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

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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  • 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.
  • Soooo (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 05, 2006 @11:57AM (#15067199)
    Are they going to try and stop the PC builders market because we dont have to buy windows with out parts?
  • 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 ..


    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.

  • What? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by PresidentEnder ( 849024 ) <wyvernender@gmai[ ]om ['l.c' in gap]> on Wednesday April 05, 2006 @12:11PM (#15067411) Journal
    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?
  • 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 even though FC5 will go on it shortly, I still paid the M$ tax...


  • 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 [] 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 []'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" [] 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 [] will mail you 5 disks for free, and they'll support them, for free, for 3 years.


  • Re:Volume licensing (Score:1, Interesting)

    by fusto99 ( 939313 ) on Wednesday April 05, 2006 @01:22PM (#15068246)
    They won't allow you to select it anymore. In the past you could select No OS, Linux, etc. but now they only let you choose Windows XP Home or Professional. I had to ask my Dell rep if it was possible and he ended up changing it for me. He said that they were no longer allowed to send a PC out without any operating system on it. You could try calling Dell and talking to a sales person to see if it is available for home users.
  • This grinds my gears (Score:2, Interesting)

    by DarkMorph ( 874731 ) on Wednesday April 05, 2006 @01:31PM (#15068360)
    Okay, why does it say that Linux is not good enough of an excuse to get a "naked" PC???

    I don't need an excuse. If I was going to buy a computer, I want to buy the hardware, and not be forced to shell out money for software they want to give me if I don't want it. I can't believe they think that OS-less computers are all potential machines to have pirated Windows on it. Honestly the point of getting no OS is just that, to have nothing there; why waste the money on the OS if you're going to erase it anyway? Also, maybe I would buy a computer without an OS because I don't want Windows, period. This has antitrust written all over it, may they burn and die a painful death for all I care. And all I wanted was a laptop with an nVidia card, an AMD CPU, and no OS. I can't find any one laptop with even two of those criteria! (Not blaming MS for this though.)
  • 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?
  • 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.
  • by gujo-odori ( 473191 ) on Wednesday April 05, 2006 @04:04PM (#15070027)
    They didn't say "don't ship without Windows installed" (although I'm sure that's what they meant), they said "Dont' ship without an OS installed."

    There's a simple solution for vendors wishing to sell PCs without an OS installed:

    "Our default operating system is Linux. Customers who wish to have Windows pre-installed may choose to do so for an additional fee. Since we realize that many of our customers will choose Windows, we always maintain a sufficient stock of Windows pre-installed machines to enable a customer to pick one up with no waiting."

    Or, make your default OS FreeDOS and give customers the option of Linux at no extra charge or Windows for a fee.

    Or, if the traffic will bear it, sell them all for the same price, which will boost the profit margin tremendously on Linux machines (note: this might piss off Microsoft).
  • by bec1948 ( 845104 ) on Wednesday April 05, 2006 @04:25PM (#15070248) Homepage
    The aspect of this that's always annoyed me is enterprise purchasing. Buy a 100 or a 1000 or 10,000 PCs and you get 100 or a 1000 or 10,000 Windows Licenses. Installed. But as an enterprise customer you don't want that individual key'd license. You want a bulk license that you can load onto the machines with Ghost or any other of the many tools for building uniform desktops. You therefore need to buy a Microsoft volume license of some sort. You've paid twice for Windows. Most companies either accept this or ignore it as a cost of business. But it does add about $150 to $180 per machine to the acquisition price. With a business PC costing well under a $1000 today, that's a big hit. Just a gripe.
  • Re:Big Deal! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by dtfinch ( 661405 ) * on Wednesday April 05, 2006 @05:23PM (#15070879) Journal
    My latest Dell came with FreeDOS preinstalled.

"How many teamsters does it take to screw in a light bulb?" "FIFTEEN!! YOU GOT A PROBLEM WITH THAT?"