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Paying Twice For Windows 346

limako writes: "According to this C/Net News article, it turns out that Microsoft's recent contracts with businesses obligated the businesses to buy an additional copy of Windows 2000 even if the machine came with a licensed copy already installed. Now that is getting you both coming and going." Or, as David St. Hubbins said about Tapster, "There's a fine line between exploitation and opportunism."
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Paying Twice For Windows

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  • by Muzzarelli ( 102806 ) on Thursday August 03, 2000 @01:13PM (#881327)
    Australia and New Zealand were test for the new licensing system for Office 2000. What you guys are going to be getting in with O2K sp1 we have had since O2K was initially released. As far as I know, no other MS products handled this way here.

    You get 50 starts of any office app and then it stops working. When you call them you end up arguing with a typical drone that doesn't comprehend the idea that you might have to reformat and reinstall their OS every few months.

    I'm sure this won't cause a revenue increase for MS, but will cause legitimate users to look at other products simply to avoid the hassles...

  • by H3lldr0p ( 40304 ) on Thursday August 03, 2000 @12:43PM (#881328) Homepage
    I can tell you why, from personal experience.
    The last couple of summers I worked at a helpdesk where I had to help deal with all sort of licensing issues and I asked this very question of my boss (aka head of IT there). His answer basicly came down to that thier parent company had deals in place from the way-back-when of Win3x and earlier that were done with arimes of lawers and the such. The problem then became that M$ reserved the rights to change the contracts when software got updated and the rights to extend these contracts whenever they felt like it.
    So all and all, mostly it's the companies involved own damn fault.
  • In some of the senerios that are stated, one license is never usedand should be "returnable" since you never agreed to using it(or is that inferred by the fact that you've bought the hardward??). Maybe if Big Company A buy 10,000 HP PCs from HP, then there should be away to squeeze money from HP or from Microsoft, shouldn't there be? If it goes through HP they may see that tightly bundling their hardware with an OS that has a silly "feature" in their licensing agreements isn't such a great idea.

  • >I predict MS revenue beating analysts expectations once this forces all these small businesses to buy a legit copy for each workstation.

    When the demand is sufficent a crack will be written, probably in the form of bypassing the need for this generated number by patching the program.

    Already loads of software makers (Quark, for example) put sniffers into their products to see if anyone else on the network is using the same copy of the product or hardware dongles (also Quark at some point). They have all been cracked at some point or another.

    I'm sure there are people out there looking forward to the challenge of cracking Office 2K SP 1.
  • Gartner found that Microsoft makes exceptions for its largest customers, those with more than 10,000 desktops, and cried foul that the company would compel others to pay twice for Windows.

    I read this as an AND condition, you first have to have more than 10,000 desktops, AND you have to complain to M$FT. Sound like there might be some large customers out there who might be renegotiating their contracts.
  • Actually, there are enough good office tools for other OSes that that's no longer the limiting factor.

    Visio, on the other hand is pretty indispensible, is now owned by MS itself, and has nothing even remotely like competition. I mentioned this in postings several years ago, but it's still a huge hole in the Linux app space - we really need to plug this one.

    That and a decent browser are the *only* things keeping Win98 alive for me. (And yes, I torture myself with Netscape, it's weak, but it's far faster and more stable under 9x than Linux - sigh...)

    We are getting *much* closer to being able to do everything on Linux, though: I installed Mandrake yesterday and it's the first OS other than Win98 to correctly work with my hardware (which is pretty normal) out of the box. Even sound - I'm amazed, as I had come to regard sound support in Linux as a chimerical legend, since it has never worked on any of my three sound-capable computers, regardless of distro or painful manual incantations, modules, or alternative sound subsystems like ALSA. My Red Hat's off to the Mandrake folks - I have a new favorite distro.

    Now if GNOME just weren't such an inexcusable pig...
  • Then by the principle of first sale, I should be able to sell that single license copy away to someone who could use it, and get my money back. So if the EULA was fairly written, companies still have some way of getting their money back.

    But there is a good chance that (a) the liscense is non-transferable, (b) nobody wants that license because nobody knows what the fair price of the MS OS is (go ask MS what it is - I'll bet they will be very shifty about this) (b) Two plane tickets still gets two people onboard.

  • MS has been getting some really bad publicity, and the people are starting to get angry at them. As people hit the liscensing problems and have to deal with MS tech support I have a feeling that there will be a huge backlash on MS.

    It would be smart of MS to try and bury this before more people encounter it. The long they wait the more the public will turn against them. MS is fighting an OS war from two sides. Their power users are moving to Linux and their beginers are moving to Apple. Moves like this one, that are obviously just greedy, will only cause more people to switch over to other solutions. If they were smart they would concentrate on keeping the market share that they have instead of trying to scam a buck off of their users.

    Oh well, I shed no tears when MS loses market share. If they want to shoot themselves in the foot they are more that welcome to in my book.
  • It's not like MS forces OEMs to sell you boxes with windows preinstalled. Get a grip people.

    While that is true (to some small extent with the big-ass OEMs), you still will have a hugely difficult time getting a system from a large OEM without Windows installed.

    Take Dell for example. We ordered sixteen workstations well after their pathetic "Linux Initiative" was under way and were told that we had to purchase Windows NT for each system no matter what we wanted to run on it. The reason was that, according to Dell, "Linux only supports SCSI hard drives and if you do not want to pay for SCSI, then we have to install Windows NT in order to test the hardware before sending it out to you."

    Whether this line of bullshit (other than the blatant lie that Linux only supports SCSI) is prompted by MS to force a Windows install ("We have to test the hardware" is a common chant among OEMs, it happens at Gateway and Micron too), or it is seriously something they believe cannot be accomplished by popping in a hard drive for test purposes then popping in a formatted hard drive for the customer (formatted to test that it is a working hard drive) I do not know. I do know that at Gateway (when I still worked there) they absolutely refused to believe you could do the old pop in, pop out routine unless you knew the right people when you ordered. Because, "We have to test the hardware!"

    While they say you can order without software, this usually means that you will not get a hard drive installed. Somehow they feel that having a hard drive in the system will prompt you to 'pirate' a copy of Windows instead of installing 'legal' software. I went through this rigamaroll with management at Gateway, and they just couldn't fathom installing something other than Windows. This was a couple of years ago though.
  • so, the natural question is: can you live without sp1?

    you already have to reboot a win box every time you run n apps in succession. unless SP1 fixes some REAL MAJOR assed stuff, I bet no one will want to upgrade.


  • No, but you would have to call MS and explain what you have done, and convince them you to give you a new code #.

    In a way, I am hoping that this will accelerate adoption on some other office suite, like KDE's or Star Office. I know a bunch of businesses that will simply do without rather than buy a bunch of copies of MS Office (at the current prices, anyway).

    Some additional details are available at Woody's Office Watch [] which I recommend subscribing to. It's a pretty timely resource for a lot of things, including ways to deal with Outlook related viruses (I know, I know - "the best way to deal with Outlook viruses is to use Eudora, etc. - spare me) and other handy tools.

  • by baka_boy ( 171146 ) <lennon@day-reynolds. c o m> on Thursday August 03, 2000 @12:06PM (#881350) Homepage
    I'm impressed that MS would try to pull this while their case is waiting for an appeal. They must either be:

    a) So full of themselves, they can't fit their swollen heads through a door, or...

    b) Desperate enough to sell some copies of Win2k that they'll sink as low as they have to.

    But seriously, why do customers have to put up with this kind of crap at all? Doesn't it seem like Microsoft should have such a bad rep by now that folks would go in armed to the teeth with support from other small fish and some good business lawyers?
  • More and more companies are going to see these practices and start encoraging vendors port there software to other platforms. This behavior will screw them in the end.
  • Press Release: M$ to drop Windows 2000, but will continue to sell licenses

    According to inside sources, the corner stone of M$'s long-term strategy involves shifting from shipping software to selling licenses. The first step was recently taken when the company started charging for two licenses of Windows 2000 for each installed copy of the OS.

    In the words of Bill Him$elf, "there's no future in selling software. Already at the present time, there are costless alternatives to our products, which unfortunately for us, are also better quality than ours. The picture is very different for licenses: all companies (including ours) keep hordes of idle lawyers on payroll, who are always looking for license or trademark infringements in order to get an opportunity to mimic their favourite actor in TV law soaps. So we predict that the market for licenses will grow very rapidly."

    Displaying the acclaimed vision in IT related matters (e.g., M$ early strategy for the Internet) of its notorious founder, this change in strategy is being welcome by M$ investors excited about the future value of their holdings. "We were already making a lot of money by convincing everybody that they had to pay a lot of $$$ for our inferior products; now we'll get them to pay for no product at all! There's no better way to reduce operation costs."

    Most M$ coders also seem to believe this is a turn for the best. "We haven't been using any of our own products for years now, so it's getting more and more difficult to work on software we hardly know at all. Also, we've pretty much used up all the bugs we can think of to keep releasing partially working versions of our products. The board keeps pressuring us to introduce some more bugs in the code, but it's getting difficult to be creative in this area."

    M$ is expected to stop shipping their products early in 2002.


  • by NoWhere Man ( 68627 ) on Thursday August 03, 2000 @12:51PM (#881358) Homepage
    They should recreate this and put it up as a TV commercial. Go through the whole ordeal of an MS agent trying to explain to some one why he has to buy 2 copies.
    Then put the slogan at the bottom..."Just another one of the millions of reasons why your computer should be running Linux..."

    Or "Linux, connecting the world, one MS crash at a time..."

  • Now I'm sure this is covered in some FAQ somewhere, but I've never seen it. IANAL, as will become obvious. Aren't software licenses optional? I know that you're free to refuse the GPL, in which case you have exactly the rights granted to you by copyright. It seems logical to assume that the same is true of MS licenses, in which case fair use would provide that an individual is free to install his copy of Windows 2000 on as many computers as he wants, as long as he's the only one who uses those machines.

    Has the legal status of software licenses even been decided in court? If not, this here sounds like a hell of a good test case to me.

  • DOS: Old dead cow.

    Plan 9: Horse.

  • The problem then became that M$ reserved the rights to change the contracts when software got updated and the rights to extend these contracts whenever they felt like it.

    IANAL but That should be illegal. I'm pretty shure it would be illegal if you tricked a person into a contract which said "we can change the congract later."

    If Joe signs a contract saing "I'm Bill's slave after Bill pays me a billion dollars" then Joe should be able to just take Bill's billion dollars and walk away (it's bill's fault for tring to enslave someone). It's not such a big jump to say that when Bill chnages a contract without Joe's concent then Joe can just walk away, no matter what the previous contract said.
  • by calle42 ( 90619 ) on Thursday August 03, 2000 @01:30PM (#881374)
    A few weeks ago, the German Bundesgerichtshof ruled exactly this. As soon as the vendor gets the money, the stuff is out of control. OEMs can now legally sell their OEM CDs without hardware attached to them :) Source: German c't Newsticker []
  • When the demand is sufficent a crack will be written, probably in the form of bypassing the need for this generated number by patching the program.

    The crack is also going to have to patch the code that decides your Office files have been 'damaged' and wants to fix them.
  • by dudle ( 93939 ) on Thursday August 03, 2000 @12:59PM (#881380) Homepage
    This is not an attempt to create a troll, it's just me being the devil's advocate.

    I read the article. I read the EULA. I know Microsoft's practices when it comes to licensing and believe me, it's not that bad.

    When you use that type of software, you agree to the EULA (End User License Agreement). It's very clear that an OEM license is different from retail. What Microsoft is doing is legitimate. I would even go further as to tell Microsoft : Go baby go!

    The more people realize what's behind the EULA, the more they will consider, research, understand and use GPL software.

    It's funny how news on Slashdot come and go. Yesterday we had this excelent piece about RMS. Read it! The more you know about commercial practices like the ones MS is doing, the more you want to get your freedom back.

    BTW, look at how Oracle licenses its software and you will see what a real PAIN this is. MS is piece of cake next to this.

    Be positive guys. MS is just trying to make money out of people who don't know about alternatives. You don't want them to tell you about alternatives do you?

    my 2 cents.
  • by mav[LAG] ( 31387 ) on Thursday August 03, 2000 @02:44PM (#881381)
    Like the RIAA, they're after power. Power to decide where and when "their" software gets installed on your machine. Whether it be their .Net program (where all of your applications are "upgraded" for a fee over the Internet), or their OEM system ("This version of Windows 2000 is OEM only - if your format the hard drive and put on the retail version without buying a copy of the retail version for this specific computer, you're in violation!").

    I agree. I think this case shows just how patently absurd it is when companies or a legal system treat identical streams of bits differently. Bit for bit, the two different copies of Windows mentioned in the Gartner piece are the same if I read it correctly.

    That's why the Microsoft rep is so desperate to put the spin on the story, even if he grudgingly agrees with the facts. Hitherto quite happy customers might suddenly realise they've been asked to bend over and grease up over a techicality about a stream of bits which can be duplicated at zero cost. Mmmm - something wrong here...

  • I'm pretty shure it would be illegal if you tricked a person into a contract which said "we can change the congract later."

    If you tricked someone, yes, it would be. But if it was printed right there in the contract, in black and white, and the bozo chooses to sign it anyway, he's got no one but himself to blame.
  • by Greyfox ( 87712 ) on Thursday August 03, 2000 @01:33PM (#881383) Homepage Journal
    Microsoft doesn't think they're doing anything wrong. They don't think they've ever done anything wrong. They think they've meerly been competitive and innovative. And innovatively competitive. At various times in the past, burning, looting and pillaging was meerly competitive, too.

    Paying twice for Windows isn't anything new either. Back in the OS/2 days, you were paying for a license of Windows with every copy of OS/2, whether you already had Windows or not. IBM eventually came out with OS/2 for Windows, which didn't include WinOS/2 and used your local copy of Windows. Brilliant move. Windows 3.11 broke OS/2 for Windows, of course, due to one DLL being changed in a non-compatabile way... Later on, VxDs broke OS/2 well and truly. More innovations from Microsoft.

  • The more you know about commercial practices like the ones MS is doing, the more you want to get your freedom back.

    Amen! Instead of complaining about things like Microsoft's EULA and UCITA, just don't do business with the purveyors of slavery. These days, that's not even painful.

    This, of course, is also why the people who scream that licenses on their CDs are meaningless and routinely steal (like RMS, I refuse to say "pirate") proprietary winDOS software have no right to get all riled up when nVidia or some other idiots violate the GPL. The license has meaning, or it doesn't. Under the rule of law, it does. So if you aren't willing or able to follow the licensing terms for a given product, you need to find alternate options, not just ignore the licensing terms. And it wouldn't hurt if you'd send them a quick email informing them that they lost your business over licensing terms.

    Corporations are easily manipulated so long as they are in business to make a profit. If they get out of line, deny them their profits. Very simple.

  • Their new trick is that you have to agree to the EULA before you can even use the damn machines in most cases (unless the machine comes bare or with a Linux install option). Worse, even if you buy a bare machine or a Linux machine, in most cases, you're still paying for that license- and now you've got nothing to send back to MS or to disagree with to get a refund!
  • It's interesting to note that in the NT install docs, it says that you shouldn't use disk imaging programs to copy installs around as NT uses a unique id that's generated when it's installed for various things and "bad things can happen" if it's duplicated.

    Yes, we said "Balls to that" too :)


  • Stop threatening, mate.
    Just do it, remove all copies and go to StarOffice (side note: new StarOffice motto should be "sucks slightly less, and you get the source!"). The more that do it the sooner we can all get weaned from Office (which is imho the only reason to run windows anyway)

    WWJD -- What Would Jimi Do?

  • 9 times out of ten, you will still be paying for Windows twice, as OEMs don't usually deduct the price of the Windows software that they don't load

    What happened to that movement where people were reading the Windows Licensing Agreement and taking the "if you don't agree with this, send the software back for a refund" literally? I thought I had heard that lots of Linux users were actually doing that with the Windows software that came with their new machines.
  • by Tower ( 37395 ) on Thursday August 03, 2000 @12:08PM (#881410)
    Legal fees are high
    The stock price has been dropping
    Sell them two copies!

  • I think one thing that should be clarified (both on MS part and the consumer's part) is this:

    Are they buying a license to use a specified version of software, standardized ie: Windows 2000, windows 2000 pro, etc, or are they purchasing an individual copy of a particular instance of each software, each with it's own license.

    If the copy from the company images is the same version of windows as the one that came with the HP, what's the difference?

    What I'm saying is, it should work like this:

    When you buy your HP, you are also buying a license to a single copy of windows 2000. For convenience, we are providing you with this pre-installed, as well as providing a rescue media disk.
    In other words, the license should be separate from the instance of software, so to speak.

  • by verbatim ( 18390 ) on Thursday August 03, 2000 @01:02PM (#881412) Homepage
    I know I may lose karma or whatever for being the devils advocate here, but I never really cared much about karma anyhow.. (I've got like.. umm.. 17 last I checked).

    anyway, the article and everyone else here seems to forget that Microsoft is not actually billing customers twice. Yes, in a derived way they are, but at the same time they are not. Huh? Well, Microsoft SELLS licences to OEMs so that they can sell computers with windows (they happen to have had issues with not licencing to those who wouldn't comply, but thats another story). Microsoft also sells product directly to consumers (buisnesses looking for an OS, whatever).

    Should they NOT charge for this 'select' thing? Uh.. oh yeah.. you have a legitamite copy, so lets send you a new copy free with a different version. We may not like it, but it is _fair_ buisness practice to ask money for product. Microsoft is licencing them a 'select' version for a site license purpose. If they already BOUGHT a license from an OEM vendor, thats their own stupidity (or ignorance, or whatever).

    If you don't want to pay twice, you don't _have_ to. And here's why;

    if you buy 2,000 PCs and all come pre-loaded with 2000, office, IIS, and the rest of the gang, you could legitamitly make your own image and install them all with that CD... its done ALL the time... You have 20,000 licenses and 20,000 computers.. humm.. the math works.

    Some moron went out and decided that they would rather buy a site-license from Microsoft without realizing that they already had enough licenses for all their PC's. Duh. Me stupid buisness man. Me no understand fucking english. Me buy another copy of what we already have. You think Microsoft WON'T jump the gun and sell something to someone who wants to buy? DUH.

    Think before you license, and for gods sake RTFL(or in terms of Windows, RTFEULA)!

  • This is all fine and dandy for joe average at home, or small business....
    but how is this supposed to work when you have
    a) 1000 workstations with office installed, and
    b) a network not attached to the internet? Do I have to actually phone in to MS and repeat hex license codes for all 1000 users when I upgrade? I don't bloody think that'll happen..
  • by (void*) ( 113680 ) on Thursday August 03, 2000 @01:04PM (#881418)
    The problem is one of interpretation, [Microsoft's] Bernard-Hason contends. The analogy most appropriate to understanding licenses is buying an air ticket, he said.

    "If you have a really low-cost discount ticket, it will get you from point A to point B, but the usage rights of that ticket would be somewhat restrictive. It may be non-transferable," he said.

    At the other end are first-class tickets, "where you have as much flexibility as you want," he said. "In those analogous terms, I would characterize an OEM (PC maker) license as a discount ticket and an Enterprise Agreement (volume licensing plan) along the lines of a first-class ticket."

    The last time I checked, having both the low cost ticket and the high-price ticket would still get two people on that plane!
  • by TheFrood ( 163934 ) on Thursday August 03, 2000 @03:01PM (#881419) Homepage Journal
    Microsoft doesn't think they're doing anything wrong. They don't think they've ever done anything wrong. They think they've meerly been competitive and innovative. And innovatively competitive. At various times in the past, burning, looting and pillaging was meerly competitive, too.

    That's hilarious, but I think it really is true. Microsoft folks have spent day upon day repeating their party line: "We're not doing anything wrong. We're just being competitive." Anyone who keeps repeating something like that will sooner or later become convinced that it's true. Even if they didn't believe it at first, they'll eventually start agreeing with their own propoganda. It happened to the officials of the former Soviet Union, and it's apparently happened to the people at Microsoft. I think that's why Microsoft has bungled the antitrust case so badly; they really are convinced that they've done nothing wrong, even in the face of all the evidence to the contrary, because they've brainwashed themselves with their own press releases.


  • Companies as still so afraid on MS that they tend to sign just about anything, for fear that they won't renegotiate: "We'll just take our licenses and go home, then." Many smaller shops can't afford to not have Windows 2000 in their sales arsenal. Sucks, but they don't have the financial means to stand on principle sometimes. Where's the DOJ with a smackdown when you need 'em?

  • by Mark A. Rhowe ( 216675 ) on Thursday August 03, 2000 @12:11PM (#881422) Homepage
    In a related note, I know of many small businesses that purchase one copy of MS Office and install it on every computer in the place. This practice will end with the Office 2000 Service Pack 1, because after so many days, you are required to contact MS to obtain a license code, which is based on the number MS Office 2000 SP1 generates from an algorithm in calculated, in part, from your computer's unique configuration.

    I predict MS revenue beating analysts expectations once this forces all these small businesses to buy a legit copy for each workstation.

  • by Dungeon Dweller ( 134014 ) on Thursday August 03, 2000 @12:11PM (#881424)
    Well, technically, M$ is right, if dickheaded in this. Technically, you're getting an OEM copy with the machine, that is tied to the machine, and you have X number of licenses under your site license for Windows. These licenses technically have nothing to do with the license of the copy that comes with the machine. Also, technically the numbers in the licenses make a difference, and all of that crap. Perhaps you could make a type of image, or install script that installs all of the software, and puts in the right numbers, or does it with the right disks and such. Still, the user has paid for the software, and has A license, to an identical product, so don't you think that some slack should be cut?

    Also, you can't really blame the worker or anything, since technically, they are just working off of an SOP. One that was set up to protect the company and the consumer both (though that is questionable with Microsoft). Though it might look on the surface the M$ is looking to rip you off, they are just protecting their licenses, and this is a contingency that their SOP and license does not address. I doubt that this is on purpose (well, half doubt).

    On the bright side, there is free software.

  • They could come out and sa, "Everyone in the world is no longer allowed to use our software, and if you do, we will sue you." And guess what, they can and will Easily win in court

    I have to disagree... I don't think this particular concept has ever been challenged in court, and I'm sure it wouldn't hold up. Just because you clicked on 'Agree', that doesn't make the contract 100% legal.

    Of course, I may just not be cynical enough....
  • Dude.. where have you been for the past 10 years?

    I have been following the computer industry very carefully. How about you? If take care to notice, in the past three years MS went from ~95% of the market share in the home user market to >90%, and is shrinking rapidly. Apple has retrieved most of the market it has lost, I believe that it is standing at ~6-8% and Linux has ~4%. As for server markets, although NT is the largest for the small servers Linux grew 700% last year, in case you didn't notice, and is expect to continue with extremely hight growth (not 700% but more than double) and NT/2000 are expect to stay relatively stangenet. Meanwhile in the mid-large size market NT made a brief appearence until it people found out that it couldn't take the load and went back to their 10 year old machines that were reliable (there is a reason why Sun still supports SunOS 4.*).

    Yes there is a backlash, especially in the younger generations. I am in college and a lot of the people I know are planning on not upgrading any more MS products. In fact a good portion have either switched to Linux or Mac or are seriously thinking about it. Why? The answer I get the most is that they DO NOT TRUST MS to build a good product. As the younger generations start to buy more computers for themselves we will see a swing away from MS.

    not to increase their 99.999% marketshare.

    I'm curious where you managed to pick up that number. Just because 99% of the major companies use some MS products does NOT mean that they own 99% of the market. Just because the marketing department needs PowerPoint and Word does NOT mean that the rest of the company uses MS.

    They are shoting themselves in the foot. If you would wake up and look you would see that there are quite a few dissatisfied people out there.
  • by Azog ( 20907 ) on Thursday August 03, 2000 @01:48PM (#881438) Homepage
    Yes, you read it wrong. Microsoft does not actually disagree with the facts of the Gartner analyst who started this whole story, they just disagree with the "tone". (Last paragraph of the article.) In other words, they want to put a spin on it.

    The undisputed fact is (4th paragraph of article), if you buy a bunch of PCs with Windows 2000 on them, and you are in the Microsoft Select program, and you use Ghost or something to wipe the hard drives and install a complete new image of the same OS, the apps, the utilities, and everything else, you are screwed.

    All big companies do this. But Microsoft says, "No, the Windows 2000 that you bought with the computer is not the same as the Windows 2000 you are putting onto it with Ghost."

    So you have to pay for it again. And you can't get free support anymore from the computer manufacturer, you have to pay Microsoft $375 per incident.

    The only way to avoid this would be to purchase the computers without anything on the hard drives. Good luck! Linux, BSD, and BeOS users already know how hard that is!

    I predict Microsoft will change this soon, otherwise they will take a big hit next time somebody does a comprehensive study of the TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) of Windows 2000 vs. Linux. I would expect that Linux will become competitive in such studies sometime next year.

    Imagine a company with 5000 PC-using employees, and a few dozen support staff. (Same as Gartner's scenario in the article.) The money Microsoft wants out of them for software they already bought is about $600,000 dollars.

    Now, that much money could hire a couple of Linux experts for a year, plus pay for several days of concentrated classroom instruction for the rest of the tech staff to get up to speed on Linux.

    Actually rolling out Linux would still cost quite a bit, but once all the staff is trained and you have a couple of experts on board, you can probably make the jump without too much pain and disruption. I would bet that the transition to Linux would easily pay for itself in a couple of years, with lower software costs, lower hardware costs, better software reliability, and better security.

    I predict this will begin to happen more and more next year.

    Torrey Hoffman (Azog)
  • by the_other_one ( 178565 ) on Thursday August 03, 2000 @12:13PM (#881441) Homepage

    I didn't know that two copies of an operating system were required for a computer.

    I better download an extra copy of Debian.
  • Linux

    Doesn't give any milk because the Milk application is "still being worked on". But they promise to have a clone of WinMilk Real Soon Now. But at least it has transparent skin and you can watch the organs do their thing.


    Gave lots of milk, but incompatible with everyone's digestion.


    Gives milk colored water, but the advocates try and convince you that it's really better that way.


    A cow that simultaneously whirls its ears, tap dances, plays Beethoven's ninth symphony when it passes gas, and fans you with its tail to distract you from the fact that it doesn't have a Milk app either.


    A cow that can give you options for 10 flavors of milk, but might fall over dead any minute.


  • by istartedi ( 132515 ) on Thursday August 03, 2000 @12:13PM (#881446) Journal


    This is the sacred cow of Slashdot. You dare not criticize it.


    Gives 500 gallons of milk a day. Nobody notices.

    Windows 95/98/2k:

    It's a cash cow.


    Used to be a cash cow, now it just gives milk like a regular cow.


    Pervasive multithreading allows it to swat flies with its tail, chew cud and whistle tunes while giving chocalate, strawberry, whole and lowfat milk from each of the four teats. Nobody is impressed.

    Windows NT

    This is not a cow. It's bull.


    Might be a herd of cows, but so far all we hear is thundering in the distance.

  • The point you bring up, stated differently, is that this situation *only* arises if you are part of MS Select scheme... this does *not* necessarily apply to everyone.

    If I were to buy 10 HP vectras, I am not required to go out and buy 10 more NT licenses simply because I want to ghost it.

    If I am part of MS Select, which involves support and other things for every machine in the organization, and across many MS products, not just windows, then there is a reason for this.

  • by josu ( 144992 ) on Thursday August 03, 2000 @12:13PM (#881457)
    Another interesting thing about this is it will make it seems as if more people are running Windows 2000 than actually are.
  • Only a couple dozen actually bothered to get off their fat ass to go down to Microsoft's complex or whatever

    I thought it was the computer makers who were paying the refund. If I had to do direct battle with The Evil From Redmond for just 50 bucks or so, I'd probably forget it too.
  • by dsplat ( 73054 ) on Thursday August 03, 2000 @12:13PM (#881460)
    Gartner laid out a typical scenario: A corporation purchases 5,000 PCs from Hewlett-Packard with Windows 2000 installed. But the company puts its own custom software on the systems using Select media provided by Microsoft. By Microsoft's interpretation, the customer would be required to pay an extra $117 to $157 per computer--or $585,000 to $758,000 total--for the right to install the Windows 2000 it had already paid HP for.

    There is too much invested, by Microsoft, industry gurus, and corporate IS departments, in the theory that the total cost of ownership of Windows is lower than the alternatives. This shoots a pretty big hole in that theory. I foresee Microsoft offering some new licensing program that eliminates this cost. And they will tout it as part of their longstanding support of the best interests of their customers. The bottom line, of course, is that Microsoft is in business to make money. This is really bad PR with their best markets.
  • by Mark A. Rhowe ( 216675 ) on Thursday August 03, 2000 @02:04PM (#881464) Homepage
    Interestingly, this (the Registration Wizard) only applies if you purchase "MS Office 2000 SP1", not if you simply apply SP1 to Office 2000 -

  • Unless I'm reading it wrong all the article is saying is that some business are reading the license agreement wrong.

    Microsoft is not insisting that people pay twice for the OS.

    Its just that Open License stuff microsoft sells, some people are misunderstanding it, thats all.

    This news isn't slashdot worthy, IMO. (a bunch of idiots misreading the license agreement, sha...)
  • Actually Windows ME still runs on DOS, still has etc., still has an MS-DOS prompt available. The difference is that they've turned off the "Restart in MS-DOS mode" option. I've seen a WinME beta, and this is exactly how it is. So basically, it's the same crappy system, but you have less freedom (to innovate).

    Kind of like the farce where "win95 got rid of dos" that we heard back in 95.

    Where the hell do you think you're going today?

  • by pythas ( 75383 )

    Here at work, we support a couple hundred machines, and the first thing we do when they come from the factory is to wipe them and rebuild them. If you read this article, it states that doing this will prevent you from getting tech support.

    What are these people smoking?

    We have never had any problems getting tech support on any of our systems. If a big pc company tried to do something that stupid, they'd lose a tremendous volume of corporate business.

  • This, like, just doesn't seem right, I mean like, once you pay for something, like a cd or like a concert, like, there's no reason to pay twice for it. Microsoft seems like a nice company, that Paul Allen is a real cutie pie! So you slashdotters should leave them alone, they're only making the best operating system in the world for you and me! Plus they give to chartities, like the Britney Spears Foundation (see my site).
  • I'm impressed that MS would try to pull this while their case is waiting for an appeal.

    What do you think they're trying to pull?

    It would appear to be clear:

    (1) Someone buys computers. They come with Windows.
    (2) Someone else gets MS Select license. They come with Windows.

    Fire one or the other of these people; or at least have them report to some kind of purchasing manager, so that only one copy of Windows (with the Select license) is being bought.

    It's just basic stupidity on the part of the people who are getting two copies of Windows. Nothing more. Nothing less. It's not MS being a "bad guy" no matter how much uninformed ranting on Slashdot claims it is in this instance. It's just some muppet with a checkbook and no brains, left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing, who is reaming his own company by not buying ONE Windows license and one license only.


  • Wasn't that a big sticking point in the trial? I seem to recall something about the CEO from Compaq on the stand testifying that MS had forced them to buy a copy of Windows for every computer they shipped, regardless of what OS was on it.

    If that were true, MS wouldn't even be able to appeal at the moment; they'd be in clear violation of the Consent Decree.

  • by Red Moose ( 31712 ) on Thursday August 03, 2000 @12:15PM (#881484)
    Well, I got Windows 95. Then the upgrade to to Windows 98 - but in reality it was the core Win32 APIs with bells on that I didn't wanty and needed me to get a bigger HD. Then the Win98SE came out, again with the same core OS (and this is like the 6th time I've bought DOS as well if you count that too), and with Windows ME, I'll be buying the same core OS, only this time without DOS, but they are still going to charge as much as they did for Windows 98SE which included DOS.

    There is definitley a point I am trying to make here though.......

  • sorry, you are quite correct. what was I thinking -- probably too much about work and less about the important stuff. Without Windows I would not be able to pump 500 rounds into the boss without getting arrested.

    WWJD -- What Would Jimi Do?

  • You're missing his point.

    He's claiming that he has all the rights granted in the Software Copyright Act of 1980 as soon as he buys the copy of the software. Thus, if he refuses to agree to the EULA, it doesn't matter -- he still can use the software under only those restrictions applied by the Software Copyright Act of 1980.

    I am not a lawyer, but that actually looks like a possibly valid argument in court, if you can install the software without clicking the click-through license. Now, you'd have to patch the software to avoid the click-through, but that's legal under copyright law, and can't be prohibited by the EULA since you haven't agreed to it yet.

    Again, I wouldn't advise trying it myself, especially since IANAL and I don't know case law on shrinkwrap licenses. But assuming there's no pro-shrinkwrap case law, the legal issues in using the software under the Software Copyright Act without agreeing to the EULA are unresolved.

    Steven E. Ehrbar
  • What this article is saying is that even Windows users get bit by the "it is impossible to buy a computer without windows" OEM licensing deals. Linux users have been paying this tax for a long time (paying for windows they don't want), now Windows users have to pay it to (pay for two copies of Windows when they only want one).
  • by EricEldred ( 175470 ) on Thursday August 03, 2000 @02:13PM (#881495) Homepage

    I'm unclear about Microsoft is handling one issue, client access licenses.

    GartnerGroup has energetically represented companies against Microsoft pricing practices. Last February they revealed a similar sneaky MS tactic, to charge for a client access license with Windows 2000, even though one already had bought the OS for the server and client. See the article on that issue. []

    So again there is confusion about what Microsoft is doing. If you buy a preinstalled Windows2000 PC and you remove the OS and install the Select version, do you need to pay a second time for the client access license?

    I believe you do, because the client access license varies depending on volume, and would not be for the same version of the server OS.

    But I may be wrong. I'd appreciate it if GartnerGroup could clarify this issue too.

    It's likely we have not seen the end of these strange practices by the monopolist. I hope the Supreme Court takes the DOJ case soon and we can move to a stable situation for businesses.

    But again Microsoft is its own worst enemy. I hope they convince many companies now is the time to move to Linux. Why move to ME when Whistler will quickly replace it? What will Microsoft do when DOS is finally gone from the OS, tell people to use WINE?

  • by Pope ( 17780 ) on Thursday August 03, 2000 @12:17PM (#881496)
    Looks pretty, kinda slow. Stops tail swatting when nose is continually pressed. Still the friendliest cow out there.


    Freedom is Slavery! Ignorance is Strength! Monopolies offer Choice!
  • Kind of like slashdot... when they post the same story twice with banner ads at the top... :)

    Just kidding Taco, we love you!
  • by mmd ( 8484 ) on Thursday August 03, 2000 @02:15PM (#881501) Homepage
    Since it obviously gets you that long-awaited 64-bit OS from MS.
  • by OnyxRaven ( 9906 ) on Thursday August 03, 2000 @12:17PM (#881502) Homepage
    I know Microsoft has a small variety of licensing programs - Select, Open... and obviously Retail. I wonder if there is any resource somewhere that tells the allowances that each licensing program makes.

    I believe Open Licensing allows for license numbers to be duplicate, just so that there are sufficent licenses in the pool for the installed base. That's what we use here and we use Ghost to quickly set up machines (30 minutes vs. 2 or more hours for a new machine is huge).

    We have been installing Windows NT4 workstation on all the machines and will continue to until either windows 2000 gets fully compatible with NT4/9x software (notably PageMaker 6.5, AutoCAD 2000), or the software gets compatible with 2000. Annoying as hell, when we've been buying licenses of Windows 2000 with each new machine.

  • Ok, here is a question for everybody. I am having a hard time weeding through the article and understanding exactly what is going on.

    Here we go:

    1. Is there really ANY difference between the select license they purchase and the license I got with my new Dell last month?
    2. If there is then what are those differences?
    3. Does it really matter HONESTLY, other than money, if I have 50 select licenses and only have 40 computers (planned on an upgrade), buy 10 new computers with OS's on them (we'll say Win98) and I then wipe their drives and use my drive image to put Win2K on them (thus using up the last 10 select licenses I bought)
    4. or is it like this.... I buy 40 Select licenses and use them on 40 computers, purchase 10 new PC's with Win2K on them. Wipe their drives and then use my images to install the Select licensed version on them? (image created from Select licensed version of Win2K)
    If the case is the third one above I wouldn't see any problems other than the fact that I purchased Win98 on the PC when I should have purchased Win2K and created case four

    In case four I can't see where MS get's off ranting and raving about anything. We paid for our license and probably ended up paying more through the OEM for the license then we would have if we had purchase a select license for each.

    Maybe I am not seeing this quite right, but those are the only ways I can see this happening. Any input?


  • by wowbagger ( 69688 ) on Thursday August 03, 2000 @06:48PM (#881521) Homepage Journal
    I've managed to aquire a fragment of the source for the latest Microsoft program. However, I am a Linux and embedded programmer, so can anybody here help me decipher it?

    winGunHandle pGun = WinGetGunHandle(WIN_DESERTEAGLE_50);

    winClipHandle pClip = WinGetClipHandle(TEN_ROUND_CLIP);

    winFootHandle pFoot = winGetAppendageHandle(WIN_LEFT_FOOT);





    while (winClipcount(pClip) > 0)


    I think this has something to do with the new pricing/licensing system, but I'm not sure....
  • Were I running a big company, I would simply refuse to pay twice, and just keep using it when they revoke licenses. If they threaten legal action, my response would be, "it takes too long to move to another platform. You're just going to have to go ahead and sue us. I'm sure you know you will lose, and will get lots of bad press for it, too. On the other hand, you can work with us on this license issue and enjoy the tiny chance of still retaining us as a customer."

    If I was running a small company, I would not use M$ products in the first place. They are way too expensive.

  • by jetson123 ( 13128 ) on Thursday August 03, 2000 @03:23PM (#881523)
    Corporate buyers shouldn't complain to Microsoft about the site-wide license agreements they signed. Those agreements probably are blanket agreements by number of machines or number of users; anything else would be too difficult to audit.

    Instead, corporate buyers who have their own ready-made Windows installations should insist on not having Windows preloaded by the manufacturer and receiving a discount on the machine. It's the bundling and tying that's so obnoxious, not the site licensing.

  • by Muzzarelli ( 102806 ) on Thursday August 03, 2000 @12:21PM (#881527)
    And every time you have to reformat and reinstall your OS. You'll have to ring MS and argue with them that you do have a legal copy and you're not try to pirate it. We have been having to do this in Australasia for the last six months. The last time we had to threaten to remove all copies of Office from the company and convert to Star Office.
  • by TheDullBlade ( 28998 ) on Thursday August 03, 2000 @07:02PM (#881532)
    Let's see:
    computer + windows = $1000
    computer = $1030

    So... solve for windows:
    windows = $1000 - computer
    substitute the known quantity:
    windows = $1000 - $1030
    and reduce:
    windows = -$30

    There you have it folks: a mathematical proof that Windows has a negative value!

    Despite rumors to the contrary, I am not a turnip.
  • VMWare doesn't negate the need for a windows licence to run windows software; you still need an OS (windows in this case) to run on your Virtual Machine.

    True, but in that case you would need only one license per machine, not two. :-)

    VMWare is an excellent tool for transitioning. The goal is of course to become totally windows free (which we have more or less achieved where I work). Some companies do not have that luxery.

    Someone mentioned autocad, and cited retraining costs as the limiting factor. I suspect the libraries of autocad data that have been generated over the years is a much more limiting factor, but be that as it may, one application is holding them back on an aging, legacy system afflicted with rising costs and decreasing reliability. Such a firm could move much of their core business to Linux while retaining the one or two applications which keep them locked into an inferior platform by using VMWare (or Plex86 once it is ready).

    What advantages does this have?

    • Stability. Ironicly, Windows 98/NT running under VMWare on Linux crashes less often than it does when running on pure hardware. Odd and counterintuitive, but true nonetheless.
    • Flexibility. Users get the best of both worlds, so to speak. Those apps which can get moved to Linux, those which can't are retained on windows running under an emulator.
    • Independence. Running one or two apps under Windows lessens the likelihood that one will be forced by Microsoft to upgrade. Those one or two legacy apps can run on the current version of windows indefinitely, while the core operating system (Linux) is upgraded as and when the firm sees fit.
    • Savings. Not being forced to upgrade on Microsoft's schedule results in tremendous savings in both time (man-hours spent on upgrades, testing, debugging) and money spent paying Microsoft's ever more inflated vigs. In addition, the management of N linux boxes requires significantly less time and effort (read: man hours and personnel) than an equivelent number of Windows boxes.

    Even if you're stuck using VMWare indefinitely, you're still ahead to pay the $300 / box up front along with the windows license and move to Linux, thereby gaining control of your own upgrade cycles and costs (at a somewhat larger initial cost) than you are remaining with the status quo.

    I mean, two licenses per machine? What is going to come out of Redmond next?
  • by FreeUser ( 11483 ) on Thursday August 03, 2000 @12:21PM (#881541)
    No One Forced Them To Sign The Contracts

    Actually, given Microsoft's defacto monopoly on the desktop, they may well have been coerced into signing such a contract. If so, this is a clear case of further abuse of their monopoly, and excellent fodder for the DOJ come appeals time.

    Put more clearly, many businesses are locked in to the windows platform for various reasons. The cost of switching to Linux or FreeBSD and porting their apps may be something their budget won't allow, unless amortized over several years. It is also possible that they rely on a niche product (real estate listing software, legal assistance software, etc.) for which no Linux analog exists.

    They take the lessor of all evils, pay Microsoft their inflated vig, and stay within budget for another year.

    Yes, anyone can plainly see that, over the span of two or three years, they would be far ahead to switch to Linux and use VMWare to run what windows apps they cannot live without, but few managers are permitted to think in such long range terms.

    If they're stupid enought to do business that way, they deserve to get reamed.

    That much is true - if this doesn't wake upper management up, nothing will.
  • Hi Dudle, pleased to meet you. I'm going to get a little anal and over-explicit here, but I think it's necessary since we seem to be missing each other's point.

    The EULA says very clearly that if you don't agree with it (the EULA), you can get a refund.

    Yep. But if I opt to not accept the agreement, that doesn't mean that I must return it for a refund. I can reject the EULA (thereby not agreeing to it) and keep the software and do anything that I wish to with it. (Within my rights under copyright law, of course -- for example, I can't sell copies of it.)

    whether I agree to a license or not
    Like I just told you, this statement is flat out wrong.

    Hm? You did not explain that.

    There's no contract between me and Microsoft.
    Of course there is one. An agreement is a contract.

    *chuckle* Yes, of course. But I would reject the agreement.

    If you read /. as much as I do, you will notice the story about Apple pursuing employees over breaking their NDA and spreading rumors.

    Yes, and the NDA is a contract that those employees agreed to. They were given a piece of paper and told to sign it. They decided to sign it (and thereby agree to it) since it was a requirement for working at Apple. They signed it and were therefore bound to the terms of the contract. Apple can even produce the original signed document if anyone ever disputes that fact. But when you buy retail software, or a computer that comes preloaded with software, did you sign anything? I never have.

    Did you ever even implicitly agree to it by exercising additional rights granted you by the license? (An example of that would be redistributing GPLed software. If you do that, it is assumed that you agreed to the terms of the GPL, since otherwise, redistributing it would be a copyright violation.) If I don't agree to the GPL, I can still use the software, I just can't redistribute it. If I don't agree to the Windoze EULA, I can still use the software. I can even make Fair Use copies of it. I can even install it on two computers that I own, at once.

    When you buy a x86 box from a retail store, you don't agree to any special terms from Microsoft. There isn't some guy at CompUSA before the register that says, "Excuse me, sir. That computer comes with MS Windows. You must sign this license agreement before we will let you buy that." (The guys at Apple signed their NDAs. But I've never signed a EULA.)

    Nope, they just take the money in exchange for the goods. The EULA for the preloaded software isn't even on the box, so it's going to be hard for anyone to argue that I even implicitly agreed to its terms.

    I don't see anything in the Copyright laws that says I have to buy a second copy of something that I already have.
    There is none. Your sentence shows that you didn't read or fully understood the article.

    Heh heh. Of course I read and understand the article. I am fighting the EULA because you you introduced it into the discussion. My point is that all discussion of the EULA is irrelevant. Originally, you wrote:

    When you use that type of software, you agree to the EULA (End User License Agreement). It's very clear that an OEM license is different from retail.

    I am saying that whether the user obtains the OEM version or the retail version, the differences in the EULAs are irrelevant. As long as the user decides not to agree to the EULA (and there's no incentive that I can think of for him to agree to its terms) then his rights are the same, regardless of which version of the software he bought.

    So, Dudle, if you think the differences between the OEM and retail version of the EULA are relevant, then please explain how the user can be bound by the terms of an agreement that he never made.

  • How exactly could you tell if M$ is trying to rip someone off; you know they will have some plausible lie ready to cover themselves if they are.

    When I see a contract where the customer gets FREE copies of W2K for some reason, I'll believe the "We didn't do it on purpose claim". Until then my response is "Yeah you did."

  • Microsoft has long worked under the assumption that the physical medium is separate from the license. Isn't this how we run into problems such as OEMs that ship computers without Windows CDs? The idea of the select program has been that companies receive a set of CDs without any client licenses. Companies buy client access licenses as needed, with the knowledge that licenses come with no media or docs.

    So what's the problem, then? Each PC ships with its own client license, which should entitle companies to use whatever copy of Win2k they feel like using, whether it's the pre-installed version, a ghost image, or a manual re-installation. There are plenty of good arguments for using Ghost and there is no reason to buy an additional license for separate versions of Windows. If MS is insisting that people do that, they should refund your money for the first license that you bought, or they should quit strong-arming OEMs into bundling Windows whether you need it or not. This is like the Toshiba windows refund issue.

    I work at a university that participates in the Select program.. we've always operated under the assumption that we can use the select CDs on any machine that is licensed to run the software. If MS is saying otherwise, they'll have some pretty angry customers.

    One other thing: There's an inaccuracy in the article: "Wiping off the software on the computer also voids any obligation on the part of the PC manufacturer to provide technical support." Not true. OEMs won't give you good software support anyway, and if the problem is hardware, then it's really none of their business what software you're running.


  • Slightly offtopic, but interesting:

    Gore: Linux, Apache (PHP)
    Nader: BSD/OS, Apache (PHP)
    Bush: Windows 2000, IIS (!!!)
    Buchanan: Linux, Apache (Frontpage, PHP)

    (according to netcraft)

    I think both Bush and Nader's are sort of indicative of the candidates.
  • but you already pay twice when you buy it once
  • by dark_panda ( 177006 ) on Thursday August 03, 2000 @04:07PM (#881566)
    If operating systems were airlines:

    MacOS: Everyone at the airline looks the same. When you ask the stewardess how much longer it will take to get there, she tells you, "You don't need to know, we don't want you to know, so shut up." All planes at MacAir are translucent cubes, come in multiple colors and only have one wing.

    Unix: Everyone taking the flight brings one piece of the plane and begins construction, constantly bickering about what kind of plane they're going to build. After it's built, everyone boards the plane heading to Washington, DC. After entering "grep washington" and travelling 2,000 mph en route, you arrive at Calgary.

    Windows 95: There are no security checks at the airline. Instead, everyone can enter and leave the plane at a whim, including during flight. There are no landing strips for Win95 Airlines, as all planes simply crash at their location.

    Windows 98: Similar to Win95 Airlines, AirWin98 crashes less often, but mid air collisions are more frequent.

    Windows NT: After boarding the plane, everyone on board says the password in unison. A single passenger then exits the plane with a hammer and a piece of paper, writes down the destination and nails it to the fuselage, whereupon the flight takes off and crashes into open sea.

    OS/2: Although it claims to have over 9 million regular passangers, you never actually see anybody flying on AirOS/2. Occaisonally, when too many people board OS/2 jets, they explode for seemingly no reason.

    *BSD: All of Air*BSD's planes are B-2 bombers, fly all day long and are rarely noticed by the average passanger. When a jet breaks down, it's helpful to have a pilot who has flown BSD's jets for at least 10 years.

    linux: All passangers sit on the tarmac in the outline of a jet and make whooshing noises religiously, pretending they're actually going somewhere.


  • by Taco Cowboy ( 5327 ) on Thursday August 03, 2000 @04:07PM (#881570) Journal

    If Microsoft cheated monies from rich-bad-mofo-companies and then give the money to the poor, then Microsoft can be regarded as the modern day "robin hood".

    But the thing is, Microsoft is itself a rich-bad'mofo-company, and it is cheating monies from little mom-and-pop companies which don't have the money to have in-house attorneys to oversee every-single legal-documents they sign.

    And in third world countries, Microsoft is cheating the people of those countries by pressuring many third world government to sign contracts with them so to "legitimize" the use of M$ products in their government computers.

    In Malaysia, for instance, for every single government computer purchase, 250 dollars must be paid to Microsoft, no matter if the computer comes with M$ windows or not, and no matter if the M$ windows has been already paid for (included in the purchase price of the computer). The Malaysian government, just like many other government of the Third World Countries, are afraid of the US company's power in impose "injunctions" and stuffs like that that will resulted in the US congressional action that may include trade sanctions and all other stuffs.

    You see, nobody in the Third World COuntries wants to be accused by Microsoft as a "pirate" because if you still want to trade with Uncle Sam, you must prove to Uncle Sam that you are NOT a "pirate", and to do that, you have to sign an agreement with Microsoft, saying that you will pay a certain amount of money on ALL computer purchases.

    That is what Microsoft is doing in many Third World Countries, and the case of Malaysia that I have just pointed out above is just one of the many.

  • If you lose the capability to do standarardised and automated installs and upgrades then the total TCO for windows shoots way up. this is great news for anybody pitching a linux solution. I hope MS goes very hard after offenders.

    A Dick and a Bush .. You know somebody's gonna get screwed.

  • After reading the article (you did read the article before replying, didn't you?), I've come to the conclusion that MS isn't interested in money anymore.

    Like the RIAA, they're after power. Power to decide where and when "their" software gets installed on your machine. Whether it be their .Net program (where all of your applications are "upgraded" for a fee over the Internet), or their OEM system ("This version of Windows 2000 is OEM only - if your format the hard drive and put on the retail version without buying a copy of the retail version for this specific computer, you're in violation!").

    Either way, their trying to control the method of how and when their software is used. The only thing they forget is that the second that money changes hands, it's no longer their software - it's now my software, and I can do whatever the hell I please as long as I don't put it on more machines than I have licenses for. I don't give a crap if it's the OEM version or upgrade or retail - if I legally own a copy, I'm putting it on whatever damn machine I want.

    This is the reason I'm trying to convince my workplace to shift to Linux and be done with MS. I don't want to play games about who or what owns who; I just want to get my work done.

    John "Dark Paladin" Hummel
    We don't just like games, we love them!

  • Once you get outside of the PC world, hasn't licensed software always come with draconian license agreements? I mean REALLY draconian -- hardware keys, processor-serial-number restrictions, total-number-of-logged-in-users (which even Netware enforces), maximum processor restrictions, and on and on.

    I remember a friend who worked at a business that produced AS/400 software for small banks. Their licensing required the licensee to load a license file onto the computer on a monthly basis. Failure to do so would cause the software to stop functioning completely.

    Periodically the licensees would do this wrong, fail to do it, or some other fsckup would occur resulting in total panic by the bank as their business ground to a halt; the systems all had 24/7 dialup access for the software company who could execute magic override application to fix it until someone could fly out and "fix" the "problem."

    The point is that they were a real successful software company IN SPITE OF the huge hassles and risks involved with that kind of "license compliance system". The PC has never had this kind restriction (some apps need a hardware key, and some Mac apps will do an NBP lookup for their own serial number on the network), but given that such systems have worked in the past and given an industry constantly on the lookout for revenue streams I don't think we've seen the last of it.

  • by istartedi ( 132515 ) on Thursday August 03, 2000 @12:24PM (#881575) Journal

    D#%$ it. I knew I forgot something.

    I was gonna say: MacOS. All you have to do is tap the nose and it gives precisely one gallong of milk. There isn't any way to get different ammounts because that's not part of The Vision.

  • by golob ( 69902 ) on Thursday August 03, 2000 @12:24PM (#881578)
    Didn't it come out not too long ago that shipments for Win2K were below expectations? This is a very clever way of making it *seem* like more people are using 2000 than actually are. The motivation here might be less to increase revenue, but rather simply to pad the usage stats for Windows 2000, as the large customers affected by this are likely to get a discount from M$ to placate them. In fact, this move makes much more sense from a PR point of view (2x million copies of windows shipped sounds better than 1x million), especially in light of the inroads linux has made.

    Another interesting point from the article: The "solution" recommended was simply purchasing a PC without a copy of windows. I thought it was virtually impossible to buy a PC without a copy of windows pre-included. Wasn't this one of the charges in the DOJ case? Wasn't this what came up in refund day?
  • by dillon_rinker ( 17944 ) on Thursday August 03, 2000 @12:32PM (#881583) Homepage
    Towards the end of the article, they mention that buying systems from OEMs with an imge preloaded costs an extra $30 or so per machine - and rightly so, from the OEM's point ov view; it costs them to change their production line so that your image is loaded instead of their image. The article suggests that a cheap solution is to have no software loaded. This is not always an option, nor is it necessarily cheaper. The extra $30 cost is for having a nonstandard image loaded on the PC.

    Note, however, that "no software" is also a nonstandard image, and some OEMs charge extra for or refuse to do it (the number that do has shrunk since Norton Ghost et al became popular). Furthermore, if you ask to have no software loaded, and then load your own custom image, 9 times out of ten, you will still be paying for Windows twice, as OEMs don't usually deduct the price of the Windows software that they don't load. The OEM are charged by MS for every PC they sell within a model line (thank you, consent decree of 1994!), so if the model you buy normally has Windows loaded, the OEM will pay MS for a copy of Windows whether they install it on a particular machine or not. Thus the OEM sees no economic benefit to not loading Windows, and they pass their costs on to you.
  • I think the point is that if you have to learn a gui anyways what difference does it make which one you learn. It's the unlearning that's hard.

    A Dick and a Bush .. You know somebody's gonna get screwed.

  • I think you may be right. My windows 2000 machine randomly rebooted three times today once when my hands were away from my desk! It seems to be very good at randomly rebooting and then recovering from that. Meanwhile the intern working on the red hat machine hasn't has a random reboot at all. Come to think of it I don't think that machine has been rebooted in a long time.

    A Dick and a Bush .. You know somebody's gonna get screwed.

  • Not too long ago, to legally use office, you had to buy a license for every machine in your office/school/home/whatever, regardless of whether it would be, or even was able to run office. For instance, a school's computer lab, with 20 dell pc's and 20 macs, and 10 linux boxes (just to make sure you know this is hypothetical :) would have to pay for 50 licenses from microsoft to legally use office.

    Happily, microsoft responded to their angry customers and changed the license agreement a bit. if enough people are pissed off about this, they might respond. or maybe not.

  • Some time ago I worked at a company who prepared machines running Windows 95 for a virtual school. One day we decided to call Microsoft to ask if we could install Win95OSR2 on machines that were origionally bought with OSR1, because OSR2 was much less difficult to support. Our boss didn't know so we called Microsoft.

    When we asked if we could install OSR2 with an OSR1 license, the support person replied "no, you need to buy a copy of OSR2." When we asked if we could buy some copies of OSR2 the tech then replied "You can't buy a copy of OSR2. Goodbye."

    Its amazing how MS can twist their licensing around so much that they can always charge you when they audit you. Even when you try to be legal you lose.

  • Marketing. They do it, why shouldn't we? Seriously how many ads for RedHat or FreeBSD do you see on TV or billboards? I'm a communication/PR/technical person, people really don't care what the software does or who makes it or how much it costs. They want name recognition. Its not enough to prove to people that *ix is better or that M$ is evil. That's fairly easy to prove. We have to wage war against M$ where it counts and that's in the mind of the public. Joe Public usually dislikes Microsoft and the cost and buggyness of the product but he usually doesn't know that an alternative exists!

    I think its really time that the community organized some kind of ad campaign to let the public know where we stand on such a thing. Now is the time to do it to before the presidential elections. The republican are all geared up reverse the break-up decision. Why? Because the public doesn't care. But if public opinion were against M$oft then they would back down very quickly because they would be sure to lose votes over it.

    Personally I would donate to such a cause. Penguins on every billboard in America

    If we want to win the "OS Holy War" we have to beat Microsoft at their own game and that is marketing. No matter how many lawsuits there are some portion of Microsoft will be around pulling these same types of tricks until people realize there is something better.

    Never knock on Death's door:

  • Since you are not using the OEM copy in that case could you get it refunded?
  • by Denor ( 89982 ) <> on Thursday August 03, 2000 @12:34PM (#881606) Homepage
    I stayed up all night downloading Debian, and my computer crashed at the end. I had to spend the next day downloading it again!
    Those Debian bastards made me pay twice for their free product -- I had no money to begin with, and I had to spend twice that much just to get an OS! It's an outrage!
  • by nomadic ( 141991 ) <nomadicworld@gmai l . c om> on Thursday August 03, 2000 @12:37PM (#881608) Homepage
    This news isn't slashdot worthy, IMO. (a bunch of idiots misreading the license agreement, sha...)

    I thought that was what slashdot was for...
  • I suspect that many (most?) people out there, given a choice between "enough money to do X" and "the power to order someone to do X-1", will choose power. Seeing people follow one's orders appeals to a deeper part of the brain than seeing a large number in one's bank statement....
  • by Speare ( 84249 ) on Thursday August 03, 2000 @12:30PM (#881629) Homepage Journal

    If I were ready to buy 5000 HPs for my corporate net, and I wanted them all set up according to my corporate networking "standard" software configuration, I would:

    Order 5000 Complete Systems from HP, minus hard drive and software,

    Order 5000 hard drives from whatever vendor, that matches the ones that HP puts in,

    Have my IT Department plug the new drives in.

    If you buy 5000 machines at a time, you can dictate a LOT. "Please leave the empty drive bay panel off, and the case covers unscrewed, and an extra drive power plug handy."

  • As pointed out by the article, the simple solution is to not get a Windows license when you first buy the computer, and then you're only paying for the Select License.

    The irony is that, of course, MS really doesn't want anyone to unbundle Windows from an OEM PC.

    It seems they really do want it both ways.
  • I think the point MS is making is that it comes down to who's doing the support. When you buy a computer with a OEM copy of windows, the company you bought the computer from is responsible for the support. But when you buy it through this select license, MS is responsible for the support.

    So I can see where MS is coming from here. But I think if they're going to be doing this, they need to allow vendors to sell computers without the OS.
  • The store shelf version is 4 times more expensive than the preinstalled or bulk rate versions.
    Even buying twice they get a discount of half price.

    They arn't being screwed as bad as people paying full price.

    It stinks but it's not a big issue...
    [And the employees steal the extra copys for home use... I wish people would stop doing that kind of stuff.. it's the whole reason Microsoft charges outragous prices in the first place]
  • by styopa ( 58097 ) <> on Thursday August 03, 2000 @01:07PM (#881651) Homepage
    I think that as StarOffice gets more publicity, and now that it is owned by a company that virtually everyone knows about, more IT managers will think of that kind of solution (at least I hope).

    I have a feeling that this will turn out like the Office 97 fiasco. The first copies sold could only save as an Office 97 file, this caused a large enough outcry to cause MS to add the ability to save as older documents. As the IT managers start hitting the liscensing problem they will first complain, and if that doesn't help, switch to another solution.

    MS is going to need to wisen up or lose out on the market.
  • by HeUnique ( 187 ) <> on Thursday August 03, 2000 @12:40PM (#881657) Homepage
    I'll try to answer:

    Questions 1 & 2: Yes, there is a different. If you look at your License agreement - you'll see that the copy of Windows you got (I'm talking about cases where you buy machines from Compaq, Dell, gateway - that big sellers) cannot be used on another machines, EVEN if the other machine is identical (I don't have the EULA so I cannot say which paragraph is it)

    The "Select" license and the windows you're getting with it is the usual Windows you can buy on stores. Its just doesn't have the OEM part registration (it got another registration way).

    3. Honestly - if you buy those 50 licenses and install 40 now - You can install the other 10 when you'll buy those 10 PC's, so - your question (4) can be applied.. Even if it's your own ISO image with Windows configured by you.

    I would further advice you to negotiate with your seller and ask him to sell you those PC's BLANK (that way you'll save some money). I was a system administrator and I installed thousands of Windows machines and I can tell you that the Windows that comes with your machine pre-installed - is the most unstable configuration you'll ever get. They're installing lots of shitty stuff there (they're own ISP stuff, utilities which you'll never needs and other tweaks that only god knows why people need them).
    note: In case you buy Compaq PC's (or Notebook) - you'll have a problem to install Windows from scratch on this machine cause they don't give the drivers to download and they got this special way to install them from your Windows emergency recover CD - so be careful.

    Before someone will sue me here - everything is according to my experience and my understanding.

What this country needs is a good five cent ANYTHING!