. your employees are undercover couriers for 0day warez scene
E. you're an idiot who really doesn't know anything and you make up nonsense

http://gigaom.com/2008/10/07/wholesale-internet-bandwidth-prices-keep-falling/ [gigaom.com]

Same goes for GPL software (2, Insightful)

BumbaCLot (472046) | more than 4 years ago | (#29643313)

Open source projects can charge reasonable fees for distribution of source code. Why are these any different?

Re:Same goes for GPL software (1)

TheABomb (180342) | more than 4 years ago | (#29643453)

Because there are generally other options for getting it?

The issue is informed consent (2, Insightful)

PostPhil (739179) | more than 4 years ago | (#29643315)

If the fee was stated *plainly* and the customer factored the fee into their decision, then fine. If instead businesses understand that people won't buy a new computer because they don't want Vista, and they entice customers with a FREE upgrade to Windows 7, then it HAD BETTER BE FREE. It doesn't matter if $17 doesn't break the bank. Even $0.01 is too much if I was coerced into a buying decision by a vendor who was withholding information. DISTRIBUTION COST IS IRRELEVANT. It doesn't matter if it costs money for the CD or online downloads. If they knew that it would cost money for distribution they weren't willing to eat, THEN YOU STATE UP FRONT THAT IT WON'T BE FREE. Otherwise, you keep your promise to the consumer. PERIOD. They simply have no excuses here. I don't understand why people don't understand this.

Re:The issue is informed consent (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29643449)

I'm sorry my friend, but this is the 21st century and a lot of things these days are done this way...

Re:The issue is informed consent (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 4 years ago | (#29643615)

I'm sorry my friend, but this is the 21st century and a lot of things these days are done this way...

      Yes, because sheep like you just bend over and take it whenever a corp feels like screwing you.

Heft? (5, Funny)

revxul (463513) | more than 4 years ago | (#29643323)

While not the free promised, the terms hefty and $17 haven't been used together since the 1930s.

Re:Heft? (4, Funny)

ErroneousBee (611028) | more than 4 years ago | (#29643645)

While not the free promised, the terms hefty and $17 haven't been used together since the 1930s.

Excellent, I have a volunteer.

I shall be at your door shortly with a sock and $17 in loose change.

It's what to expect. (1)

EgNagRah (1650283) | more than 4 years ago | (#29643337)

I'd didn't think the upgrade would be $0, but I imagine that when the time comes I'll be able to go to Microsoft's site and get it, since I did things the smart way and built a PC and bought OEM software. I can take care of my customers and they never knew the difference. But that's me, I'm not running some MM$ corp.

Strange I Wasn't Charged Any Fees (4, Informative)

dracphelan (916527) | more than 4 years ago | (#29643355)

I recently purchased an Acer laptop (hey, it was cheap and I'm just using it for surfing). Since I didn't choose overnight shipping, it was free. I may not get the DVD for a week or so. But, I'm not in a hurry either. I think this really depends on the shipping you choose and the manufacturer you buy from.

A lazy Saturday morning (0)

brindafella (702231) | more than 4 years ago | (#29643395)

I spent this last Saturday morning wandering around the computer aisles of a large retail electronics shop in Sydney, Australia, trying hard to avoid the "shop assistants". Their assistance seemes to involve trying to up-sell me from a sub-notebook to a "full-sized" laptop.

What struck me was the stickers saying that the larger/newer/better machines had "free upgrade to Windoze 7" (well, wordz to that effect). Meanwhile, the simpler machines had no such sticker, and were destined to be Vista/XP slaves for... well, a while, until Micro$oft lets these OSs go into limbo. They were generally Centrino and low-end Duo machines -- not slouches, just so "last year".

Am I surprised that there might be "hidden charges"?

Well, I'm as surprised as I was to look in the directory structure of the machines and to find that there was typically about a 20GB "recovery" drive, 'hidden' as a D drive, that I could not readily access and find what was in there. Usually, the 160/320GB drive in the machines had this ~20GB mystery which meant that in the few minutes of tinkering at the store I could not explore it and discover its secrets. Then, the 'pristine' C drive had about 60-75GB of "system" residing on it. Well, I assume that there demo machines did not have more than perhaps 10MB of demo software. (I'd feel that I'd need only about 2-3MB to do the tricks they seemed to pull in flashy good-lloks material.)

So, what does this all say about Windoze 7 upgrade?

Caveat emptor. [wikipedia.org]

Whine Whine Whine !!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29643421)

Personally I prefer a Cabernet Sauvignon to a cheap Merlot.

PULL MY HAIR cause $17 for a disk = SCREWED (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29643569)

To "Digital Dist is NOT FREE", $17 for 24Gb (3GB) is cellphone-data pricing. It's "I laid my OC3 down out of continuous clear rubies and emeralds"-pricing. It's I-can-screw-the-customer-and-get-away-with-it pricing.

What's going on here is you have stupid evil companies that are used to making $20 every time a customer needs a CD, and are merrily continuing their extortion.
That being said, my brother requested his windows 7 upgrade from Acer, and they did it for free. Props to Acer.

UK - HP 'free' is £21.99 (1)

Insane_Homer (961013) | more than 4 years ago | (#29643681)

Our supplier insight.com/uk which had 'free' plastered all over their site when making the purchase I had this issue. After purchase I decided to look at the 'free' upgrade path. After being redirected to HP then a 3rd party website I was required to enter the serial numbers of the units. Only after this verification was I told it was a cost of £21.99 per license for postage/packaging and handing etc etc (no economies of scale for the 3 I wanted). at no point in the T&Cs does it mention the actual price that will have to be paid (only Insight displayed the upgrade as 'free') they say there are charges but does not state what they are. So how was I supposed to know what a reasonable charge was for these âoefreeâ upgrades without 1st having to order the items, take delivery of them and then unpack them? It therefore seems logical that their Terms and Conditions should go beyond the stating there may be costs and be a little more forthcoming about the actual charges. Insight are happy to mislead buyers with the words âoefreeâ. Iâ(TM)m interested to know what amazing courier service is being employed and what shiny gold plated box the copy of the software will come in since it requires £21.99 to post and package a DVD, this leads me to believe that the whole £21.99 is not the incidental P&P charges and that someone if making a little profit from this supposed âoefreeâ upgrade. Surely I can forgo a large part of this cost by downloading an ISO from them and them e-mailing me the CD keys...? strangely not an option... So it seems it's a rather cunning practice which, no doubt, is designed to mislead.

Online Distrubution is lacking IMO (1)

Toreo asesino (951231) | more than 4 years ago | (#29643779)

I don't see why it would be so difficult to have a website where you can buy Windows 7; download it as a customised ISO wrapped into a CD-burner program for the OS of choice, and burn it yourself complete with auto-generated serial.

Just my 2c.

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