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Microsoft

Dell Belgium forced to install Windows only? 77

Geert Uytterhoeven of the Linux m68k effort reports that Dell admitted it is forced to sell Windows in Belgium by an agreement with Microsoft. Microsoft and Dell have denied this accusation. By not supplying an OS-free PC, Dell would be contravening EU law which prohibits product-tying.
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Dell Belgium forced to install Windows only?

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  • So, when my new Dell PC loads Windows, can I sue them for not providing a WORKING system?


    Quite frankly, a BIOS screen and an attempt to load an OS is evidence that the thing is working.

    Working is a relative term.

    If I order a PC without an OS, then its quite likely that I know what I'm doing - its an opt-out choice, the default is Windows, which is fine, but if I want a blank system, why should the EU or anyone tell me I can't, esp. if I'm a University, who tend to be full of techie types who can do this sorta thing.

    I wish people would take more interest in what the EU does (esp. in this country - UK)


  • Dell is also trying to nail people who try the windows refund approach, since they say if you want to return bundled software, their policy is that you have to return the entire system it came with.... all for a refund on a "free" product.

    For those Belgians that have the time: Go buy a Dell machine. Then try the windows refund approach. Oh, I have to return the entire thing? Ok, lets do that then! And do you happen to know where the IBM shop is located?

    A heap of returned machines looks bad in their statistics, even more than machines that weren't sold. (Market share cannot be determined perfectly you know.) And then there is the trouble with machines that have been unpacked, the packaging doesn't look new, they must check to see that nothing is missing, there are fingerprints and so on.
  • Bill must have bought "Belgium" already. Another three countires and he can put them all together to build "Evil Empire", the large collection of nations that will crush their foes under their heel on the path to world conquest. Bummer.

  • This site just formats my comments as 1 really long comment with no seperate lines or paragraphs. THis ony began to happen to me this past month.

    Just put the [P] tag in where you want a new paragraph, except with the less than/greater than signs instead of [] (I don't know how to get them to appear without being seen as a tag :-)).

    dylan_-


    --

  • I worked for a small company that builds PC's in Ohio... we had some very nice burn-in tools... they ran from floppies. No OS.
  • There is a difference between supporting Hardware and OS.

    Customer buys hardware from vendor... he gets hardware support. Customer buys software, he gets software support. If I buy a Windows system from Dell and install some custom written apps, is Dell gonna support them? No. Same thing.

  • It's easier to just use CR to break lines. If you have to use HTML code, use it around the line breaks. You don't necessarily have to use [p] or [br]....Just hit enter. It works for me.

    -- Give him Head? Be a Beacon?

  • Perhaps it is business as usual, but I think Slashdot readers should be aware of Bill's latest antics.

    If you don't like a story, you can always skip it. Rob doesn't put a gun to our heads to force us to read everything posted here, after all. Indeed, I doubt that it would be possible, even as a full-time job, to read everything on Slashdot now.

    D

    ----
  • Shouldn't that be "micros~1" not "micro~1"?
  • The law deals with tying products together.
    If they are a general consumer product that is available separately, then separate companies cannot 'tie' their products together in exclusive agreements, as it is an anti-competitive practice, and bad for the consumer in the long run.
    In the case ofa computer, yes, motherboards, modems, monitors, HD's, and chipsets are all available separately, but really, they are still not a consumer item. They are *starting* to be, but nothing prevents you from buying them separately.
    In Dell's case, they have a PC. THey have had PC's for ages, but, even though there are several competing products out there, they insist on shipping windows.
    Now.. honestly, I suspect that they can get away with this. Just as a HD is necessary to create a functioning system, so is an OS. ANd it is their choice of OS.

    True product tying, I think, is saying 'You can buy product X, but only if you buy product Y at the same time, and vice-versa'. If they forced you to purchase windows and their PC at the same time, this would be illegal. If they combine into one product, this is not illegal.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I recall about a year ago on /. that I saw microsfts first response on linux and it was by microsft europe. A Microsft Europe official called this new tieing law illegal since windows is an integral part of the pc and pointed out that in Germany linux is beganing to get popular and they needed to compete. EU officials disagreed and made this very law to prevent ms from doing this rediculous ms tax that we all know and love here in the states. NOW a year later Microsoft is using the same law that was passed to prevent ms from taking the OS world in Europe and USING IT TO KILL ALL ITS COMPETITORS TO WHICH THE VERY LAW WAS DESIGNED TO PROTECT! I was just beganing to like NT/vb at work because of its lower cost to develop custom apps BUT THIS PISSES ME OFF! Every time I decide not to ms bash and accept them as just another company I GET SO ANGRY WITH THEM! THEY ARE like the mobfia. I surely hope the doj releases the windows source code soon like they plan and I DONT GIVE A DAMN IF ITS INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY BECUASe MICROSOFT DOESNT DESERVE ANY OF IT. Ahhhh. That feels alot better. Anyways I believe EU officials are all-ready investigating microsoft and if this is true you can bet that all of microsft's Integrating TRASH arguements will not hold up in court. Unlike AMerican judges and lawyers here in the US who are desensitised and are use to fraud arguements like this one will be scoffed at here in Europe. If ms loses the doj trial in the States then the EU will come down on them like a brick because if the AMericans can prove that ms is a monopoly then EU can win easily in court. LINUX IS THE #1 OS in Germany and if it Loses then OVER HALF OF THE LINUX INSTALLED BASE WILL BE LOST AND GROWING POTIENTIAL WILL BE DEAD WITHOUT GERMAN DEMAND SINCE THEY WILL BE STUCK IN A *.Doc sharing world. This is quite a clever trick for microsoft. I just hope that some of the EU lawyers who are more use to decency then the US ones will scoff at this and tear ms apart. European judges will see right through this flawed arguement and may be quite insulted at "WINDOWS IS AN INTEGRAL PART OF YOUR PC" trash. I would be very happy if suse sued Microsoft Europe if linux was banned from every pc sold in all of Europe. Again I will try not to bash and just accept and like Microsoft but at times like this they are sure hard to like and not form negative opinions. After all Its not about linux vs Windows. Its about me and whoever is reading this as a consumer. If I want to run linux then I dont need to pay microsoft for windows and I sre dont need to pay ms for each new computer I buy. I payed for windows 5 times since version 3.1! I only use 1 copy. :-( Now AM I really a linux fanatic or Nazi or just someone who wants to use linux at home without paying for a product I do not wish to have. During refund day even windows users and ms defenders agreed with the linux clause because to pay for something that we do not use is quite unbelievable and if BIll Gates sold any other prodct this way, he would be sued or jailed for fraud. Imagine walking into a clothing store and paying for a pair of Levi's blue jeans that I do not want to wear with ever other piece of clothing that I buy and I would have to sign a legal agreement making sure that I would buy levi's and if I didnt agree I could return all my clothes and be naked instead. IF levi did this they would be sued for fraud and maybe some jail time would be delivered to its CEO. Can't I have the same justice for my personal computer at home?
  • They aren't forcing you to pay for it. They are giving it to you for free as a bonus for buying their PC.
  • Me: They charge hundreds of dollars for this software if I were to buy it at a store - obviously someone had to pay for this software, and that all got worked into the price for my notebook. I don't want to pay for something I don't want.

    Dell: The software's free, so you're not losing anything by deleting it yourself.

    Me: There's no way this software can be free. Dell had to pay for an OEM license for all this bundled software, and Dell must be passing their costs for it on to me.

    Dell: Well sir, the software is free.

    Try this response "OK, I'll take 10 copies"

    See how free it stays then.

  • The issue of "product tying" is covered by article 85 of the Treaty on the European Union. However, its implementation is left to national governments. I inquired about the Belgian authorities position on that matter. Their reply [altern.org] (in French) states that a computer and OS form one "logical unit". Product tying prohibition covers only unrelated products (eg. a mortage and a life insurance).
  • Nope, I've used at least one version of burn-in software and it's OS-less. Or rather, it is an OS. They just scan the hard drive for bad blocks, write and verify patterns in memory, test all of the instructions on the processor, and fool around with the video card for a while. Don't really need an OS for that, just a couple of drivers and some glue.
    I suppose the software they use could run under windows, but I don't see any reason why.
  • There is nothing difficult about leaving a hard disk blank. However, the HD is not the only piece of hardware to be concerned about. For example: Most if not all current stock linux distributions do not support the Diamond Viper 770 video card (One of Dell's options). You need to get the latest X Window System from xfree86.org. The average Joe, is not going to figure this out right away. How do you ship a system with no OS and still provide a warranty and Technical Support on a cost effective basis that would cover all Operating Systems? Hopefully, it will not be necessary to create a Dell Linux distribution only for Dell Machines.
  • Ok, this is happening in Europe. That is, across the ocean.

    DOJ is like shit outside there, no one could care less. What is important, tho, is the fact that, in order to sell to public institutions (like a university), the manufacturer (DELL) has to provide a WORKING system.

    What does WORKING means? That you have to pull it out of the box, attach to a power socket, flick the switch and *something* happens. This something could be a OS boot or a network connection to find a server, in any case, the system should be able to perform a grade of useful activity right out of the box.

    This means that DELL cannot sell a PC without OS. They could be sued from here to hell if somebody wants to do that.

    As for their decision to install Windows instead of Linux, that's exclusively their business choice, but they CANNOT sell PC without OS. It's against the law in the EU.
  • I doubt it. The US is exceedingly poweful in trade. Witness the recent banana wars[1], and the hormone-treated beef affair[2]. In both these cases, the EU attempted to choose what to buy and where to buy it from, and got its wrists slapped by the World Trade Organisation, which habitually favours the US, because that`s where many of its members and much of its funding comes from. So, I`m afraid, as far as trade goes, the EU and its regulations don`t really count for very much.


    [1] American banana conglomerates got all upset because they were still 20% short of a monopoly in European markets, because EU buyers were favouring small family firms in ex-colonial countries over the large US-owned corporations. So they paid a lot of money to Bill Clinton, and Bill Clinton threatened sanctions on European goods, and the WTO decided that supporting a struggling market in a poor country was no excuse for refusing a lower-priced offer, and upheld the US corporations. Now the small banana farmers in the ex-colonial countries are going to go bust, and many of them will turn to growing cocaine just to survive.

    [2] The EU refused to import hormone-treated beef, on the grounds that we don`t feed our cows hormones on safety grounds, so why should US hormones be any safer? (and after the BSE scare Europe is pretty paranoid about beef anyway). The US imposed sanctions (is this sounding familiar?) and the WTO decided in favour of the US.
  • The last couple Dell's I've bought for my company have attempted to perform a network boot (BOOTP, IIRC) if they couldn't find an operating system on a floppy, CD-ROM, or hard drive. I've never actually tried to use this feature, but it's an option in the BIOS, and I've seen machines go through the motions when powered up with blank HD's.
  • If the software truly doesn't add any cost to the machine, why limit yourself to 10? Order a couple thousand and give 'em away to anybody who would have otherwise bought a site licence. The sheer cost of shipping a few thousand copies will put proof to the myth that it is in no way free.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    It seems vague when this situation is placed on computer hardware and software, but what if we took an example that more people could relate to?

    Imagine you walk into an electronics store to buy a VCR. You find one and the rep says that the price comes to $600.

    "WTF?!" you say.

    Sales rep tells you that you must have a television to go with your VCR because it's pretty much useless without it. And not just any television, but one specific model. Be it Sorny or Magnetbox, you are forced to get one brand and perhaps only two different models of said brand.

    "But I've already got a TV at home, and it's much better!" you claim.

    "Ah," states the salesman, "but the TV is FREE with the VCR! You can always sell it or throw it away when you get home!"

    Disgusted, the consumer goes to four other electronics stores and finds the same situation at their locations as well, with the same brand of TV.

    What would consumers/government say to this? I'm sure they'd have a little more objection to it. Mind you, if almost nobody owned a TV to begin with, maybe it wouldn't be an issue then, would it? Well, with me it would be, because I like choice.
  • I doubt it. The US is exceedingly poweful in trade. Witness the recent banana wars[1], and the hormone-treated beef affair[2]. In both these cases, the EU attempted to choose what to buy and where to buy it from, and got its wrists slapped by the World Trade Organisation, which habitually favours the US, because that`s where many of its members and much of its funding comes from. So, I`m afraid, as far as trade goes, the EU and its regulations don`t really count for very much.

    Except that no large department of the US government is currently litigating against US banana growers or hormone-using ranchers. If the EU goes after MS *now*, or after any kind of judgment against MS, I don't see how anyone could (rationally or, what is all too distinct, politically) attempt to impose sanctions on the EU for stopping MS from trying to enforce a monopoly outside of the US.

  • If you bothered to read the commentary in the exchange of letters [kuleuven.ac.be], you would have found this statment from Dell: "Dell Servers can be shipped without an OS". You have said nothing new.

    That aside, it does not mean that purchasers of Dell workstations have any meaningful choice.

  • *sigh* Politix. Puh-leeze. (I'd respond but it's _way_ offtopic here.)

    Before people start jumping all over the EU, there is a certain thing called "due process" which I believe applies as much to Europe as to the USA. There would have to be some kind of investigation preceding any legal action; if the courts are satisfied there is enough _legal_ evidence (some /. reader seeing a website with a few emails on it and posting the link there doesn't qualify) then action could be taken against Microsoft. But even if an investigation were undertaken, I wouldn't expect any result in a hurry - we only have to look across the pond to see how long these corporate legal difficulties can take to unravel, and our legal system isn't _all_ that different from that of the USA.

    Additionally, for the EU to do anything about it, they would have to be aware of it. I doubt very much all that many MEPs know all that much about computers at all, though they might be dimly aware of the Microsoft monopoly. Perhaps writing to your (corrupt, of course) MEP might increase awareness just a little bit?

    "Cake or death!" (E. Izzard)
  • The article mentions the possibility that Dell might offer a choice between Windows and Redhat, and complains that this wouldn't be acceptable since there are other distributions out there, but it doesn't say whether this is a boxed set or not.

    Sure it might be a tiny bit more hassle, but if they're only offering to put RH on the machine, and not charge for a box it would be fairly simple just to get rid of Redhat and start again with another distribution. Aside from the principle issue (which, fair enough, is important) as long as they aren't charging for RH this shouldn't be a problem, should it?
  • Open source movement so close minded... hmmmm... people investing their time and energy to produce high quality software that others can use and modify completely free of charge. Yes definitely a myopic crew at best. In fact, so myopic that certain Open Source products have become indispensable parts of the Internet landscape. Ever heard of Sendmail, Apache, Bind or maybe Perl. Just a few fruits from that close minded group know as the open source community.

    Open Source is not about public approval or appealing to the masses. To date it has about been producing quality software available to everyone at no charge. The result of that goal has been software tools that in a good number of cases surpass what is available commercially. People trying to solve a problem have been able to leverage open source software to build powerful solutions to technical problems. The increase in "public" or maybe I should say corporate awareness of open source has been due to increasing recognition of the success in some sectors of the open source model in business.

    Given that, saying that support for open source will evaporate because they pissed you off seems pretty foolish. But maybe I'm just too close minded to see the greater picture.

  • If Dell says its for 'technical' reasons then
    their company consists of technical incompetents
    that need to fired.

    Possibly they want the option of bundling
    winmodems/winprinters/etc...


    What is difficult about leaving a hard drive
    blank?? Say they needed windows for some unlikely
    'technical' reason, couldn't they reformat the
    hard drive before shipping????


    It's not as if what they put on is likely to
    be usable for testing the machine, since the
    usual Windows preinstall is a part setup which
    requires numbers and customer details to be
    entered before it'll work.

  • There is a difference between supporting Hardware
    and OS.


    However many people, including those in the
    business of supplying computers don't understand
    this very well.


    Customer buys hardware from vendor... he gets
    hardware support. Customer buys software, he
    gets software support


    Currently there appears a "does it work with
    Windows" kind of combined support.

  • Hmmmmmm. I don't know that it should anymore. It's just Microsoft up to their old tricks again.

    But something is different this time.

    Linux is a *known* name and people who want it will ask for it, demand it, or take their money elsewhere.

    I'd like to see Microsoft get pimp-slapped by the EU, of course, but I would be just as happy if Dell lost face and business by bowing to pressure and being the equivalent of Bill Gates lap dog.


  • by Anonymous Coward

    Dell can just say that the Operating System is an "integral part" of the PC.

    Or maybe Microsoft can say that the PC is an "integral part" of the Operating System.

    ;-)

  • The issue of "Product Tying" is an interesting case to test to resolve of the European Union.

    If EU is anything as it has been advertized, then it has to do something about the Dell/Microsoft deal where PC buyers in Belgium are forced to pay the "MicroSoft Tax" whether they like it or not.

    It is another case of "taxation without representation", and if EU is anything remotely approach a form of government, representing the people of Europe (which, if I am not mistaken, includes the people living in Belgium), then as a government _truly_ representing the European interest, the Dell/MicroSoft "TAX" should be abolished, and the culprits -- in this case, Dell and MicroSoft -- should be punished, and not just a light slap on the wrist.

    Let us see how the EU will respond.

    If EU does not respond, or fail to take appropriate action, then EU is nothing but a HOAX.

    The whole world is watching anxiously to see how a _people_ organization will fare against a BORG organization.
  • I'm confused.

    The author continuously quotes, "refusing to sell PCs without an OS is still conditional sales."

    It seems to me, that the following would be an equally valid (or invalid, as it may be) statement: "refusing to sell PCs without a hard drive is still conditional sales."

    In my humble opinion, any law that causes the second statement to be evaluated `true' is a bit.. strict (?).

    I'm all for the notion of No-OS PCs, but I don't think this article does a great job of it's accusation of illegal practices.

    Along these lines, shouldn't a manufacturer be able to sell whatever they want? Obviously, being forced into doing something a particular way by Microsoft is bad. Obviously, if they would sell computers with operating systems (or Linux pre-installed) or cars without demo tapes, that would be great. But to support a law that is as vague as the 'conditional sale' clause is purveyed to be is a bit ridiculous.

    As I'm not familiar with the terms of this `conditional sale' law, this is mostly a guess based on an assumption, but I'm hoping to learn from the responses.

  • Actually, this sounds like business as usual in Europe. Micro~1 has rebounded lately in their pressure on PC makers in europe when they realized the commission has no enforcement of articles 81, 82 and 83 (and a few others). Micro~1 is smart, they don't explicitly put the exclusion in writing, but the companies know very well they must be 100% M$ or they will not have their license renewed next year.

    Several large customers who were able to negotiate deliveries of non-M$ machines a year ago are no longer able to get machines without win98 pre-installed. Even customers with site licenses are once again being forced to pay the micro~1 tax on all new machines from Dell, Gateway, and others.

    I doubt a couple of emails from a low level acount manager to a university in Belgium would be enough to get the commission moving on the issue. Micro~1 is now reaping the rewards from scaring off the investigators, by once again forcing all computer users to pay the tax. They can act with impunity for the next year or more inside of Europe until after the next round of elections.

    I think /. would do better to find more stories on cool new toys, nanotech, space, and real computer advances, and spare us from more micro~1 bashing.

    the AC
  • This story is at least a week old. For Belgium, Dell has a contract with Microsoft saying that Dell will install an OS on each computer sold. This can be Windows 98 or Linux or whatever they like, but 'technical reasons' have forced Dell to limit themselves to Windows.

    So whatever it is, it's a decision by Dell to not preinstall Linux. Selling a bare computer would violate their contract with Microsoft, but selling with Linux installed would not. It's pretty weird or course. Illegal? I don't know.
  • O.K. so ship it with a 2$ Debian CD installed on top of the CPU case with duct tape.
  • If DELL sells cars, then the DELL people will tell us that they are FORCED to attached an engine to each of the cars they sell that can only run on a specific brand of gasoline.

    Get real, man.

    Product Tying _IS_ illegal under the European Union rules, and what DELL is doing is ILLEGAL, no matter how they want to plea their case.

    DELL can NOT say they are FORCED to put MicroSoft Windows in every PC they sell, because DELL can put in Linux, or Solaris or FreeBSD or DR DOS or whatever they want in it, and if DELL continues to put MS-Windows and ONLY MS-Windows _AND_ charge their customers for the MS-Windows they (the customers) did not asked for, then DELL has VOLUNTORY run against the anti PRODUCT TYING laws of the European Union.
  • ...they could get a machine w/o windows and get a discount on it (even if it was a limited-time deal). We US people didn't seem to have that option, as far as I could tell. When I went to purchase a notebook from Dell (US), I asked about removing the pre-loaded M$ software for a discount. Our conversation went something like this:


    Me: I'm looking at your web page here, and it says there's all this bundled Microsoft software like Windows and MS Works here. I won't be using Windows or MS Works on this, so can you take this off so I won't have to pay for it?

    Dell: Well sir, that software is free with your computer, so removing it wouldn't change the price.

    Me: They charge hundreds of dollars for this software if I were to buy it at a store - obviously someone had to pay for this software, and that all got worked into the price for my notebook. I don't want to pay for something I don't want.

    Dell: The software's free, so you're not losing anything by deleting it yourself.

    Me: There's no way this software can be free. Dell had to pay for an OEM license for all this bundled software, and Dell must be passing their costs for it on to me.

    Dell: Well sir, the software is free.




    Dell is also trying to nail people who try the windows refund approach, since they say if you want to return bundled software, their policy is that you have to return the entire system it came with.... all for a refund on a "free" product.
  • Ever since DOS 2.2 there has been consistent rumors of "backroom" pressure by microsoft on companies to configure their PCs a specific way with MS software or else! The thing about it is that there never seems to be any smoking gun.

    The fact that it is the same type of rumor for so long over again with so many different companies by itself gives it validity.

    If Dell says its for 'technical' reasons then their company consists of technical incompetents that need to fired.

    What is difficult about leaving a hard drive blank?? Say they needed windows for some unlikely 'technical' reason, couldn't they reformat the hard drive before shipping????

    You know, it really is difficult to catch those people who make crop circles in England. I think that it is the same people who make crop circles at night that work for the Microsoft foreign office by day.
  • by iainh ( 67816 )
    Also recommend that the customer sent a donation in the amount of their choice to Debian if they are happy with the installation.
  • What I do not understand is that all these emails refer to the fact that dell does 'not wish to install Linux on systems'. We aren't ASKING for linux installed. We are asking for blank systems, with NO OS.
  • Actually, the EU doing something about this 'situation' should be a no brainer (provided what happened does violate some law). Why? Two US companies. (Say what you want about foreign subsidies, these are US companies). Slap either or both of them with a fine, and you can say that you are upholding the EU and explicitly thumbing your nose at the Americanization of the world.

    So while this likely shouldn't amount to anything, it will probably make for some good press for some European politicians.

    -George
  • pudbillygates is the john gotti of the digital era. so what? his own MSBS PR/marketing depts. seem to be doing a bang up job of diminishing his influence.

    what should be even more alarming to y'all, is the megasloth attempts to monotize the penguin. again, i have no problem with folks making money, but for a handful (chosen by who?), to profit excessively (with a capitalistic E), is way too much like the same old shit.

    read (past tense) a couple quotes from VAlairy Allgutsteen this week. he says, and i quote: "who needs .coms, when you've got linux?" can't say he's all wrong there, but try to follow the thread.

    next, he says: "there's only room enough in the market for 4-5 major linux distributions."

    this is where y'all can torch me some more, butt i think this type of HYPEnosis is Krap. whois gonna be major? i'm guessing lairy is right up there. that only leaves room for who few?

    sounds way too close to the flippers turning into claws syndrome to me. at least don't try to tell me it never happens. i KNOW better.

    y'all need to pay close attention. makes what Mr. Stallman says, sound like A LOT of sense, again.

    as i've stated before, we have A LOT of o-s/linux related web resources, and we're thinking there ought to be MANY major FREE distributions and/or, cheap PC sites.

    letting the penguin be cornered, could prove disasterous to the majority, in the long haul. not to mention the potential for scandalizing the penguin's thus far high integrity rating. i'm guessing the penguin's got some long coattails, unless they're cropped by "business" interests.

    go ahead, just shoot me.
  • But, you know what? I hate to say it, but they are correct.
    The fact is that DELL has paid for the right to put windows on every system they ship. The details of that financial agreement are nobody elses business except Dell and Microsoft.
    It's Dell's right to pay MS for every copy and not ship them. It's Dell's right to sell computers with nothing but OS/2 or BE on them if they so chose. To demand a refund because you dont' like the software they included isn't necessary, as they didn't force *you* to buy the software. You bought a DELL Personal Computer.

    IF you don't like it, DONT BUY DELL!
  • > DOJ is like shit outside there, no one could care less.

    Not entirely true. Something similar could follow in the EU if the DoJ wins its case against Microsoft. I imagine a lot of companies are watching the case pretty closely.

    > What is important, tho, is the fact that, in order to sell to public institutions (like a university), the manufacturer (DELL) has to provide a WORKING system. [snip] This means that DELL cannot sell a PC without OS. They could be sued from here to hell if somebody wants to do that.

    I think you are mistaken. If they attempted to sell such a PC as a fully operational computer system, _then_ they would be in trouble. But there is nothing in European or any national law to prevent them selling PCs without OSes. Plenty of computer manufacturers can and do sell such machines every day in Europe.

    "Cake or death!" (E. Izzard)
  • In the mean time Dell changed the case. According to their marketing, it's perfectly possible to buy a PC without OS. But you don't get a discount for buying the PC without Windows.
  • >> By the way, why you guys so silent on the AOL these days..Is it because it has the darling of
    the Open Source (netscape) in it..


    Netscape is by no means the 'darling' of Open Source - there was a very underwhelming response to the release of the code.
  • yeh, try installing windows on THAT one, and treat the win98 cd as you would an AOL cd.
  • But it is all too simple to write off any licensing fees they pay to Microsoft which would "include" the cost of Windows in the price of their computers. Just like the salaries of employees building the computers is included. This is dishonest on the part of Dell.
  • What's difficult about leaving the hard disk blank is that the manufacturers have to test the hardware one way or another. This generally involves some kind of "burn in" test where a program is used to test the hardware for long periods of time under stressful conditions. This software is probably for Windows only, and they figure that reformatting the disk could somehow invalid the tests.. or perhaps you could recover Windows and get a free copy.

    To preinstall another OS would require them to port their testing program to the new OS, and they can't be sure that it's as effective as the original. The beuracracy will prevent anything ad-hoc from being used.

    But my point is that there ARE technical reasons for it. (Not that I like it any better.. =)
  • Like someone else said, changing the HD size will affect the price, so it doesn't make sense that changing the OS wouldn't. Especially if it is the same price for WinNT or Win95. For some reason i thought NT was more expensive. Also, if i really wanted a computer WITHOUT an HD, i should (and probably could) get one. After all, i might just have a 10gb lying around...

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