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Buy PC Without an OS... Get a Visit From MSFT? 639

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the sure-would-be-tragic-if-something-happened-to-your-kneecaps dept.
sebFlyte writes "'Don't sell PCs without operating systems or we'll send the boys round.' That seems to be the general message coming out of microsoft's antipiracy unit, according to ZDNet. While MS seems to accept that people might want to get hold of PCs without Windows so they can put Linux on them, they don't think that's a good enough excuse. "We want to urge all system builders -- indeed, all Partners -- not to supply naked PCs. It is a risk to your customers and a risk to your business," says Microsoft. The FSF has given this policy short shrift, saying: "It looks like a private sniffing service which is supposed to spy on these who do not want to pay the Microsoft tax anymore. It is an incredible piece of impudence.""
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Buy PC Without an OS... Get a Visit From MSFT?

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  • Ummm.... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by fak3r (917687) on Wednesday April 05, 2006 @11:55AM (#15067174) Homepage
    So again, how is this not a Monopoly?
    • Re:Ummm.... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Moby Cock (771358) on Wednesday April 05, 2006 @12:00PM (#15067241) Homepage
      It is a monopoly. Nobody ever implied it wasn't. Monolopolies are not illegal. Abuse of a monopoly is illegal.
      • Re:Ummm.... (Score:3, Informative)

        by LWATCDR (28044)
        Okay... And trying to force the bundling of your software isn't abusing an abuse?
        • Re:Ummm.... (Score:4, Informative)

          by Kelson (129150) * on Wednesday April 05, 2006 @12:45PM (#15067829) Homepage Journal
          Okay... And trying to force the bundling of your software isn't abusing an abuse?

          Oh, it is, but they were convicted in a US court, which doesn't have jurisdiction in the UK (much to the consternation of the RIAA and MPAA). Even then, they got off lightly enough that they don't seem to be terribly concerned with risking a repeat.
        • Re:Ummm.... (Score:3, Insightful)

          by rufty_tufty (888596)
          If they gave it away for free probably not*

          If they force you to buy it, then yes it certainly is.

          *i.e. if (like AOL used to with their product) ensure a CD with a legal copy of windows was included with every computer then I'd be very happy. Some would argue this would still be an abuse of monopoly though because it would be even less of an alternative to swap to alternate OS platforms and MS would still have lock in via their API
          • Re:Ummm.... (Score:3, Informative)

            It is illegal for a company to tie the purchase of a monopoly product to the purchase of a competitive product. I.e. they may not say "you must purchase our product I, instead of competitor's product N, in order to get our monopoly product W." Such ties are likely to result in the monopoly provider taking over a formerly competitive market, even though their competitive product is inferior to the competition.

            So Microsoft cannot "give away" product "I" by "including it free" with product "W". That is an i
      • by MarkByers (770551) on Wednesday April 05, 2006 @12:30PM (#15067671) Homepage Journal
        Abuse of a monopoly is illegal.

        What's the point of getting a monopoly if you don't abuse it? The shareholders would sue you if you didn't even try to abuse it.
      • Re:Ummm.... (Score:5, Informative)

        by mlmitton (610008) on Wednesday April 05, 2006 @12:35PM (#15067716)
        Absolutely correct. And it should be noted that in the antitrust trial, the findings of fact said that one of the ways in which MS abused its monopoly power was by charging OEMs per processor, not per copy of Windows shipped. Telling them not to ship without Windows at all is dangerously close to the same thing, and I can't imagine it wouldn't be considered an abuse of monopoly power as well.

        Before anyone tries to complain about the findings of fact, remember that the appeals court never disagreed with the facts Judge Jackson found, only the remedies he demanded. So that the original practice was an abuse of monopoly power still stands. As would the present case of strong-arming people into always including Windows.

        • Re:Ummm.... (Score:3, Informative)

          by hackstraw (262471) *
          And it should be noted that in the antitrust trial, the findings of fact said that one of the ways in which MS abused its monopoly power was by charging OEMs per processor, not per copy of Windows shipped.

          My boss at the time actually downloaded and printed the whole thing :) He is one of those, "I hate Microsoft, but I exclusively use their products, and make a living off of them" kind of guys.

          One thing I remember from back then was how MS screwed over IBM. They sold IBM Windows at a higher price because
  • Here we go again (Score:3, Insightful)

    by liliafan (454080) * on Wednesday April 05, 2006 @11:56AM (#15067180) Homepage
    All I can say is thank God I build all my own systems, forcing people to buy something they don't want is a really unethical extortion racket, if I need to buy any prebuilt machine in the future I will always take the time to look for that 5% of dealers that will not make me purchase an OS.

    Does a move like this do anything to effect all the current antitrust cases?

    TFA:

    We want to urge all system builders -- indeed, all Partners -- not to supply naked PCs. It is a risk to your customers and a risk to your business


    This sounds a lot like a veiled threat to me.

    • by PFI_Optix (936301) on Wednesday April 05, 2006 @12:06PM (#15067332) Journal
      This sounds a lot like a veiled threat to me.

      Finish the quote:

      "...with specifically 5 percent fewer opportunities to market software and services."

      It's a risk to your business because you miss out on opportunities for profit. Not because MS will send goons over to "buy you out".
      • It's a risk to your business because you miss out on opportunities for profit.

        Way to gloss over the "risk to your customers" bit. What, the customers run the risk of missing out on the Superior Windows Experience (TM)?

        • by PFI_Optix (936301) on Wednesday April 05, 2006 @12:20PM (#15067536) Journal
          I was pointing out that context was thrown out the window when the quote was cut mid-sentence to make it sound menacing, when it really wasn't.

          I don't know what MS is saying is the danger for end users, aside from the obvious that they want people to think that Linux is a risk (just like some Linux zealots say about MS) and are concerned about piracy.

          From the scanned article linked in TFA:

          1. To install their own software
          2. To transfer software from an old machine
          3. To install Linux
          4. To take advantage of a volume licensing agreement

          Now, you might make a great leap and infer that 1 and 2 point to piracy, but generally it's assumed that "their software" is legally theirs, and this old machine has a tranferable license (as in, non-OEM).

          The point being made by the scanned article is that a lot of buyers are planning on using an "old" OS...I would assume non-XP is implied here. What they're wanting is for OEMs to determine why people are ordering naked PCs and see if they can find a way to pitch Windows to them. It's a win/win for MS and the OEM...both would turn a profit off the sale.
      • by liliafan (454080) *
        Damn you are so right, because I am risking my customers and my business by selling 5% less copies of their products for them.

        The veiled comes into effect because it could be interpreted as a threat, I took the section I considered to be the threat.
    • Re:Here we go again (Score:4, Interesting)

      by dwandy (907337) on Wednesday April 05, 2006 @12:29PM (#15067656) Homepage Journal
      All I can say is thank God I build all my own systems, forcing people to buy something they don't want is a really unethical extortion racket, if I need to buy any prebuilt machine in the future I will always take the time to look for that 5% of dealers that will not make me purchase an OS.
      Can you get naked laptops from a resonable/reliable manufacturer?
      I remember a few years ago there was some kind of talk about 'returning' windows licenses...does that work? did it ever?
      I don't see me buying too many desktops anymore - the freedom/power to cost ratio is low enough that I foresee all my future computers being laptops, and my last one came with XP on it...so even though FC5 will go on it shortly, I still paid the M$ tax...

      anyone?

  • Build your own (Score:5, Interesting)

    by plopez (54068) on Wednesday April 05, 2006 @11:57AM (#15067195) Journal
    Or get a non-partner reseller to build one for you. Cut the partners out of the loop. MS control is through the partners, if they fear MS will cut off their air supply, they will comply. Instead, hurt them by boycotting their products.
    • MS control is through the partners, if they fear MS will cut off their air supply, they will comply.

      If I make a cheesy joke about the musical group Air Supply right about now, will you join me in a laugh?
      • If I make a cheesy joke about the musical group Air Supply right about now, will you join me in a laugh?

        I don't know, let's find out. You've got a joke, right?
    • by DerGeist (956018) on Wednesday April 05, 2006 @12:29PM (#15067654)
      Or just blame piracy. See, it's win-win. Blaming piracy can never lose because it's unfalsifiable.

      Blame pirates, being suing people randomly/needlessly. There are three possibilities:

      1) Sales go up (The pirates were the problem! Let's kill the bastards!
      2) Sales go down. (We aren't being harsh enough on the pirates! They're still stealing from us, we need to crack down harder!)
      3) Sales stay the same. (The pirates are still pirating as much as they always have, we need to send a firmer message! KILL THE PIRATES!)

      By blaming all their problems on the invisible spectre of "pirates" companies can justify virtually any legal action and come out looking fine since, after all, they were just protecting themselves against those damned pirates.

      I also nominate myself for the Award for Post with the Most Uses of the word "Pirate."

      • Re:Build your own (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Steffan (126616) on Wednesday April 05, 2006 @01:36PM (#15068432)
        "Or just blame piracy. See, it's win-win. Blaming piracy can never lose because it's unfalsifiable. Blame pirates, being suing people randomly/needlessly. There are three possibilities:
        1) Sales go up (The pirates were the problem! Let's kill the bastards!
        2) Sales go down. (We aren't being harsh enough on the pirates! They're still stealing from us, we need to crack down harder!)
        3) Sales stay the same. (The pirates are still pirating as much as they always have, we need to send a firmer message! KILL THE PIRATES!)"
        Seems like if you substitute 'terrorists' for 'pirates', and 'terrorism' for 'sales', you could have a workable foreign policy / justification for a domestic spying program...
  • by ehrichweiss (706417) on Wednesday April 05, 2006 @11:58AM (#15067204)
    Nice computer you got there....it'd be a shame if something....'appened to it..
  • by eln (21727) on Wednesday April 05, 2006 @11:58AM (#15067212) Homepage
    If they are only targetting PC makers that have agreed to only sell PCs with their OS on them, then they have a legal, though morally questionable, right to do this. However, it seems they are targetting all PC makers.

    Right now, this is basically just marketing, but if they actually take action against computer makers who sell "naked" PCs, such as refusing to license the Windows OS to them because of it, they run the risk of once again being brought up on charges of monpolistic practices.

    To say that a PC sold without an OS will undoubtedly be used to pirate Windows is an absurd stance, and so forcing PC makers to sell PCs with Windows pre-installed in order to avoid such piracy is not valid. If Microsoft presses the issue too hard, they're going to end up making their lawyers very happy once again.
    • by oirtemed (849229) on Wednesday April 05, 2006 @12:06PM (#15067333)
      To say that a PC sold without an OS will undoubtedly be used to pirate Windows is an absurd stance

      And even if it is....it is not the PC makers responsibility!

      • Oh heck, this argument can be simply stated, on both sides, with 3 words:

        1: Guns
        2: Alcohol
        3: Cigarettes

        The reason I say *both* sides is that all of my examples only hurt mere people, and sales send profits to well-connected corporate donors. Selling a naked PC is certainly less deadly than all of my examples put together, but it only benefits mere consumers. Arguably the hardware revenue of that naked PC has simply been transfered from another supplier who wouldn't sell that way. Besides, most likely neithe
    • Right now, this is basically just marketing...

      That's all it is. MS is trying to convince businesses that they'll make more money by only offering PCs bundled with Windows.

      refusing to license the Windows OS to them because of it

      To the best of my knowledge, the only companies MS has ever "cut off" were known pirates. I've seen MS gold OEM partners switch upwards of 20% of their products to naked/Linux systems, and MS didn't bat an eye except to offer them tickets to conferences on how to sell Windows in a Lin
    • Well it's even worse than that. I'm windows only, XP is now 4 years old and I've had a pro licence for a long time. Any new PC I look is pretty much going to not only force me to buy a new licence for XP, but it's bloody XP HOME!
    • It should be pointed out that Microsoft doesn't seem to be urging their OEM's to sell all PC's with Windows. They're urging them not to sell "Naked" PC's. Dropping on a copy of FreeDOS makes it no longer Naked, or Linux.

      This is nothing new. Dell has been shipping systems with FreeDOS for years to get around the "Naked PC" issue.

      Microsoft is concerned that people are buying PC's to violate their OEM license by installing their old OEM copy on their new PC. And frankly, let's be honest, that's likely the
  • 1. Sell PCs without Windows
    2. Get visited by Microsoft
    3. Get sent to federal pound-me-in-the-ass prison
    4. ???
    5. PROFIT
  • Headline wrong (Score:3, Insightful)

    by walt-sjc (145127) on Wednesday April 05, 2006 @11:59AM (#15067228)
    The headline talks about buying, yet TFA is about selling. Way to go...
  • Microsoft is recruiting two 'feet on the street' personnel whose role will be to provide proactive assistance during customer visits, and help you get the value proposition for pre-installed software and related services. Give us a call and let's get those feet walking

    Two whole people. And they need to be called. So MS is offering it as a service and someone has to notify them. OK so I order my barebones PC and hope the company I bought it from doesnt call MS UK. And if two people show up to my door
    • My guess is that they will go after business customers that have volume agreements. When you read the contract, MS reserves the right to audit you for compliance. This is typical of expensive volume licensed software.
  • monopoly money (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MountainLogic (92466) on Wednesday April 05, 2006 @12:00PM (#15067248) Homepage
    I can't imagine a larger brag that microsoft is a monopoly. It really is straight from the horses mouth with implicit proof of monopoly abuse.
  • There are places that sell PCs and don't force you to pay for windows. I found this website from someone else who posted a link to it on slashdot. They also have other nice things music like that doesn't have DRM.

    You can get stuff here [usefree.org]
  • Saying that selling a PC without an OS is a risk to customers and their business is comical actually. Tell me how running Windows isn't a risk. OH...that's right...they already did. They said Windows is more secure. They said Windows is faster. They said Windows is more trustworthy and they said Windows cost less that Linux. I for one think we need to thank our friends at Microsoft for keeping us safe from the evils of the mad penguin.
  • Naked PCs? (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 05, 2006 @12:03PM (#15067284)
    A quote from the article:

    "We want to urge all system builders -- indeed, all Partners -- not to supply naked PCs. It is a risk to your customers and a risk to your business -- with specifically 5 percent fewer opportunities to market software and services," wrote Alexander.

    So, since they don't want "naked PCs"...they want you to install a "clothed-source OS" ?

    hahahahah

    T.Dzubin (submitting as Anon 'cause I've forgotten my login password)

  • by MECC (8478) * on Wednesday April 05, 2006 @12:03PM (#15067291)

    MS will be able to track purchases, and if it looks like you're building your own systems, they come to mess you up. Afterall, pirates are just like terrorists, except for the eyepatch, the big hat, and the dead parot.

  • And after all we've done for.... Nah, I can't even act surprised.

    Sounds like just more of the same from Microsoft to me...

    Dan Aris

  • by PFI_Optix (936301) on Wednesday April 05, 2006 @12:04PM (#15067303) Journal
    Here's a scan of the article, as linked by the story linked in this article. [zdnet.co.uk]

    Now for some serious FUD debunking:

    This quote seems popular: "We want to urge all system builders -- indeed, all Partners -- not to supply naked PCs. It is a risk to your customers and a risk to your business"

    Now here's the rest of it: "with specifically 5 percent fewer opportunities to market software and services,"

    As for the idea that MS might pay you a visit for not buying Windows...it's pure speculation and is not indicated by MS at all.

    The FSF Europe is alarmed by the prospect that customers who request a base systems would risk a visit from Microsoft's investigators.

    "It looks like a private sniffing service which is supposed to spy on these who do not want to pay the Microsoft tax anymore. It is an incredible piece of impudence which any politician, customer and journalist should recognise carefully," said Jakobs.

    When contacted by ZDNet UK, Alexander denied that operatives would be dispatched into the premises of customers who attempted to buy a PC without Windows.

    "I can confirm that the... personnel are not participating in customer visits. This is an error in the copy and will be amended in future material on the subject," Alexander claimed.


    This describes the situation best:

    "Microsoft is clearly concerned about the threat of Linux on the desktop and is trying to protect its base. Naked PCs provide customers with choice and lower the price of commodity PCs," said a Novell spokesman.


    Microsoft is trying to convince OEMs to sell more of their product? Those fiends!
    • That has to be the best post in this thread. It removes the anti-MS hype and FUD and lays this article out for what it is. A description of MS trying to protect its base and limit Linux growth. Yes, they are successful capitalist assholes, but we already knew that. Nothing really surprising here once you remove the FUD claims of MS visits.

      -Rick
    • by tinkertim (918832) * on Wednesday April 05, 2006 @12:10PM (#15067382) Homepage
      I looked for, but could not find any conclusive statistics that indicate if people who want a naked PC would be more likely to acquire parts and simply build it themselves.

      I'd like to see those statistics (if they exist) before I completely dismiss the validity of the article .. but coming from a conspiracy nut (I'm one of the biggest) I'm inclined to agree and say ..

      bullshit.

      It looks like this was aimed not at people who sell OEM (bare) as just an option, but people who don't offer Windows licensing at all .. and a warning that they'll lose market share.

      Gestapo-ish marketing, yes. Big brother ... I don't think so. And I'm no fan of Microsoft.

    • "I can confirm that the... personnel are not participating in customer visits. This is an error in the copy and will be amended in future material on the subject," Alexander claimed.

      The "Feet on the Street" are not visiting customers (that is, purchasers of computers), they're visiting the vendors of such systems. This campaign is not aimed at stopping the people buying naked systems, it's about choking off the supply by targetting the sellers.

    • If Microsoft were trying to convince OEMs to persuade customers to buy Windows with their PC, then that would be fine ('You really ought to buy Windows Vista with your PC, to get the most out of it'). Instead they are trying to convince OEMs to force customers to buy Windows. Read the line saying "We want to urge all system builds - indeed all Partners - not to supply naked PCs".

      Microsoft is thus trying to convince OEMs into forcing customers to pay TWICE for Microsoft software. If you can't buy a naked PC,
      • If you can't buy a naked PC, then how are you going to make the most out of your volume license agreement?

        If you ever read the volume license agreement, its an upgrade to your existing windows license. Basically you should already have a license for the PC you are installing the volume licensing version on. You more pay for the connection access license (CAL) and various other 'use' licenses per user.

        From Microsoft's Website

        Only Windows Client upgrades can be acquired through Volume Licensing; the full op

    • Microsoft is trying to convince OEMs to sell more of their product? Those fiends!

      I am totally behind Microsoft talking to its customers -- whether new or prospective -- and trying to convince them that their businesses will prosper when they preinstall Windows. But to pretend that is the whole of it is massive naivete, willfull ignorance, or astroturfing. It is well-verified that Microsoft strong-arm OEMs into buying Windows "or else."

      The article most definitely is not "FUD" -- a term you clearly do not c

      • by PFI_Optix (936301) on Wednesday April 05, 2006 @12:42PM (#15067808) Journal
        It is well-verified that Microsoft strong-arm OEMs into buying Windows "or else."

        That's odd, because in my experience dealing directly with MS as an OEM, that wasn't the case at all. Now, they did tell us when we told them we were switching to Linux for some apps that our unit prices would go up...but that should be expected when your purchase volume drops by 20%. They then flooded us with pamphlets telling us how much better Server 2003 is than Linux and how TCO for Linux was actually higher and so forth. We had that crammed down our throats for four months before I finally told our MS rep that it was customers who drove our switch to Linux, and we weren't going to push MS on them if they specifically requested the change.

        The article most definitely is not "FUD"

        So stating that MS will pay you a visit for not buying Windows with your new PC isn't FUD? It's even clearly stated in TFA that they have no intention of doing that.

        In this instance, it is Microsoft who are employing this tactic by hinting that bad things will happen to OEMs and to consumers who buy OS-less machines.

        Yes. Businesses will miss out on a chance at boosting their sales figures, and consumers will install Linux. That's pretty much what MS said.
  • With some applications that we've provided to our customers (that they pay for), we've given them significant discounts if they sign a 2 year agreement to solely use our software and not switch to anyone else's. Most customers are very happy with the software, and they've happily signed the contract. This lets us budget for the support side of things.

    Is it wrong for Microsoft to tell their customers the same, if the customers are willing to accept the contract in order to get better pricing or service or
    • Yes, it's wrong of Microsoft as it's wrong of you. If you were in Mainland Europe, the "agreements" your customers had signed would not be worth the paper they were printed upon: anti-competitive practices are well and truly illegal, and damn right too.

      Microsoft are abusing their dominant position, which they only reached in the first place by abusing a dominant position.
      • by dada21 (163177) <adam.dada@gmail.com> on Wednesday April 05, 2006 @12:26PM (#15067600) Homepage Journal
        If you were in Mainland Europe, the "agreements" your customers had signed would not be worth the paper they were printed upon: anti-competitive practices are well and truly illegal, and damn right too.

        How is it anti-competitive if I offer the customer a savings on a product that they want? I don't ask others not to compete with me, I just worked out a long term agreement with someone to get the product they want at a price they want.

        If an employee works for me, I also make them sign a non-compete in exchange for a much higher income. If they don't want to sign with me, they can go make 50% of the money with some company that doesn't care.

        Anti-competition comes only out of licensing by the state and excessive regulations causing high-barriers to entry. Anti-competition does not come from companies forcing themselves into the consumers' homes. Microsoft has definitely taken advantage of government regulations (copyrights, patents, DCMA etc) so they're not clean in my mind, but I see nothing anti-competitive about getting people to agree to certain terms so you can plan your budget and growth.

        Is signing a cell phone contract for 2 years to get a free phone anti-competitive? Is signing a satellite TV contract for 2 years to get $1500 in free hardware anti-competitive? You made the decision.
    • Is it wrong for Microsoft to tell their customers the same, if the customers are willing to accept the contract in order to get better pricing or service or whatever it is they get?

      It seems to me that if someone accepts a contract or an agreement, there shouldn't be a problem. If people didn't love Microsoft products so much, the free market of competition would replace Windows and Office with whatever better preferred product is out there.

      you're right. normally it isn't a problem.

      the problem is that

  • Old News (Score:2, Informative)

    by gowen (141411)
    They've been saying exactly this since http://www.microsoft.com/OEM/nakedPC.htm [archive.org]">at least 2000 (Courtesy of the wayback machine).
  • OSless PCs are such a niche market, very rarely are they even bought, and the models available from the major manufacturers without an OS are pretty slim I think (Dell might offer all laptops w/o an OS if they want, but I know some only offer certain models without an OS). Not to mention, who wants the OS pre-loaded on a computer anyways? I don't like a new computer with 20 icons down in the system tray....
  • Oh, this again? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Oh come on, get off it, Microsoft. In the interest of keeping this short, here are all the valid reasons for getting a "naked" PC:
    • We already have a volume license for the operating system, and it may purchased at a cheaper rate than what the OEM payed. Either way, it's already paid for.
    • We're running an older version of Windows that we have volume licensed, because our software requires it.
    • We're replacing the hardware only, so it's basically a hardware upgrade.
    • We're running another operating system (especi
  • What? (Score:2, Interesting)

    I'm a bit confused, not that Microsoft wants their software distributed (duh) but that they're calling it a risk to traffic in OS-less PCs. What possible risk is there?
  • by digitaldc (879047) * on Wednesday April 05, 2006 @12:12PM (#15067419)
    is a risk to your customers and a risk to your business," says Microsoft.

    Well as soon as you install Windows, there is a risk of being attacked and infected. So the risk is about the same.
  • FTFA :

    Microsoft has urged UK PC vendors not to give customers the opportunity to buy a PC without a pre-installed operating system.

    Just pre-install GNU/Linux... See ? Fixed !

    Now I agree MS just looks like mafia, but a GNU/Linux distrib like Debian is free (beer + speech) anyway, so it's a cheap answer to the threat...
  • in 5... 4... 3... 2...
  • ...Ubuntu!
  • Full systems should have at the very least FreeDos on it for testing purposes. While there might not be drivers for network or usb, you can't say it's nakid and you can at least check most of the hardware, and any complaint about it not working out of the box can be totally blamed on the vendor.

  • Biased information (Score:2, Insightful)

    by DeeDob (966086)
    This is typical anti-everything journalism.

    As some people have already pointed-out, this "information" don't relate the facts. This is just an interpretation of possible results from those facts.

    The interpretation is NOT the fact. It just makes for more "entertaining" news to say that an evil company will own you in the future. Usually "evil company" is equal to "biggest company" in a given field. In this case Microsoft.
  • The FSF Europe is alarmed by the prospect that customers who request a base systems would risk a visit from Microsoft's investigators.

    Anyone with some knowledge of EU law... why would these "investigators" be allowed in the front door of any business? I can tell you the type of reception they'd receive at my company's front door. They obviously wouldn't be allowed in to audit our systems - and I can't imagine they would have any legal recourse for it without some sort of subpoena, which would require som
  • Microsoft suggests that Computer Retailers only sell models with Software preinstalled because they can then sell customers more services. From TFA:
    5 percent fewer opportunities to market software and services
    (5 percent is the number of customers that buy "naked" PCs.)
    Memo to Microsoft:
    People who buy computers without your crap on it aren't going to want additional services!
    It seems like the retailers have a much better model:
    Giving the customer what he actually wants...
  • Big Deal! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by skryche (26871) on Wednesday April 05, 2006 @12:23PM (#15067570) Homepage
    Microsoft's request isn't all that difficult to follow; just put FreeDOS [freedos.org] on every machine. Everybody wins!
  • If this "naked PC" business is also refering to Dell's offer, don't those PCs come with FreeDOS installed? That's all OEMs need to do, and they'll no longer be shipping OS-less PCs, problem solved.(?)
    Though I suppose even installing FreeDOS might incur an unnecessary expense for manufacturers...
    And if they do that, may as well include something more useful like Ubuntu instead. I dunno. Maybe even offer a start-up menu where they can choose: Linux, FreeDOS, or blank. But as I said, I guess imaging the dr
  • IF you own a TV here, you have to pay a licence fee - about £120. If you dont pay, or if you move house and delay in getting your old licence changed (as I did), you will receive a visit from a licence inspector. At your doorstep, demanding to know why you dont have a licence. If you fail to let them in, they return shortly afterwards with a court order and a police man to get in. Waste of a police mans time, in my case, but i'll be dammed if I let some arrogant twit from the bbc in my door without gi
  • by sbaker (47485) * on Wednesday April 05, 2006 @12:30PM (#15067670) Homepage
    God knows I hate Microsoft more than most people...but this might be a teensy bit of an overreaction.

    The actual source of this information says that:

    1) This is a UK-only thing.
    2) There are only TWO new MS employees doing this.
    3) They discuss this during routine customer meetings.
    4) There is no hint of coersion implied here.

    So what this actually means is that there are a couple of extra marketeers out there trying to pursuade stores not to sell bare PC's.

    Furthermore, the MS article http://www.zdnet.co.uk/i/z/nw/sp/storygraphics/sca n.jpg [zdnet.co.uk] says that the top four reasons people buy bare PC's is:

    * To install their own software.
    * To transfer software from an old machine.
    * To install Linux
    * To take advantage of volume licensing.

    The didn't mention "To use a pirated version of windows".

    What they ARE saying is that selling a bare system is a missed opportunity for the store. They suggest that if you sell someone a bare machine, you're missing a chance to sell them additional software such as photo processing, music players, etc.

    So - yeah Microsoft are most definitely *evil* - but this isn't anything to panic about.

    I doubt this will change the minds of many sellers - two guys in one country appealing to store owners who probably made a careful decision to let their customers avoid the MS tax.

    You DON'T need to keep re-buying windows over and over again. You DON'T need to buy a copy of Windows only to have it be overwritten with a site-licensed version at work. You DON'T need to buy a copy only to scribble all over it with Linux. You SHOULD be able to save $50 off the cost of your PC if you are in one of those catagories.
  • This is getting old (Score:3, Informative)

    by stlhawkeye (868951) on Wednesday April 05, 2006 @12:31PM (#15067682) Homepage Journal
    The article specifically and explicitely states that Microsoft will not come calling on customers who bought naked systems.

    I wouldn't put it past them, but this looks like a straw man that we have predictably knocked over. Congratulations, Slashdot, for another brilliant victory.

  • Fuck Dell (Score:3, Informative)

    by voice_of_all_reason (926702) on Wednesday April 05, 2006 @12:41PM (#15067793)
    I was thinking of purchasing a machine from Dell a little while ago -- tired of the hassle involved in building my own. They absolutely refused to sell me a machine without windows, even though I already own a legitimate copy of the exact same OS.
  • MSDS (Score:4, Informative)

    by NemoX (630771) on Wednesday April 05, 2006 @12:43PM (#15067812)
    As an annual subscriber to a Universal MSDN package I don't think I should have to pay for it twice. That is called racketeering - a federal offense.

    • MSDS stands for "Material Safety Data Sheet". Its something you have to have around when you have hazardous materials in a workplace. It tells stuff like LD50 values, fire control, etc.

      Excellent typo for MSDN!

  • by Fantastic Lad (198284) on Wednesday April 05, 2006 @12:54PM (#15067930)
    Well, heck, Microsoft is evil.

    Check it out. . .

    I know the guy who posted this Slashdot comment [slashdot.org] on how prominent Forbes writer, Daniel Lyons, a suspected SCO puppet, was asking leading questions of Balmer at Microsoft's request in a recent interview slamming Linux.

    Through fluke, my friend managed to get first post. He was also posting with some respectable Slashdot Karma. What happened next was fascinating. . .

    His post became the focus of a moderation tug-o-war. No big deal. Happens all the time on Slashdot. --I've posted hundreds of items which piss people off, and I've watched my posts fly up and down on the venerable, "Troll" to "Insightful" Slashdot scale. Except, I cannot ever claim to have invoked more than, at most, say 8 or 9 mod points from the Slashdot moderators.

    carsonc [slashdot.org]'s post however. . . Wow.

    We were chatting a few days later and he described the scenario to me. It seems that, lickety-split, after his post had gone up, a group of somebodies had gone into his posting history and spent a lot of mod points hammering several of his recent posts from 2's down into -1's. They spent, we estimate, at least 25 mod points worth of specific attention on him. Despite the fact that regular Slashdot moderators eventually won the tug-o-war, leaving his comment in the rarefied air of +5, his Karma had nonetheless dropped so quickly from history moderation, that he was left prevented from posting more than two comments per day, (effectively stopping him from engaging in open forum debate on the very topic he'd launched), and assigning an automatic -1 to everything he might say thereafter.

    Yeah, yeah. Big deal. Slashdot Karma wars do exist on the level of schoolyard nonsense, but in this case. . .

    A group of somebodies with 25 mod points to blow on a moment's notice? Well that raises interesting questions! Judging by the otherwise bland nature of carsonc's post, which I can't think could possibly have inspired anybody to have such intense emotional reaction and thus mod negatively, --unless they were directly affected by his comments, I can only surmise that it was either. . ,

    A) Unwholesome Slashdot editors. --Which, considering Slashdot's fairly clean history of moral conduct over the years, I think is unlikely in the extreme.

    or. . .

    B) A band of Microsoft employees who had been directed to acquire mod points on Slashdot to be used at the whim of Microsoft's PR department precisely when negative views circulating around delicate points in the news might harm them. And as mod points are not given every day, how many users exactly, does it take to have 25 mod points available at a moment's notice? Enough to require some paid coordiation, I'd say.

    Some might cry, "Conspiracy!" and wag their heads like dolts. But with several 1000 employees plugged into the Microsoft cube. . .

    Anybody who has seen the film, "The Corporation" [imdb.com] knows that such a scenario is not just possible, but -extremely- likely.

    In other words. . . Fuck Microsoft. Switch to Linux. Tell everybody to do so now. Ubuntu [ubuntu.com] will mail you 5 disks for free, and they'll support them, for free, for 3 years.


    -FL

    • by YesIAmAScript (886271) on Wednesday April 05, 2006 @01:38PM (#15068461)
      And he makes some pretty inane or even stupid posts. I think the attention he got probably didn't do him any good.

      As to MS employees being a reason he was boned, I have to say that's not too far-fetched to me. But really, I'd have more sympathy if slashdot weren't so consistently off the handle in relation to MS. I mean, it's pretty easy to get a smack even for reasonable opinions about MS and SCO. And his slight wingnuttiness doesn't help much.

      It's still seems unfair. Maybe meta-moderating can fix this eventually?
    • I think Hanlon's Razor might apply here: "Never assume malice when stupidity will suffice."

      IMO your friend's post was not worded that well, not enough that I'd mod it down, but I wouldn't mod it up either unless I knew that the statement accusing Daniel Lyons was true (and I don't know whether it is).

      Plus, there are many Slashdot readers that either work with very closely with Microsoft or directly are Microsoft employees (for example http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=05/12/30/132125 1&from=rss [slashdot.org] has
  • by WeeBit (961530) on Wednesday April 05, 2006 @01:29PM (#15068331) Homepage
    "The FSF Europe is alarmed by the prospect that customers who request a base systems would risk a visit from Microsoft's investigators." I am still waiting on the day that I can buy a computer, and instead of them saying "They support Microsoft Windows only" for their computer customers, they instead ask me "What Operating system would you like on your new computer? I don't think they can come knocking on a regular consumers front door demanding to see their new computer just because they got the computer without a Operating System. If they can do this... Regardless of my choosing of Opeating System I plan to tell them to get a warrant. I advise businesses to do the same. I believe its time also for Vendors to drop the "Microsoft only" policy too. This is still forcing users to use Microsoft. Microsoft knows it too. Too bad the Courts don't see it for what it is.
  • by merc (115854) <slashdot@upt.org> on Wednesday April 05, 2006 @01:32PM (#15068384) Homepage
    PC resellers could just offer to bundle with Linux or *BSD -- which would make Microsoft's argument completely untenable.
  • by Easy2RememberNick (179395) on Wednesday April 05, 2006 @01:53PM (#15068635)
    You think that's bad try to buy a Mac without an OS on it!
  • by robbyyy (703254) on Wednesday April 05, 2006 @02:14PM (#15068893) Homepage
    Personally i hope the EU slap crippling fines and place severe restrictions on the Redmond based outfit and either Google, Red Hat, or Yahoo release an feasible alternative to the standard desktop OS. Google have the potential with the desktop bar, Yahoo similar (although undeclared) and Red Hat... well i'd just like to see it. Without sounding too melodramatic i want governments to wake up and realise that MSFT is stopping the development of both the Internet and personal computing. It releases software that is at best deeply flawed, acquires software and holds on to it, breaks it, or simply removes it from the marketplace. The situation within the tech industry is nearly as bad as that in the oil industry.

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