Thursday, 22 December 2011

Microsoft Notebook Noose

So, I've been on a little bit of a crusade, I was given tentative permission the other day to look around for a new laptop.  I had Toshiba and Dell laptops in the past, my current machine is a wheezing six years old, upgraded to the maximum and now simply not doing all the things I need to do with it (massive fan of virtualization that I am, I'm hobbled from coding on my chosen virtual machine in front of the tele, hence the need for a new laptop).

However, my first thoughts are, I want a stable host for my virtual machines, so I want to use a flavour of linux as the base for this laptop.  Having consulted with the code of law as laid down in the Holy Rite of the EULA from Microsoft it seems I am able to obtail a refund for any Microsoft Windows License; which would automatically come with a new laptop, so long as I decline to accept the license on first boot.

This however poses a couple of problems, firstly, Microsoft say I must decline.  If this machine has been booted, or cloned from a stock harddrive and the OEM/Manufacturer has in their turn accepted the EULA then I have to persue them for a refund.  So, if I buy an Acer laptop from PC World, I have to talk to Acer, not PC World...

If however, the manufacturer has not accepted the license on my behalf, then I am left to accept or decline it.  And if I decline it I can persue the reseller of the laptop, so PC World say, for the refund.

All sounds fair and, though complex, managable.  WRONG, I've walked into and out of nearly every single reseller PC World, Staples, Comet, Currys, BestBuy; I've spoken to online resellers like Amazon, Aria and Overclockers; I've spoken direct to manufacturers and suppliers like Dell and Asus.  All of them shrug their shoulders, scratch their heads and say "I have no idea what you're talking about"*.

It seems almost impossible to get what I want, or more rightly, escape the noose that is a Microsoft license.  There's been all this bluster in the EU about Microsoft pushing browsers anti-competitively, well I want a different OS... but I have to jump through hoops with retailers unaware of their neccessity to supply the refunds...!!!

* Well, Staples didn't, their three lads seemed genuinely interested in my input and took my number to call me back and see where their "higher ups" stand on this topic.

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