[Ubuntu Chicago] Microsoft Vista's EULA - Request for Comments

James Murray jmurrayil at yahoo.com
Sat Sep 13 12:45:58 BST 2008

Request for comments.

I recently read a few articles of persons (non-US) forcing PC retailers and/or PC manufacturers to adhere to the Microsoft Vista End User License Agreement (EULA) when they did not agree with the EULA and wanted a refund for Vista on their new purchased computer.  They are Linux users.  In the articles I read, they eventually received a refund in the range of US$50 - US$90.

Microsoft Vista's EULA states,
"By using the software, you accept these terms. If you do not accept them, do not use the software. Instead, return it to the retailer for a refund or credit."

I decided to determine what the major US PC retailers and manufacturers will do when a customer requests a refund for Vista on their new PC.  I contacted the following companies:
Tiger Direct,
Circuit City,
Best Buy,
Office Max,
Office Depot,
Micro Center,
CompUSA, and 

I asked this
"I am planning on purchasing a notebook computer from your store and I want to know the refund process for returning Microsoft Windows Vista that is included with the computer. Per the Microsoft Vista End Users License Agreement (EULA), since I will not be agreeing to the EULA (I use Linux), I am to return it to the retailer (you) for a refund.  Please provide your refund process for Microsoft Windows Vista when not needed with a new computer."

All have responded except Fry's and Micro Center.  All of their responses are documented (emails) except for the telephone conversations (Walmart, Dell, and a follow up call from Office Depot).

All stated "no refund" for loaded software.  Dell was the only company that came close because they directed me to their new PCs with Open Source OS (Ubuntu).

I have not finished the investigation (some follow-up communications required with a few companies and a call to Microsoft for the refund), but I am thinking of forwarding my entire investigative report to the Illinois Attorney General and the US Justice Dept. as a complaint that the PC reseller industry systematically breaches a contract (MS EULA) and violates US anti-trust laws (tying).  Also, I may forward the report to local or national media for publication.

So, any thoughts or comments from the local Ubuntu group?  All comments, good, bad, nasty, etc., are invited.

Thanks for your time.

Best Regards,
Jim Murray
email: jmurrayil at yahoo.com
(Ubuntu user on 7 PCs)

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