|An Observer wrote in to tell us of a web site dedicated to telling people how to get a refund if they didn't use Windows on their PC. The letter in full:
"My Novell Rep sent me this:
If you purchase servers/workstations and DO NOT use the Windows software, then your entitled to a refund. Take a minute and review the following:
The basic story is this ...
If you read the license agreement that comes with every copy of Microsoft Windows 95, 98, or NT there is a paragraph which reads:
If you do not agree to the terms of this EULA, PC Manufacturer and Microsoft are unwilling to license the SOFTWARE PRODUCT to you. In such event, you may not use or copy the SOFTWARE PRODUCT, and you should promptly contact PC Manufacturer for instructions on return of the unused products(s) for a refund.
So what this says is that if you buy a machine, and are going to use it as a NetWare server, and don't want to agree to the license of the software forced on you, send it back for a refund! There is a story on this web site page of one user getting a check for $110 for a copy of Windows.
Direct from the web site:
"You might be entitled to a refund for Windows if you have installed Linux, a BSD, BeOS, OS/2, NetWare, or another OS on a machine which came with Windows*. These pages offer a place to learn the whys and hows, and to communicate and organize with other consumers who don't like paying the "Microsoft tax" for software they've never used on their machine.
Note this only applies to people who have never run Windows on their machine, and thus can say they do not accept the terms of the Windows license; this entitles them to a refund."
Visit the site for more information.
The Mac Observer Spin: Some background information is in order. Microsoft has many contracts with computer manufacturers that require the manufacturer to include Windows (or at least charge for a copy of it) with every system sold, whether or not Windows is actually shipping on the box. In recent months many of these agreements have changed in the face of the DOJ trial. Some manufacturers like Dell are now shipping machines without Windows, with Linux, and sometimes even without an OS at all (as an outside consultant one of our team members was able to order a Dell PowerEdge 2200 without an OS and without paying for an OS, an event not possible even 8 months ago).
In the meanwhile, it is next to impossible to get a PC computer from a retail consumer outlet without a copy of some form of Windows and so many Linux users have simply piled up their Windows licenses and used them as coasters. If The Noodle is correct, Microsoft's own licensing agreement provides for a clause to get a refund on the license if it is not used. The argument being offered is that by not using Windows, one is not accepting Microsoft's terms by default. This refusal to accept terms makes the owner of the software eligible for a refund by definition. It is important to remember that only people who have in fact not used the software would be eligible for the refund. the Noodle has more information on how to go about this as well as a story from Geoffrey Bennett on his own efforts to get the refund.
With Linux being so popular among the serving crowd of Mac users, we felt that this story would be of use to our readers.
The Noodle - Microsoft