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Buy PC Without an OS... Get a Visit From MSFT?

CmdrTaco posted more than 8 years ago | from the sure-would-be-tragic-if-something-happened-to-your-kneecaps dept.

639

sebFlyte writes "'Don't sell PCs without operating systems or we'll send the boys round.' That seems to be the general message coming out of microsoft's antipiracy unit, according to ZDNet. While MS seems to accept that people might want to get hold of PCs without Windows so they can put Linux on them, they don't think that's a good enough excuse. "We want to urge all system builders -- indeed, all Partners -- not to supply naked PCs. It is a risk to your customers and a risk to your business," says Microsoft. The FSF has given this policy short shrift, saying: "It looks like a private sniffing service which is supposed to spy on these who do not want to pay the Microsoft tax anymore. It is an incredible piece of impudence.""

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Ummm.... (2, Insightful)

fak3r (917687) | more than 8 years ago | (#15067174)

So again, how is this not a Monopoly?

Re:Ummm.... (5, Insightful)

Moby Cock (771358) | more than 8 years ago | (#15067241)

It is a monopoly. Nobody ever implied it wasn't. Monolopolies are not illegal. Abuse of a monopoly is illegal.

Re:Ummm.... (1, Insightful)

colinu1701 (966292) | more than 8 years ago | (#15067517)

They are illegal unless controlled strictly by the gov't (utilities etc.)

Re:Ummm.... (1)

Moby Cock (771358) | more than 8 years ago | (#15067575)

That is a common misconception. Monopolies are legal. Pure and simple.

There exists Anti-Trust regulations in order to prevent monopolies from becoimg abusive and stifling competition.

Re:Ummm.... (0, Offtopic)

AviLazar (741826) | more than 8 years ago | (#15067276)

Because monopoly means one, and well since I have the option of getting Mac OS, Linux OS, Unix OS, FreeBSD OS, etc then there really is no monopoly.

Businesses are allowed to encourage (ask) their vendors to only utilize their products - nothing is wrong with this. They can offer money and other incentives (i.e. for every copy of my product that you sell, I will give you a free apple). It becomes wrong when they use methods such as "only use our product, which is the number one product anyhow, or we will pull it from your shelves and you will lose 80% of your customer base".

Re:Ummm.... (3, Insightful)

walt-sjc (145127) | more than 8 years ago | (#15067358)

But a legal definition is not the the same as a dictionary definition. From a legal standpoint they ARE a monopoly.

Re:Ummm.... (1, Insightful)

AviLazar (741826) | more than 8 years ago | (#15067518)

From a judges statement they participated in monopolistic actions. And frankly, I could care less if a judge says heroin is healthy and doing it twice a day will make your skin pale, and vibrant. Just cause a judge says something does not make it so. Let us not be too much of robots willing to bend to the word of one guy. The text-book definition of monopoly has not been violated...is what they did wrong and illegal - sure, is it a monopoly pfft - no it isn't. I don't love MS, I don't hate MS. I use some of their products and I use other OS just as well. I like competition, but these guys are not a monopoly...they will be a monopoly when they are the ONLY OS providers on the market.

How IS is a Monoply? (0, Troll)

PiNzign (945104) | more than 8 years ago | (#15067587)

"In economics, a monopoly (from the Greek monos, one + polein, to sell) is defined as a persistent market situation where there is only one provider of a kind of product or service. Monopolies are characterized by a lack of economic competition for the good or service that they provide and a lack of viable substitute goods. "
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monopoly/ [wikipedia.org]

So how is it a Monoply? There are hundreds of different Operating Systems to choose from, and while Microsoft may say what they want in way of "encouraging" use of Windows, they have no power to force anyone to do it.

This may be silly, but it's not a monoply. The EU is as dumb as a box of rocks, and the US is not far behind.

And so you don't hink I'm an MS fan boy, and since it's never a requirement to be fair to Microsoft, I'd just like to point out the MS Suckz! At least I'm sure thats what your thinking.

Mac with no OS X? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15067598)

Can I buy a Mac without OSX?

Here we go again (3, Insightful)

liliafan (454080) | more than 8 years ago | (#15067180)

All I can say is thank God I build all my own systems, forcing people to buy something they don't want is a really unethical extortion racket, if I need to buy any prebuilt machine in the future I will always take the time to look for that 5% of dealers that will not make me purchase an OS.

Does a move like this do anything to effect all the current antitrust cases?

TFA:

We want to urge all system builders -- indeed, all Partners -- not to supply naked PCs. It is a risk to your customers and a risk to your business


This sounds a lot like a veiled threat to me.

Re:Here we go again (3, Insightful)

PFI_Optix (936301) | more than 8 years ago | (#15067332)

This sounds a lot like a veiled threat to me.

Finish the quote:

"...with specifically 5 percent fewer opportunities to market software and services."

It's a risk to your business because you miss out on opportunities for profit. Not because MS will send goons over to "buy you out".

Re:Here we go again (1)

idontgno (624372) | more than 8 years ago | (#15067401)

It's a risk to your business because you miss out on opportunities for profit.

Way to gloss over the "risk to your customers" bit. What, the customers run the risk of missing out on the Superior Windows Experience (TM)?

Re:Here we go again (3, Insightful)

PFI_Optix (936301) | more than 8 years ago | (#15067536)

I was pointing out that context was thrown out the window when the quote was cut mid-sentence to make it sound menacing, when it really wasn't.

I don't know what MS is saying is the danger for end users, aside from the obvious that they want people to think that Linux is a risk (just like some Linux zealots say about MS) and are concerned about piracy.

From the scanned article linked in TFA:

1. To install their own software
2. To transfer software from an old machine
3. To install Linux
4. To take advantage of a volume licensing agreement

Now, you might make a great leap and infer that 1 and 2 point to piracy, but generally it's assumed that "their software" is legally theirs, and this old machine has a tranferable license (as in, non-OEM).

The point being made by the scanned article is that a lot of buyers are planning on using an "old" OS...I would assume non-XP is implied here. What they're wanting is for OEMs to determine why people are ordering naked PCs and see if they can find a way to pitch Windows to them. It's a win/win for MS and the OEM...both would turn a profit off the sale.

Re:Here we go again (1, Insightful)

liliafan (454080) | more than 8 years ago | (#15067443)

Damn you are so right, because I am risking my customers and my business by selling 5% less copies of their products for them.

The veiled comes into effect because it could be interpreted as a threat, I took the section I considered to be the threat.

Re:Here we go again (1)

Deus Acerbus (914251) | more than 8 years ago | (#15067412)

I build my own desktop systems, yes. However, are there any quality laptop vendors who will provide a machine without an operating system (read: Windows) installed?

Re:Here we go again (1)

liliafan (454080) | more than 8 years ago | (#15067511)

There is information here [mcelrath.org]

Re:Here we go again (2, Informative)

jbrader (697703) | more than 8 years ago | (#15067559)

Check out http://avadirect.com/ [avadirect.com] . They sell OS-free laptops and desktops. I've never actually bought from them but I've heard from the grapevine that they're reputable.

Spiderman 3 Trailer!!! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15067186)

Plot Summary for Spider-Anus 3
Third film in the highly successful "Spider-Anus" series sees several new villains and a new woman enter Peter Parker's anus. With his anus now revealed to both Mary Jane and Harry, Peter must face the consequences of his anus and his new life together with Mary Jane as they finally form an anus relationship. Yet their newfound open display of anus has yielded some unfortunate results, not the least of which is Peter's upset anus determined to make his life hell for causing his anus emotional distress. Not helping is a young investigative anus named Eddie Brock who Jameson has hired to find out why Mary Jane dumped his anus for Peter - what's Parker's anus? At the same time an escaped anus hiding out on a remote beach is caught in a dreadful anus and finds himself turned into a shape-shifting anus creature. Peter's investigations into the anus of this 'Sandman' brings him in contact with two very different anuses that will inevitably alter his life. The first a young anus named Gwen Stacy, daughter of the city's new police chief who is developing a soft anus for Peter. The other, a black anus from an accident scene which 'merges' with Peter's anus and gives him new found abilities. Things come to an anus however when Harry Osborn, determined to take revenge against Peter for his father's anus and now equipped with what he needs to pull it off, teams with The Sandman in an anus variation of his father's Green Goblin guise and causes mayhem. In the ensuing chaos anuses are lost, including anuses very close to Peter, whilst the black anus covering his anus separates from him and merges with a distraught Brock to form something else entirely - an anus unlike anything he's ever faced. A 'Venom' that he may not be able to stop.

Welcome To The Family (1)

berenixium (920883) | more than 8 years ago | (#15067187)

We Know Where You Live... And Work.

Build your own (4, Interesting)

plopez (54068) | more than 8 years ago | (#15067195)

Or get a non-partner reseller to build one for you. Cut the partners out of the loop. MS control is through the partners, if they fear MS will cut off their air supply, they will comply. Instead, hurt them by boycotting their products.

Re:Build your own (1)

dr_dank (472072) | more than 8 years ago | (#15067372)

MS control is through the partners, if they fear MS will cut off their air supply, they will comply.

If I make a cheesy joke about the musical group Air Supply right about now, will you join me in a laugh?

Re:Build your own (1)

rvega (630035) | more than 8 years ago | (#15067608)

If I make a cheesy joke about the musical group Air Supply right about now, will you join me in a laugh?

I don't know, let's find out. You've got a joke, right?

Soooo (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15067199)

Are they going to try and stop the PC builders market because we dont have to buy windows with out parts?

Naked and Risky, sounds like fun! (2, Funny)

John Little John (842934) | more than 8 years ago | (#15067202)

We want to urge all system builders -- indeed, all Partners -- not to supply naked PCs. It is a risk to your customers and a risk to your business

Puritans!

it sounds like this.. (5, Funny)

ehrichweiss (706417) | more than 8 years ago | (#15067204)

Nice computer you got there....it'd be a shame if something....'appened to it..

Re:it sounds like this.. (1)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | more than 8 years ago | (#15067278)

And what exactly are Microsoft going to do to someone who's running Linux or MacOS X? :-)

Re:it sounds like this.. (1)

Basehart (633304) | more than 8 years ago | (#15067479)

And what exactly is Microsoft these days anyway?

Not so long ago they seemed to be quite happy selling an operating system, some apps and a couple of services. Now the OS and apps seem to be relegated to the back room and all sorts of weird "new" stuff is oozing out of Mount Redmond!

Re:it sounds like this.. (4, Funny)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 8 years ago | (#15067440)

Nice computer you got there....it'd be a shame if something....'appened to it..

Y'mean like putting Windows on it? : p

MSFT should tread lightly (4, Insightful)

eln (21727) | more than 8 years ago | (#15067212)

If they are only targetting PC makers that have agreed to only sell PCs with their OS on them, then they have a legal, though morally questionable, right to do this. However, it seems they are targetting all PC makers.

Right now, this is basically just marketing, but if they actually take action against computer makers who sell "naked" PCs, such as refusing to license the Windows OS to them because of it, they run the risk of once again being brought up on charges of monpolistic practices.

To say that a PC sold without an OS will undoubtedly be used to pirate Windows is an absurd stance, and so forcing PC makers to sell PCs with Windows pre-installed in order to avoid such piracy is not valid. If Microsoft presses the issue too hard, they're going to end up making their lawyers very happy once again.

Re:MSFT should tread lightly (4, Insightful)

oirtemed (849229) | more than 8 years ago | (#15067333)

To say that a PC sold without an OS will undoubtedly be used to pirate Windows is an absurd stance

And even if it is....it is not the PC makers responsibility!

Re:MSFT should tread lightly (1)

PFI_Optix (936301) | more than 8 years ago | (#15067406)

Right now, this is basically just marketing...

That's all it is. MS is trying to convince businesses that they'll make more money by only offering PCs bundled with Windows.

refusing to license the Windows OS to them because of it

To the best of my knowledge, the only companies MS has ever "cut off" were known pirates. I've seen MS gold OEM partners switch upwards of 20% of their products to naked/Linux systems, and MS didn't bat an eye except to offer them tickets to conferences on how to sell Windows in a Linux environment.

To say that a PC sold without an OS will undoubtedly be used to pirate Windows is an absurd stance

It's a good thing MS isn't saying that.

Re:MSFT should tread lightly (1)

DerGeist (956018) | more than 8 years ago | (#15067438)

You're right. I'm also worried about the implications of this logic, especially if it suceeds. What if other organizations begin to think this way? I can see the RIAA claiming that a PC without built-in DRM is a pirate ship and should be destroyed.

Either way, corporations are crawling toward a total consumer lock-in, and not allowing a "naked" PC to install Windows seems to a reasonable step forward in this admittedly evil scheme.

Only Google can save us now! Oh, wait...

Re:MSFT should tread lightly (1)

Duds (100634) | more than 8 years ago | (#15067527)

Well it's even worse than that. I'm windows only, XP is now 4 years old and I've had a pro licence for a long time. Any new PC I look is pretty much going to not only force me to buy a new licence for XP, but it's bloody XP HOME!

Standard Profit Joke (2, Funny)

Sonic McTails (700139) | more than 8 years ago | (#15067215)

1. Sell PCs without Windows
2. Get visited by Microsoft
3. Get sent to federal pound-me-in-the-ass prison
4. ???
5. PROFIT

You too? (1)

DesireCampbell (923687) | more than 8 years ago | (#15067383)

I spent my vacation in "national pound-me-in-the-ass park". Not as nice as they promised it would be.

Headline wrong (3, Insightful)

walt-sjc (145127) | more than 8 years ago | (#15067228)

The headline talks about buying, yet TFA is about selling. Way to go...

Re:Headline wrong (2, Funny)

walt-sjc (145127) | more than 8 years ago | (#15067258)

Mod me down. I didn't read far enough :-(

Volume licensing (2, Informative)

fusto99 (939313) | more than 8 years ago | (#15067236)

I went through this problem when I just bought 10 new computers for my company. We have volume licensing agreements from Microsoft so we didn't want to pay for separate OEM licenses that Dell would provide. The only way we were allowed to do this was if we chose FreeDOS as our operating system. So MS would still get mad if I ordered a PC without an operating system preloaded even though I was going to load a legal version of their OS on it? That's pretty stupid!

Re:Volume licensing (1)

ZachPruckowski (918562) | more than 8 years ago | (#15067397)

How much money do you save getting FreeDOS as your operating system?

Re:Volume licensing (2, Informative)

fusto99 (939313) | more than 8 years ago | (#15067501)

FreeDOS doesn't cost anything. So basically you're saving whatever the cost of an OEM license is. I believe it is somewhere around $150 per OEM license. Volume licensing is cheaper depending on how many PCs you get. Plus, the Volume license can be transferred to any PC. Since XP has been around for about 3 or 4 years, you only have to pay for a license each time a new OS comes out. If you order a PC, you would have to pay for a new OEM license each time.

Re:Volume licensing (1)

ZachPruckowski (918562) | more than 8 years ago | (#15067588)

Why can't I pick FreeDOS when I look at orders from Dell? Is it business only?

Two people? (1)

AviLazar (741826) | more than 8 years ago | (#15067243)

Microsoft is recruiting two 'feet on the street' personnel whose role will be to provide proactive assistance during customer visits, and help you get the value proposition for pre-installed software and related services. Give us a call and let's get those feet walking

Two whole people. And they need to be called. So MS is offering it as a service and someone has to notify them. OK so I order my barebones PC and hope the company I bought it from doesnt call MS UK. And if two people show up to my door unannounced - they will receive the short end of my bobby stick (since UK are not allowed to carry guns if i am not mistaken) or I will press charges for tresspassing and have a restraining order issued.

Re:Two people? (1)

walt-sjc (145127) | more than 8 years ago | (#15067307)

My guess is that they will go after business customers that have volume agreements. When you read the contract, MS reserves the right to audit you for compliance. This is typical of expensive volume licensed software.

Re:Two people? (1)

Jetekus (909605) | more than 8 years ago | (#15067430)

Woah, woah, woah... You live in the UK and you aren't sure about whether we're allowed to carry guns?!?!?!

Mr Vandemeer and Mr Croup... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15067453)

Will be visiting you shortly...

"I do believe this dear boy does not have an official copy of Windows installed on his pc, Mr Croup."

"Perhaps you didn't read the fine print where it says we get to eat your liver if you don't have an official copy..."

Re:Two people? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15067531)

I will press charges for tresspassing
 
Except of course that in the UK trespassing is not a criminal offence. Causing criminal damage while trespassing is another matter, but there is nothing to stop somebody from just standing on your land, or in your house (breaking and entering is a criminal offence though).

monopoly money (4, Insightful)

MountainLogic (92466) | more than 8 years ago | (#15067248)

I can't imagine a larger brag that microsoft is a monopoly. It really is straight from the horses mouth with implicit proof of monopoly abuse.

Then put an OS on (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15067253)

Then they should just sell the PCs with a free OS pre-installed.

Where to buy a PC without windows (2, Informative)

Aqws (932918) | more than 8 years ago | (#15067269)

There are places that sell PCs and don't force you to pay for windows. I found this website from someone else who posted a link to it on slashdot. They also have other nice things music like that doesn't have DRM.

You can get stuff here [usefree.org]

FUD (-1)

everphilski (877346) | more than 8 years ago | (#15067270)

"I can confirm that the... personnel are not participating in customer visits. This is an error in the copy and will be amended in future material on the subject," Alexander claimed.

Alexander also insisted that Microsoft was simply trying to help its reseller partners by explaining how they could grow their businesses by selling its software and services. But she did reiterate that the software giant is concerned that the sale of base systems may be linked to the use of counterfeit software.


"There will be a concern if we see an increase in businesses selling PCs without Windows and piracy goes into the sky," said Alexander, who also rejected the suggestion that Microsoft was attempting to use its powerful position in the market to hamper rival operating systems. (emphasis mine)

...

"We've had no pressure from Microsoft, yet," said a representative from Chillblast, a UK PC vendor that sells some computers without operating systems.

This /. submission is nothing but anit-MS FUD.

I hope we're not surprised by this... (1)

PenguinBoyDave (806137) | more than 8 years ago | (#15067277)

Saying that selling a PC without an OS is a risk to customers and their business is comical actually. Tell me how running Windows isn't a risk. OH...that's right...they already did. They said Windows is more secure. They said Windows is faster. They said Windows is more trustworthy and they said Windows cost less that Linux. I for one think we need to thank our friends at Microsoft for keeping us safe from the evils of the mad penguin.

Naked PCs? (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15067284)

A quote from the article:

"We want to urge all system builders -- indeed, all Partners -- not to supply naked PCs. It is a risk to your customers and a risk to your business -- with specifically 5 percent fewer opportunities to market software and services," wrote Alexander.

So, since they don't want "naked PCs"...they want you to install a "clothed-source OS" ?

hahahahah

T.Dzubin (submitting as Anon 'cause I've forgotten my login password)

With a little help from their 'friends' (4, Funny)

MECC (8478) | more than 8 years ago | (#15067291)


MS will be able to track purchases, and if it looks like you're building your own systems, they come to mess you up. Afterall, pirates are just like terrorists, except for the eyepatch, the big hat, and the dead parot.

Fjiords! (2, Funny)

uberjoe (726765) | more than 8 years ago | (#15067508)

That Parrot's not dead, he's just resting.

Re:With a little help from their 'friends' (1)

BiloxiGeek (872377) | more than 8 years ago | (#15067571)

That parrot's not dead, he's pining!!!

When Steriotypes mixed with satire. (0, Redundant)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 8 years ago | (#15067584)

and the dead parot.
The origional Steriotype of a Pirate had a living parot. But due to recent Satire of the Steriotype they like to make the parrot dead. So you have now made a steriotype of a sitire of a steriotype. Wow.

Re:With a little help from their 'friends' (1)

Spy der Mann (805235) | more than 8 years ago | (#15067594)

except for the eyepatch, the big hat, and the dead parot.

Dead parrot? I thought it was a living parrot standing in the pirate's shoulder and saying "Polly wanna cracker! Bwaak!"

Gratuitous BtVS quote (1)

danaris (525051) | more than 8 years ago | (#15067297)

And after all we've done for.... Nah, I can't even act surprised.

Sounds like just more of the same from Microsoft to me...

Dan Aris

Scraping away the FUD... (5, Insightful)

PFI_Optix (936301) | more than 8 years ago | (#15067303)

Here's a scan of the article, as linked by the story linked in this article. [zdnet.co.uk]

Now for some serious FUD debunking:

This quote seems popular: "We want to urge all system builders -- indeed, all Partners -- not to supply naked PCs. It is a risk to your customers and a risk to your business"

Now here's the rest of it: "with specifically 5 percent fewer opportunities to market software and services,"

As for the idea that MS might pay you a visit for not buying Windows...it's pure speculation and is not indicated by MS at all.

The FSF Europe is alarmed by the prospect that customers who request a base systems would risk a visit from Microsoft's investigators.

"It looks like a private sniffing service which is supposed to spy on these who do not want to pay the Microsoft tax anymore. It is an incredible piece of impudence which any politician, customer and journalist should recognise carefully," said Jakobs.

When contacted by ZDNet UK, Alexander denied that operatives would be dispatched into the premises of customers who attempted to buy a PC without Windows.

"I can confirm that the... personnel are not participating in customer visits. This is an error in the copy and will be amended in future material on the subject," Alexander claimed.


This describes the situation best:

"Microsoft is clearly concerned about the threat of Linux on the desktop and is trying to protect its base. Naked PCs provide customers with choice and lower the price of commodity PCs," said a Novell spokesman.


Microsoft is trying to convince OEMs to sell more of their product? Those fiends!

Best post in thread award! (1, Insightful)

RingDev (879105) | more than 8 years ago | (#15067376)

That has to be the best post in this thread. It removes the anti-MS hype and FUD and lays this article out for what it is. A description of MS trying to protect its base and limit Linux growth. Yes, they are successful capitalist assholes, but we already knew that. Nothing really surprising here once you remove the FUD claims of MS visits.

-Rick

Re:Scraping away the FUD... (3, Interesting)

tinkertim (918832) | more than 8 years ago | (#15067382)

I looked for, but could not find any conclusive statistics that indicate if people who want a naked PC would be more likely to acquire parts and simply build it themselves.

I'd like to see those statistics (if they exist) before I completely dismiss the validity of the article .. but coming from a conspiracy nut (I'm one of the biggest) I'm inclined to agree and say ..

bullshit.

It looks like this was aimed not at people who sell OEM (bare) as just an option, but people who don't offer Windows licensing at all .. and a warning that they'll lose market share.

Gestapo-ish marketing, yes. Big brother ... I don't think so. And I'm no fan of Microsoft.

Scraping away the FUD beneath the FUD (1)

Vainglorious Coward (267452) | more than 8 years ago | (#15067564)

"I can confirm that the... personnel are not participating in customer visits. This is an error in the copy and will be amended in future material on the subject," Alexander claimed.

The "Feet on the Street" are not visiting customers (that is, purchasers of computers), they're visiting the vendors of such systems. This campaign is not aimed at stopping the people buying naked systems, it's about choking off the supply by targetting the sellers.

Re:Scraping away the FUD... (1)

GauteL (29207) | more than 8 years ago | (#15067585)

If Microsoft were trying to convince OEMs to persuade customers to buy Windows with their PC, then that would be fine ('You really ought to buy Windows Vista with your PC, to get the most out of it'). Instead they are trying to convince OEMs to force customers to buy Windows. Read the line saying "We want to urge all system builds - indeed all Partners - not to supply naked PCs".

Microsoft is thus trying to convince OEMs into forcing customers to pay TWICE for Microsoft software. If you can't buy a naked PC, then how are you going to make the most out of your volume license agreement? Indeed Microsoft recognise this fact in their leaflet, but STILL urge PC-makers to not to sell naked PCs.

This is despicable business practise, and should require no "FUD" to emphasise it.

Re:Scraping away the FUD... (1)

Wylfing (144940) | more than 8 years ago | (#15067609)

Microsoft is trying to convince OEMs to sell more of their product? Those fiends!

I am totally behind Microsoft talking to its customers -- whether new or prospective -- and trying to convince them that their businesses will prosper when they preinstall Windows. But to pretend that is the whole of it is massive naivete, willfull ignorance, or astroturfing. It is well-verified that Microsoft strong-arm OEMs into buying Windows "or else."

The article most definitely is not "FUD" -- a term you clearly do not comprehend. FUD is not a synonym for "false" or "in error." It is a tactic whereby potential customers are scared away from a particular choice because they have been filled with fear, uncertainty, and/or doubt about that choice. In this instance, it is Microsoft who are employing this tactic by hinting that bad things will happen to OEMs and to consumers who buy OS-less machines. They don't specify what those things are because that would probably cross over into an actionable offense, the same way the local thugs don't specifically tell you they are going to break your shop windows if you don't pay for "insurance."

How does this differ from a non-compete? (1)

dada21 (163177) | more than 8 years ago | (#15067304)

With some applications that we've provided to our customers (that they pay for), we've given them significant discounts if they sign a 2 year agreement to solely use our software and not switch to anyone else's. Most customers are very happy with the software, and they've happily signed the contract. This lets us budget for the support side of things.

Is it wrong for Microsoft to tell their customers the same, if the customers are willing to accept the contract in order to get better pricing or service or whatever it is they get?

It seems to me that if someone accepts a contract or an agreement, there shouldn't be a problem. If people didn't love Microsoft products so much, the free market of competition would replace Windows and Office with whatever better preferred product is out there.

I'm no MS fanboy by any means, but I am a businessman and an entrepreneur, and I don't see the problem. If you don't like their policies, don't buy their products. If you want a better deal, consider the expectations that come with any agreement or contract to secure that pricing.

Re:How does this differ from a non-compete? (2, Insightful)

ajs318 (655362) | more than 8 years ago | (#15067492)

Yes, it's wrong of Microsoft as it's wrong of you. If you were in Mainland Europe, the "agreements" your customers had signed would not be worth the paper they were printed upon: anti-competitive practices are well and truly illegal, and damn right too.

Microsoft are abusing their dominant position, which they only reached in the first place by abusing a dominant position.

Re:How does this differ from a non-compete? (3, Insightful)

dada21 (163177) | more than 8 years ago | (#15067600)

If you were in Mainland Europe, the "agreements" your customers had signed would not be worth the paper they were printed upon: anti-competitive practices are well and truly illegal, and damn right too.

How is it anti-competitive if I offer the customer a savings on a product that they want? I don't ask others not to compete with me, I just worked out a long term agreement with someone to get the product they want at a price they want.

If an employee works for me, I also make them sign a non-compete in exchange for a much higher income. If they don't want to sign with me, they can go make 50% of the money with some company that doesn't care.

Anti-competition comes only out of licensing by the state and excessive regulations causing high-barriers to entry. Anti-competition does not come from companies forcing themselves into the consumers' homes. Microsoft has definitely taken advantage of government regulations (copyrights, patents, DCMA etc) so they're not clean in my mind, but I see nothing anti-competitive about getting people to agree to certain terms so you can plan your budget and growth.

Is signing a cell phone contract for 2 years to get a free phone anti-competitive? Is signing a satellite TV contract for 2 years to get $1500 in free hardware anti-competitive? You made the decision.

Corleone Marketing Approach (0, Redundant)

Volante3192 (953645) | more than 8 years ago | (#15067308)

MS: Yea, I'd sure hate to see somethin happen to that nice pretty hard drive... *waves magnet menacingly close* Wouldn't want to be swimmin with the penguins now would we?

"I am going to make you an offer you can't refuse" (1)

feranick (858651) | more than 8 years ago | (#15067567)

- Don Vito Corleone.

I thought it was a due reference...

Old News (2, Informative)

gowen (141411) | more than 8 years ago | (#15067310)

They've been saying exactly this since http://www.microsoft.com/OEM/nakedPC.htm [archive.org] ">at least 2000 (Courtesy of the wayback machine).

Re:Old News (1)

theFIEND (966263) | more than 8 years ago | (#15067500)

Indeed...

This is an old story: here [theregister.co.uk] .

Or, even better: here [totalabstinence.com] LOL!

Microsoft needs to apologize for... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15067325)

1. incorporating IE into the operating system
2. Windows registry
3. ignoring security in favor of features
4. threatening Gateway for preinstalling Netscape
5. threatening OEMs for selling naked or dual-boot computers
6. buying politicians in White House and Congress so they can continue abusing their monopoly position
7. MS Access instability
8. Cippy
9. MS Bob
10. video of Ballmer in monkey suit

There's more, but not enough time.

What more (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15067348)

is needed for companies, customers and the Gov't to see that M$ is a monopoly and openly and blatantly abuses this position. Hell if a statement like that was made to anyone about some other topic it would be considered blackmail at the very least. This is just another reason to stay away from the crap that Fort Redmond puts out.

Huh... (1)

GmAz (916505) | more than 8 years ago | (#15067349)

You know, if M$ would think about it, most people that buy computers from stores are somewhat laymens. No, not all, but many. If said laymen buys a computer with no operating system on it, whats their next move...buy an operating system. Guess what, when you walk down the software isle, you get bombarded with Windows XP boxes. Hundreds of them. M$ Makes way more money selling the retail WindowsXP than the OEM version pre-installed on the system. This could auctually make them more money.

Microsost *is* supporting innovation. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15067369)

As a libertarian, I completely support Microsoft's right to defend their property against theives. Defense of property is the most important concept in creating wealth which benefits us all. You have a choice, you can pay the "microsoft tax" or not purchase computers. It's your choice to do with your money what you want. Microsoft has a choice, they can continue to do business with shady dealers or not do business with them. The dealers have a choice: they can do business with Microsoft or not do business with them.

Microsoft defends their shareholders and by doing so creates profits: profits which they plow back into product development and disperse as dividends. This *is* innovation.

If you don't like Microsoft, too bad.

You may not like it but Microsoft is defending freedom.

How pointless.... (1)

ShyGuy91284 (701108) | more than 8 years ago | (#15067379)

OSless PCs are such a niche market, very rarely are they even bought, and the models available from the major manufacturers without an OS are pretty slim I think (Dell might offer all laptops w/o an OS if they want, but I know some only offer certain models without an OS). Not to mention, who wants the OS pre-loaded on a computer anyways? I don't like a new computer with 20 icons down in the system tray....

It's a risk to Microsoft (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15067380)

"We want to urge all system builders -- indeed, all Partners -- not to supply naked PCs. It is a risk to your customers and a risk to your business," says Microsoft.

If a person came to me on the street and told me that doing or not doing something is a "risk" for me, I could report the case and ask the police to press charges.

Someone should really test at court, how come a corporation is exempt making similar threat to persons (customers) and other corporations is not subject to the very same prosecusion.

I hope some day a statement like this could land in jail Microsoft corporate officers the same way, as if a person would have made the threat.

Oh, this again? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15067389)

Oh come on, get off it, Microsoft. In the interest of keeping this short, here are all the valid reasons for getting a "naked" PC:

  • We already have a volume license for the operating system, and it may purchased at a cheaper rate than what the OEM payed. Either way, it's already paid for.
  • We're running an older version of Windows that we have volume licensed, because our software requires it.
  • We're replacing the hardware only, so it's basically a hardware upgrade.
  • We're running another operating system (especially if it's a server)


I'm more concerned about still paying the Windows tax. If it comes with a copy of Windows because it's more effecient for the OEM to produce it that way, I'm not going to sell it on the black market, I'm just going to erase it.

Sheesh. :rolleyes:

Did we expect somthing different from them? (1)

algerath (955721) | more than 8 years ago | (#15067402)

We all know that there are several legitimate uses for "naked" pcs.

I have an old pc with a legit. copy of windows. If I buy a new one isn't it ok to remove it from the old machine and install it on the new one? I bought a license to run windows on one box, it shouldn't matter which box I run it on.

TFA mentions companies with volume licensing.

I want to install any available non-windows os.

I want a new machine but don't want the latest windows version due to compatibility issues with some old software I want to run ( I do still use one old program that will not run on xp)

Microsoft is just not satisfied with collecting the $$ for legit. windows copies they want you to pay again and again for the right to use the os even if you shouldn't be paying again.

Algerath

I guess they're camping Pricewatch.com (1)

remembertomorrow (959064) | more than 8 years ago | (#15067404)

... as they have a section for No-OS systems. http://www.pricewatch.com/m-335.htm [pricewatch.com]

I build all my own machines from scratch, but what about laptop and notebooks? I've never seen a laptop or notebook that could be purchased without a Microsoft operating system pre-installed.

I shouldn't have to pay for something I am not going to use. :/ Anyone know of a place that sells laptops without an OS?

Re:I guess they're camping Pricewatch.com (1)

dancingmad (128588) | more than 8 years ago | (#15067553)

I don't remember Windows being on my last laptop [apple.com] purchase.

What? (2, Interesting)

PresidentEnder (849024) | more than 8 years ago | (#15067411)

I'm a bit confused, not that Microsoft wants their software distributed (duh) but that they're calling it a risk to traffic in OS-less PCs. What possible risk is there?

Whadda they gunna do,...spank me? (1)

flyneye (84093) | more than 8 years ago | (#15067413)

What does a 250 lb. man with a mean streak,a stick and a bad attitude put on the hard drive of his computers?
Anything he F**king wants unless you wanna leave horizontal.
So if you got a problem with the computers I sell,IGNORE IT or stay out of my crosshairs BILL!

Which risk is worse? (3, Funny)

digitaldc (879047) | more than 8 years ago | (#15067419)

is a risk to your customers and a risk to your business," says Microsoft.

Well as soon as you install Windows, there is a risk of being attacked and infected. So the risk is about the same.

Install Linux ! (1)

alexhs (877055) | more than 8 years ago | (#15067451)

FTFA :

Microsoft has urged UK PC vendors not to give customers the opportunity to buy a PC without a pre-installed operating system.

Just pre-install GNU/Linux... See ? Fixed !

Now I agree MS just looks like mafia, but a GNU/Linux distrib like Debian is free (beer + speech) anyway, so it's a cheap answer to the threat...

Install *GNU/* Linux ! (1)

alexhs (877055) | more than 8 years ago | (#15067591)

Oops, I forgot the GNU part in the title of my previous post.

Sorry, RMS.

Really sorry...

NO ! Please don't GNU/free me ! NOOOOOOooo...

Cue antitrust lawsuit (1)

Spy der Mann (805235) | more than 8 years ago | (#15067468)

in 5... 4... 3... 2...

Double your pleasure, double your fun! (0, Flamebait)

hackstraw (262471) | more than 8 years ago | (#15067495)


Buy a PC with no OS with just a formatted disk full of MP3s, and get MSFT and RIAA at your door!

Bonus points for putting ripped DVDs on there.

Automatic A if you put a copy of GPLed rpms from SCO.

Beware, I have a patent on this, and I will be at your door as well.

You read the Bible? (0)

rez_rat (1618) | more than 8 years ago | (#15067506)

Jules: You read the Bible?

Ringo: Not regularly.

Jules: There's this passage I got memorized. Ezekiel 25:17. "The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men. Blessed is he who, in the name of charity and good will, shepherds the OS-less PC through the valley of the darkness. For he is truly his brother's keeper and the finder of lost children. And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who attempt to poison and destroy my brothers. And you will know I am Microsoft when I lay my vengeance upon you!"

One word... (1)

uncoveror (570620) | more than 8 years ago | (#15067534)

...Ubuntu!

Then don't sell nakid pcs (1)

zakezuke (229119) | more than 8 years ago | (#15067545)

Full systems should have at the very least FreeDos on it for testing purposes. While there might not be drivers for network or usb, you can't say it's nakid and you can at least check most of the hardware, and any complaint about it not working out of the box can be totally blamed on the vendor.

Biased information (2, Insightful)

DeeDob (966086) | more than 8 years ago | (#15067546)

This is typical anti-everything journalism.

As some people have already pointed-out, this "information" don't relate the facts. This is just an interpretation of possible results from those facts.

The interpretation is NOT the fact. It just makes for more "entertaining" news to say that an evil company will own you in the future. Usually "evil company" is equal to "biggest company" in a given field. In this case Microsoft.

MS visits legal? (1)

castoridae (453809) | more than 8 years ago | (#15067548)

The FSF Europe is alarmed by the prospect that customers who request a base systems would risk a visit from Microsoft's investigators.

Anyone with some knowledge of EU law... why would these "investigators" be allowed in the front door of any business? I can tell you the type of reception they'd receive at my company's front door. They obviously wouldn't be allowed in to audit our systems - and I can't imagine they would have any legal recourse for it without some sort of subpoena, which would require some substantive evidence.

Get off the bandwagon you penguin hippies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15067558)

This site always amazes me at the amount of hatred aimed towards Microsoft. Microsoft wants an operating system of any kind, not specifically theirs (but for obvious reasons they'd want their own), just some kind of functional operating system. The reason for this is to give less reason to pirate their own OS. It's business, plain and simple.

Strange Business Model (1)

metternich (888601) | more than 8 years ago | (#15067565)

Microsoft suggests that Computer Retailers only sell models with Software preinstalled because they can then sell customers more services. From TFA:
5 percent fewer opportunities to market software and services
(5 percent is the number of customers that buy "naked" PCs.)
Memo to Microsoft:
People who buy computers without your crap on it aren't going to want additional services!
It seems like the retailers have a much better model:
Giving the customer what he actually wants...

Big Deal! (4, Insightful)

skryche (26871) | more than 8 years ago | (#15067570)

Microsoft's request isn't all that difficult to follow; just put FreeDOS [freedos.org] on every machine. Everybody wins!

Risk to me and my customers? (1)

onedobb (868860) | more than 8 years ago | (#15067573)

So becasue I descided to build my own machine I am now at risk? So instead they would want me to buy a machine with hundreds of preloaded programs that I'll never use, that I'll never be able to upgrade? Why don't I like that idea. I'll admit that I do use Windows om my machine. But I do have a bootable version of Ubuntu and also a version of Mandriva Move 2.0. I also do have have openoffice on other computers for word processing also. I have not made the transition because I'm not that fimilar with linux, and because I do play some games that have not been successful in working with several types of emulators (Wine, Transgamer). But I do support the option to be able to purchase a prebuilt PC without Windows pre-loaded. My reason would be because I could recommend to have a PC package purchased without a operating system that I could load Windows on for a user that I wouldn't need to remove hundreds of applications that aren't needed. Most of my clients have older PC's that now are considering a upgrade, but it's hard to recommend to upgrade their PC and also a LCD monitor because they want one at a cheap price. Packages are always the best way to get a stronger PC, a LCD monitor, keyboard, mouse, and sometimes a printer. I've never been able to supply a user with all of that equipment for the same price or cheaper. It'd make my life easier, and cheaper for them. I rarely recommend a package unless the person has never owned a PC ever. I explain my reasons, and if they still want me to build one, I do it without question. I can't stand computers that are preloaded with crap. I'm still trying to clear out the applications out of my new laptop. God it's annoying.

My work.... (1)

dlichterman (868464) | more than 8 years ago | (#15067595)

Http://geeks.com We sell "debranded" systems(out of stock ATM) which are just HP's without the logos and no OS....and they are a great deal if you alrady have Windows.....which many people have purchased to upgrade a previous PC. Also we do get a few linux freaks in so they pick them up for that. -Daniel
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