Talk:Bundling of Microsoft Windows

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Wrong eula[edit]

About [1]

The section 'License refund policy' simply is not correct in present time (it is very misleading).

It states that the terms of the license is: 'By using the software, you accept these terms. If you do not accept them, do not use the software. Instead, contact the manufacturer or installer to determine their return policy for a refund or credit.'

However the OEM-version (which most often is the onces users want refund for) has changed for windows 7. Please check out http://www.microsoft.com/About/Legal/EN/US/IntellectualProperty/UseTerms/Default.aspx a) select preinstalled b) product name: 'Windows 7' c) Version. Home Basic or professional (guess all will show the same) d) Language: English

It will state:

By using the software, you accept these terms. If you do not accept them, do not use the software. Instead, contact the manufacturer of installer to determine its return policy. You must comply with that policy, which might limit your rights or require you to return the entire system on which the software is installed.

I did edit the page but my changes was rolled back (I think). It should however be specified that Windows 7 OEM does *not* have these license terms.

PS: My english is far from impressive - so I am not trying to rewrite the article merely to get a current error fixed.

93.160.108.38 (talk) 04:29, 9 May 2010 (UTC)

Common complaint about Windows Tax[edit]

Reverted the revision regarding the Windows tax complaint. The major objection to the problem of Windows tax comes from users of open source and free operating systems, therefore changing it to "other systems" does not describe the issue properly. -- Bahaltener (talk) 06:43, 30 May 2010 (UTC)

Obviously this section needs to be rewritten because it has PoV all over it. It is obviously anti-Microsoft. I almost expected to see Microsoft spelled as M$. What is more the references are hopelessly out of date (1999/2001) but the article still uses present tense when making these claims. The claim that Linux based computers are hard to obtain is also subjective. It seems to me that the percentage of Linux machines on the market is higher than the actual usage share of Linux so obviously the market is OK. Stilgar (talk) 07:43, 31 May 2010 (UTC)

The section deals with Microsoft unfair policy, therefore it describes the negative aspects of it. Propose how to phrase it more formally to avoid PoV. The issue didn't change at all since 2001 in regards to big vendors like Lenovo etc. Try to obtain a machine without OS from them, or try to get a refund and you'll see. What probably changed since 2001, is that now there are more small alternative vendors who ship empty machines or with Linux preinstalled than before. But they avoid this issue because they don't sign agreements with Microsoft, thus they are free to set up their own policies (they sell Windows for full price because of that, but they target those who are not primarily interested in Windows).
-- Bahaltener (talk) 16:49, 31 May 2010 (UTC)
Bahaltener, yes it is still difficult to obtain machines without Windows from OEMs. However, the "Back office dealings" which were found in the 1998 case are precisely why Microsoft does not do these things any longer -- they got audited by the Justice Department for well over ten years who made sure these kinds of goings-on were not going on. For example, when Dell decided to sell machines with Ubuntu Microsoft didn't just start charging them more for Windows. Manufacturers sell PCs with Windows because that's what the vast majority of customers want. I have removed the most blatantly wrong information (one person's opinion on an open source mailing list is not a citation), but the section still needs a NPOV revision. I would suggest rewriting it to distinguish between what Microsoft did in 1998, versus what Microsoft does now. Billyoneal (talk) 15:34, 21 June 2011 (UTC)
Oh, and I'll do this sometime later today if nobody wants to do it. Billyoneal (talk) 16:00, 21 June 2011 (UTC)

Public response section[edit]

The public response section says, quote, "Microsoft's artificially imposed difficulties in obtaining a "Windows tax" refund from OEMs".

How exactly is MS imposing difficulties upon customers? It's up to the OEMs or retailers whether or not to offer refund for customers who choose not to accept the Windows EULA, as well as whether or not to offer systems with alternative operating systems. Also, there seems to be no actual evidence of reactions against MS (a single event 11 years ago hardly counts). I suggest rewording the paragraph to remove the obvious anti-MS bias. Indrek (talk) 21:27, 14 September 2010 (UTC)

Re-wrote the paragraph a bit. Indrek (talk) 21:40, 27 September 2010 (UTC)
TRYING TO OBTAIN A WINDOWS REFUND FROM AN OEM WINDOWS PRE-INSTALLED IS LIKE TRYING TO GET BLOOD OUT OF A STONE!!!!!! Microsoft and the computer manufacturers are too greedy and expect us to just "put up" with this nonsense. It's like being dictated to that if you would like to buy a shiny new laptop or netbook then you MUST pay for Windows WHETHER YOU LIKE IT OR NOT! In the case of desktops, you can get one built and check if Linux or your chosen operating system supports the hardware. Can we please focus more on the pre-installed (OEM) versions of Microsoft Windows and if people have been successful or not at receiving a Windows refund? TurboForce (talk) 13:58, 1 October 2010 (UTC)
Can you please not shout? It makes you hard to take seriously. And if you want to discuss your personal problems with OEMs bundling Windows rather than your favourite OS, I'm sure there are better places for doing that than a Wikipedia talk page.
As for focusing, there are plenty of examples of users getting refunds, and plenty of information about what the problem is about. I don't see what's wrong with addressing other parts of the article. Indrek (talk) 23:37, 2 October 2010 (UTC)
Soz, I shouldn't be so angry here, but I've tried getting a Windows refund for a new computer that I installed Linux on. Microsoft have so much power and a perfect monopoly that makes the major computer manufacturers scared of Microsoft's bullying and evil games.
Microsoft are scum, evil, nasty, anti-competitive and they sue everyone who dares try to compete with them. It's time this evil empire of Microsoft is exposed and one day vaporised out of existence and this would free everyone from its buggy, insecure, defective, bloated and rip-off software products that has found its way into just about everything electronic.
For everyone reading: please continue improving the Windows refund page. Tell the computer manufacturers about the Windows refund page on Wikipedia and give them hell until they refund you. :D 10/10/10 TurboForce (talk) 11:40, 10 October 2010 (UTC)
Wow, you really don't like Microsoft, do you? Good luck with getting a refund, but please keep in mind that many people don't share your opinion and are quite happy using Microsoft's products. Also, the Wikipedia article should remain a neutral overview of the subject, rather than becoming a part of some sort of anti-Microsoft campaign (however justified such a campaign might be). Indrek (talk) 23:40, 10 October 2010 (UTC)
Microsoft imposes artificial difficulties by making specific agreements with OEMs, which cause them to make all sort of obstacles in obtaining the refund. I.e. if there would be no Microsoft caused reasons, OEMs would not cause any problems for customers. Those reasons include rebates as mentioned in earlier sections of the article. Microsoft explicitly admitted such agreements during unti-trust process, trying to justify them as "anti-piracy" measures. The whole article is about this if you didn't notice. So it's nonsense to say, that Microsoft doesn't cause any difficulties in the matter of obtaining the refund. -- Bahaltener 20:27, 24 October 2010 (UTC)
If you're referring to the first paragraph under The Windows tax, I see three references there. Two are dated 1999, one is from 2001. Hardly current. Indrek (talk) 20:08, 26 October 2010 (UTC)
Regarding references from 1999-2001. Nothing changed since then. That's when the anti trust case took place. And there were no other anti trust cases since then which would focus on this particular monopolistic policy of Microsoft (i.e. the bundling of the OS with computers). Since situation didn't change - there is no need for newer proofs. The fact that the situation is as bad as before is demonstrated by many cases of refund troubles and obvious absence of no-OS computers options on sites of all major OEMs. -- Bahaltener (talk) 05:02, 26 October 2010 (UTC)
"Nothing changed since then." Well, I think that's what's being questioned. How can you say that if there are no sources since ten years ago? Just add a recent source saying nothing changed, and that's that. --DanielPharos (talk) 16:39, 26 October 2010 (UTC)
I can add links to stores of major OEMs, but they (links) change too often, so they aren't very helpful. This information is easily obtainable - anyone can check it. There are tons of sources - go and see, don't pretend it's not a fact. The reasons didn't change since then, yes. As well as the situation. And this is not a guess. Did you read the page at all? All listed cases including very recent ones indicate the presence of the problem - i.e. the unavailability of computers without OS, which is the very reason for users to attempt to obtain refunds. This is self obvious. -- Bahaltener (talk) 23:01, 26 October 2010 (UTC)
I don't see what links to OEM stores would add? I mean, they don't contain any info on alleged monopoly-abuse or "private agreements", do they? (Also, this "adding in between" style is annoying.) --DanielPharos (talk) 09:25, 27 October 2010 (UTC)
This discussion seems to be going nowhere, in addition to being irrelevant to the subject at hand. No one is denying the issue that computers without an OS are hard to find, if not completely unavailable. The question I originally raised is whether or not Microsoft has a part in making the refunds difficult to obtain (not causing the need for the refunds in the first place). Since this debate is continuing below, I suggest we abandon this branch of the conversation, or at least move it to a separate section. Indrek (talk) 11:31, 27 October 2010 (UTC)
I agree with DanielPharos. You can't just assume that the situation didn't change. In fact, you'd think that an expensive anti-trust lawsuit would be enough to cause some changes, maybe make Microsoft revise their licensing policies a bit. I think the fact that people are getting refunds (as evidenced in the main part of the article) shows that Microsoft isn't imposing any difficulties. So yeah, find and add a recent reference to support the statement. Indrek (talk) 20:08, 26 October 2010 (UTC)
If one would start such a case - it might help. But so far no one was willing to spend that much money. The last case was a big miss, in a sense that it picked up a minor issue (browser), and dropped the major one (the OS). The fact that some people are getting refunds IN SPITE of all obstacles piled on them by MS and OEMs is a great thing - that's what this page is for - to clarify the formal right of getting refunds and summarize factual win cases, when people actually got refunds in spite of attempts to deny them this right, to help others to obtain refunds too -- Bahaltener (talk) 23:05, 26 October 2010 (UTC)
Also, if refunding customers for the cost of the Windows licence was in violation to the agreement between OEMs and Microsoft, OEMs wouldn't do it. The fact that customers have received refunds shows that there's no legal obstacle to it. If I had to guess, I'd say the OEMs aren't enthusiastic about giving these refunds due to the overhead; it's simply more trouble than it's worth. That's why there's no established process for it and customers only receive refunds if they're angry enough about the issue to drag it to court. Though there might be exceptions - reading through the refund cases, Dell seems to be better about giving refunds.
Bottom line is, there's no proof that Microsoft is imposing difficulties on getting a refund from OEMs. Yes, it might have arrangements with OEMs to not offer non-Windows operating systems out-of-the-box, but that's a different issue entirely. In fact, as can be seen from the Windows EULA, Microsoft encourages the end user to seek a refund from the OEM in case they don't accept the EULA.
In practice Microsoft directs customers to OEMs while OEMs direct customers to Microsoft. This whole scheme is created to completely discourage any kind of attempt to obtain the refund. What are you saying is casuistics, and it's not true, that the policy of not to sell machines without OS (handed down from MS) has nothing to do with troubles in obtaining the refund. It relates to the matter directly. I.e. if there would be no such policy - there would be no need for the refund in the first place. Point blank. Whether there are secret agreements with MS to punish OEMs who are helpful with refunds is really not too relevant. The whole monopolistic policy of bundling (which is an artificial obstacle) causes the trouble of refunding. And issue is caused primarily by Microsoft, though OEMs make it worse playing along with MS. They really don't care about the OS, but they do care to get better discounts from MS (for which they pay with bundling the Windows with the machine). -- Bahaltener (talk) 04:40, 26 October 2010 (UTC)
Can you back up your claim about OEMs directing customers back to Microsoft? As far as I can see, they're simply trying to discourage customers from seeking the refund by not making the process easy to discover or complete (ie. no official refund policy). Indrek (talk) 11:31, 27 October 2010 (UTC)
Read carefully references provided for successful refund cases. They clearly describe the ping pong actions of MS and OEMs, which are directed at pushing customers off. -- Bahaltener (talk) 23:12, 26 October 2010 (UTC)
I read through as many of the references as I had time for, and didn't find a single mention of the OEM directing the customer back to Microsoft. In all cases the OEM granted the refund with some effort on the customer's part (more in some cases than others). If I missed something, kindly link to the references which describe the OEM directing the customer back to Microsoft. Indrek (talk) 11:31, 27 October 2010 (UTC)
See for example How I got a Windows Vista refund from HP, The ABC Video: Windows refund day. I'll put more references into the main article. -- Bahaltener (talk) 16:24, 27 October 2010 (UTC)
If it was just one reference, you could've just linked to it directly instead of having me read through all of them. Anyway, I grant you that the HP case manager did try to direct the customer back to Microsoft, although it seemed to be because of a genuine confusion over the terminology (it is the Windows EULA, and Microsoft is the manufacturer of Windows). Also, as soon as the customer was able to provide the exact language of the EULA, the case manager agreed to the refund. Still, I guess it counts. Now all you have to do is prove that this was somehow part of Microsoft's evil plan of world domination, rather than an incompetent case manager at HP, and you actually have something that meets the verifiability criteria for inclusion in Wikipedia. Indrek (talk) 19:10, 27 October 2010 (UTC)
I never said that, quote, "the policy of not to sell machines without OS (handed down from MS) has nothing to do with troubles in obtaining the refund". Yes, the whole refund issue is caused by the fact that OEMs almost exclusively sell computers with Windows pre-installed. However, this doesn't imply that Microsoft is also forcing OEMs to refuse refunds to customers who don't want to use Windows. The fact that customers have successfully claimed their refunds (again, as evidenced by the article) should be proof enough.
Nope, this is not a proof. If something, all shown troubles prove the opposite. Microsoft encourages OEMs not to give refunds by all means (they can't easily outright disallow such option in EULA, because they'll be legally screwed up, but a possibility of using secret policies is a different matter. -- Bahaltener (talk) 23:15, 26 October 2010 (UTC)
Again, need references to back up your claim that, quote, "Microsoft encourages OEMs not to give refunds by all means". Without references, this is mere speculation. Indrek (talk) 11:31, 27 October 2010 (UTC)
References 4 and 5 cover this issue. Unless you plan to start a new antitrust case - this is enough. Though I'm still not sure how this relates to the discussion at hand - as was pointed before, even if there are no secret agreements, the whole root cause of this situation is initiated by Microsoft in the first place. -- Bahaltener (talk) 20:35, 27 October 2010 (UTC)
References 4 and 5 address the issue of Microsoft engaging in deals with OEMs to have them sell computers with only Windows pre-installed. Please don't confuse that with the issue of Microsoft allegedly forcing the OEMs not to give out Windows refunds to customers, which is what this discussion is about. Yes, the root cause of it is the lack of computers without Windows on the market, but that doesn't mean that Microsoft is automatically behind everything. I'm asking for references that show that Microsoft is somehow forcing the OEMs not to give Windows refunds to customers, not that Microsoft is forcing the OEMs not to sell computers without Windows. None have been produced so far. Indrek (talk) 00:15, 28 October 2010 (UTC)
Also, I never said that, quote, "there are secret agreements with MS to punish OEMs who are helpful with refunds", or even suggested anything of the sort. I merely said that some OEMs (Dell in particular) seem more willing to grant refunds than others. This seems to indicate that the decision whether or not to grant refunds is made entirely by each OEM, rather than being forced by Microsoft. If the latter were the case, then surely all OEMs would agree on the issue, since none of them would want to shoot themselves in the foot by crossing Microsoft and potentially losing their contract (or whatever it is that Microsoft is allegedly scaring OEMs with). This is no more casuistic than your arguing that nothing whatsoever has changed in the situation since 10 years ago. Indrek (talk) 20:08, 26 October 2010 (UTC)
Of course the final decision is by OEMs, but well stimulated in needed direction by Microsoft ;). Agree on what issue? OEMs and MS can't admit that they have such agreements de juro- this will cause them legal troubles. But they still can informally follow such agreements de facto, which happens in practice. - Bahaltener (talk) 23:16, 26 October 2010 (UTC)
Agree on the issue of not granting refunds to customers. And once again, need references to back up your claim about secret agreements and whatnot. Indrek (talk) 11:31, 27 October 2010 (UTC)
I updated the paragraph to clarify OEMs' part in causing refunds difficulties. See if you consider this more correct. -- Bahaltener (talk) 04:58, 26 October 2010 (UTC)
I see no need to complicate the section that much before getting to the actual point. Why not simply say "The difficulties associated with getting refunds from OEMs..." ? The article already explains the details, so why try and squeeze it all again into one sentence? The purpose of the section should be to describe the public response to the issue, not re-explain the issue itself. Indrek (talk) 11:31, 27 October 2010 (UTC)
I don't see any issues with summarizing the matter in the last paragraph. It's a normal and usual practice. -- Bahaltener (talk) 23:42, 26 October 2010 (UTC)
If you want to summarise the article, create a new section titled "Summary". As the section in question is titled "Public response", that's all it needs to deal with, and re-defining the issue (in fairly subjective terms, no less) is redundant. Indrek (talk) 11:31, 27 October 2010 (UTC)
Also, I think it should be indicated in the text that the reactions described in the section refer to non-current events, and that no similar events have happened recently. Unless, of course, such events have happened, in which case recent references should be found and added to the section, to bring it up-to-date. Indrek (talk) 20:08, 26 October 2010 (UTC)
Suggested wording for the paragraph:
 The difficulties associated with getting a Windows refund from OEMs have evoked a strong response from the public.
 Websites have been created for the specific purpose of spreading information about the issue and educating others on
 their options for getting a refund. In the past, public events (such as the Windows refund day in 1999) have also been organised,
 with the goal of raising public awareness on the issue and getting media attention.
How's that? It explains how the public is reacting without getting into unnecessary detail about things that have already been sufficiently explained in previous paragraphs. The existing links and references are easily integrated, and there's a good source of links here from various media channels (though some don't seem to work anymore) that can be added. Indrek (talk) 00:39, 28 October 2010 (UTC)
This wording is not so bad per se. BUT, people who organized the "refund day" event concentrated not so much on OEMs who amplify the problem (being an integral part of the problem of course), but on Microsoft, who is the root cause (that's why they demonstrated near MS office, not near Dell, Acer and etc.). Therefore it's appropriate to spell this out, what causes frustration to the public. I.e. people realize that pushing OEMs is not the real method to fix this whole mess. Microsoft needs to be pushed. -- Bahaltener (talk) 02:53, 28 October 2010 (UTC)
Good point, though it may well have been because it's simply easier to concentrate on Microsoft (seeing as there's only one of MS, but dozens of OEMs). Also, the 1999 refund day focused more on the whole issue of bundling Windows with computers and the demanding of refunds was merely symbolic (at least I hope so, otherwise it would've been seriously misdirected). Still, you're right that it's important to convey how the two issues are strongly related. How about the following revision to the text above?
 "In the past, public events (such as the Windows refund day in 1999 which gained significant media attention) have also been organised,
  with the overall goal of getting OEMs to not only revise and improve their refund policies, but also to expand their selection of computers
  without a copy of Windows pre-installed."
I think it's important to avoid pointing fingers in this section. Remember that not everyone who wants a refund is fundamentally opposed to Microsoft products. As the article itself mentions, there are also people who already have a Windows licence that they're using and simply don't wish to pay for another one. The wording above simply states what people ultimately want - the ability to buy computers with an alternative OS, or with no OS at all. Indrek (talk) 15:28, 28 October 2010 (UTC)
It's not about opposing Microsoft products - it's about opposing Microsoft practices and policies. That opposition was demonstrated, so why not to mention to whom it was directed. Protesters blamed Microsft and OEMs (see comments here: The ABC Video: Windows refund day (160x120) or here ABC Video: Windows refund day (320x240)) . How about this:
 "In the past, public events (such as the Windows refund day in 1999 which gained significant media attention) have also been organized,
  with the overall goal to draw attention the unfair Microsoft's policy of Windows bundling, and to get OEMs to not only revise and improve
  their refund practices, but also to expand their selection of computers without a copy of Windows pre-installed."
-- Bahaltener (talk) 21:03, 28 October 2010 (UTC)
But it's not just Microsoft's policies and practices, the OEMs play just as large a part in this. Directly blaming Microsoft like that takes us right back to square one. What about this?
 In the past, public events (such as the Windows refund day in 1999 which gained significant media attention) have also been organised,
 with people expressing their displeasure towards Microsoft and computer OEMs for the bundling of Windows with new computers. The overall
 goal of such events has been to get OEMs to not only revise and improve their refund policies, but also to expand their selection of computers
 without a copy of Windows pre-installed.
Thanks for formatting my previous versions, by the way. Indrek (talk) 00:31, 29 October 2010 (UTC)
As I mentioned, people primarily are protesting about the cause of the problem, not about the consequence (this is reasonable). And the cause is Microsoft's monopolistic business policy which Microsoft admitted during antitrust case, and presented as "anti piracy" measure (you didn't argue with that - that's a public fact). As mentioned here: U.S. v. Microsoft: Court's Findings of Fact: One of the ways Microsoft combats piracy is by advising OEMs that they will be charged a higher price for Windows unless they drastically limit the number of PCs that they sell without an operating system pre-installed. In 1998, all major OEMs agreed to this restriction. Even if there is no evidence that Microsoft encourages OEMs not to provide refunds, Micrsofot still created the situation when OEMs don't sell computers without Windows in the first place. And that's what people are primarily complaining about. Problems with refunds is a secondary consequence to this. The goal of the protest is to make Microsoft abolish monopolistic practices, rather then dancing around them with problematic rebates from OEMs. -- Bahaltener (talk) 02:16, 28 October 2010 (UTC)
Re "people primarily are protesting about the cause of the problem", it's kind of silly to make generalisations like that with only one recorded public protest - the 1999 Windows refund day. Looking at the racketware.info site, for example, there's just as much talk about the refund issue as there is about the Windows bundling issue. Looking at other references in the article, as well as the amount of information online about getting a Windows refund, there's just as much complaints about OEMs not having proper refund policies and procedures as there is about them bundling Windows with new computers, if not moreso.
Even so, my proposed wording already mentions the cause of the problem - the bundling of Windows with new computers -, so I don't see what you're unhappy with. If you take issue with the fact that I mention OEMs in the same sentence, well, consider the same excerpt from the antitrust case that you posted above: "In 1998, all major OEMs agreed to this restriction." Note the word "agreed". Not "were forced", "succumbed", or anything to that effect. They certainly had the choice of paying more for their Windows licences in order to offer computers without Windows as well; they simply decided that there wasn't enough demand for such computers to justify the additional expense. You cannot pin the blame 100% on Microsoft. Take this article at LinuxJournal.com, for example. From the bottom of page 1, quote, "After all of the Slashdot debates, mailing list threads/flames, petition signing and general applause that I have heard from our community, it appears we still are waiting for the market to correct this injustice. But remember, the market created the problem in the first place." (emphasis mine). Indrek (talk) 08:15, 29 October 2010 (UTC)
That's exactly the point. The market reacted to the unfair Microsoft policy. It's good that OEMs are mentioned - that's not what I disagree with. My argument was - you can't take out Microsoft from the protest focus. You can mention both issues as a goal if you want, but show the priority. I.e. to put it formally, goals of those who want to change the situation are: 1. To abolish Microsoft's monopolistic practice of making OEMs to bundle Windows with computers. 2. While goal 1 didn't succeed - improve the dysfunctional situation with refunds, so they would be granted to customers satisfaction. -- Bahaltener (talk) 17:20, 29 October 2010 (UTC)
Re "The market reacted to the unfair Microsoft policy". It didn't just react. The market created the situation that allowed Microsoft and OEMs to instate the policies that caused the problem. As it says in the bolded part of the quote. In other words, it's the overall lack of interest in computers without Windows. Yes, there are people who want such computers, but let's face it, they're a minority. A very vocal minority, no doubt about it, but still a minority. I'm not taking Microsoft out of the focus; undoubtedly they had their part to play in this. But (like I've repeated ad nauseum already) they're not solely to blame for the situation. That's why the wording I proposed mentions both Microsoft and the OEMs.
If you feel the priorities of the goals need to be more clearly stated, how about the following?
 The overall goal of such events has been to get OEMs to expand their selection of computers without a copy of Windows pre-installed,
 with the additional goal of getting them to revise and improve their refund policies while the first goal has not been met.
Or maybe:
 The overall goal of such events has been to get OEMs to expand their selection of computers without a copy of Windows pre-installed,
 with the additional goal of getting them to revise and improve their refund policies while the issue of bundling Windows with
 new computers persists.
Are either of those more to your satisfaction? Indrek (talk) 19:39, 29 October 2010 (UTC)
No response in 2 weeks, so I've proceeded to update the section to my proposed wording. If anyone does object to the wording, please restart the discussion here. Indrek (talk) 18:01, 12 November 2010 (UTC)
I've reverted the article back to my original edit. Please refrain from further reverting and let's try and settle the matter here on the talk page; we don't want to start an edit war. Indrek (talk) 23:29, 24 October 2010 (UTC)
I've reverted back to the previous version of the section and tagged it as disputed. Hopefully this will attract more input on the matter and encourage a resolution that everyone is happy with. Indrek (talk) 23:39, 24 October 2010 (UTC)

Windows-only BIOS updates.[edit]

WATCH OUT! Due to Microsoft's successful attempts at gaining a perfect monopoly over the years, you may not be able to receive BIOS updates without Windows, especially if you own a laptop or netbook. This is because BIOS updates are now performed using Windows and there may not be an alternative option for users of other operating systems. It's worth mentioning (with a "ref" link of course) that you may be forced to keep Windows e.g. dual-boot if you wish to update the BIOS, unless the manufacturer offers the BIOS update as an .iso file, which can be used to create a bootable disc for updating the BIOS, independently of the installed operating system.

Does anyone know of a computer manufacturer which sells computers with Linux pre-installed AND offers BIOS updates without having to use Windows? TurboForce (talk) 12:14, 19 October 2010 (UTC)

Apart from the fact this is the choice of the manufacterer, and has nothing to do with Microsoft pushing some kind of monopoly, I think you meant for this section to be on the Criticism of Microsoft talk-page (where it IMHO doesn't belong either though), not the Windows refund one. --DanielPharos (talk) 13:45, 19 October 2010 (UTC)
Edit: Oh, just to make my position clear: I agree with you that this is a bad development. BIOS updates should NOT be tied to any OS. --DanielPharos (talk) 13:52, 19 October 2010 (UTC)
That's right, BIOS updates should NOT be tied to one operating system. I do believe that users who decline the Microsoft Windows licence agreement and demand a refund for not using Windows should be warned that they will miss out on BIOS updates—if the BIOS updates can only be performed in Windows. I remember a few years ago when the user would have to create a bootable DOS disk e.g. from bootdisk.com for BIOS updates, with both the flash program and the correct BIOS image file. All changed now though. My own user page warns about the perils of vendor lock-in and how expensive it becomes for the affected customers! TurboForce (talk) 23:45, 19 October 2010 (UTC)
Do you actually have any references to computer manufacturers adopting this practice? I know several manufacturers have offered Windows-based BIOS update utilities for a long time (especially for business-class notebooks), but I've yet to see one that explicitly offers no other way of updating the BIOS (in the form of a bootable image, a ROM image to use with your own bootable media, etc).
Also, even if this is the case, I hardly see how it's relevant to this article. Also, blaming this on Microsoft's monopolistic tendencies seems too far-fetched, like DanielPharos said above. It's up to the individual manufacturers to decide how they offer BIOS updates, not Microsoft. Indrek (talk) 14:33, 23 October 2010 (UTC)
Sorry, I've been too busy to have time to reply up until now. IF YOU DON'T BELIEVE ME THEN CLICK HERE AN CLICK ON "FIRMWARE"—DRUMROLL PLEASE—THIS BIOS UPDATE CAN ONLY BE PERFORMED IN WINDOWS!! I'm sure the computer manufacturers are being funded by Microsoft's endless supply of money to lock people into using Windows in one way or another. If I come across a ref link about this restrictive practise of BIOS updates being tied to Windows-only, I will be happy to post it as proof of it being yet sneaky example of how Microsoft and/or computer manufacturers' monopolise and bullies everyone with their evil intentions to make the public spend more and more money unnecessarily. This should NOT be tolerated—see the next section below. TurboForce (talk) 00:55, 2 November 2010 (UTC)
Interesting. Seems like all Samsung's BIOS updates are Windows-only now. A quick trip to Bing turns up quite a lot of complaints about this from people running Linux or OS X on their Samsungs laptops. Certainly something to keep an eye on (not that I'm currently running non-Windows operating systems, but you never know).
Still, as already said above, this is not relevant to the Windows refund article. If you do find proof about Microsoft being involved in this (rather than just Samsung being lazy), you'll probably want to add this information to the Criticism of Microsoft article. The vendor lock-in section seems the most appropriate, or you can create a new one. Indrek (talk) 01:54, 2 November 2010 (UTC)
For what it's worth, I emailed Samsung's local customer support and they confirmed that their BIOS updates are for Windows only and they don't support Linux. They wouldn't give me a reason, though. Indrek (talk) 07:50, 3 November 2010 (UTC)
@Indrek Thank you for e-mailing them. I'm very disappointed about this stupid idea of Windows-only BIOS updates. I think users should be aware of this before they ditch Windows and opt for Linux or another operating system. I expect Samsung didn't give you a reason for this because they have something to hide! I think Microsoft are playing dirty tricks again and this is one their many sneaky tactics to force users into keeping Windows, even if that means dual-booting Windows and the other operating system. TurboForce (talk) 12:38, 9 November 2010 (UTC)
Could you please do the biased, unsupported ranting somewhere else? --DanielPharos (talk) 19:08, 9 November 2010 (UTC)
NO I WON'T! How would people react if car manufacturers' designed their engines to force users to only use one brand of petrol? A brand of petrol which costs more and it was full of impurities which caused problems and required regular work on the car to clean it out? Just like Microsoft Windows requires regular maintenance work to keep it clean of temporary files and requires defragmenting etc.
That's basically what this is about: the Windows monopoly and not being able to update the BIOS on some computers because the BIOS update can only be performed in Windows. I would NOT be ranting if BIOS updates could also be performed the 'old fashioned' way i.e. from a bootable disk for users who have another operating system installed. It's disgusting and not acceptable that this monopoly exists and users don't have a choice. In a so-called free society where competition is encouraged? I don't think so. Money talks! TurboForce (talk) 10:36, 11 November 2010 (UTC)
Look, your desire to educate others about what you perceive as a threat to their freedom of choice, while appreciated, is misdirected. Wikipedia is not the place for an anti-Microsoft campaign. At the moment I don't see any references being produced that point to Microsoft's involvement in this (and may I remind you that Wikipedia's threshold for inclusion is verifiability, not truth). So instead of arguing here, you really might want to direct your efforts towards producing such references, to support your claims.
Also, when you do find such references, I don't think this issue deserves more than a passing mention in this particular article. As repeatedly said above, the Criticism of Microsoft page is much more appropriate. Indrek (talk) 17:32, 12 November 2010 (UTC)
Yes indeed. I really hope people are aware of the perils of ditching Windows and not being able to receive BIOS updates, especially important updates. Finding the ref links is proving impossible, so I really hope that the people reading the Windows refund page are also reading this! TurboForce (talk) 01:53, 13 November 2010 (UTC)

Microsoft Windows price fixing?[edit]

If Microsoft are found guilty of price fixing in many countries, especially in Europe, they could be faced with massive fines! In the UK, price fixing of any kind is illegal and a company could be fined up to 10% of its turnover. Does the "Windows tax" constitute to any form of price fixing? I would be interested to see what the Office of Fair Trading has to say about this!

In the meantime, I'm on the lookout for "ref" links and help with this would be very much appreciated. Cheers. TurboForce (talk) 12:36, 19 October 2010 (UTC)

If you are in the UK or Europe and want to do something about Microsoft deliberately obstructing competition, please click here and complain. Cheers. :) TurboForce (talk) 01:58, 13 November 2010 (UTC)

Anticompetitive agreements between MS and OEMs[edit]

Billyoneal claimed, that backdoor agreements between MS and OEMs ceased after the anti trust case in 1999. This is not correct. While antitrust case referenced the problem of bundling Windows with the hardware, the resolution didn't require Microsoft or OEMs to cease that practice in any way. This was actually one of the biggest flaws in that case, and the resolution was criticized for missing the main point, focusing on issue of browsers instead. While the case mentioned that One of the ways Microsoft combats piracy is by advising OEMs that they will be charged a higher price for Windows unless they drastically limit the number of PCs that they sell without an operating system pre-installed. In 1998, all major OEMs agreed to this restriction no resolutions were made to stop this at all. And as we see it's in practice until now. Bahaltener (talk) 4:52, 24 June 2011 (UTC)

"And as we see it's in practice until now." Citation needed. If you can find a source proving this, that's a pretty powerful addition to the article! --DanielPharos (talk) 20:28, 24 June 2011 (UTC)
Proof is factual. I added links to the shopping sites of major OEMs who sell desktop and laptop computers. They obviuosly lack the selection of non OS / free OS machines. Unfortunately those links are not so stable, so they can get outdated pretty fast. Anyone can just visit on-line shops for HP, Lenovo, Asus etc. and see that machines are coming with Windows preloaded, and there is no option to change that at purchase time. At least you can say clearly, that the unti trust case did not require to abolish that practice. That clearly is indicated in the formal documents of that case (they are referenced in the article). The reasoning was - other OSes are not viable alternatives to Windows, so this is not critical enough to fall under anti trust regulations. In essence however this very issue gives Microsoft unfair advantage. -- Bahaltener (talk) 18:41, 26 June 2011 (UTC)
Ah, I think I've misread your post then! I thought you were saying there's still backdoor agreements between OEMs and Microsoft to 'bundle' PCs and Windows, but I now see the last sentence is actually only referring to the agreement part (which has not been deemed illegal, as far as I know), not any backdoor-i-ness. Sorry, my bad!
Or are you saying these "backdoor agreements" ARE still in place? In which case; citation needed for the backdoor-part; we all agree on the agreement-part. --DanielPharos (talk) 21:41, 26 June 2011 (UTC)
No, I'm not insisting to call them "backdoor" if you want, since the fact of their existence was confirmed by the antitrust case. On the other hand Microsoft and OEMs don't disclose any monetary details about these agreements, because they can be established on individual basis and can differ from OEM to OEM. So in this regard there is some secrecy to them and they can be labeled as "backdoor". -- Bahaltener (talk) 23:17, 28 June 2011 (UTC)

Boot locking concerns[edit]

While Microsoft attempts to say that end user has control, they admit that in reality all control is up to OEMs, who will decide which keys will be included, and if they'll be manageable by end user at all. Microsoft having a strong leverage on the market (by simple fact of the dominance which way outweighs the competitors) affects OEMs, who all naturally want to participate in Windows 8 logo program. This poses unfair advantage to Microsot, who DID NOT mandate OEMs to leave the ability to include other keys, or to allow the end user to mangage them. See these concerns clearly explained by Matthew Garret (his explanation is referenced) --Bahaltener (talk) 13:46, 27 September 2011 (UTC)

From Garret's first article [1]:
 There's no indication that Microsoft will prevent vendors from providing firmware support for disabling this feature and running unsigned code. However, experience indicates that many firmware vendors and OEMs are interested in providing only the minimum of firmware functionality required for their market. It's almost certainly the case that some systems will ship with the option of disabling this.
That's the real concern. Microsoft's dominance only means that OEMs will strive to comply with the Windows 8 Logo Program requirements, which includes support for UEFI secure boot. Whether or not they decide to cut corners and ship their systems with no way to run non-Windows operating systems is up to the OEMs themselves. Microsoft DID NOT mandate OEMs not to leave the ability to include other keys, or not to allow the end user to manage them.
Granted, one way that Microsoft's dominance (or rather, competing OS vendors' relative lack of influence on the desktop hardware market) might influence things is that they're the only one who can pretty much expect their signing keys be included in hardware vendors' products by default, but again that's only reason for concern if hardware vendors choose to lock down their products. Garret elaborates on this in his second article [2]:
 No other vendor has the same position of power over the hardware vendors. Red Hat is unable to ensure that every OEM carries their signing key. Nor is Canonical. Nor is Nvidia, or AMD or any other PC component manufacturer. Microsoft's influence here is greater than even Intel's.
 What does this mean for the end user? Microsoft claim that the customer is in control of their PC. That's true, if by "customer" they mean "hardware manufacturer".

I've amended the section accordingly. Indrek (talk) 16:23, 27 September 2011 (UTC)

Vendors is not a suitable term for community distributions (i.e. community is not a vendor - distributions of free operating systems are taken by users to be installed). Consider rewriting the paragraph. Also, lack of influence is obviously relative, no need to artificially downplay the fact that Microsoft has overwhelming presence on the market (close to monopoly), which poses a problem. Downplaying or obscuring this fact is not objective. --Bahaltener (talk) 2:09, October 04 2011 (UTC).
Good point about "vendors". What about "developers"?
As for Microsoft's dominance on the desktop OS market, I don't think it's in any danger of being downplayed or obscured in this article. Besides, in this particular case, the concern is not that Microsoft does have influence, but that competing companies (or communities) do not (at least not much). Wording the section in a way that omits that fact is not objective.
As for lack of influence, it's not necessarily relative. Makers of competing operating systems do have some influence, just not much when compared to Microsoft. It's just another way of explaining Microsoft's dominance, so I don't see how it's artifially downplaying anything. Indrek (talk) 16:48, 4 October 2011 (UTC)


HP in Netherlands[edit]

I removed an unsourced data for now. Please provide source for the information, and refrain from casual advice style language (like "Better avoid buying HP gear if you don't want a windows system pushed down you throat"). It's an encyclopedic article, and not a casual blog entry. -- Bahaltener (talk) 16:28, 17 January 2012 (UTC)

Darn right - Wikipedia is not his blog. Or mine. Or anyone else's. kcylsnavS{screechharrass}

Competition of free operating systems with Windows[edit]

The article mentions that free operating systems are increasingly becoming viable alternatives to Windows. It doesn't denote that market share of the free systems rapidly grows, but denotes that they continuously improve usability and add modern features, competing with Windows for the desktop user. Market share growth can be an indirect result of it in the long term, which also can cause Microsoft to resort to non merit methods of holding to the market (such as OS bundling). This is the apparent reason in their explicit policy for Windows only locked ARM computers, since in the ARM field competition is even stronger. --Bahaltener (talk) 17:21, February 13 2012 (UTC).

The refs look good, though I would've liked to see some actual comparisons with Windows (since that's what the article is about), rather than plain reviews of Linux desktop environments. Still, much better than the previous attempts.
I added some details to the refs (author, date, publisher) and moved them after the comma, per WP:REFPUNC. Indrek (talk) 19:50, 13 February 2012 (UTC)
You might be interested in adding that Windows licenses been made free on all devices with screen sizes of 9 inches or less, as of April 2, 2014. <<< SOME GADGET GEEK >>> (talk) 18:43, 10 January 2015 (UTC)

Asus[edit]

I recently contacted Asus regarding the Windows tax. I was expecting a negative answer, but instead they emailed me forms to start the process. I was told that the refund price varies for different Windows licenses, but in my case (Windows 7 Home Premium) the refund is 43 €. The refund amount could also be dependent on computer model and region. I'm still in contact with Asus about this.

The whole process seems relatively easy:

 1. Contact Asus customer support (email)
 2. They'll send you the necessary forms and an RMA number
 3. Mail the Windows Certificate of Authenticity (sticker) and the forms to a local Asus service center (you pay for postage)
 4. Asus refunds you via wire transfer

All of this needs to be started within 2 weeks of purchase and the Windows installation must be unused. Right now I'm about to mail the CoA and forms to Asus, but I expect the rest to go well.

I'm planning on sending similar emails to other manufacturers to get a complete picture on the state of the "Windows tax" today. I realize this is "personal research" so I won't add it to the Wikipedia entry. Maybe I'll start a blog and use it as a source ~. There was no talk about any kind of anti-disclosure agreement, so I doubt I'm breaking any laws/agreements. Humpparitari (talk) 18:09, 6 June 2012 (UTC)

Issue of illegality of enforcing OS bundling[edit]

OS bundling is found to be a violation of consumer protection laws in different conutries. For example French court of Cassation explicitly found it to be in violation of referenced EU directive. See Cour de cassation, civile, Chambre civile 1, 15 novembre 2010, 09-11.161, Publié au bulletin . (Which is even explicitly mentioned in the article itself). Now review the EULA quoted in the article again:

By using the software, you accept these terms. If you do not accept them, do not use the software. Instead, contact the manufacturer or installer to determine its return policy. You must comply with that policy, which might limit your rights or require you to return the entire system on which the software is installed.

Microsoft added this language in the recent revisions: You must comply with that policy, which might limit your rights or require you to return the entire system on which the software is installed. This removes any possible contractual obligation by OEMs to issue a refund in case user rejects the EULA. I.e. MS explicitly removed this contractual obligation from the license. There are still legal obligations for it (according to the mentioned laws), but these aren't contractual, so for OEMs it's easier to dodge direct claims, and users are forced to go to court in order to claim their refund. There is nothing extraordinary therefore in saying that MS allowed OEMs to avoid refund by claiming that computer must be returned with the OS. MS changed the EULA, allowing this very situation. All this is mentioned explicitly in the article. Therefore please don't vandalize the page anymore. If you have complaints - express them in discussion page first. And as it's defined, original research can refer to facts, allegations, and ideas—for which no reliable, published sources exist. It's clearly not the case here. --Bahaltener (talk) 1:05, July 31 2012 (UTC).

I read through the decision, and I'm still looking for specific language that suggests that prepackaging Windows and denying a Windows refund is illegal. Regardless, the directive is the only thing cited, and I don't see anything on the face of the directive that refers to the windows refund issue. RJaguar3 | u | t 16:36, 3 August 2012 (UTC)
You repeatedly delete stuff without valid reason - I consider it vandalizing, and if you are going to continue doing it without discussion - some action will have to be taken. How is that reference not a valid source? It discusses this subject and brings references to legal reviews. I included them in the references there if you consider this more to the point. Next time - follow the procedure please. Post something in the discussion first if you want to delete stuff. Doing it without explanations with notes like "not reliable" is unacceptable. --Bahaltener (talk) 20:03, August 03 2012 (UTC).
I will go through the four sources that support the sentence "Vendors were permitted by Microsoft to avoid this refund by requiring that the computer be returned altogether, despite this being a violation of consumer protection law in many countries":
  • Directive 2005/29/EC: This appears to be just a law. I can't find anything mentioning operating systems, Windows, or refunds. Therefore, it is entirely original research to suggest that this law applies to the Windows refund situation.
  • Pennington: The author has one article on LinuxJournal.com, a publication which does have 42 citations elsewhere on Wikipedia. We don't have any biographical information provided by LinuxJournal.com about the author, so we don't know what his qualifications are in making factual statements on what the law requires. He's certainly entitled to his opinion on whether Microsoft/OEM policies are illegal, but it would require more sources to state that Microsoft/OEM policies are illegal or a "violation of consumer protection law". As to stating what Microsoft/OEM policies are, the source does seem reasonable.
  • 15 USC 14: Again, this is just a law, which, on its face, does not indicate that it would apply to the Windows refund situation. Again, this reference is just original research.
  • Steuer: This appears to be a legal review of antitrust statutes. It does not appear to even discuss how antitrust law specifically applies to the Windows refund situation. This source does not support the claim.
Thus, out of four references provided, we have only one that deals directly with Microsoft and OEM practices involving the Windows refund, and the claim that such practices are illegal (which appears to me to be an extraordinary claim that requires very good sourcing) comes from one author in a second-rate source whose qualifications on making statements of how the law applies are unknown. Thus, I don't think the sentence meets WP:V as is. See also WP:RSOPINION. RJaguar3 | u | t 02:52, 4 August 2012 (UTC)
You didn't answer to what I wrote above. I.e. that there is nothing extraordinary there. It's factual information (i.e. that part that Microsoft allowed that). The fact is in the change of EULA which Microsoft introduced. Also your refutation of the referenced law as unrelated is invalid. The law explicitly references the issue of preventing competing products. I.e.: It shall be unlawful for any person engaged in commerce to lease or make a sale or contract for sale of goods... or fix a price charged therefor, or discount from, or rebate upon, such price, on the condition, agreement, or understanding that the lessee or purchaser thereof shall not use or deal in the goods, wares, merchandise, machinery, supplies, or other commodities of a competitor or competitors of the lessor or seller, where the effect of such lease, sale, or contract for sale or such condition, agreement, or understanding may be to substantially lessen competition or tend to create a monopoly in any line of commerce. In this case, OS bundling with denying the option of refund (i.e. requiring the user to return both the computer and the OS if they want a refund) does exactly that - prevents the user from using competing operating system on the sold hardware. It's not a sophisticated deduction - it's straight in the law. The only option for the vendor not to violate this law is the option of refund, which should be the right of the user. The whole point of that paragraph is to stress, that when vendors deny the option of refund they do it illegally. And to stress that Microsoft made it easier for vendors to deny the refund by changing the EULA and removing contractual obligation of the refund. The article from the Linux Journal just does a more detailed explanation of the law, that's why it's included in the sources list. It is for the benefit of the reader, therefore I consider deleting that reference a negative thing, since it reduces the clarity of the content. You have to prove that the source is unreliable, if you claim so. I.e. find false statements, or misleading information there and etc. I can add the reference to the court decision based on the EU directive in the references here, as a clarification of the issue, so the reader can better see in one place the relevance of the EU law to this matter. --Bahaltener (talk) 03:46, August 06 2012 (UTC).
You're relying on the assumption that the inclusion of Windows by OEM on computers where the OEMs do not offer refunds for just Windows consitutes tying and that such practices are illegal. That has no reliable source (and for the reasons above, I do not consider Pennington to be a reliable source on whether the behavior is illegal). Also, your analysis is faulty; for example, you say that not offering a refund for just Windows "prevents the user from using competing operating system on the sold hardware." That is not true. In fact, I am making this post from a Lenovo Thinkpad T61 that has had Windows removed (without a refund) and Ubuntu 12.04 installed. Nothing in any of the Windows EULA bar users from installing different operating systems. In fact, I'm not even sure that Microsoft and the OEMs are even required to offer partial refunds for Windows to avoid falling afoul of antitrust law (I know Apple doesn't). Of course they might be, but such opinion or judgment has to come from the courts, legal scholars, or reliable sources on the matter, and not from Wikipedians. RJaguar3 | u | t 04:40, 5 August 2012 (UTC)
Such kind of policy falls under the definition of tying. And the argument that you can just physically install another OS while wiping the preinstalled Windows is irrelevant since in such case you are loosing the money which you paid for a tied product which you don't intend to use. You can review what tying means, it's requiring you to buy something that you don't want in order to buy something else which you want. It's irrelevant whether you can discard the thing which you don't want afterwards - you are forced to buy it (if there is no refund). Affect on the competition is clear here - if you are forced to pay for Windows even when you intend to install alternative OS, that essentially increases the cost of alternative OS for the user - that's why it's called the Windows tax in the first place. I.e. it lessens competition, giving advantage to the preinstalled OS by taxing the user. If you consider the article by Pennington unreliable - I can agree to remove the reference. But the reference to Clayton Act (i.e. one about tying) is still valid in my opinion. --Bahaltener (talk) 05:17, August 06 2012 (UTC).
But this is your analysis. It's not published in a reliable source. We can only include facts and analyses supported by reliable sources. See especially WP:SYNTH, a part of our original research policy that indicates that syntheses by Wikipedians are inappropriate in article space without a reliable source having first made that synthesis. RJaguar3 | u | t 05:25, 5 August 2012 (UTC)
I can look for references which mention Clayton Act in regards to the OS bundling, to support this (even though I consider this obvious, and not a deduction or original research). --Bahaltener (talk) 05:34, August 06 2012 (UTC).
(reply to updated comment upthread) I've heard various rumors about the Microsoft/OEM relationship after the government antitrust case. I've seen an article where a Microsoft representative asserts that OEMs are not required to refrain from including other operating systems on their computers. Other authors suggest that circumstantial evidence indicates that Microsoft still has a major say through their secret agreements on what operating systems can be included on OEM computers. If the latter is true, it needs sources. If the former is true, then I don't see how it meets tying; none of OEMs are required to include Windows on their PCs in lieu of other operating systems, so there is no tying at the Microsoft/OEM level. With regards to the consumers, none of the OEMs has monopoly power, so iarkett appears to me that tying cannot be an antitrust violation. Thus, in addition to being original research (which is not allowed on Wikipedia, regardless of the merits), the argument that bundling Windows without offering partial refunds is a violation of consumer protection law as the article states is also without merit. RJaguar3 | u | t 05:41, 5 August 2012 (UTC)
Don't forget that you are questioning only the relevance of the Clayton Act to this issue. Such bundling is clearly a violation according to the French court ruling based on the EU laws, so the statement is true and has explicit sources already. We are arguing about references here, not about the statement. And I already explained why it is valid to say that MS allowed it - they relaxed the language of the EULA to reduce the contractual obligation of the OEMs to issue the refund (it benefits both MS and OEMs - for MS is strengthens the bundling protecting their market, and for OEMs it makes it easier to dodge direct refund claims reducing their hassle, so only few resolute users which actually go to courts will be refunded). --Bahaltener (talk) 05:49, August 06 2012 (UTC).
I'll remove the reference to the Clayton Act in order not to suspend this question, since I'm still investigating this issue. I'll restore it when / if legal experts will provide more feedback. -- Bahaltener (talk) 21:44, 13 August 2012 (UTC)
EDIT "You have to prove that the source is unreliable, if you claim so"--this is false. See WP:BURDEN ("The burden of evidence lies with the editor who adds or restores material. You may remove any material lacking an inline citation to a reliable source", emphasis in original). RJaguar3 | u | t 04:52, 5 August 2012 (UTC)

Microsoft changes in EULA and vendors' policies[edit]

There is a need to highlight the fact that the resulting situation is caused by Microsoft's actions, i.e. by their change in EULA vendors got more room to evade refunding. I already brought the argument above, and there were no conceptual objections about that, so why removing the sentence? The only unresolved question remained was about whether Clayton Act can be applied to this case, and it needed references (being researched). Other references (court order) already cover the issue and support the statement about illegality in many countries (in this case EU). If objection is about "many" - I don't mind changing it to "some" - it's not essential here. Or were there any other objections? -- Bahaltener (talk) 04:41, 16 August 2012 (UTC)

From what source are you getting the assertion that Microsoft supports OEM policies that make a refund contingent on returning the entire computer? RJaguar3 | u | t 05:25, 17 August 2012 (UTC)
I didn't mention support of practices of requiring return of hardware with OS, since it means evaluating MS intentions which they of course hide. I was talking about factual information which we have. We know that MS changed the EULA and the change in the language reduces contractual obligations to provide refund, which makes it easier to evade refunding. You can of course conclude that MS did it out of self interest to uphold their grip on the market (and that would be most probably true) - but I didn't put such kind of deductive conclusion there, I put only the factual related information and that is - before OEMs were more restricted by the EULA, and now - less, and that was caused by MS's change in the language of the contract. So vendors like Lenovo didn't hesitate to use that relaxation and outright tried to forbid refunding since the contract doesn't restrict them as before, and users have to handle the proof through courts and antitrust laws to claim the refund. -- Bahaltener (talk) 17:57, 17 August 2012 (UTC)
The sentence at issue is "Vendors were permitted by Microsoft to avoid this refund by requiring that the computer be returned altogether, despite this being a violation of consumer protection law in many countries." This sentence implies that Microsoft gave consent or acquiesced to vendor refund policies that do not allow for a refund of just an OEM Windows license under the EULA for versions of Windows before Windows 7. You still haven't pointed me to any source stating that Microsoft permitted it or acquiesced to this behavior with respect to pre-Windows 7 agreements. The sentence at issue also implies that Microsoft's and/or the OEMs' practices violate laws in "many countries," which has only one judicial opinion from France on point (and it would help if you can point to the specific sentences stating that the Windows refund policy violates the law, since my ability to search French-language judicial opinions is a bit weak). Also, one country is not "many." Once I get a chance to review the opinion more thoroughly, I will propose a new wording for this sentence. RJaguar3 | u | t 21:33, 17 August 2012 (UTC)
It's not MS's policy that violates the law (MS doesn't forbid the vendor to issue a refund), it's the fact that vendors don't issue refund that violates the law. If you don't like the phrasing "permitted", how do you think it should be properly phrased? To clarify what was intended to be conveyed there. Earlier version of Windows EULA stated (it's brought in the article right before that): By using the software, you accept these terms. If you do not accept them, do not use the software. Instead, contact the manufacturer or installer to determine their return policy for a refund or credit.. The newer version states (addition is in bold): By using the software, you accept these terms. If you do not accept them, do not use the software. Instead, contact the manufacturer or installer to determine its return policy. You must comply with that policy, which might limit your rights or require you to return the entire system on which the software is installed. The phrase permitted was referring to that addition, which weakens contractual obligations of the vendor. I.e. before one could read it simply that the user should be refunded, and need to contact the manufacturer to determine their policy. Newer version is more user hostile, adding explicitly that - user presumable must comply with policies which even can restrict users' rights, such as requiring to return OS and computer both. I.e. MS points there that user has a right on refund, but then it pretends that user should give up that right if user accepts the EULA (i.e. in case when the manufacturer has a policy which denies a refund for the OS alone). So in practice, earlier versions of the EULA put more burden on the manufacturers. Later one puts less, that's what I called "permitted". The change in the EULA is MS's making, and its practical result - greater easiness for the vendor to evade refunds forcing users to go to courts. How do you propose to describe that? I'm open to suggestions. -- Bahaltener (talk) 02:15, 19 August 2012 (UTC)
"its practical result - greater easiness for the vendor to evade refunds" Is there a reliable source for this claim? While it may be reasonable to conclude that the change in EULA created a theoretical possibility for OEMs to deny partial refunds with more impunity, that this is the practical result is a separate claim and needs to be sourced independently. According to the article, there have been refund cases both before and after the EULA change, so a reliable source is needed that shows that the number of court cases has increased or that it has otherwise become more difficult for customers to obtain partial refunds, and that this is due to the change in the Windows EULA.
I also agree that "permitted" is not a good word to use, because it implies explicit approval or encouragement from Microsoft. Unless a reliable (and exceptional) source shows that that was Microsoft's intent with the EULA change, such language should be avoided. Something like "The change in the EULA enabled vendors to ..." or "Following the change in the EULA, it became easier for vendors to ..." would be better. Indrek (talk) 10:25, 19 August 2012 (UTC)
I don't mind the phrase "Following the change in the EULA, it became easier for vendors to...". The reason it is easier is the language itself. I.e. before it didn't mention that the user has to give up any rights on the refund, and now it does. -- Bahaltener (talk) 19:23, 19 August 2012 (UTC)
Based on Google Translate, my understanding is that Mr. X won on the grounds that Lenovo tied its computers and Windows under French/EU law and lost on the grounds that Lenovo denied the partial refund to which the Microsoft EULA entitled him. RJaguar3 | u | t 21:39, 17 August 2012 (UTC)
Yes, that's exactly the point. User has a right to get a refund for OS alone, and Lenovo denied that option. It violates the law and that what the phrase in the article is referring when saying "despite this being a violation" and etc. So to be clear, MS found a way here to be not the violator. The violator is the manufacturers. However MS made it easier for manufacturer to do such thing by changing the language of the EULA. That's what the paragraph is trying to convey. -- Bahaltener (talk) 02:15, 19 August 2012 (UTC)
The way I understand this is that there's two separate issues: whether or not it's OK for OEMs to bundle Windows with their products, and whether or not OEMs are required to provide partial refunds. Now, if User:RJaguar3's interpretation is correct, then the French court ruled in favour of the plaintiff (Mr X) on the first issue, meaning that it's not OK for Lenovo to bundle Windows with its computers, but in favour of the defendant (Lenovo) on the second issue, meaning that Lenovo is not legally required to provide partial refunds. This contradicts User:Bahaltener's assertion that, quote, "User has a right to get a refund for OS alone".
Granted, given the current market situation, the second issue is only an issue because of the first one, but that doesn't mean the two are interchangeable. Further, while the issue of bundling Windows may be relevant to the article as a whole, it has nothing to do with the refund section of the Windows EULA, nor has it been affected by changes to that section. So I have to echo User:RJaguar3's request that User:Bahaltener show exactly where that French court case says that refusing partial refunds violates consumer protection laws (quote the relevant part and provide a translation, or alternatively, a secondary English source that analyses that court case). Indrek (talk) 15:49, 19 August 2012 (UTC)
It was affected by the changes. I already showed the comparison. Previous language of the EULA didn't mention the reducing of rights for the user. The new language explicitly mentions it. Just review it again. English source which reviews the issue: http://www.techworld.com.au/article/414500/lenovo_ordered_pay_1920_making_french_laptop_buyer_pay_windows_too/ hen the French court ruled in favour of the plaintiff (Mr X) on the first issue, meaning that it's not OK for Lenovo to bundle Windows with its computers, but in favour of the defendant (Lenovo) on the second issue I don't think that is the case. The ruling references previous court which didn't consider the denial of the partial refund a violation, and overrules that, basing it on the fact that product tying is illegal. That's how I understood the ruling. -- Bahaltener (talk) 19:10, 19 August 2012 (UTC)
The way I see it is that you have three lines of reasoning as to why Lenovo is legally required to accept a partial refund of a Windows license:
  1. The Microsoft-Lenovo agreement is illegal under competition law in some jurisdiction
  2. The Microsoft-Lenovo agreement, the Lenovo-user agreement, or the Microsoft-user agreement requires a partial refund to be available, and Lenovo breached a contract by refusing to issue a refund
  3. Some sense of fairness (not strictly based in law) entitles the user to the refund of an unused Windows license included with a computer.
I do thank Bahaltener for point out the existence of the article. Unfortunately, the article doesn't make clear which of the three possibilities above is the case (although it does say that the appeals court remanded with instructions to consider the EU directive on unfair commercial practices). RJaguar3 | u | t 22:58, 19 August 2012 (UTC)
The way I understand it is different. Let me clarify how I view the issue. There are antitrust / consumer protection laws which forbid products tying (these exist in EU and US). When computer is sold together with the operating system - it is tying. In order to avoid the violation of such laws, user should either have a free choice to buy a machine without OS (best option - but MS managed to thwart it with agreements with OEMs as known from the DOJ vs MS case). Worse option (requires more effort) is getting a refund for the OS. MS mentions refund straight in the EULA (older versions of which were better sounding for the user). However in the newer versions MS mentions that OEM potentially can require to return the machine with the OS (i.e. MS removes contractual obligation from OEMs to issue a refund). Note here, that MS doesn't violate the law with the EULA itself, since while not requiring the refund, they don't forbid to OEM to issue it either. I.e. MS basically delegates the task of refund to the OEM and they wash their hands. Now the whole picture if focused on whether OEMs provide the refund or not. Some OEMs provide such refunds (with some difficulties). Others try to deny it (for example Lenovo) requiring to return OS with the computer together. That's where the violation starts. I.e. by requiring to return the OS with the machine OEMs trigger the laws which forbid tying. Note that it is not breaking the EULA (i.e. MS-user agreement), since MS mentions that OEM potentially can do that. But it's breaking the law. I.e. the OEM is the violator in such case. If OEM puts such kind of policy in their own rules (which user either have to accept or etc.) then OEMs rules are violating the law. Even if it is not in their explicit rules, what breaks the law is their statement to return the OS with the machine which they communicate to the user who asks for the refund.
So to match what RJaguar3 said:
1. we don't know what MS - Lenovo agreements are (they are secret).
2. We only know what user - MS agreement is (EULA). EULA is not illegal and OEMs don't violate the EULA when denying the refund, since MS relaxed it (as noted already).
3. However OEM's denial of OS refund - is illegal (not on contractual grounds, but on antitrust/consumer protection grounds). And if OEM has such denial in some kind of OEM-user agreements which they issue during the purchase - they are illegal as well. (This is what in essence the court ruling is, note that it's against Lenovo, and not against MS). And it's not just an issue of some fairness not strictly based in law. It's the issue of fairness based on the laws which forbid products tying.
What I was trying to highlight also, that MS reduced the contractual basis for the refund, however legal basis never changed, since it comes from the same laws as always. If you are interested in clarification of the court ruling in English, we can find someone to accurately translate the ruling. -- Bahaltener (talk) 06:08, 20 August 2012 (UTC)
I also found these references which review the case: 1. http://no.more.racketware.info/news/french-court-of-cassation-threatens-bundled-software 2. http://no.more.racketware.info/news/hardware-software-bundling-crumbles-france -- Bahaltener (talk) 07:10, 20 August 2012 (UTC)

Controversies and Microsoft's involvement in the problem of the Windows tax[edit]

The article was marked as containing certain ideas, incidents, controversies etc. Please explain what they are. I also get an impression that RJaguar3 (talk) is trying to downplay MS role in creating the real difficulty in obtaining the refund in the summary. It's not like some were successful, while others weren't. Getting the refund is difficult up to close to impossible. Any success there is considered a significant victory, so a statement about "some did and some didn't" is misleading. The summary is not unbalanced. It's a gist of the sections below which describe the problem in more detail. I propose it should say:

The "Windows refund" is a refund claimed by a user after purchasing a computer with the Microsoft Windows operating system pre-installed on it. The refund is issued by the computer manufacturer, or occasionally the retailer, for the copy of Microsoft Windows alone, rather than the whole computer. Microsoft's dominance in desktop computing operating systems and a frequent lack of understanding on the manufacturer's or retailer's part often makes this refund difficult (but not impossible) to obtain.

This highlights several key points: what the refund is, existing problem of obtaining it and parties involved in the issue. Detailed information about the background of the issue is provided in the article, so I don't see how the summary is unbalanced. -- Bahaltener (talk) 20:14, 21 August 2012 (UTC)

The WP:BURDEN of proof for any claim, especially an exceptional one like the claim that Microsoft works with or otherwise allows OEMs to make the process of obtaining a refund for just a Windows license difficult, rests with the person who wants to insert such claim into the article. Additionally, in the lead section, it is better to neutrally summarize what the rest of the article already contains: information about some consumers receiving refunds and others not receiving refunds. That's why I made the change. RJaguar3 | u | t 21:29, 21 August 2012 (UTC)
Proofs are brought in the artcile (such as rebate agreements with OEMs, changes in the language of the EULA and etc.). And about neutral summary. It's the summary of hardships of Windows tax. How exactly should it neutrally sound? Saying some can, some can't is neutral as far as odds in obtaining the refund are more or less random or equal. When situation is disproportionally difficult, you need to summarize that in the leading section (neutrally, but reflecting the difficulty). So please propose a better language if you have other ideas. While some customers have successfully obtained payments, others have been less successful. is not adequate and I'd even say it's not neutral either, since it presents the situation as better than it is. -- Bahaltener (talk) 22:08, 21 August 2012 (UTC)
Is there a reliable source that supports the claim that "situation is disproportionally difficult"? Because if not, then that claim is OR. Likewise, changes in the Windows EULA, regardless of their perceived intent, are not proof that Microsoft is conspiring with the OEMs against customers. A reliable source that comes to that conclusion is required for such a statement to be in the article, as User:RJaguar3 said above.
The current summary looks good to me, especially after User:RJaguar3's last addition. I'd perhaps add " or lengthy negotiations" to it, but it's pretty good as it is. Indrek (talk) 23:37, 21 August 2012 (UTC)
Summary looks better now (lengthy negotiations will add value to it). The whole article is full of sources that describe regular difficulties with the refund up to OMEs which deny them altogether, forcing people to go to court. Such kind of situation is naturally called "difficult to obtain". -- Bahaltener (talk) 00:01, 22 August 2012 (UTC)
The article also describes a number of refund cases where there's either no mention of any difficulty, or the process is specifically described as easy and straightforward. Such a situation cannot be described as difficult, because that implies all cases have been difficult, when that's clearly not the case. The current summary is good because it accurately represents the situation - that different people have had different experiences. Indrek (talk) 00:40, 22 August 2012 (UTC)

Use of WP:SELFPUB sources in Windows refund examples[edit]

I am planning to remove all examples found in Windows refund#License refund cases that are only sourced to a self-published source (such as a blog or forum post). The use of self-published sources in that section appears to fail WP:SELFPUB for the following reasons:

  1. The sources are being used as citations for facts in Windows refund, not in articles on themselves or their activities.
  2. It's not clear that the sources are not self-serving, and the claims cited to these sources are arguably extraordinary.
  3. The sources unquestionably make claims about Microsoft and various OEMs and their actions and policies.

Therefore, I am planning to remove all claims that are only sourced to self-published works unless consensus indicates otherwise. This does not prohibit, of course, having claims based on independent reliable sources, such as [3]. RJaguar3 | u | t 04:58, 23 August 2012 (UTC)

These sources serve as a documentary reference to refund cases providing information about interaction with OEMs, Microsoft and so on. They are not brought as sources for proofs on something about OEMs. Therefore I'm against removing them since they are brought as a review of experienced cases by different people and not as a legal proof. (Unless there is consensus that these sources are unreliable). I.e. the point of those sources is not in their guess about why OEM does something, but rather about what they experienced. Naturally the claims made there about reasons aren't the point of these sources, the point is the factual details of refund interactions. -- Bahaltener (talk) 19:38, 23 August 2012 (UTC)
The general rule under WP:RS is that sources must generally be reliable and independent third-party sources with a reputation for fact-checking; additionally, secondary sources (such as news coverage like the BBC article I linked above) are preferred to primary sources (blog posts by users on the process for obtaining a Windows refund). Self-published sources can only be used in limited circumstances under WP:SELFPUB, and their usage in this article seems to me to fall outside this allowance. RJaguar3 | u | t 04:58, 24 August 2012 (UTC)

Are OEMs "free" to sell no-OS or alternative OS computers?[edit]

Even though MS claims that OEMs are "free to sell computers without OS" - this claim is not relevant to the problem of Windows tax. First of all MS didn't show any legal evidence that it's true. Secondly, this "free" doesn't preclude any agreements with OEMs which charge them higher price on Windows if they choose to provide no OS options to their customers. So while being "free", in practice they are "convinced" not to do it with price gauging. Therefore this statement doesn't really add anything useful to describing the problem of Windows tax. In practice this is even demonstrated by how much computer distributors charge for Windows in case when they do offer no OS option - it's higher than $50 that MS claims to be their average price offered for OEMs (which don't offer no OS option). Example: https://www.powernotebooks.com/configure.php?special=1443 -- Bahaltener (talk) 21:12, 2 January 2013 (UTC)

  1. Legal evidence is not necessary; the burden that needs to be met is WP:Verifiability, which allows hearsay published in a reliable source. In fact, Wikipedia prefers secondary sources.
  2. "Secondly, this 'free' doesn't preclude any agreements with OEMs which charge them higher price on Windows if they choose to provide no OS options to their customers. So while being 'free', in practice they are 'convinced' not to do it with price gauging [sic]." For such a "clarification" to be in the article, it needs to be verified by a reliable source. Now, if you are saying my wording is misleading, that's one thing, but I believe I accurately reflected what was in the Ars Technica article which was cited as a source. To add such a clarification based on what you think might be the real facts underlying MS-OEM agreements is clear original research.
  3. "In practice this is even demonstrated by how much computer distributors charge for Windows in case when they do offer no OS option - it's higher than $50 that MS claims to be their average price offered for OEMs (which don't offer no OS option)." This sentence would need to be sourced. I have two sources for the $50 figure: [4] (Protalinski relying on a Microsoft source) and [5] (Reimer researching Dell prices with and without Windows). Your proposed source (powernotebooks.com) is original research at worst and at best a low-quality primary source. I don't think it's suitable for inclusion in the article especially considering the two reliable sources discussing the amount of the Windows tax; but an argument certainly could be made for its inclusion.
  4. There appears to be not reason why Microsoft's statement (as reported in Ars Technica) should be excluded from the article. I plan to readd it unless you can convince why it should stay out of the article. Of course, feel free to suggest better wording that more accurately reflects the source (or, even better, find other reliable sources that clarify the facts regarding MS-OEM agreements).
RJaguar3 | u | t 05:23, 3 January 2013 (UTC)
For #3, inclusion of that powernotebooks.com link would be clear WP:OR, because it provides no indication that the pricing is due to Microsoft charging the OEM more than $50 per copy of Windows. For all we know, it could be the OEM's own choice and nothing to do with whatever agreements they might have with Microsoft.
As for the statement in general, I don't see how it's not relevant to the article. It discusses the exact same issue of bundling Windows with computers as the rest of the paragraph, is a significant (i.e. non-minority) view (Microsoft being one of the primary parties involved) and is published in a reliable source. The removal of that statement therefore compromises the neutrality of the article and constitutes a violation of WP:NPOV, a non-negotiable Wikipedia core policy. I've restored the statement in question. Indrek (talk) 08:44, 3 January 2013 (UTC)

Is this a reliable source?[edit]

[6] (cited by [7]). If so, it has useful information that could be added to the article. RJaguar3 | u | t 14:10, 22 January 2013 (UTC)

List of precedents[edit]

I just replaced the list of cases section with an expanded paragraph incorporating relevant cases as per WP:PROSE. Your thoughts and suggestions on my edit are welcome. Thanks, RJaguar3 | u | t 13:58, 1 November 2013 (UTC)

I see several problems with this change: 1. For some reason you removed the whole section about vendors violating consumer protection laws, this has nothing to do with WP:PROSE. 2. Those cases have value for those who research the legal precedents. I see no stylistic problem with keeping the list in the article, but if you don't like it, you can make another page with that list and reference it from here directly. It's not proper to just remove the list of valuable information on stylistic grounds. That paragraph you added is not a substitute of the full list. I suggest you revert the changes back, and if you want to avoid long lists, transfer the list to another page, and reference it from here. -- Bahaltener (talk) 14:22, 1 November 2013 (UTC).
Thank you for your feedback.
  1. The article already mentions the French and Italian cases where users won Windows refunds after litigation. Perhaps I am not understanding what you are referring to when you say that I "removed the whole section about vendors violating consumer protection laws".
  2. Our job is to build an encyclopedia, not necessarily to create a bibliography for future research.
Also, if you find a case that I missed that you can incorporate into the new paragraph on Windows refund policies, you are welcome to do so. RJaguar3 | u | t 14:30, 1 November 2013 (UTC)

InfoWorld source[edit]

Jeff Walsh. "PC buyers to demand refund for Windows". InfoWorld, Jan. 25, 1999, p. 26 RJaguar3 | u | t 23:23, 5 August 2015 (UTC)

Here's another source: [8]. RJaguar3 | u | t 23:57, 5 August 2015 (UTC)

Links to more sources[edit]

[9]. RJaguar3 | u | t 00:16, 13 August 2015 (UTC)