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HP's Windows Bundle Trouble

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the i'm-sorry-please-enter-your-option-again dept.

HP 697

narramissic writes "A French consumer group has filed 3 lawsuits against HP, saying the company's practice of selling consumer PCs with Windows pre-installed violates a French law that 'prohibits linking the functionality of a product to another product' — not to mention that consumers wind up paying for an unwanted OS. For its part, HP contends that it is not in violation of the law because the OS is integral to the PC. 'The PC without an OS is not a product because it doesn't work,' said Alain Spitzmuller, legal affairs director for HP France. 'We believe the market is for products that work.'"

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He's an idiot (-1, Flamebait)

iviagnus (854023) | more than 7 years ago | (#17263590)

No, Mr. Spitzmuller, you're wrong.

Re:He's an idiot (0, Offtopic)

megaditto (982598) | more than 7 years ago | (#17263618)

The "idiot" probably makes more in a week than you and me in our entire lives.

Re:He's an idiot (-1, Troll)

rrohbeck (944847) | more than 7 years ago | (#17263676)

The "idiot" probably makes more in a week than you and me in our entire lives.

You get your frontal lobotomy and you can make just as much.

Re:He's an idiot (1)

megaditto (982598) | more than 7 years ago | (#17263822)

frontal lobotomy destroys you as a person. the more of your brain tissue is lobotomized, the more you become a "vegetable"

Re:He's an idiot (1)

Bryansix (761547) | more than 7 years ago | (#17263662)

He's not an idiot. He is just good at marketing bullshit lines like that to idiots who will buy it.

Re:He's an idiot (1)

stonedcat (80201) | more than 7 years ago | (#17264008)

Oh he definately knows better, he just doesn't give a shit. They don't pay him to give a shit. :)

Re:He's an idiot (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17263678)

I guess Mr. Spitzmuller has never purchased an uninflated baloon or a lawn mower without any fuel in it.

Re:He's an idiot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17263714)

Yeah, I remember when it was common for computers to be sold without an OS on them. They worked back then. So that shoots down his argument.

Re:He's an idiot (2, Funny)

TheSeer2 (949925) | more than 7 years ago | (#17263878)

I assume this was a time when computers were marketed to the nerdiest of nerds?

Re:He's an idiot (2, Insightful)

Planesdragon (210349) | more than 7 years ago | (#17263838)

So, you can do something with a computer with NO OS on it?

Interesting. I had no idea that staring at "O/S Not Found" was that interesting. Do tell me more.

You might not care for HP's choice of OS, but a PC needs an OS or it just doesn't work. You're free to buy your PC from someone OTHER than HP, and the law should not force HP to sell you what they don't want to.

Re:He's an idiot (0, Flamebait)

painkillr (33398) | more than 7 years ago | (#17263970)

that statement makes too much sense to gain acceptance on slashdot

Re:He's an idiot (1)

ThinkingInBinary (899485) | more than 7 years ago | (#17264034)

Yes, you can do something with it. You can take another computer, copy a bootloader to some form of media, boot that computer off of it, and install your own OS. It is functional enough to boot off of CD's, which I consider "working".

You're wrong, but on the right track. (1)

khasim (1285) | more than 7 years ago | (#17264060)

So, you can do something with a computer with NO OS on it?

Yes. You can install an OS on it if you want. Or you can use it to test other components.

It might have more common functionality if the OEM installed the OS, but that does not mean that it is useless without the OS pre-installed.

For example, I can purchase rice by the bag. By your "logic", that rice is useless. Or I can buy a frozen rice dish with chicken and curry (sorry, it's getting near dinner time). Both options are valid "products" and both are useful as sold.

Now, HP can claim that they are not in the business of selling "components" or such but rather in the business of selling "ready to use" products. Then his position is valid. Just as you would not demand to be able to purchase the rice separately from the chicken and curry in my example.

If you don't like the peppers in the curried chicken and rice, you can pick them out. You can even add other spices/veggies.

If you don't like the OS on their computers, you can remove it and put on whatever you want.

But by stating that, HP has shown that it is no friend to Linux.

Foot, may I introduce... (5, Funny)

Loco Moped (996883) | more than 7 years ago | (#17263594)

He's pretty much shot himself in the foot, 'cause now he's got to prove that Windows works.

Re:Foot, may I introduce... (0)

NineNine (235196) | more than 7 years ago | (#17263692)

He's pretty much shot himself in the foot, 'cause now he's got to prove that Windows works.

You know, you're right. That's gonna be tough. Everybody that I know that owns a computer just uses it as a doorstop, or a paperweight. I've never heard of anybody actually using Windows.

Re:Foot, may I introduce... (5, Funny)

megaditto (982598) | more than 7 years ago | (#17263806)

WTF are you smoking? Who would use a window as a doorstop... Especially on Slashdot, where most readers live Windows-Free?

(since their mothers' basements do not have any)

Re:Foot, may I introduce... (1)

chris_mahan (256577) | more than 7 years ago | (#17263946)

Only behind closed doors.

Re:Foot, may I introduce... (5, Funny)

rrohbeck (944847) | more than 7 years ago | (#17263708)

He's pretty much shot himself in the foot, 'cause now he's got to prove that Windows works.

Unfortunately, it works very well. As a host for botnets, for example.

MOD THE TROLL DOWN!!! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17263596)

MOD THE TROLL DOWN!!!

Isn't that what got IBM into hot water? (4, Interesting)

the_skywise (189793) | more than 7 years ago | (#17263602)

Forcing software sales along with hardware ones?

It has a bios, doesn't it? (4, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | more than 7 years ago | (#17263612)

then it works.
It may not have all the functionality that someone wants, but it does work.

Re:It has a bios, doesn't it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17263664)

What about the flip side of this logic. If as HP asserts the hardware is not a "product" without
an operating system then what exactly is an operating system without hardware?

In other words, if HP's argument holds then Microsoft cannot sell Windows disks without
bundling them with a PC.

Re:It has a bios, doesn't it? (4, Interesting)

TeacherOfHeroes (892498) | more than 7 years ago | (#17263800)

Sure its a product. It's a physical product. The absurdity that the configuration of a few bits on the hard drive magically changes the thing from "not a product" to "product" boggles the mind. Its just not quite as out-of-the-boxish.

At the very least, they should give the user a choice, thereby no longer linking the hardware to that one specific piece of software. Consider one of those online confur-o-matic things. The base PC models should come with a cheaper/free OS like linux, and (as much as I hate and disagree with the phrasing) users could choose to "upgrade" to windows.

Re:It has a bios, doesn't it? (1)

Jarjarthejedi (996957) | more than 7 years ago | (#17263866)

"Sure it's a product"
But that's not the question, the question is is it a PC.

When people thinks of a computer what comes to mind? Probably just the box. When I think of a PC I think of a working computer that I can turn on, log in to, and do stuff on.

What do you think the average consumer thinks a PC is? A box with lights that you can add an OS to, or something that you turn on and get the Windows logo? If you tried to sell a PC to someone with the average consumer's view and it didn't come with an OS what do you think would happen? If your answer isn't complaints from the consumer then you're much more optimistic than me :P

Re:It has a bios, doesn't it? (2, Insightful)

MinutiaeMan (681498) | more than 7 years ago | (#17263698)

But when you buy a new car, do you not also expect it to come with a tank of gas? I certainly wouldn't want to have to push my car over to the nearest gas station to fill it up!

That being said, I do agree that PC manufacturers need to offer choice of operating system at the time of purchase. But it's not entirely HP's fault... HP doesn't want to be put at a competitive disadvantage by being forced to pay higher prices for Windows on their machines, which would drive their prices up. France should be going after Microsoft for the OEM pricing racket they've got going, instead.

Re:It has a bios, doesn't it? (1)

BiggyP (466507) | more than 7 years ago | (#17264014)

Based on the product arguement they can only really give consumers a choice if every aspect of the machine works with either of the operating system options they provide, if they choose to design a computer with a lot of windows only hardware inside then it's going to be a problem as they're building computers which cleary link to the functionality of another product.

Re:It has a bios, doesn't it? (1)

hotdiggitydawg (881316) | more than 7 years ago | (#17264070)

But when you buy a new car, do you not also expect it to come with a tank of gas?
Not if I can bring my own jerry-can of home-brewed biodiesel!

Re:It has a bios, doesn't it? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17263930)

It has a bios, doesn't it?

then it works.
It may not have all the functionality that someone wants, but it does work.


Yes it does, and I'm outraged! I do not want to be forced to use the products of monopolists like Phoenix and Award.

I want HP to offer me the a choice of open source BIOSs for any PC I buy from them regardless of the implications for function and support efficiency.

I want the bios chip to be blank so I can flash it with the bios of my choice.

That's it, I'm forming a consumer group and suing!

très absurde! (1)

chasethetail (1026912) | more than 7 years ago | (#17263616)

I hate M$ as much as the next guy but this is just lame behavior. Hope they didn't spend any money trying to build a case.

"... as much as the next guy" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17263780)

The next guy here would be Slashdot readers.

You seem to be implying that not allowing the sale without bundling the monopoly OS is ok.
You likely run windows, and do not see how others live without it and all of its glorious viruses.

What exactly is the lame behavior?

There is no reason not to allow the PC to be sold blank or with some free OS.
(Other than agreements with said monopoly.)

Re:"... as much as the next guy" (1)

Jarjarthejedi (996957) | more than 7 years ago | (#17263944)

"without it and all of it's glorious viruses"

I've used Windows for 14+ years now. I've encountered 2 viruses on a personal workstations (98 and XP, 98 one crashed comp XP set IE to go to about:blank on load). I'm on a Windows machine right now that I've had almost a year, never gotten a single virus on it. Runs like a charm, does whatever I want it to do when I want it to.

Windows doesn't get you viruses, poor computer use gets you viruses.

"What exactly is the lame behavior?"

Making ignorant claims about Windows, implying that every Windows user has a bazillion viruses on their machine and is an ignorant fool when it comes to PCs, implying that no one on Slashdot would dare use Windows...all that seems to be the lame behavior.

"There is no reason not to allow the PC to be sold blank or with some free OS"

Do you know what would happen if someone bought a computer and it loaded up with Linux? I've seen many ignorant computer users and trust me, if they bought a machine and it didn't load up with the windows logo they'd think it had a virus on it.

Is it good that Windows is so ubiquitous that the average user can't live without it? Probably not. Does that mean that companies shouldn't continue catoring to the majority? Of course not! If 99 people need a PC with something pre-installed and 1 doesn't that 1's just gonna have to live with it frankly or buy from someone else. That's standard business practices, if you want something the majority doesn't want you need to find a specialty shop.

(And if you think these kind of people aren't the majority you've spent too much time on Slashdot, you need to go out and talk to regular people)

We believe the market is for products that work (5, Funny)

Taagehornet (984739) | more than 7 years ago | (#17263648)

'The PC without an OS is not a product because it doesn't work,' said Alain Spitzmuller, legal affairs director for HP France. 'We believe the market is for products that work.'
That would be like selling printers without including the paper... Oh, never mind...

Re:We believe the market is for products that work (1)

75th Trombone (581309) | more than 7 years ago | (#17263920)

The real analogy is being legally mandated to not sell paper with your printer. Which I hope we all agree is lame; it's not like anyone's keeping you from installing someone else's paper.

Re:We believe the market is for products that work (1)

75th Trombone (581309) | more than 7 years ago | (#17263952)

And no jokes, please, about "installing paper"; I took the verb from the analogous situation (i.e. operating systems) instead of the one I was describing.

Re:We believe the market is for products that work (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17263964)

That would be like selling printers without including the paper... Oh, never mind...

Speaking of which, isn't it annoying when you buy a printer and it doesn't come with a USB cable? HP, I'm looking at you. Maybe in France they include the necessary-to-function-beyond-printing-out-test-pag es data cable with their printers?

Complicated things? (2, Insightful)

NineNine (235196) | more than 7 years ago | (#17263654)

So, how are complicated things sold in France? Are cars sold without tires? Are lawnmowers sold without blades? Are shoes sold without laces? Are pizzas sold without toppings?

This sounds like a very confusing and difficult place to do business. Well, considering their unemployment rate, maybe it is.

Re:Complicated things? (2, Insightful)

Bryansix (761547) | more than 7 years ago | (#17263764)

I'm sure the summary does not cite the law correctly. However it is obvious that a Pizza with toppings is still one product. However it is also obvious that an OS is a completely different product from a Computer.

Re:Complicated things? (1, Troll)

NineNine (235196) | more than 7 years ago | (#17263808)

I can eat a pizza without onions. I can buy onions in the store. Two separate items. Both completely functional. A computer without an OS is not functional. An OS without a computer is not functional. It's a stupid law.

Of course, this is coming from a country where people *riot* if they are not guaranteed, by law, that they cannot be fired for two years.

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/europe/jan-june06/f rance_4-4.html [pbs.org]

Re:Complicated things? (2, Informative)

geekoid (135745) | more than 7 years ago | (#17264078)

"A computer without an OS is not functional. "
that is completly wrong and shows that you have complete ignorance no how computers work.

Hint: you can start a computer without an OS, and it works, otherwise how could you install an OS?

As for your pizza counter arguement, you are missing one important fact: You ASK for onions with your pizza. If HP want to sell the OS seperate it can. They can give you the option for it to come bundled or not, and that's fine to. What they can not do is mandate you must get windows whwen you buy a computer whether you want it or not.

You don't have to agree with it, but at least TRY to understand the issue.

Dependent things? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17263826)

"However it is also obvious that an OS is a completely different product from a Computer."

Not so completely that an OS is useful standing alone. OS+Hardware=useful. OS+nothing=useless, and the same for Hardware+nothing.

Re:Complicated things? (1)

The Bungi (221687) | more than 7 years ago | (#17263886)

And when/if this group finally wins this lawsuit (French consumer law! yay!) HP will sell PCs without an OS in... France. And everybody will buy these PCs... yes, because Francois wants to install Ubuntu Christmas morning. Or better yet, buy Windows retail for $199 or whatever that's in Euros instead of getting it bundled for $40.

Oh yes, the "Microsoft tax". Always a winning argument.

Re:Complicated things? (1)

NineNine (235196) | more than 7 years ago | (#17263942)

You're right. Geez, and I thought that my dad had it bad having to put together a bicycle every few years in the middle of the night. I can't imagine my poor dad having to stay up late to install an OS because he's not allowed to buy a working computer. Wow.

Re:Complicated things? (1)

Foofoobar (318279) | more than 7 years ago | (#17264002)

I have had to sell pizzas to customers without toppings when I worked at a pizza place. I had one customer who was allergic to cheese and another who was allergic to tomatos and couldn't have the tomato paste. Cars have to be made 'road ready' (except in the case of cars for salvage) but all other options are up to the consumer. There is no 'ready for the internet superhighway' law so this is not unreasonable to request a computer without an OS. It's not impossible to offer, they just can't do it due to Microsoft's anti-competitive licensing agreements that they signed.

The honest truth about France (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17263658)

During the riots and car burnings last year, Disneyland France cancelled the nightly fireworks displays because every night, French soldiers would surrender to Czech tourists.

Obligatory (1, Funny)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 7 years ago | (#17263660)

"A French consumer group has filed 3 lawsuits against HP [CC], saying the company's practice of selling consumer PCs with Windows pre-installed violates a French law that 'prohibits linking the functionality of a product to another product'

  FRENCH GUARD:
        Allo! Who is eet?
ARTHUR:
        It is HP, and these are my Knights of the Round Table. Whose computer is this?
FRENCH GUARD:
        This is the computer of my master, Guy de Loimbard.
ARTHUR:
        Go and tell your master that we have been charged by God with a sacred quest. If he will give us his computer for the night, he can join us in our quest for the Holy Installation of Windows.
FRENCH GUARD:
        Well, I'll ask him, but I don't think he'll be very keen. Uh, he's already got Linux, you see.
ARTHUR:
        What?
GALAHAD:
        He says they've already got Linux!
ARTHUR:
        Are you sure he's got it?
FRENCH GUARD:
        Oh, yes. It's very nice-a. (I told him we already got Leenooks.)
FRENCH GUARDS:
        [chuckling]
ARTHUR:
        Well, u-- um, can we come up and have a look?
FRENCH GUARD:
        Of course not! You are English types-a!
ARTHUR:
        Well, what are you, then?
FRENCH GUARD:
        I'm French! Why do think I have this outrageous accent, you silly king-a?!
GALAHAD:
        What are you doing in with computers?
FRENCH GUARD:
        Mind your own business!

Re:Obligatory (2, Funny)

Bryansix (761547) | more than 7 years ago | (#17263858)

ARTHUR:
Please Let us In! Please! I beg of you!
FRENCH GUARD:
Go Avay or I will fart in your general direction!

Re:Obligatory (1)

swalters1 (1008477) | more than 7 years ago | (#17263990)

*in the distance you hear the faint sound of a macintosh starting up followed by... Mooooooooooooooo*

Im not a linux fan, or an MS fan or a Mac fan, I'm a computer fan... and that's funny.

There goes my business plan... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17263666)

...of selling cones topped with ice cream in France.

IBM/Lenovo is worse (1)

rduke15 (721841) | more than 7 years ago | (#17263680)

I wish I could also sue them for all the crap that comes ON TOP OF Windows. Google Desktop (even if you say no to the license, it stays there), Google Toolbar, Diskeeper Lite which hijacks standard OS tools like defrag and wants you to buy a worse version, Symantec Internet Security (notoriously hard to uninstall), and all those useles IBM utilities and whatnot.

More specifically, (5, Informative)

Fred_A (10934) | more than 7 years ago | (#17263688)

That law won't let you make the buying of one product the condition for the buying of another. In this case, of course, you have to buy MS Windows (and assorted crap) in order to be able to buy the PC.

In addition to this while the EULA specifically mentions a refunding process, resellers won't honour it.

Both the ministry of commerce and the bureau in charge of the consumer protection have given advice on the matter to the effect that the OS and the PC are two distinct products and that the sale of one cannot be bound to the other. So normally any PC for sale should have its price listed as X + Y + Z where X is the machine, Y the OS and possibly Z the extra software. However since the resellers won't comply, the courts will have to sort it out.

Re:More specifically, (1)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 7 years ago | (#17263726)

Tres groovy explicanation. Thank vous tres much!!

Re:More specifically, (1)

Valtor (34080) | more than 7 years ago | (#17263928)

I guess you meant

Très bonnes explications. Merci beaucoup!! ;-)

Bad analogy (4, Insightful)

seifried (12921) | more than 7 years ago | (#17263690)

A car without gas doesn't work, yet I am free to buy a car without gas in it and bring my own gas to use in it. As far as computers go I order barebone machines all the time (Sun X2100's being a great example, they offer Solaris, SuSE, Red Hat, Windows or no OS). I can do the same from many vendors for desktop systems. Apparently selling machines without an OS is acceptable to a large number of consumers.

Re:Bad analogy (1)

TheSeer2 (949925) | more than 7 years ago | (#17263924)

Large can still be 1% of consumers. Stop using sneaky words :P

Re:Bad analogy (1)

Jarjarthejedi (996957) | more than 7 years ago | (#17264058)

"A car without gas doesn't work, yet I am free to buy a car without gas in it and bring my own gas to use in it."

"...large number of consumers."

Those two statements do not belong in the same post much less the same paragraph...

The % of people who buy cars without gas in them is probably less than the % of PC users who don't use Windows...bye bye Mr. Analogy

Hardly a unique situation... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17263702)

I can buy DVD players not bundled with DVDs. Does a DVD player without any DVDs 'work' or 'not work'?

Whether or not it is anticompetitive to bundle Windows with hardware is a worthy question for the courts. However the suggestion that it is unthinkable to sell a computer without an OS is silly, just as it is silly to suggest that you can only sell DVD players if they are bundled with DVDs (and TVs, of course).

"doesn't work" (3, Interesting)

doshell (757915) | more than 7 years ago | (#17263710)

'The PC without an OS is not a product because it doesn't work,' said Alain Spitzmuller [...]

In other news, auto dealers are now obliged to sell cars with all the gasoline they'll ever need to run, CD players must come with the complete works of modern music prepackaged (RIAA fees included), and TV sets have to carry recordings of all future programmes to be aired.

Re:"doesn't work" (1)

75th Trombone (581309) | more than 7 years ago | (#17264050)

You've got it backwards. The situation is that HP is obliged to not sell the computer with the OS. Do you think it's sane and/or reasonable to mandate that CD players can't come with music? TVs can't come with bundled DVD sets? Etc.? I, personally, don't.

Refund? (1)

shrtckt (1006747) | more than 7 years ago | (#17263716)

My HP Pavilion dv5000 laptop came with XP preinstalled. The first time I fired it up it, the system wanted me to "agree to the terms" before XP would work. I blanked-out the hard drive anyway, I'm a Linux user. I can't remember where I heard it from, but I think I was told that if you don't agree to the terms & don't install XP, then you can get a refund for the cost of XP. Does anyone know anything about this?

Re:Refund? (3, Interesting)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 7 years ago | (#17263796)

Re:Refund? (1)

shrtckt (1006747) | more than 7 years ago | (#17263852)

Yea, that's it. Thanks.

My Questions to Alain Spitzmuller... (1)

Dracos (107777) | more than 7 years ago | (#17263718)

How many cars and trucks are sold in France without a driver? By his reasoning, a vehicle without a driver is not a product because it doesn't work.

How many pastry ovens are sold in France without a heat source? By his reasoning, a pastry oven without gas or electricity is not a product because it doesn't work.

How many wine glasses are sold in France without wine? By his reasoning, an wine galss without wine in it is not a product because it doesn't work.

I can't think of an example involving cheese.

Not a bad arguement (3, Insightful)

Jarjarthejedi (996957) | more than 7 years ago | (#17263736)

Honestly I don't see why HP's argument is flawed, without an OS the PC is useless for things that consumer's want to do. HP could install Linux on every PC they ship, but the problems inherent in that should be easy to see for anyone, even the most die-hard linux fanboy (I'll give you a hint, basic computer + linux + user who knows nothing about PCs = PROBLEM). Basically the computer they're selling is largely useless to the average consumer without an OS pre-installed, and so either HP would have to change what they sell from full working PCs to almost full working PCs or they just need to win this. Face facts, without an OS the computer is no where near as useful. It's like telling McDonalds to stop putting their food in bags, because it's unfairly forcing the consumer to pay for something (the bag) that they're probably going to throw away. Or telling TV people to not ships cables with the TV, because it unfairly links cable sales to TV sales when the user may want a different cable. Admittedly Windows is more expensive but the situation is largely the same...

Re:Not a bad arguement (1)

Bryansix (761547) | more than 7 years ago | (#17263832)

Actually you are just a hater. Most users who know nothing only use their computers to go online and check email. Most distributions of Linux will just work out of the box for these purposes.

Re:Not a bad arguement (1)

TheSeer2 (949925) | more than 7 years ago | (#17263956)

Keep your trolling to more pro-MS posts. Choose an argument that doesn't generalise so much as to make you seem stupid.d

Re:Not a bad arguement (1)

Jarjarthejedi (996957) | more than 7 years ago | (#17264032)

Okay...so how does that? Oh nevermind, I'm not even going to try and understand how thinking the average person want's Windows makes me a hater.

"Most distros of Linux will work..."

Sure they will, and then the people would go after that for being a required thing to buy a PC. This lawsuit is about bundling any OS, not just Windows. Sure, Linux is free, but, what is is, 80%+ people want Windows on their machine. Why not include something that 80%+ want? It's done in every other business (fast food default toppings, computer mice, DvD extras etc.) so why not PCs?

And by the way, I know many a person who knows nothing about PCs and doesn't just use E-mail and the Internet. In fact I can cite 104 examples from today alone, I was setting up that many PCs for teachers. ((Let me tell you, these teachers know absolutely nothing about PCs. We had to be careful to install the box right-side-up because otherwise they'll complain about their CD players not working and refuse to flip it over so they don't break them (I'm not making this up, though sometimes I wish I was))). I was using those teachers, and the 500+ other teachers I've helped out as my examples of the average user who knows nothing. Where's your evidence?

Re:Not a bad arguement (2, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | more than 7 years ago | (#17264022)

So are toys without batteries; but they are still products.

Let me enlighten HP! (1)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 7 years ago | (#17263738)

For its part, HP contends that it is not in violation of the law because the OS is integral to the PC. 'The PC without an OS is not a product because it doesn't work,' said Alain Spitzmuller, legal affairs director for HP France.

I beg to challenge HP on this: -

A PC without an OS can actually work, by allowing the installation of another OS without much hassle. Here, working should be interpreted as the actual PC being able to respond as expected to the user when switched on, instead of displaying Windows related stuff.

Re:Let me enlighten HP! (1)

Jarjarthejedi (996957) | more than 7 years ago | (#17263820)

"Here, working should be interpreted as the actual PC being able to respond as expected to the user when switched on"

Why? When you get on your PC to work are you satisfied with the lights coming on? Would you be able to use a PC without an OS installed to take inventory? Teach classes? Check E-mail?

Perhaps you consider the only function of the PC to be to turn on, but I, and the technology department of at least one school that I work for occasionally, consider a PC to be working only when you turn it on, log-in, and can check e-mail, hop on the internet, and do many other things. Until then it's just filling up space and serving no useful purpose.

Yes, Windows isn't the only OS, but it is the most common by far and so I see no problem with HP offering only Windows, if you want a different OS go to a different manufacturer. But don't claim a PC is a complete, useable product without an OS. It's not, it's nothing more than a fancy box with lights that light up and options for expansion. It's only truely a PC when it does things a PC can do, like give you options for data entry and retrieval.

Re:Let me enlighten HP! (1)

sqlrob (173498) | more than 7 years ago | (#17263884)

Would you be able to use a PC without an OS installed to take inventory? Teach classes? Check E-mail?

Yes [knoppix.net]

No! (1)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 7 years ago | (#17263910)

"Here, working should be interpreted as the actual PC being able to respond as expected to the user when switched on"

According to who? To me, a [new] PC would be considered working if on booting, it complains about the absence of an OS, then allows me to go ahead to install one of my liking. To you, I agree it is something else and that's OK.

To some US car manufacturers, their cars are advertised as working, but in some cases, the purchasing public have been disappointed.

I also have trouble with your definition of "useful work" because this is subjective.

Re:Let me enlighten HP! (1)

TheSeer2 (949925) | more than 7 years ago | (#17263982)

Hear hear! You are free from ridiculous arguments and appeal to ridicule fallacies that have been rampant on Slashdot in this posting. I congratulate you!

Re:Let me enlighten HP! (1)

NineNine (235196) | more than 7 years ago | (#17263862)

Here, working should be interpreted as the actual PC being able to respond as expected to the user when switched on, instead of displaying Windows related stuff.

A PC without an OS generally shows a black screen with "No Boot Record Found" or something like that in white letters. Are you really willing to pay $500+ for a machine that can only do that? That seems pretty absurd to me. I've never seen anybody staring at a monitor like that.

Re:Let me enlighten HP! (1)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 7 years ago | (#17263938)

A PC without an OS generally shows a black screen with "No Boot Record Found" or something like that in white letters. Are you really willing to pay $500+ for a machine that can only do that? That seems pretty absurd to me. I've never seen anybody staring at a monitor like that.

Yes I am willing, for as long as I am paying *no* Windows Tax. In that case, Knoppix and other "Live CD" distros would come to the rescue.

Re:Let me enlighten HP! (1)

NineNine (235196) | more than 7 years ago | (#17263988)

And you think it's fair to force everybody else to have to do the same just because you're not smart enough to buy a computer that doesn't have Windows on it? You think that millions of people should have to pull their hair out installing operating systems because you don't want to be inconvenienced?

Re:Let me enlighten HP! (1)

TheSeer2 (949925) | more than 7 years ago | (#17264038)

Hear hear! You are free from ridiculous arguments and appeal to ridicule fallacies that have been rampant on Slashdot in this posting. I congratulate you! n

Re:Let me enlighten HP! (1)

sobachatina (635055) | more than 7 years ago | (#17263994)

There are a lot of comments here criticizing HP. I think yours embodies the flaw in reasoning that many people seem to be having.

by allowing the installation of another OS without much hassle

There is no such thing.

I'm a CS graduate. I use windows and Linux at work and Linux exclusively at home. I install new versions of Linux every couple of weeks on various machines at work and home and various versions of windows to test software. Almost never is an OS installation "without much hassle".

I will single out Linux because I installed a Kubuntu machine yesterday so it is fresh in my mind. The steps that were taken that are such:

  1. Know that I need an OS
  2. Evaluate what OS's are available that the machine can handle
  3. Decide on an OS that may meet my needs
  4. Find the OS
  5. Download the OS
  6. Burn a CD
  7. Boot from the CD
  8. Replace the CD drive that was bad (This actually happened and I include it as a representative of all possible installation hazards of which there are too many to count)
  9. Follow installation wizard

A windows install would be similar except for the downloading and burning. I'm sure there are more steps that I could list. I never could get the drivers for my video card working or get compiz working. The steps that I listed were all trivial for me. For my mother- who is perfectly content using computers all of these steps would have been completely impossible. She wouldn't even know where to start. If the OS was preinstalled none of those steps (except perhaps the failed CD drive) would exist at all.

To everyone but us a computer without an OS is worthless.

I agree that HP should provide the option of buying a computer without an OS but forcing them to sell all their computers without an OS is absolutely absurd.

So this hardware doesn't work, eh? (1)

TheSpinningBrain (998202) | more than 7 years ago | (#17263752)

Uh-huh. And because it doesn't work without an operating system, it won't even be able to install other operating systems. Well, that even screws over OEMS. I'm glad that HP sells PCs with Windows already installed, so I don't have to deal with a computer that doesn't work.</sarcasm>

Competition (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17263790)

If I was HP I'd tell the court that we would be happy to sell our PCs minus the OS as long as they make all of our competitors do the same.

Re:Competition (1)

Hymer (856453) | more than 7 years ago | (#17263958)

That is exactly what will happen when they win... and the case will probably be valid in the whole EU...
Are You scared now ?

Unwanted OS? (1)

skinfitz (564041) | more than 7 years ago | (#17263814)

not to mention that consumers wind up paying for an unwanted OS

I think it would be more accurate to say that consumers wind up paying for an OS that you don't want.

Great news! (2, Informative)

Conti (914631) | more than 7 years ago | (#17263816)

When UFC files a lawsuit, they generally have studied all aspects of the case and they are almost 100% they'll win. And indeed, they do often win. That's a great news for French consumers. HP's reply is plain stupid, and won't last long at the tribunal.

Re:Great news! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17263912)

You mean they have created enough hype around it that they cant lose else the judge will kill its career?

Well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17263818)

On the other hand, RAM chips without a computer don't work, but they're a separate product.

A Few More Examples of "Non-products" (0)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 7 years ago | (#17263824)

> 'The PC without an OS is not a product because it doesn't work,'

A CD player without a CD is not a product because it doesn't work.
A suitcase without a suit of clothes is not a product because it doesn't work.
A bucket without a gallon of water is not a product because it doesn't work.
An Ipod without mp3s is not a product because it doesn't work.
A hammer without any nails is not a product because it doesn't work.

Anyone else want to contribute examples?

A Few More Examples of RMS Products. Inc. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17263916)

"Anyone else want to contribute examples?"

Tivo without an open kernel.

So many responses, not sure which to reply to (1)

BoberFett (127537) | more than 7 years ago | (#17263830)

If the argument is that one should be able to buy a computer and install another OS without having to purchase Windows, how far should take it? I understand Rockbox works on several models of iPod. If I don't want the Apple firmware for the iPod but wish to use Rockbox instead, can I demand that Apple sell the two products separately?

How many other consumer electronics products does this apply to? There are many options for alternative firmware out there, have those manufacturers all been forced to break their products into hardware and software?

They should sue Ford... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17263834)

...for selling cars and trucks with Firestone or Goodyear tires on it.

Stupid law that garners sympathy for a pretty cruddy product like Microsoft. Thanks a lot, France.

Move along... (1)

DescentToCocytus (1004224) | more than 7 years ago | (#17263856)

nothing to see here. This is just another government backed shakedown of a major corporation. They know that HP would rather pay fines in restitution than lose the entire French market. The basis of any economy should be willing buyer-willing seller; if people want to buy computers with an OS preloaded, so be it. It might be in HP's best interest to sell PC's without an OS in order to appeal to potential customers who want them, but it should never be government forced, that is how monopolies are born.

Re:Move along... (1)

Bryansix (761547) | more than 7 years ago | (#17263874)

that is how monopolies are born
Come again? Don't you think that this suit will hurt a major Monopoly (Microsoft)? Plus how will it create one?

I'm with HP/MS on this one. (5, Insightful)

LighterShadeOfBlack (1011407) | more than 7 years ago | (#17263892)

I guess there's a good chance I'll get modded down for the heinous crime of coming out in favour of Microsoft here, but why should HP be sued for not selling a computer without an OS? It's like suing a company for selling a pen that comes with a cartridge. Sure, the pen could be sold without one and the buyer could get them separately, possibly even cheaper, but the fact is that the majority want to buy a pen and use it as-is. The same goes for computers.

I think HP should sell PCs that come with other OSes (or even no OS at all) - simply because I think there is a market worth taking there. However I don't think it's for any government or "consumer group" to try and force this on a company.

To look at it another way, there are plenty of PC manufacturers that solely sell PCs with DVD writers, monitors, keyboards and/or mice. Just like an OS, none of those things are *needed* in the strictest sense, yet nobody seems to be up in arms (or rather up in lawsuits) about that.

While I've greatly enjoyed watching the anti-trust decisions go against Microsoft in the EU in recent years, it seems that those legitimate victories for consumer rights are now being turned into a witch-hunt by various organisations in Europe who see the anti-MS sentiment as a means to get their hands into Microsoft's very deep pockets.

Also, A DVD player without DVD is not a product... (5, Interesting)

GodWasAnAlien (206300) | more than 7 years ago | (#17263894)

A DVD player without a DVD is not a product, because it doesn't work...
A DVD player without a TV is not a product, because it doesn't work...
A toy without batteries is not a product, because it doesn't work...

While you need to go to a store to buy batteries and DVD for your non-products,
for an OS, you may not even need to go to the store. You could download one of many free Linux (or BSD or other) OS's many of which do not even need to be installed to function.

Perhaps batteries are not the best comparison.

Yes, HP's against the law (0)

Arthur B. (806360) | more than 7 years ago | (#17263914)

But that law is stupid and immoral. If you don't want to pay for Windows don't buy a HP that's all! You don't have a sacred right to buy a PC from HP OS free. Just go to the local PC shop and get one without an OS. That's what I always did.

immoral? please explain. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17264012)

Oh, the poor suppressed corporation?

I guess if you think it is morally wrong to deny a corporation maximum profits?

Though, I suppose if the company in the monopoly position is at fault here, not all the PC companies that it pressuring to comply.

Don't they offer Linux already? (1)

DAharon (937864) | more than 7 years ago | (#17264036)

Correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't HP offer Suse to it's customers? I have an HP TC4200 tablet/laptop that I bought specifically because all it's hardware was known to work with Linux, and I could have sworn that I read about Suse being available for it from the factory. I bought it used (I never buy new) so it wasn't really an issue for me, hence the fuzzy memory.

No PS3 or Wii for France then? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17264040)

Why isn't this consumer group suing Sony and Nintendo as well? They are obviously forcing us to use their choice of OS on their consoles...

What about automobiles? Why aren't they suing auto manufacturers for linking their choice of OS to the on-board computer? (What about the radio/GPS-Nav?)

More lame European attacks on MS because it is foreign. Why don't I see any French proprietary OS's out there? Get it together Frenchies. I mean if Canada can do it (QNX) so can you... stop bitching and get to work slackers!

Surely they can boot from CD or floppy or USB? (1)

artifex2004 (766107) | more than 7 years ago | (#17264052)

They're not broken, just not fully set up.

Not to mention that saying Windows in integral is saying the PC won't work with Linux flavors, BSD flavors, or BeOS -- all of which have (or had) free distributions ready to be stuck on the hard drive by either the user or HP.

Hey HP heres an idea (4, Funny)

voss (52565) | more than 7 years ago | (#17264056)

Inserting into purchasing process

WHICH OPERATING SYSTEM DO YOU WANT PRE-INSTALLED

( ) Windows (add $99)
( ) Red Hat Linux (add $39)
( ) Suse (add $39)
( ) NONE

Accessories (1)

BaileDelPepino (1040548) | more than 7 years ago | (#17264080)

French law ... 'prohibits linking the functionality of a product to another product'
Is it just me, or does it sound like iPod accessories are illegal in France? Or any accessory, for that matter?

HP Windows XP MCE License (1)

deathstar778 (743617) | more than 7 years ago | (#17264082)

A friend of mine asked me for some hints while she was going to buy a new notebook.
After one month she finally bought an HP notebook, "powered" by Windows Media Center... blargh...
Although it's just Win XP Pro SP2 plus some really lame app, the notebook was equipped with the famous license sticker, but no Windows cd was available! What if I wanted (and I wanted) to format the hd and starting with a fresh install of winxp?
We all know that every computer which comes with Windows pre-installed is plenty of obsolete software and other crap (like the 6.0 version of acrobat reader and the almost-latest version of Norton something... trial or not..).. why should I accept this?
No cd was included with the notebook, even a recovery disk. But you can BURN some discs by using the HP utility on the notebook itself... which burns some data which is present on some ghost partition and will restore the old app&crap... is that kind of things fair? I don't think so...
Infact I contacted HP personally and I asked for the real and original WinXP MC CD for my friend.. and that's what they answered: "your product is a "consumer" one, so it's sold with a bundle license. This means that your product is guaranteed and supported if and only if it matches the original hardware and software configuration. The system also provides a way to create a set of rescue disks, including the os and the drivers and the applications, meant to be used for restoring the system in case of partition erasing. It's because of that that in the original package you won't find the original WinXP MCE disk".

How am I supposed to change the hw config?
So, if I install Linux and the hdd fails... I can't get tech support?
I'm PAYING the Windows XP License... why shouldn't I obtain the freakin' cd?
I got the serial, damn!
And in which way, in your humble opinion, the freakin' os can cause the hw damage?

HP' support policy is CRAP!
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