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Sony Refuses To Sanction PS3 "Other OS" Refunds

Soulskill posted about 4 years ago | from the you-paid-for-what-we-say-you-paid-for dept.

Operating Systems 396

Stoobalou writes "Sony says that it has no intention of reimbursing retailers if they offer users partial refunds for fat PS3s. Last week, the first PS3 user successfully secured a partial refund from Amazon UK as compensation for the removal of the ability to run Linux on the console. The user quoted European law in order to persuade the online retailer that the goods he had bought in good faith were no longer fit for his purposes because of the enforcement of firmware update 3.21, which meant that users who chose to keep the Other OS functionality would lose the ability to play the latest games or connect to the PlayStation Network."

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396 comments

Normally, I'd say let them do what they want (5, Insightful)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | about 4 years ago | (#31868686)

Usually I'd be out here saying let Sony do what they want with their own platform, but this is really kind of a dick move. They don't lose anything keeping the extra functionality, and they lose a ton of goodwill by blocking out some of their most ardent supporters.

Sucky
Onerous
Nasty
Ydiots.

Re:Normally, I'd say let them do what they want (4, Insightful)

91degrees (207121) | about 4 years ago | (#31868734)

Their platform, but not their machine. People had bought those machines and Sony decides to break them.

Re:Normally, I'd say let them do what they want (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31869348)

In fact they have not broken the hardware in any way, they have changed the software. It's your machine but it's not your software; sorry.

Still a dick move by Sony though.

Re:Normally, I'd say let them do what they want (5, Insightful)

uglyduckling (103926) | about 4 years ago | (#31869398)

You're making a geek distinction that has no place in the world of law. Sony sold a device with certain features, one of those features no longer works following interference by the manufacturer. That's breach of contract.

Re:Normally, I'd say let them do what they want (2, Informative)

hattig (47930) | about 4 years ago | (#31869452)

Damn right. And European Law sides very closely with customers.

All it would require is a concerted combined effort by EU PS3 owners getting refunds for the retailers (who have to legally make the refund) to sue Sony, and force the Linux option back into the EU fat PS3 firmware.

Consumer Protection Laws FTW.

Re:Normally, I'd say let them do what they want (1, Insightful)

SharpFang (651121) | about 4 years ago | (#31868738)

OTOH these supporters cost them real money.

Sony adds some good money to each console, hoping to recuperate in games and movies.
Now imagine the Army buys 2000 PS3s for making a supercomputing cluster, because they are priced competetively. Because Sony is subsidizing them. Of course they will use the "Other OS" feature to run their supercomputer stuff and they won't buy a single game for the cluster.
Same about nerds who have 5-10 games and spend time running Linux on PS3.

I think the best course of action would be "You can have the feature... for $150 extra" from moment zero - consoles with "Other OS" enabled not subsidized and sold at a good profit margin.

Re:Normally, I'd say let them do what they want (5, Insightful)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about 4 years ago | (#31868848)

OTOH these supporters cost them real money.

That's their problem. And it does not make it any less illegal in the EU.

Class action (2, Interesting)

SgtChaireBourne (457691) | about 4 years ago | (#31869076)

A lot of countries consumer protection laws provide for protection that devices should operate as advertised. Sony advertised the "Other OS" option and many purchased PS3's instead of Wii because it could run Linux. Sony pulling that feature retroactively after the purchase is worse than a bait-and-switch, which is also illegal.

Sony has always had a slightly dodgy rep, but given the popularity of the "Run Other [Linux] OS" feature, it is possible that they have rats or cockroaches [linuxtoday.com] in their larder: "Find and Lean on your insider friend, 'the fox' Having a trusted MS friend in the account is critical. Some people (unix Bigots) can think of lots of reasons not to have a MS solution. MS folks may not be the strongest voice but they are true believers (Protect them, make them look good)". Sony can gain a lot of goodwill, and thus cash, by cleaning house if these are present. Yahoo's is not the only company Microsofters have worked at destroying through entryism.

Re:Normally, I'd say let them do what they want (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31869314)

I was refused refund in Ireland. I bought the old model when the slims were announced purely because I wanted to play with the cell in linux. It came with GTProlog which wont work without being connected and I bought the two wipeout fusion packs off their network which might play without a connection (not tried yet) but I've no disk if I ever have to reinstall.

Now I just want to crack the thing open (which I am trying but more out of curiosity than expectation of actually getting anywhere). The only Sony products that will reach me from here on will be cracked/pirated, they'll not get the chance to burn me again.

Re:Normally, I'd say let them do what they want (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31868888)

Except, the army could do that anyways. They just wouldn't update their PS3. The problem is really only for people who "need" both their own OtherOS, AND the ability to connect to the playstation network for regular ps3 gaming or media stuff.

The army wouldn't worry about loosing that second part by choosing to not upgrade.

Re:Normally, I'd say let them do what they want (1)

kiddygrinder (605598) | about 4 years ago | (#31868894)

Yeah, this kind of thinking is just plain dumb. If sony chooses to lose money on every console that's their bad luck. This is why we have to deal with printer cartridges that cost more than the printers they go in and if i could organise to go back in time to assassinate the guy who came up with "Give away the razors then sell the hell out of the blades" quote, i'd probably just get them to rough him up a bit since that's just a bit extremist.

Re:Normally, I'd say let them do what they want (5, Insightful)

beh (4759) | about 4 years ago | (#31868922)

From the article:

"which meant that users who chose to keep the Other OS functionality would lose the ability to play the latest games or connect to the PlayStation Network."

So, the people who chose to keep the Other OS functionality, can no longer buy any new games - so if people needed that functionality, but also play games, then Sony will make them choose:

a) buy another new console so you have one for your other OS; and one for games. This adds revenue for Sony, but causes them a loss as they subsidize the basic console (i.e. the will lose the subsidy twice on such a customer).

b) stay with one console with Other OS, but stop playing games on the PS3 - thereby ensuring the user will no longer add to Sony's revenue.

c) remove the Other OS, update and only use it for playing. Revenue stream continues for Sony (on new games) - but at the cost of goodwill to the company.

I don't see any decent outcome for Sony on either of the three options...

Making the case for open firmware (1)

SgtChaireBourne (457691) | about 4 years ago | (#31869142)

a) buy another new console so you have one for your other OS; and one for games. This adds revenue for Sony, but causes them a loss as they subsidize the basic console (i.e. the will lose the subsidy twice on such a customer).

Except that they probably would by not just another console but another brand of console. Wii is much more popular if games are the deciding factor. Plus, I can't see anyone buying an additional console from Sony if they got burned by Sony's microsoft-style dicking. Sony can still fix this and come out looking relatively ok by releasing a fixed version of the firmware update. I wonder what kind of pressure cause the change and how it was applied, it seems it might be similar as to what Tivo went through though it was a much smaller company.

If nothing else, this incident shows the importance of eradicating closed firmware.

Re:Normally, I'd say let them do what they want (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31869200)

you forgot:

d) Sony kills the "Other OS" feature to help prevent the hacking of their consoles, and to prevent/"postpone the inevitable" release of custom firmware for the PS3 and the creation of fully unlocked PS3 hardware. Doing so at the cost of company image and consumer good will.

I say this, because the PSX-Scene hackers are busy hard at work breaking down the walls of the PS3 Fat protections, and make use of the "other OS" functionality to run debug tools and other probing software to facilitate that work.

Disabling (if not outright removing or crippling) the "other OS" feature makes their new firmware harder to examine on running hardware, and therefor harder to hack.

Re:Normally, I'd say let them do what they want (4, Insightful)

mcvos (645701) | about 4 years ago | (#31868988)

OTOH these supporters cost them real money.

Sony adds some good money to each console, hoping to recuperate in games and movies.

That's Sony's own fault for having a sucky business model. It's their own decision to sell PS3s at a loss. They didn't have to do that.

However, if Sony has presented these consoles as being able to run Linux as well as play games, and they take away that ability, then by any decent standard, Sony owes customers who bought their PS3 for that ability a refund. They're changing the advertised abilities of their product after the sale has happened. That's not right, and deserves to be illegal in any jurisdiction.

Re:Normally, I'd say let them do what they want (1)

delinear (991444) | about 4 years ago | (#31869494)

Indeed, regardless of whether Sony make a loss or not, they sold the product at a premium price because it could do X, Y, Z over and above the competition. If they then remove X after people have paid for it, they should compensate users.

Re:Normally, I'd say let them do what they want (5, Insightful)

Sleepy (4551) | about 4 years ago | (#31868990)

>OTOH these supporters cost them real money.

Sony ADVERTISES a feature. I buy a product BECAUSE of that feature. This is a transaction.
Then Sony time-bombs or removes that feature.
I have had something taken away from ME, and you have the balls to suggest this cost Sony?
On what planet sir do you spend most of your time?

Now, let's proceed with your outrageous suggestion that mega corporations have a right to shut down customers who are less profitable.
Suggesting that "OtherOS costs Sony real money" is no less applicable than saying "Blu-Ray users cost Sony real money".. should Sony disable PS3 users who play movies but DON'T play games?
Are you SERIOUS??

I use OtherOS. I have Linux on my laptop, but it's nice to demo things on the TV and not have to hook up the laptop.
Actually, why the hell should I have to justify using something I already paid for?

Re:Normally, I'd say let them do what they want (1)

SharpFang (651121) | about 4 years ago | (#31869094)

Sony fucked up bad. They made a mistake to combine the feature and subsidizing the platform. They should have picked either-or, not both. Now they try to fix their mistake and do it with a grace of a rhino. Of course they are wrong now. Thing is they were wrong from moment zero. You have your right to be pissed, or to sue them, and they will have to suck it up and pay up for their mistakes.

No need to be indignant about it. They offered a deal that was bad to them, and now they are trying to back off from it. In this case, you are supposed to do what you do whatever is normally done with a party that tries to back off from a deal: sue the bastards till you get at least the worth of what you lose, and preferably several times that much.

Re:Normally, I'd say let them do what they want (4, Insightful)

Rigrig (922033) | about 4 years ago | (#31869022)

Except people who only buy PS3s for supercomputing aren't affected, only the people that want to run another OS and also play the games they buy.

Re:Normally, I'd say let them do what they want (1)

matunos (1587263) | about 4 years ago | (#31869048)

If only they knew how much their hardware cost to produce when they sold it with those features!

Re:Normally, I'd say let them do what they want (1)

stevoo82 (1307619) | about 4 years ago | (#31869058)

What i am wondering is that why would SONY all of the sudden pop this up ? A cluster of PS3 is cheaper and more efficient from a high end server used for the same purpose. Could "other" high end companies pushed for this update in order for them to actually have there high end expensive server sales ? But the US military wont really care, as they will not update there cluster to the new version ... they most probably do not need Online game play. The problem are the 5 - 10 gamers out there !

Re:Normally, I'd say let them do what they want (1)

bjoeg (629707) | about 4 years ago | (#31869126)

As said before in other threads, PS3 slim never had the Other OS function, so the argument of Sony adds money for every console does not stick.

Re:Normally, I'd say let them do what they want (1)

BikeHelmet (1437881) | about 4 years ago | (#31869184)

OTOH these supporters cost them real money.

They don't cost them anything - unless you think 100% profit on the hardware should be part of the "cost" to manufacture.

Since Sony's production capacity outstrips demand, is it really killing them to give some away to crazy hobbyists and researchers at cost?

Re:Normally, I'd say let them do what they want (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31869218)

Erhmmmmmm..... While that may be true. The move they just made won't change a thing. The problem is not for people who only uses the PS3 for the Other OS function, as they will just keep the old firmware. It's not like the military need a supercomputer cluster to play games online :D

Re:Normally, I'd say let them do what they want (1)

Custard Horse (1527495) | about 4 years ago | (#31869254)

I agree. Sony could have offered the machine in locked down form then offered to unlock it for a fee but they didn't go about it like that. They traded on the fact that it could run other OS then removed the function.

It amounts to the same as selling something that is 'not as described' but on a retrospective basis.

Imagine if you purchased a car with a Bose sound system only for the vendor to pop around to your house a couple of months later to swap it out for a cheap standard system. Is this fair Sony? How about if the vendor said "okay, you can keep the sound system but I have to take the wheels". Is that fair?

I'm not saying that car dealers are not thieving rob-dog scumbags but they will at least give you the option of a Bose sound system or include it in the price, you know, *to keep*.

Re:Normally, I'd say let them do what they want (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31869498)

Doesn't matter. The customer didn't sign a contract saying "Will be used only for playing games, blu-ray, etc., but not for general computing." And the product was extensively advertised as having general computing abilities via the "Other OS" option.

This is a deal that they have changed retroactively. It's retroactive "false advertising".

This is one of those situations where if Darth Sony says "I have altered the deal. Pray I do not alter it further", you can sue him.

Re:Normally, I'd say let them do what they want (4, Insightful)

TheVelvetFlamebait (986083) | about 4 years ago | (#31868758)

Normally, I'd do the same, but this situation is not analogous to the usual problems that /.ers have with Sony. It's more than Sony trying to sell something sub-par at par price (like the rootkits, for example), this is Sony actually reducing functionality that people paid for. This can not possibly be legal, and I'm sure there's a class-action in this somewhere. They paid for the functionality, and now Sony is removing it without consent.

The only spanner in the works here is that the PS3 owners don't need to upgrade their PS3s. All their games that they've bought so far currently work, so long as they don't "upgrade" to the latest firmware, plus they keep their other OS functionality. Sure, they can't buy new games, but they don't necessarily have the right to buy new games. However, I would argue that customers bought their PS3s, in part, for the games. In buying a PS3, there's a clear expectation that you will have the ability (given the will and the money) to buy and play some of the many forthcoming PS3 games. Sony has artificially and abruptly shortened the life of the platform for those wishing to continue using their second OS.

Re:Normally, I'd say let them do what they want (1, Troll)

gzipped_tar (1151931) | about 4 years ago | (#31868880)

Read the EULA here. ( http://www.scei.co.jp/ps3-eula/ps3_eula_en.html [scei.co.jp] )

It is explicitly said in the EULA that the warranty of "fitness for a particular purpose" is totally disclaimed in any imaginable or non-imaginable way.

The EULA applies to firmware, too, according to the 3rd paragraph.

Re:Normally, I'd say let them do what they want (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31868916)

When an EULA contradicts the law, I do think the law wins, but I might be completely wrong...

Re:Normally, I'd say let them do what they want (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31868944)

Just a hint: the laws are made by the proxies in the government which represents the corporations that issue the EULAs. I don't think there's really a contradiction.

Re:Normally, I'd say let them do what they want (5, Informative)

iapetus (24050) | about 4 years ago | (#31868924)

Read the relevant EU law here. ( http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=CELEX:31999L0044:en:HTML [europa.eu] )

It is explicitly stated in the law that "Any contractual terms or agreements concluded with the seller before the lack of conformity is brought to the seller's attention which directly or indirectly waive or restrict the rights resulting from this Directive shall, as provided for by national law, not be binding on the consumer."

Law trumps EULA.

Re:Normally, I'd say let them do what they want (2, Insightful)

gzipped_tar (1151931) | about 4 years ago | (#31869084)

Nice to see the link, but I think the relevant quote here lies in Article 4 "Rights of redress".

However, because the firmware update is not distributed as a consumer good through the same chain of sellers that distributed the devices, they may as well argue that the law doesn't apply here (so no case for retailers), and they retain the right to fuck everyone else by the EULA (so no case for customers).

Re:Normally, I'd say let them do what they want (1)

iapetus (24050) | about 4 years ago | (#31869394)

Article 4 only handles the situation where the retailer has been forced to cough up to the consumer, and allows them to shift the blame to its rightful place by going after Sony in this case.

To my mind (and I'm no lawyer) the way the firmware update is irrelevant. Sony are disabling the ability of the PS3 to carry out one or more of its main capabilities, and the vector by which they're doing this is largely irrelevant.

Re:Normally, I'd say let them do what they want (3, Insightful)

mcvos (645701) | about 4 years ago | (#31869010)

Read the EULA here. ( http://www.scei.co.jp/ps3-eula/ps3_eula_en.html [scei.co.jp] )

It is explicitly said in the EULA that the warranty of "fitness for a particular purpose" is totally disclaimed in any imaginable or non-imaginable way.

The EULA applies to firmware, too, according to the 3rd paragraph.

I have serious doubts that the EULA can override law like that.

Re:Normally, I'd say let them do what they want (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31869052)

Sony?
Goodwill?

If there's still anybody out there who expects a square deal from Sony, I've got some swampland in Wasilla I'm dying to unload, cheap.

Re:Normally, I'd say let them do what they want (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31869328)

This is a godsend as I've wanted to get rid of the PS3 for some time now...

I've got a better quality bluray player on my, PC Games are generally a lot cheaper and don't need to be run from the disk (quieter and quicker to run).

Also the trend seems to be to let people access free stuff like level designers (if their PC is good enought to run it). So people can get free tools to learn to make your own levels and stuff which is nice!

Re:Normally, I'd say let them do what they want (1)

selven (1556643) | about 4 years ago | (#31869362)

Normally, I'd say let them do what they want, but here the people who bought the PS3 for the Linux functionality had no idea that it would soon be taken away, so Sony made them throw away a few hundred dollars for nothing.

I guess... (1)

SharpFang (651121) | about 4 years ago | (#31868696)

...a class action lawsuit may convince them otherwise.

Re:I guess... (1)

Ant P. (974313) | about 4 years ago | (#31868730)

A class action lawsuit... and the sudden plummet in software sales once the general public forcibly take back the feature they paid for.

Re:I guess... (5, Insightful)

SharpFang (651121) | about 4 years ago | (#31868756)

totally. I guess it will be even more successful than the total boycott of Modern Warfare 2 for lack of dedicated servers. That certainly showed them!

Re:I guess... (1)

twoshortplanks (124523) | about 4 years ago | (#31869212)

In the UK at least the consumers have no redress against Sony unless Sony sold them the console, which in most cases it didn't - Amazon (or a high street retailer) did. You'd need to sue the retailer (who then, in turn, could sue sony.) Is this different in the states?

I'm pretty sure you could do this in Australia too (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31868714)

Naturally I'm only a deskjockey but in Australia you can get refunds if the item you bought doesn't do what was claimed. To use a car analogy: Like buying a car only to have GM come around and remove the fuel tank at some future date. GM would claim in their terms and conditions it clearly said they could alter the purchased item at any time. Somehow I don't think that would fly.

http://www.accc.gov.au/content/index.phtml/itemId/8818#h3_125

Re:I'm pretty sure you could do this in Australia (1)

Techman83 (949264) | about 4 years ago | (#31868750)

Maybe, but it depends whether the feature was actually advertised, or just happened to be there.

You are not liable if the fault resulted from incorrect advice provided to the consumer by the retailer.

This might give some hope though

You cannot impose misleading conditions into your contract with retailers to limit your responsibility for the goods you have supplied. For example, stating that the retailer must pay freight for returning faulty goods, or that faulty goods must be returned in the original packaging, is likely to mislead the retailer about their rights and your obligations.

Glad I never bought one, I just don't trust Sony enough.

Re:I'm pretty sure you could do this in Australia (1)

Namarrgon (105036) | about 4 years ago | (#31868820)

it depends whether the feature was actually advertised, or just happened to be there.

I believe it was written on the box.

Re:I'm pretty sure you could do this in Australia (1)

xtracto (837672) | about 4 years ago | (#31868928)

it depends whether the feature was actually advertised, or just happened to be there.

I believe it was written on the box.

I am not so sure about that after looking at some PS3 boxes pictures [google.com]

Re:I'm pretty sure you could do this in Australia (1)

xtracto (837672) | about 4 years ago | (#31868918)

Glad I never bought one, I just don't trust Sony enough.

Funny, since the Sony ROOTKIT fiasco I have felt the same way about Sony.

Nevertheless, I almost caved to buy a Sony ebook reader (they were the best ones at the time, even better than Kindle IMHO) and a PS3 (after I got so bored with the Nintendo Wii). Given that the time that passed since the Rootkit fiasco and that it seemed sony ebook Reader was an OK DRM compromise I *almost* got it.

Fortunately I have waited. Frankly, this Sony PS3 move shows that they can screw their *current* paying customers in retrospective and not give a darn about it.

Sincerely I really believe this is class lawsuit stuff... unfortunately from a quick look at boxes pictures [google.com] I cannot any mention of the "supports OtherOS" in PS3 box

Re:I'm pretty sure you could do this in Australia (1)

stonewallred (1465497) | about 4 years ago | (#31869404)

Eh, I play games on the computer or the Dreamcast or if I am really bored, the $10.00 PS1 I bought several years ago with a big box of games included. I looked at the fact games for consoles and the PC cost roughly the same in stores. I can play the computer games on any of my computers. The PC games are usually ported to or from consoles, and if it is not done as soon as the game is released, so what? I am not a cutting edge gamer, so waiting an extra month or so is no big deal. Lol, been playing WoW for almost two years and dinged 76th on my main yesterday. I do have an army of alts and more gold than I really have any use for though.

Re:I'm pretty sure you could do this in Australia (1)

stoneform (1128969) | about 4 years ago | (#31868908)

i don't fully agree with the fuel tank analogy. i'd say it'd be more like removing the A/C, but then again it said somewhere the feature isn't used by the majority of people. a better analogy would be like removing a seat warming feature, or disabling gps navigation. enough impact to make a fuss and ruin PR but not enough to trash all your Sony goods over.

Re:I'm pretty sure you could do this in Australia (1)

somersault (912633) | about 4 years ago | (#31869008)

Except I paid good money to have the seat warmer option installed in my last, I really would not be happy if they removed that feature.

I tried to claim my refund from Amazon, but they said to go direct to Sony if I wanted that. Probably because of Sony saying they refuse to offer compensation, and it not being worth it for Amazon to damage their relationship with Sony.

Re:I'm pretty sure you could do this in Australia (1)

AHuxley (892839) | about 4 years ago | (#31868940)

Ring the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and see what they say.
If the person on the phone does not seem to get it, you can escalate your enquiry.
Make an appointment. Have the box and any Sony Australia PR/press material that mentions "Other OS functionality" with you.
Keep on pressing as the GP noted, this is really interesting wrt Australia law and the new direction consumer protection laws should be taking.
Also remember you local member of parliament, local press, radio and other PS3 users for viral video "flash mobs".
Request an interview with Sony Australia as a citizen journalist for your blog ... ;)

If i want to... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31868740)

...run Linux on the console, I really don't need a PS3 for that. Ah, good old runlevels...

Why did SONY even bother making this a feature... (4, Insightful)

hguiney (1767252) | about 4 years ago | (#31868744)

...if they didn't actually give a shit about it? What were they expecting people to do with it, if not make homebrew games and rip Blu-rays? Seems like really poor product design on their part.

Re:Why did SONY even bother making this a feature. (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31868776)

To prop up and advertise cell as a high performance super computing platform.

Re:Why did SONY even bother making this a feature. (3, Interesting)

xtracto (837672) | about 4 years ago | (#31868938)

I read someone here on slashdot who claimed it was done so that they could avoid certain taxes (putting the PS3 as a general computation machine) but do not quote me on that... in fact I would be happy if someone shed more light to that claim.

Re:Why did SONY even bother making this a feature. (1)

TheThiefMaster (992038) | about 4 years ago | (#31869360)

IIRC they did the same thing with the PS2 via a disk with a version of "BASIC" on it.

Re:Why did SONY even bother making this a feature. (3, Informative)

iapetus (24050) | about 4 years ago | (#31869460)

There used to be a differential tax rate between computers and games consoles. During the PS2 days, Sony tried to circumvent this by shipping BASIC with PS2 in Europe, claiming this made it a general purpose computer. This didn't work.

Since then the tax differential has vanished, so general computing capabilities have no bearing on PS3's tax status.

This is my understanding of things, anyway.

Re:Why did SONY even bother making this a feature. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31868958)

Apparently to get out of import taxes as well.

Re:Why did SONY even bother making this a feature. (1)

rastoboy29 (807168) | about 4 years ago | (#31869028)

It just means that the Light Side of the Force triumphed briefly within their company long enough for them to actually make the claim.

But it's okay, the Dark Side is ascendent once again. 

Re:Why did SONY even bother making this a feature. (1)

AHuxley (892839) | about 4 years ago | (#31869030)

The hint of a ps2 style tax break in some part of the world.
Brain wash a generation to mount and enjoy the K9 delights via their first Sony.
Game, blu ray and look up to see the creative friendly glow of Sony?.
A more open feel to the wider Linux community and positive trade mag press spin.
As MS build a Berlin Wall, Sony played the Tito card.
Long term its still 'game over' for wanting the freedom on a device you own.

Re:Why did SONY even bother making this a feature. (1)

Sleepy (4551) | about 4 years ago | (#31869034)

Sony was OK wirh homebrew... but only when the PS3 platform was young and vulnerable. Remember how the platform launched for $600-$700 and a lot of people thought it would fail, possibly bankrupting Sony in the process?

This is how they thank us.

This was my only console purchase since the Super Nintendo. I've always been a PC gamer, going way back to 64K Atari XL computers. I know others will say it and not mean it, but if Sony does not fix this I will *never* buy any Sony product (of any kind) again. It's been 2 decades anyways since Sony home theater products were associated with the word "quality".

Re:Why did SONY even bother making this a feature. (1)

Stuarticus (1205322) | about 4 years ago | (#31869122)

Agreed, Sony used to make great HiFi, when I see their name on something now I just expect it to be overpriced (Vaio anyone?).

I thought for a long time about buying a PS3 but went for an Xbox in the end because of the price, and MS being MS I expected their security to fall before too long, in the end no access to the graphics hardware via Linux on PS3 and Sony's outright cheek here has meant I am very glad I didn't spend the extra money.

could be related to VAT or something tax related (3, Insightful)

OlivierB (709839) | about 4 years ago | (#31869104)

I know that there are countries in Europe that have lower VAT rates for computers, as opposed to game consoles.
I suspect that by adding the Linux option to their PS3s, Sony was able to switch to the reduced VAT level, as hence bag more profits for the same retail price.

This may have been revoked/no longer valid/overturned/whatever recently and hence Sony has no further incentive to offer this feature.
Could also be that being classified as a computer made the console eligible for government subsidies to buy "computers" (such as in the UK the Home Access Program - http://www.becta.org.uk/homeaccess [becta.org.uk] )

Irrelevant to consumers (3, Informative)

Namarrgon (105036) | about 4 years ago | (#31868788)

Your own country's consumer law will tell you if you (as a PS3 owner) are entitled to any form of compensation for this, regardless of Sony's opinion, or the retailer's. But you can't sue Sony over it AFAIK, since you have no contract with them directly.

However, retailers do have a contract with Sony - and many countries also have some statutory laws regarding contracts between corporations. Thus there may be grounds for retailers to claim compensation, or even sue for breach.

Of course, this might be a great way to piss off a major supplier, so I'm betting most retailers won't go after Sony, and will either write off a few customer claims or do their best to deny them.

Sony has dealed with this before (5, Insightful)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | about 4 years ago | (#31868822)

The PSP was infamous for having bad pixel problems. More so then any other device including the cheaper DS. So naturally Sony dug in and claimed that bad pixels were normal and it wouldn't repair or replace.

Dutch consumer watchdog program Kassa took up the story and voila, Holland become the only country were Sony replaced the PSP with ANY dead pixel or subpixel.

It is amazing how much consumer rights are being eroded by big companies who hope that the enough consumers just won't push the issue far enough for them to be forced to regonize the law.

OF course Sony has NO such problem prosecuting the consumer if they happen to violate the law (copyright infringement).

It seems that to big companies the law is a buffet. You take what you need and ignore the rest. And we are letting them get away with it.

And no, it ain't just Sony fanboys either. Apple lovers and MS apologists are just as bad.

We the consumer need to grow some balls.

Re:Sony has dealed with this before (1)

antifoidulus (807088) | about 4 years ago | (#31869102)

Yeah, but the protections are not totally without cost. Europeans always complain about the price differential between the American and European markets, but a big reason for this differential is that its just plain more expensive to do business in Europe. So you either get more protections or cheaper products, you cannot have both.

Re:Sony has dealed with this before (1)

NuShrike (561140) | about 4 years ago | (#31869204)

Still cheaper than extended warranties, or having the trader rip you off.

It's absolutely great in fact. My example: I bought a mobile from Clove Technology (based in UK). I'm in the USA. Mobile's mini-usb failed in 4 months. Under USA law, it's beyond any return period, so I need to deal with manufacturer for warranty repair. Well, under UK Sale of Goods Act, I get coverage from Clove for at least 6 months for ANY problems. And, if I think the mobile is no good for failing in that amount of time, I can demand either exchange or almost full-refund. This without costing me an extra cent beyond the mobile's purchase price.

Of course, actioning that policy is a different ball since Clove has taken 4 months in attempting to repair the mobile without actually just exchanging or refunding me, also in violation of the aforementioned Act. Well, it's in the courts now.

Re:Sony has dealed with this before (0)

XDirtypunkX (1290358) | about 4 years ago | (#31869430)

What about health care, where Europeans generally have both more protection and cheaper products?

Re:Sony has dealed with this before (1)

Tromad (1741656) | about 4 years ago | (#31869112)

When I bought the 1st generation PSP I returned it to walmart 5 times before I got one without dead pixels. Same for my Viewsonic monitor I got 4 years ago. I'm sure the employees hated me but I'm hypersensitive regarding product defects; if I'm paying more than $100 for something I expect it work 100%.

Re:Sony has dealed with this before (1)

SuperDre (982372) | about 4 years ago | (#31869120)

Only this time Kassa doesn't seem to be interested in coming up for the customers...

Re:Irrelevant to consumers (1)

Sleepy (4551) | about 4 years ago | (#31869002)

>But you can't sue Sony over it AFAIK, since you have no contract with them directly.

yes you do: the update server which removed the OtherOS feature.

It's no different than buying a car from a "dealer".. it's still the manufacturer's problem.

Oh don't count on it (4, Informative)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | about 4 years ago | (#31869016)

The retailers have more power than the suppliers in most cases. Unless the supplier is one of those things that makers or breaks a business, and that is very rare these days, the retailers are the ones who have the big stick. Reason is that a retailer sells many things. There are some things or brands they won't carry simply because of space reasons, at least in the case of physical retailers and even online retailers to an extent (warehouses are finite storage). There are always tradeoffs, and they can't carry everything. For any sufficiently large one, one item more or less won't hurt them much.

This is not true of a supplier. You live and die by your goods getting in to the hands of consumers. For that to happen for most of them, you need retail availability. You need to be in Walmart and Target, you need to be on Amazon, etc. If consumers can't find you easily, they'll pass you over. That is less true of special items like the PS3, but still the case. A parent goes to buy a game console and the PS3 simply isn't in the stores they shop at, they go and get a 360 instead.

This is precisely the reason why so many people put up with Walmart's shit. They are assholes to suppliers, but you really need to be in their store since so many people shop there. Not every supplier will (Rainbird is a big one that doesn't) but most do. Walmart is why you don't see many AO games, because they refuse to stock them.

Also, in the case of something like this, there is the simple issue of possession of money. In the business world you ship out your products, and the store pays you once they get them. There's various reasons why it works that way, and some of it is due to problems. Say the items are defective or what not. If something is broken and the consumer brings it back, the supplier doesn't get paid for that one. So, the store doesn't always (or even usually) pay you the full amount. They write off things. You then have to negotiate with them over that. There are whole departments that work on that, accounts receivable departments.

So consumer returns PS3. Store refunds money. New shipment comes in, store pays Sony, less the return unit (and other stuff). Sony says "No you have to pay," the store says "Sorry but no, the unit was returned in accordance with European law and store policy, you have to take the writeoff." At this point Sony can more or less live with it, or stop selling to the store. Not very likely to stop selling to the store, unless this was a major problem.

Sony can bluster all they like, but when it comes down to it if Amazon tells them they are taking a writeoff for a PS3, they'll damn well do it. Blacklisting Amazon would hurt their bottom line in a major way.

Not particularly surprising (3, Insightful)

jimicus (737525) | about 4 years ago | (#31868808)

Note that in the EU, your contract is with (and therefore the organisation you have to sue if it all goes pear-shaped) the retailer, not the manufacturer. But now that Sony has made an official announcement, there is no way most retailers will even contemplate offering a partial refund until they receive court papers - and possibly not until it's heard and an order is handed down.

Even if ordered to by a court, a retailer isn't going to bother trying to sue Sony unless and until they have had to refund a sufficiently large number of customers as to make it worthwhile. They're certainly not going to take Sony on over a single £70 refund (which I believe is what Amazon refunded), and they probably won't until they have dealt with hundreds, if not thousands of similar refunds.

I'm not convinced there are enough people who are sufficiently bothered by it as to make that happen.

Re:Not particularly surprising (1)

Nuitari The Wiz (1123889) | about 4 years ago | (#31868978)

In Quebec while the contract is with the retailer, you can sue the both the retailer and the manufacturer for problems and liabilities.

In fact, stopping games from working with an older version of the firmware could also be used in court, as these are all conditions that are added after the initial contract (the sale). Furthermore, the consumer rights law in Quebec are very clear on the point that no contract can revoke any rights granted by the law.

Re:Not particularly surprising (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31868980)

Sony doesn't play nice, no one should play nice. Let's copy and share Sony's music and movies as much as we can.

Re:Not particularly surprising (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31869424)

Let's copy and share Sony's music and movies as much as we can.

You mean they already do something worth pirating?

Bandwidth is cheap.

HDD space is cheap.

But lots of stuff on my BitTorrent queue competes for my precious time.

Re:Not particularly surprising (1)

AHuxley (892839) | about 4 years ago | (#31869062)

Sony would have to fight 'you' or a small class action on precedent alone. :)
They learned that from the DVD region code loopholes in consumer laws in some parts of the world.
When you enter a new market with new 'upgrades' never have parts of the world out of step.

This is going to end well... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31868810)

Sony: "Any refunds you offer are between you and your customers, and we're not obligated to reimburse you."

Amazon: "Thanks for the clarification. Also, we're not obligated to carry any Sony products. Just letting you know."

Hey, a guy can dream...

Re:This is going to end well... (1)

iapetus (24050) | about 4 years ago | (#31868952)

The same law that dictates whether consumers get refunds dictate whether the retailer can have their money back from Sony. In short, while Sony are refusing to be part of any good will refunds (because they've already given up on maintaining good will with their customers, apparently) they're still on the legal hook for any enforced refunds.

Re:This is going to end well... (1)

TedRiot (899157) | about 4 years ago | (#31869272)

Not everywhere. At least in Finland, B2C (reseller selling to the consumer) commerce is much more regulated than B2B (Sony selling to the reseller). The reseller is responsible to the consumer by law, but Sony is responsible to the reseller (through importers and such) by contract between them.

For example in B2C commerce the seller is responsible that the product works as intended for as long as is reasonable expected, which means that no matter what the manufacturer warranty says, a TV set for example is effectively expected to work for 5 years (which is short, but longer than the manufacturer warranty). In B2B the warranty is a contract. If an ad says that there is a two year warranty, that usually means that within that time in B2C it's easier to get the reseller to take responsibility. After the two years you end up having to cite the law and some national consumer agancy decisions to get them to fix things.

Re:This is going to end well... (1)

iapetus (24050) | about 4 years ago | (#31869376)

It's not the same law applied in the same way - it's an explicit inclusion in the B2C law. Article 4 of EU directive 1999/44/EC states:

Where the final seller is liable to the consumer because of a lack of conformity resulting from an act or omission by the producer, a previous seller in the same chain of contracts or any other intermediary, the final seller shall be entitled to pursue remedies against the person or persons liable in the contractual chain.

I sold that DRM son of a bitch (4, Interesting)

jprupp (697660) | about 4 years ago | (#31868824)

I bought a PS3 because it could run Linux. It was interesting for me to see what Linux could do in that machine. After some time, I became bored by it, I couldn't turn it into a decent Linux media center, many video formats didn't play properly, and I wasn't really playing much with it. DVDs or Blu-Ray discs from other zones wouldn't work in it, and I think the device was too locked for my open sourcer taste. I felt like when I had an iPhone. Then I get the news on the firmare update that would disable Linux compatibility, and that was the end for me. I sold that motherfucker through online auctions along with all games. So much for proprietary platforms and me.

Re:I sold that DRM son of a bitch (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31869194)

I sold that DRM son of a bitch

Yeah, my PS3's mother was quite the wild one, too.

Re:I sold that DRM son of a bitch (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31869330)

Cool story, bro.

Of course Sony say this. But... (3, Insightful)

iapetus (24050) | about 4 years ago | (#31868942)

The same law that dictates whether the customer should receive a refund from the retailer determines whether that retailer has recourse against Sony for their costs incurred. So if this ever ends up in court (and I know of at least one case where it looks likely that it will) then if a precedent is set that the consumer deserves a refund it's going to be hard for Sony to fight. They can refuse all they like to sanction it, but if national law says they have to pay up, then they have to pay up.

Re:Of course Sony say this. But... (1)

xelah (176252) | about 4 years ago | (#31869304)

The same law that dictates whether the customer should receive a refund from the retailer determines whether that retailer has recourse against Sony for their costs incurred.

Not necessarily...there are laws like the UK's Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations which apply to consumers and not businesses. Besides, the update came from Sony, not the retailer...so who knows?

Re:Of course Sony say this. But... (1)

iapetus (24050) | about 4 years ago | (#31869370)

I don't mean that they apply in the same way; the European regulation on this (which member states such as the UK are obliged to incorporate into their own laws) explicitly says that where the consumer gets their money from the retailer, the retailer has the right to go after whoever it was further up the supply chain that was to blame for the lack of conformity - in this case Sony.

LOL, what's with the Sony Hate Crusade? (1)

Zoidbot (1194453) | about 4 years ago | (#31869004)

Microsoft removed functionality in NXE (XBLA Downloader)

Nintendo removed MP3 support in firmware

Sony removed OtherOS because if was being hacked..

Seems only Sony gets the bad rap. One might think this is a viral campaign by Microsoft... It looks very much like thier style.

Re:LOL, what's with the Sony Hate Crusade? (1)

Zoidbot (1194453) | about 4 years ago | (#31869018)

Aside from that, it's clear the European law that was quoted to Amazon is totally bogus, as it's does not apply to consumers directly, it states the minimum that member states of the EU have to offer.

That particular UK gamer should have quoted SOGA (Sale Of Goods Act), which is the UK implementation of that directive. and even then SOGA would have not applied, as the EULA overrides that.

Re:LOL, what's with the Sony Hate Crusade? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31869092)

Idiot.

There is not a single EULA in the World that is capable of removing rights granted to you by law. It is impossible (in the West at least, probably elsewhere too) for any contract to remove any right that has been granted in law.

That's why in every single EULA you read (you do read the agreements you accept, don't you?) there will be a clause that says something similar to "If any part of this agreement is found to be unenforceable by law, then that part is void and the remaining agreement is still held to be valid."

Your claim is so provable false that it is just sad.

Re:LOL, what's with the Sony Hate Crusade? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31869096)

This is not legal advice. Go look it up yourself if you're curious.

As I understand it, the Sale of Goods Act 1979 (as amended) is national law granting statutory rights, which overrides even outright contracts, let alone questionably-signed copyright licences attached to end-user licence agreements. That's also what they mean when they give a guarantee that says it does not affect your statutory rights.

I have no idea how that affects this particular case, however. It's rather complex and it may be years after sale.

Technically speaking, although OtherOS's hypervisor had been smashed with a fault-injection attack, that hypervisor is now no longer in the current OS release at all. The PS3 is in no way more secure against chipping today than it was before 3.21 - that hack really was in no way useful for modifying the Sony OS, as it didn't affect the secure SPU functionality, which is isolated from the CPU by design, and handles secure signatures over the OS image. Something rather more exotic is needed to adapt the Sony OS to allow for fun things; either some very advanced software exploits or, most likely, a hardware 'modchip' device (which quite likely only just now got some serious funding behind it).

Of course, due to the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, I can't really tell you how you might go about doing that.

Re:LOL, what's with the Sony Hate Crusade? (1)

xelah (176252) | about 4 years ago | (#31869252)

As I understand it, the Sale of Goods Act 1979 (as amended) is national law granting statutory rights, which overrides even outright contracts, let alone questionably-signed copyright licences attached to end-user licence agreements. That's also what they mean when they give a guarantee that says it does not affect your statutory rights.

The Sale of Goods Act (and now the Sale and Supply of Goods Act) doesn't cover licences. Licences are not goods. It'll cover PS3s, though, because PS3s obviously ARE goods...but it's not immediately obvious that the PS3 itself is defective/not durable enough, given that people applying the patch are agreeing to it and that the patch isn't coming from the person from whom they bought the PS3 (and who would be liable). I don't know nearly enough law to know whether it's legal or not, but it's a bit more complex than you suggest.

Re:LOL, what's with the Sony Hate Crusade? (3, Insightful)

SharpFang (651121) | about 4 years ago | (#31869138)

No EULA ever overrides a national law (unless the law in question has special provisions that specifically allow to override/waive it). If the EULA has provisions that are contradicting local law, local law takes priority.

That's one of fine points of labor laws in EU. The employer can give the employee a draconian contract to sign, with many nasty points that, say, raise the number of hours, reduce the number of days off, cut into the salary and so on. The employee can then just smirk, sign, and then sue if the employer tries to assert any of the points that are against labor laws.

Most of "protection laws" are written specifically in a way that makes it impossible for the protected to give up the protection, even willingly - they override any contracts that might contradict them.

I never expected this (1)

djh2400 (1362925) | about 4 years ago | (#31869050)

Are there any among us who can honesty say they did not see this coming?

On an unrelated note, I found the image on the article's page with a PS3 and poor little Tux on his side to be somewhat amusing.

Quotes of Sony promoting the OtherOS feature (5, Informative)

Sleepy (4551) | about 4 years ago | (#31869090)

Taken from the Playstation.com forums (nice work!):
----------------

CREDIT goes to Xrobx who posted these in another thread and i wanted to make sure that everyone sees them...

Sony Computer Entertainment Inc.:
"In addition to playing games, watching movies, listening to music, and viewing photos, you can use the PS3 system to run the Linux operating system. By installing the Linux operating system, you can use the PS3 system not only as an entry-level personal computer with hundreds of familiar applications for home and office use, but also as a complete development environment for the Cell Broadband Engine (Cell/B.E.)."
http://www.playstation.com/ps3-openplatform/index.html [playstation.com]

(http://74.125.113.132/search?q=cache:byasL-PxEiMJ:www.playstation.com/ps3-openplatform/index.html+http://www.playstation.com/ps3-openplatform/index.html&cd=1&hl=en&ct=cln
k&gl=us&client=safari) - google's cached page of the above hyperlink from March 30th 2010 which does not say anything about FW 3.21 removing Other OS. I've saved the page in case it goes offline, copy http address into browser as link probably won't work. Or, just search google and get the cached page. - kiyyto.

Phil Harrison, February 2007,
President of Sony Computer Entertainment Worldwide Studios 2005-2008:
"One of the most powerful things about the PS3 is the 'Install Other OS' option."
http://kotaku.com/235049/20-questions-with-phil-harrison-at-dice [kotaku.com]

Sony Computer Entertainment Inc., 2006-2009:
"The Linux Distributor's Starter Kit provides information, binary and source codes to Linux Distribution developers who wants to make their distro support PS3."
http://www.kernel.org/pub/linux [kernel.org]

Izumi Kawanishi, Sony, May 2006:
"Because we have plans for having Linux on board [the PS3], we also recognize Linux programming activities... Other than game studios tied to official developer licenses, we'd like to see various individuals participate in content creation for the PS3."
http://www.gamasutra.com/php-bin/news_index.php?story=9290 [gamasutra.com]

Geoffrey Levand, August 2009,
Principal Software Engineer at Sony Corporation:
"Please be assured that SCE is committed to continue the support for previously sold models that have the "Install Other OS" feature and that this feature will not be disabled in future firmware releases."
mailing list to PS3 customers using Linux

Phil Harrison, May 2006,
President of Sony Computer Entertainment Worldwide Studios 2005-2008:
"The Playstation 3 is a computer. We do not need the PC."
http://www.spiegel.de/netzwelt/web/0,1518,418642,00.html [spiegel.de]
SONY
Make.Believe... you didn't see that

ACCC to look into this... (2, Informative)

PhunkySchtuff (208108) | about 4 years ago | (#31869478)

The ACCC [accc.gov.au] responded to my complaint regarding this latest move of Sony's and they are looking into the matter. Whether or not anything will come of it is anyone's guess, but the ACCC do have a history of standing up for the consumer and not being afraid of multinational corporations.

Specifically, they're looking into the sale of a PS3 with OtherOS support being removed after the sale. The issues raised are being considered in the context of the Trade Practices Act 1974 [austlii.edu.au] .

TRADE PRACTICES ACT 1974 - SECT 70 [austlii.edu.au]
Supply by description
                          (1) Where there is a contract for the supply (otherwise than by way of sale by auction) by a corporation in the course of a business of goods to a consumer by description, there is an implied condition that the goods will correspond with the description, and, if the supply is by reference to a sample as well as by description, it is not sufficient that the bulk of the goods corresponds with the sample if the goods do not also correspond with the description.

                          (2) A supply of goods is not prevented from being a supply by description for the purposes of subsection (1) by reason only that, being exposed for sale or hire, they are selected by the consumer.

TRADE PRACTICES ACT 1974 - SECT 71 [austlii.edu.au]

Implied undertakings as to quality or fitness
                          (1) Where a corporation supplies (otherwise than by way of sale by auction) goods to a consumer in the course of a business, there is an implied condition that the goods supplied under the contract for the supply of the goods are of merchantable quality, except that there is no such condition by virtue only of this section:

                                          (a) as regards defects specifically drawn to the consumer's attention before the contract is made; or

                                          (b) if the consumer examines the goods before the contract is made, as regards defects which that examination ought to reveal.

                          (2) Where a corporation supplies (otherwise than by way of sale by auction) goods to a consumer in the course of a business and the consumer, expressly or by implication, makes known to the corporation or to the person by whom any antecedent negotiations are conducted any particular purpose for which the goods are being acquired, there is an implied condition that the goods supplied under the contract for the supply of the goods are reasonably fit for that purpose, whether or not that is a purpose for which such goods are commonly supplied, except where the circumstances show that the consumer does not rely, or that it is unreasonable for him or her to rely, on the skill or judgment of the corporation or of that person.

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