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Australian Linux user gets Windows Refund

sengan posted more than 15 years ago | from the that-EULA-can-be-useful dept.

Microsoft 151

freejack writes "Here's an incredible story of how one Linux user got his money back for the Windows pre-installed on the laptop he bought. He used the fact the Microsoft Software License Agreement allows you to return the software if you do not agree to its terms."

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No Subject Given (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2038562)

If I remember right, the EULA states that opening the package is what constitutes your agreeing with its terms. Is it possible that the version of Windows pre-installed on your system is free and the shrink-wrapped version can be returned for a refund?
If anyone can find wording that implies otherwise, please let me know.

Chris Kuster (

Slashdot Effect (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2038563)

If ever there was a time
for the slashdot effect to be used
it is NOW.

Moron (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2038564)

He should've taken the better model when he had the chance.. ;)

Wow! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2038565)

Now that's a story!

Too bad I can't return my copy of Windows, but I don't own this copy. ;)

Nice to see you can stick the EULA to the vendors (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2038566)

Seeing how the legislators are not helping out the end-users any with the EULA (I understand that the legislators are supporting the industry in denying the user the right to read the EULA prior to purchase of the software), it's nice to see that you can hold the vendor to the EULA to get your money back when you finally read the EULA and don't agree to it's terms.

Windows NT instead of 98 ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2038567)

I wonder how Toshiba manages to install NT instead of 98 under their Microsoft exclusive contract then...

Of does NT not run at all on laptops ?

Can I use the letter posted on the site (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2038568)

Is the letter that Geoffrey D. Bennett GPL'ed? Can I use it when I needed?

AU$110 =? US$, anyway, happy to have discount in my next purchase.

No problem if you mention Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2038569)

Notice that he had no problem once he finally mentioned that he deleted the MS OS and replaced it with Linux. Up to that point Toshiba may have thought that he was trying to return the backup CD while continuing to run the MS OS. I wonder how many confused people do indeed try that. I just haven't gotten around to returning mine, but I'll make sure to mention the original OS was replaced.

Great idea! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2038570)

Toshiba laptops run Linux wonderfully well, in my experience. I heartily encourage everyone out there who is looking for a laptop to use with Linux purchaes a Toshiba laptop and then try to get your money back for the copy of Windoze that you are not using! Send a big 'ol message.

Warez (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2038571)

That's why I'm buying my computer in pieces instead of a prebuilt one... TO AVOID THE DAMN PIRATED WINDOZE PREINSTALLED ON MY HD!
When will they get a clue?

relevant to current court proceedings? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2038572)

If you'd like some evidence about MS monopolistic practices towards other OSes, this is it. Toshiba indicates that they have a signed deal with Microsoft that precludes them from offering other operating systems, and requires them to pay MS. I thought MS wasn't allowed to do that! Of course, it's in Australia, so maybe MS is not bound by US laws, even though it's a US company.

Unfortunately, this won't work for me. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2038573)

The last pre-built computer I bought was a Radio Shack TRS-80 Model I. Since then, everything has been 100% IBM -- meaning I Built-it Myself. So, I can't claim any refunds, but of course, I also don't have to wipe an OS I don't want.

So, MS just changes the EULA, right? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2038574)

I can see MS will now just re-word the EULA
and remove the "refund" part....

US License Agreement says.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2038575)

"If you do not agree to the terms of this EULA, Manufacturer, Microsoft Corporation("Microsoft"), and Microsoft Licensing Inc.("MSLI") are unwilling to license the SOFTWARE PROTDUCT to you. In such event, you may not use or copy the SOFTWARE PRODUCT and you should promptly contact Manufacturere for instructions on return of the products(s) for a refund."

Class action lawsuit? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2038576)

This hit a nerve for me. Most of my computers run Linux, so I have a stack of unused software that I was FORCED to purchase. It really makes me mad that Microsoft has been able to command such a strong monopoly position and has the nerve to claim no monopoly.
It would be fantastic if Microsoft is shown to be breaking the law, a class action lawsuit would sure move some of that wasted money back into our hands.

Good deal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2038577)

Ask for a refund. If they give it to you, you're fine. If not, bounce mail around for 6 months, and finally agree to return the full system. Buy yourself a new one from a different company (by that time, something 20% faster) and continue until you either (a) get a vendor who'll take Windoze back or (b) you get tired of free upgrades every 6 months. :)

What about non-Intel hardware/non-MS OS? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2038578)

Has anyone tried this with a non-Wintel system?
Perhaps get a PowerMac G3 without MacOS, a Sparc station without Solaris, an SGI without IRIX, etc.

Could this be the beginning of the end of computer hardware and OS bundling? I doubt it.

Kurt Sellner

Moron (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2038579)

Yes - ignore your principles to get a slightly
better laptop - people like you really help us
win the war against Microsoft.

Class action lawsuit = Instant headlines (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2038580)

It'd be beautiful!

"Millions Sue MicroSoft for Breach of Contract, Seek $3 Billion"

If enough people did this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2038581) would make the exclusive bundle deals unprofitable for the OEMs. It could, finally, put an end to the preload monopoly!

relevant to current court proceedings? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2038582)

Note quite, Toshiba Australia is an Australian
company, and Toshiba America is an American
company and Toshiba UK is a UK company, and so

My understanding is that the consent agreement signed by Microsoft with the DOJ forbid them from
entering into exclusive licence deals with manufactures. If so somebody is in a large pile of manure.

Unfortunately, this won't work for me. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2038583)

I have a couple of NT Server 120-day demo CDs (work fine installing them in 2079 or so). They also include a non-crippled copy of Win95 and FrontPage on the CD :) Too bad I can't return those, since I don't use them!

Forced to buy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2038584)

I attempted to buy a computer from Tiger Electronics. I told 'em I didn't want an operating system installed, but they kept telling me that I had to buy Windows 98. Tack on another $90.

I ended up telling them to go screw themselves and now I refuse to buy anything from them. Guess I should try this tactic on my next pre-built computer.

Great idea!! Thanks!

Refund from E-machines (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2038585)

My girlfriend and I are currently trying to
get e-machines in Fremont, CA to take back
the pre-bundled Win98. So far, we've reached
nothing but people there hemming and hawwing
and generally stalling. The EULA clause quoted
in this instance is the same here in the US,


Gateway 2000 says: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2038586)

Gateway 2000 says:
If you do not agree to ther terms of this EULA, Gateway 2000 is unwilling to license the SOFTWARE PRODUCT to you. In such event, you may not use or copy the SOFTWARE PRODUCT, and you should promptly contact Gateway2000 for instructions on returning it.

No mention of refund, just return :(

Gateway 2000 says: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2038587)

so return it.

What? and wind up paying for something he didn't get? or even want? That sucks, and I don't think it's even legal.

Help me read my SONY VAIO licensing agreement... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2038588)

I bought a Sony vaio 505f a couple of weeks back.
I immediately network installed linux on the
system when I bought it. I told the guy I was
buying it from I only wanted to run Linux on it
anywa. I did not even boot windows '98.

It comes with a bunch of CD's and microsoft
windows all packaged up and shrink-wrapped.
(actually, I can't even read the CD's because
I didn't buy the optional cdrom drive - I love
linux that way - everything over the net)

The licensing agreement is all sandwiched between
the CD's, which are sealed by a bunch of

What does it say?

someone call Ralph NAder, get a test case! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2038589)

haul MS into court, beat them, and

I am getting refund $5 from Toshiba (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2038590)

I am in the process of getting the refund for Windoze 95 and some other software which came with a Toshiba notebook. First time I called Toshiba customer service on February 6, 1998. After 9 month battle (by the way, I contacted James Love in May with the story, and I think it resulted in CPT survey of the PC preinstalled OS market tml, and followed by the "M$ tax letter"), I eventually got a call from Toshiba and was notified thet the decision was "to re-iterate that the refund will be $5 or less". Anyway, I was given the address to send the CDs. Unfortunately, I have not done so yet, but hope to send them out within cople of weeks (I am preparing the letter regarding possible outcomes of their decision on the amount of the refund).
I will make the whole story publically available as soon as it is finished.


Real Motivation? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2038591)

What was Toshiba's real motivation?

Did anybody notice that they only gave him the $110 refund when he started looking at the $700 replacement?

Another Story HERE!!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2038592)

new linux fud (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2038593)

Read this!,4153,38 3856,00.html

More ammunition for the D.O.J. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2038594)

I think this shining M$ - Vendor example should be sent to the DOJ as further evidence of M$ business
practices - HELL, send a couple hundred copies of this ... flood their e-mail if need be....

Got $30 from a PC Recycler (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2038595)

I picked up a used P166 and the shop gave me $30 off the price for leaving without an OS. I'll call that a bargain.

Hmm.. Rebate... (1)

Skyshadow (508) | more than 15 years ago | (#2038620)

I smell a rebate coming my way...


Class action lawsuit? (1)

Analog (564) | more than 15 years ago | (#2038621)

Class actions can be useful, but it depends on what it is you want. If you want to get some cash, forget it. The lawyer(s) will get nearly half of whatever settlement is arrived at, and the rest will be split among the plaintiffs. It will amount to cents per person, if that.

If your intention is to stick it to Microsoft and set a precedent, then that might well be worth doing. A lawyer might well be willing to try if there appears to be a reasonable chance of winning, for the reason mentioned above. It could be like hitting the lottery if they won.

Awesome idea (0)

gavinhall (33) | more than 15 years ago | (#2038622)

Posted by The ULTIMATE Crippler:

Why don't we all try to get one of these? With all the systems I have laying around without running any M$ bloatware, I must have about 3 Win95 licenses, a couple of NT Server licenses, and an NT Workstation license. That's a lot of money!

And if they resist... SUE!

Unfortunately, this won't work for me. (1)

gavinhall (33) | more than 15 years ago | (#2038623)

Posted by Mephie:

I've worked in support so long I have: Dos6.2, Win3.1, Win95 retail, OSR1, OSR2, OSR2.2, NT4.0 Server, Win98 OEM Full and 2 copies of Redhat 5.0.
Didn't have to pay a dime for any of the MS ones (and I even have licenses for them), bought one of the RH, got the other from a friend.


gavinhall (33) | more than 15 years ago | (#2038624)

Posted by HolyMackeralAndy:

Right On! I will definitely do this with my next new system (however, by thetime I buy it I may be able to get Linux pre-installed).

Awesome. (1)

Naikrovek (667) | more than 15 years ago | (#2038628)

Glad to see it. Perhaps I will use this strategy in the future....


DaBuzz (878) | more than 15 years ago | (#2038629)

Wow, now THAT'S a damn good idea!

I wonder how well that would go over in the states.

Perseverance pays off! (1)

mackga (990) | more than 15 years ago | (#2038630)

Way to go... now that's a way to send the signal. No more MS! No more MS! No more MS! heh.

hassle the hardware dealers
demand no os on new systems drives
support Linux-only system sellers
Boycott the MS tax - no taxation w/o representation: I vote no for MS on my hdd!
Now, all I need is money to buy a new system.

Kinda.. (1)

Fastolfe (1470) | more than 15 years ago | (#2038632)

For the shrinkwrapped bundles, you usually have the EULA attached or visible through the shrinkwrap. Opening all of that up supposedly implies agreement with the EULA.

For pre-installed software, however, the EULA appears on-screen before you're allowed to do anything. (I believe.) Pressing "I agree" (or whatever) indicates your acceptance of the EULA. There should be a printed version included, however.

I would've... (1)

Fastolfe (1470) | more than 15 years ago | (#2038633)


There is the whole principle of the matter, but still...

''Wouldn't it be great'' (1)

Raj 'nopzor' Dutt (2288) | more than 15 years ago | (#2038635)

... if hundreds of thousands of Linux users around the world started doing this and donated the refunded money to the FSF, XFREE86 or other worthy projects? ...


hrm... (1)

schematic (2337) | more than 15 years ago | (#2038636)

Time to find that book with the license in it

why bother, specify NO windows when U buy? (1)

goon (2774) | more than 15 years ago | (#2038637)

why not specify when you purchase yr machine NOT to have windows...I know when I purchased my last win box I simply requested windows NOT to be on the system, just DOS :) hence I didn't have to fork out any dosh for M$Windows ?

Now I can consider a laptop purchase. (1)

smithdog (3152) | more than 15 years ago | (#2038638)

Since the illegal M$ tax can now be avoided on laptops, I can consider buying one this year. Though the email for refund battle appears to be less convenient then buying the CPU(s) and componets to build another desktop system.

Fresh Plan: find cheap Toshiba Libreto in back of Computer Shopper or Purchase via mail order to avoid state sales tax. Grind out series of emails to get a refund for the M$ tax.
Could be an an attractive option for about $500.
Happy happy, joy joy!

yes! (1)

Mickey Jameson (3209) | more than 15 years ago | (#2038639)

That is great! It's a good thing he DID put a lot of effort into getting a refund for software he didn't want. Hopefully this will not only prompt others to do the same, but wake up companies such as Toshiba to realize that the end user doesn't always want sucky software with a new PC.

This should be brught up at the trial (1)

ZioPino (4293) | more than 15 years ago | (#2038641)

The email from Toshiba is the best evidence that MS imposes to buy their software in a monopolistic, anti-competitive way. Is there a way to send this story to the DOJ lawyers ?

Other oem's: same license? How to tell in advance? (1)

Sleepy (4551) | more than 15 years ago | (#2038642)

Is there any way to tell "which" license an OEM uses in advance?

The license language could change vendor to vendor, and it would be nice to know which ones were this flexable.

I know you can order Linux systems from companies like VA, iDot (by special email ammending of order) and others, but if the license says you open the UPS container you agree to the license, you're $#|+ out of luck...

The OEM gets stiffed by MS on this one too: every Win95 license I have seen specifically says "licensed for THIS computer", meaning the license is not reusable when returned. That, and if you buy a new OS-less computer later on, you can't legally install it on the new machine -- even if you delete the old installation or physically move the old hard drive into the new system.

Apple sells G3 servers with Linux preinstalled... (1)

Sleepy (4551) | more than 15 years ago | (#2038643)

You might be able to do this with Apple -- they DO sell hardware with Linux installed.

Your real question is do you get a discount ordering "without OS"? I don't know the answer to that, but you can pursue it if you want. Apple did that "Customer Focus" thing on the Linux/Apache webserver running on their G3.

Yes, before some rude AC points it out this is not "without an OS". But it may be "without being charged for an OS". Check with the Education store, or someone at a school's admin department may have a real human Sales rep at Apple you can call..

Not here (1)

Extremist (4666) | more than 15 years ago | (#2038644)

Just was intalling yet another Gateway today. I read /. just before, and payed REAL close attention. It was worded identical to the guy with the Toshiba in the story. So, in theory.... 8)

Has anyone else tried this? (1)

luge (4808) | more than 15 years ago | (#2038645)

I'd be interested in knowing if anyone else planning on buying a new system anytime in the next couple of days can let us know about their progress through the same process. I might be more tempted to buy a machine from a manufacturer that allows this than one that doesn't- can everyone here let us know how it goes?

Microbiz- no os is fine. (1)

FORTYoz (5393) | more than 15 years ago | (#2038646)

I bought a computer from a local dealer.. here in vancouver canada. And i bought it without an OS with no hassle. he asked do you wan't windows98? i said no. And he knows its going to be a linux box. So he didn't charge me.. and also a couple other dealers around here have no problem selling without the OS.. is this a canada thing?

Yeah, baby! (1)

httptech (5553) | more than 15 years ago | (#2038647)

Unless I'm mistaken, this means I can go purchase
an E-machine for $399 and get a ~$100 refund for
not using Windows on it?

Aw, yeah!

Interesting Datum (1)

ewhac (5844) | more than 15 years ago | (#2038649)

This little incident offers us a piece of information that would be nearly impossible to obtain by other means:

Toshiba is paying $110 Australian for each copy of Windoze.

An interesting gambit would be to pursue refunds from other major PC manufacturers, thereby getting a map of who's paying what. Could be very revealing...


What about VA-Research??? (1)

doog (5889) | more than 15 years ago | (#2038650)

I have an NEC laptop that came with Win95 preinstalled. I never got a refund for Winblows (is 1.5 years too late?) but I'm wondering if the NEC laptops that VA-Research (or other linux vendors sell) originally ship to THEM with WinBlows on em??

Man, that's SWEET! (1)

Booker (6173) | more than 15 years ago | (#2038651)

I especially like the "please state the manner in which you deleted the software" part... I'm sure the lawyers were giddy with anticipation of denying his request based on the fact that he MUST have booted it up in order to delete it, and hence, had already used the software...

"Dear sir.. I used Red Hat Linux to delete all partitions..."

WooP! I love it!

Way, dude! (1)

Apuleius (6901) | more than 15 years ago | (#2038652)

If they restrict it to a full hardware refund,
people can use it to upgrade their machines cheap!

1. prevent software refunds
2. prevent hardware upgrades on-the-cheap
3. prevent the OEM's from getting PO'd and
demanding a new deal on the licenses.

MS can't do all three.

REFUND : MacOS, Solaris (1)

doomy (7461) | more than 15 years ago | (#2038653)

Good morning folks,

If one of you were to buy a SUN or Apple computer in the near future, please ask them to remove the OS and stress that you wish to use an alternative free OS. Namely Linux, Freebsd, or whatever you feel.

This is the way to go..

Depends on the package opened (1)

Woodmeister (7487) | more than 15 years ago | (#2038654)

As most people know by now, when you purchace a PC with Win9x pre-installed, you get that nifty shrink-wrapped Windows manual with the EULA. Provided you don't open this package, your refund may await.

However, having worked for Radio Shack, I've seen several systems come and go, and the systems as of late are packaged with the power cord in a sealed baggie with an Acceptance Agreement on that bag.

Hummm.... To use the computer (in any way, even to install Linux from your first boot), you have to open the bag to use the power cord. Oops, you've just accepted M$ licence agreement. No refund.

Have a nice day.

Of course, just grab another power cord from somewhere else ;-)

relevant to current court proceedings? (1)

crbowman (7970) | more than 15 years ago | (#2038655)

Actually I believe that the MS contract requires Toshiba to pay MicroSoft a fee for each laptop shipped. But this doesn't mean that the contract is exclusive, it just means that if you want a computer with say FreeBSD 3.0 then the manufacturer (Toshiba) must still pay the MicroSoft fee even though none of their software is on the machine.

Definitly NOT an exclusive, contract but perhaps indeed an anticompetetive one. This is a long standing MicroSoft tactic, and I believe was even used in the old DOS days.

Awesome idea (1)

gampid (8492) | more than 15 years ago | (#2038656)

Copyrighting a post on slashdot? Doesn't that seem to go against the ideas behind open source & copyleft?

Can I use the letter posted on the site (1)

Goonie (8651) | more than 15 years ago | (#2038657)

About $70 US at the moment, I think.

The EULA (1)

elflord (9269) | more than 15 years ago | (#2038658)

the EULA also states that ...

The SOFTWARE PRODUCT is licensed with the computer as a single integrated product. The SOFTWARE PRODUCT may only be used with the COMPUTER

This seems to rule out the option of acquiring a refund on the windows license without getting a refund on the entire computer. However, this clause does look rather fishy, and it would be interesting to see how such a clause would stand up in court. I am personally surprised that Toshiba did not cite this in their letters.

Anyway, it's an interesting case. I always wondered what would happen if the "refund" part of the EULA was put to the test. Hopefully, this will incite more people to start demanding refunds on their windows licenses. If nothing else, it will make the OEMs notice us ...

-- Elflord

What about Utilities/Diagnostics etc. (1)

narnian (9597) | more than 15 years ago | (#2038659)

If Toshiba is like Compaq, they will also include diagnostics tools on the hard disk. (On Compaq Armada's hitting F10 boots to a 15M DOS partition that contains various utilities to configure CMOS settings and the like). Even though this may not using a Windows OS, it does use DOS and hence is probably licencable software.

Are you prepared to lose the diagnostics as well?

Good deal (1)

Aussie (10167) | more than 15 years ago | (#2038660)

I agree,that approach should work

They maybe onto something here... (1)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | more than 15 years ago | (#2038665)

In the UK comsumer law is pretty much on the buyers' side. I doubt booting a pre-installed operating system would invalidate the EULA. I think you're probably entitled to a refund anyway, whatever the MS lawyers say.

You might even be able to get a refund based on the 'not fit for the purpose for which it was designed' clause (A lot retailers are wary enough of the law to give refunds simply on the 'I couldn't get it to work' argument, because it's fairly easy in court to go from 'doesn't work' to 'not fit')

That works the other way around... (1)

markhb (11721) | more than 15 years ago | (#2038666)

I believe that the intent of that phrase is that the copy of Windows you just received may only be used on the PC it came with, not on some other machine. If you bought one machine with NT and one with 98, it violates the EULA (isn't that a football player in Nashville?) to swap the two OS's.

My AlphaStation came without an OS. (1)

jonbrewer (11894) | more than 15 years ago | (#2038667)

I picked up a couple of AlphaStation 200 4/233s from $400.00 a piece. 32 megs ram, but no operating system, and no hard disk. One is running NT Server, and one RedHat 5.2.

(anyone want to help me get X running on the 8 meg TGA cards that came with the systems?)

What about non-Intel hardware/non-MS OS? -NOPE (1)

Tim Sutherland (11914) | more than 15 years ago | (#2038668)

That would only work if those operating systems
were licensed with the same condition in
Microsofts EULA which allows refund of the
operating system if you don't agree to the
license. I'm fairly sure the others don't.

build your own laptop... (1)

Natedog (11943) | more than 15 years ago | (#2038669)

yeah right - that hardly seems worth it. A desktop, now those I build, but laptops are a whole different story.

Wouldn't it be beautiful... (1)

cody (11975) | more than 15 years ago | (#2038670)

Wouldn't it be beautiful if Bill Gates had to refund everyone who'd ever purchased a Windows OS, ran out of money, and had to crash on Linus' couch?

The EULA (1)

Maniacal (12626) | more than 15 years ago | (#2038673)

Interesting Point.

I can't wait to see what happens when some high profile lawyers get their hands in this and start slugging. The two statements contradict eachother. Wonder what a judge would rule.

Anyway, better get it quick if you're going to try. If it become epidemic, you can bet it'll be rewritten promptly.

Also, I think a more interesting battle to watch would be the PC makers vs. MS. How are their agreements written? Will they be able to get MS to cough up the cash since it's their EULA.

Just a thought



StarFace (13336) | more than 15 years ago | (#2038675)

it's a pity i used my M$ software, back when i purchased the computer i didn't even really know what linux was fully. oh well. i'll get to do this with my next upgrade :)

What scares me... (1)

StarFace (13336) | more than 15 years ago | (#2038676)

is how entertwined alot of these hardware vendors are and microsoft. did anybody else notice how deadly that liscense is? microsoft has a CONTRACT with toshiba that prohibits them from seperating their software from their hardware. later on it said they can't sell a system without a valid operating system...but i bet that implies MS operating systems because why would microsoft make them sign an agreement like that. it is little wonder that the hardware industries are anxious to get microsoft off of their backs if they are being forced to sign prohibitive liscense like this. i wonder how long they are effective? this is definatly one of the things "they" would rather not have known and i'm glad this story brought it up.

Depends on the package opened (1)

dirty (13560) | more than 15 years ago | (#2038678)

I really don't see how that actually can be legal. To buy product A, you must also purchase product B. To me that's like saying to buy a 2 liter bottle of coca-cola you must also buy a glass. I dunno, I hate the way the legal system works in the US anyway. I wish all the lawyers / judges would go to hell, especially judge judy.

The EULA (1)

dirty (13560) | more than 15 years ago | (#2038679)

I really don't think of anyway that part of the EULA could be upheld in court by that interpretation of it. It implies that no computer can be sold without windoze. And by buying a computer pre-installed with windows you cannot remove it. I really hate software, no other industry has this kinda crap associated with it. When I buy a vcr there is no license agreement saying I can only use it w/ brand X tvs or that I can only buy tapes from Y company or that I can't open it up and play w/ it (well most of the time that kills the waranty, but have you ever actually tried to return a product that died while under waranty? See [] for my personal problems with JVC.)

An idea to truely break the system. (1)

dirty (13560) | more than 15 years ago | (#2038680)

Go to your local YYY store and buy all the copies of any microsoft product that you can afford. Go home, open the shrink wrap on the box, BUT NOT THE CD. Go back to the store and tell them that you don't agree to the EULA and that you want your money back. Since the EULA doesn't say anything about the condition of the product you might want to try damaging the software in such a way that it could not simply be re-shrink-wrapped and resold. I think this would certainly make a point. I'm also fairly certain that microsoft would not be able to change the EULA to indicate that you cannot get a refund because that would almost certainly invalidate it.

Ha! (1)

mkoscica (13650) | more than 15 years ago | (#2038681)

Now that is a funky story...slightly dodgy that they took so long to agree though...*shrug*

money back (1)

josepha48 (13953) | more than 15 years ago | (#2038682)

And the moral of the story is this don't buy from Toshiba, if you want to run Linux they are obviously sleping with the beast. Buy Gateway, Dell, or Compaq....

$0 refund value? (1)

choo (14599) | more than 15 years ago | (#2038683)

There seems to be a problem.. the EULA does not say how much they have to refund you. It could be $0.50, or maybe nothing at all. They can argue that if you had made it clear that you did not want Windows, they would have sold you the system without Windows for the same price anyway. And furthermore, OEMs do not pay the full retail price for Windows.

No, reward them for giving a refund! (1)

MattJ (14813) | more than 15 years ago | (#2038684)

It took a long time, but they finally gave the guy his refund. Give them credit for that. Especially since:

1. They're a big corporation with many procedures, and this guy was asking for something unheard of (literally, they hadn't heard of it before).

2. As another poster suggested, they may have not have understood until the end that he was using a different OS and not pulling a fast one.

3. They DO have a contract (required by current market forces) with a certain OS vendor known for very, very hardball tactics, in and out of court.

If enough slashdotters were to buy laptops from Toshiba, they might just start to openly market to us. (Assuming MS doesn't try to fix their wagon.)

product(s) (was US License Agreement says....) (1)

MattJ (14813) | more than 15 years ago | (#2038685)

The quote from the license speaks of the singular "SOFTWARE PRODUCT", so I take the phrase "contact Manufacturer for instructions on return of the product(s)" to mean that it's your choice; you can either return the MS SOFTWARE PRODUCT to the (computer) Manufacturer for a refund, or you can return all the products (plural) you bought from the Manufacturer, which means the computer and software. That, your honor, is why the "s" is in brackets; it's my option.

The EULA - section 2(g) Single COMPUTER. (1)

MattJ (14813) | more than 15 years ago | (#2038686)

In my EULA, that section is titled [2](g) Single COMPUTER. That gives the context to interpret this as forbidding copies to other computers. The "single INTEGRATED product" reading is arguably meaningless or inaccurate. I can certainly put in a boot disk and use a different OS, so Windows is not integrated so tightly with the hardware as to make the hardware useless without Windows. Perhaps the emphasis should be "SINGLE integrated product", since this clause is talking about copying to other machines, not divorcing the software from the hardware.

Windows Refund Center (1)

MattJ (14813) | more than 15 years ago | (#2038687)

Well, it seems enough people think this is a pretty cool idea, so I've whipped up a new site, the Windows Refund Center, as a place where we can organize and help each other on this. . Comments or acts of volunteering should go to Let's do it.

Stick it to Bill (1)

Gerk (14824) | more than 15 years ago | (#2038688)

This should be shouted from the highest mountaintop (newsgroup/listserv) on the planet!

I bet this would make for some interesting rebuttal in the court hearings.

This should also be public knowledge...if more people knew this was possible Bill might not have such an upper hand...

Class action lawsuit? (1)

Helge Hafting (14882) | more than 15 years ago | (#2038689)

If vendors gets lots of returned software that
they have to pay for anyway - guess what happens?

They'll reject such deals with Microsoft.

A single small vendor can probably not do it, but
they'll cooperate on this if all of them get

Unfortunately, this is unlikely... (1)

Helge Hafting (14882) | more than 15 years ago | (#2038690)

Paying a refund to, say 1% of the users won't
make the windows deal unprofitable because of
refund cost alone, but the extra work may make
them reconsider.

And imagine a company with lots of machines doing this. I don't know of any large-scale linux
installations, but there sure are banks with large
os2 installations around.
Then there are those who upgrade to newer machines, and install their old licenced windows
onto the new machines. (Legal if you bought windows without machine once, and remove windows
from the old machines before selling them used.)

why bother, specify NO windows when U buy? (1)

Helge Hafting (14882) | more than 15 years ago | (#2038691)

You can specify DOS instead, but I wouldn't want to buy DOS either. Not that it matters to me,
I don't buy whole machines anyway.

Buying a laptop without windows (1)

Helge Hafting (14882) | more than 15 years ago | (#2038692)

I know you can't order one without windows, but how about ordering one without a harddisk?
If they wonder why, just say you have broken the screen or something, but you have everything you need on the existing hardisk.
Then order an "extra" harddisk a little later. Some notebooks have room for an extra drive. Or say you want a spare one.

Can we donate our old MS Licenses? (1)

mousejocky (14886) | more than 15 years ago | (#2038693)

I have sold all of my win95 licenses on ebay. I don't use windows so there is no reason to keep a copy of the product or to own a license.

Sometimes I think about the older licenses I have. I have two compaq aeros one still has a license for dos/win3.1, which I understand MS still sells. I don't have the disks because compaq didn't distribute the software on disk with the computer.

However, is it possible for me donate the license to a school? Perhaps some one could create a website where people with old licenses to MS software could place ads with availability, no SS# on the website itself of course. And schools and other non-profits could have the licenses transfered to them.

How many offices have machines that don't work but still have the licenses for the software. Most companies probably have a fortune in unused software. Donating it could be a tax write off.

It is unlikely that MS would complain about charitable donations of this type. The PR would be terrible. And even if they did complain I doubt anything could be done about it.

Class action lawsuit? (1)

Matyas (14898) | more than 15 years ago | (#2038694)

As I understand only the conduct of hardware manufacturers can be questioned in the particular case, because MS provides a way not to use their software (according to their License agreement). It is the manufacturer who tried not to follow suit because they would see no money from MS, according to their agreement. So IMO MS can be condemned because of the agreements like that but even that would not mean that the end user could see money from it. :( I even can see MS using this story as sg supporting them: they give the opportunity for everyone to return the software, and how many of us did it???

Notebook Without an OS! (1)

jceklosk (14901) | more than 15 years ago | (#2038695)

I just purchased a notebook from Custom Computers ( made by JETTA International (

The notebook can be ordered without an Operating System so you can avoid the M$ TAX from the start.

The laptop runs Linux without and problems!


No luck w/Gateway (1)

DCreemer (14924) | more than 15 years ago | (#2038696)

Just spent 40 minutes on the phone with Gateway trying to convince them to give me a refund. They consistently refused, saying that their agreement with MS "does not allow them to sell a computer without an MS operating system," and that they attach no real dollar value to the OS, so there is no point in returning it.

The generic customer service rep was rude, and at first refused to let me talk to her manager. The manager was quite nice, but just as useless.

I guess that I'll now have to write a "I'm shocked and appalled" letter to the VP of Customer Care.

So, MS just changes the EULA, right? (1)

bluedevil (90728) | more than 15 years ago | (#2038709)

I don't think they'd be able to get away with that. Selling you a product before you are allowed to read the license and then not letting you use or return the product if you disagree with the license? They can get away with a lot, but not that.

Hmm... (1)

El (94934) | more than 15 years ago | (#2038711)

I wonder how many people would have to do this before Toshiba would get a clue and start offering a product WITHOUT Windoze preinstalled? (Granted, this would probably require setting up a separate company to distribute the same hardware under a different name to get around the fascist M$ contract. But still, it should be doable, and even profitable if there is enough demand...)

toshiba logo (1)

sebol (112743) | more than 15 years ago | (#2038712)

i put toshiba logo on my page
then i link it to that australian page
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