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Court Rejects msfreepc.com Settlement Claims 226

Posted by michael
from the denied dept.
mr_tommy writes "Neowin has posted a link to a court ruling (pdf) on the controversial MSfreepc.com website. The court ruled that claims in the Microsoft antitrust settlement made via the site were not legitimate, and as such all submissions made through it would be rejected. The website, operated by Lindows.com, attempted to use the Californian settlement against Microsoft to its own benefit by getting users to signup and make a claim. Lindows saw an opportunity to capitalise on the ruling by getting Microsoft to pay for users to have Lindows software and hardware; undoubtedly too bitter a pill for Microsoft to take. Microsoft filed suit against the website Michael Robertson, owner of Lindows and a strong anti-Microsoft voice, will undoubtedly be disappointed with the ruling. The 'legitimate' site for claims is still available."
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Court Rejects msfreepc.com Settlement Claims

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  • by Eyah....TIMMY (642050) * on Friday January 09, 2004 @06:18PM (#7933589)
    Well, it sucks for Lindows but if any of you out there still want to file a claim [microsoftc...lement.com], you have until March 15, 2004 [microsoftc...lement.com].

    Remember, it's your money so it's better to file it through the official channels...

    Note: I know some of you will never file anything with M$ so this post doesn't apply to you (you don't need to go crazy on the replies, just go to the next post).
    • But you must add that this ONLY works IF you live in California...I don't actually know if it would work for a business that has a branch in California, or if it would work if you are no longer a resident of California...

      But it's safe to say that if you can't rightfully claim a direct connection to California (which is most ppl on the east coast) then filing a claim would likely give M$ the ability to sue you for filing a false claim...
    • Wow, Lindows must really be getting desperate. I guess if I owed millions in venture capital, I would be getting desperate too.
      • Lindows.com is not funded by venture capital. Robertson is funding it entirely on his own, from what he made selling MP3.com.

        When he started the company in 2001, the venture capital community was too battered to fund anything, let alone something as risky as Lindows, and they certainly would be terrified of Robertson's actions regarding continually baiting Microsoft.

        I would expect them to be able to raise capital, and at a pretty good valuation, within the year. Robertson has already funded the riskiest

  • by tcopeland (32225) * <tom.thomasleecopeland@com> on Friday January 09, 2004 @06:19PM (#7933602) Homepage
    ...heh:
    $ lynx --dump --head http://www.microsoftcalsettlement.com
    HTTP/1.0 200 OK
    Date: Fri, 09 Jan 2004 22:15:39 GMT
    Server: ConcentricHost-Ashurbanipal/2.0 (XO(TM) Web Site Hosting)
    Last-Modified: Wed, 31 Dec 2003 19:35:30 GMT
    ETag: "3c7f2b-2487-3ff32502"
    Accept-Ranges: bytes
    Content-Length: 9351
    Content-Type: text/html
    At least, "ConcentricHost-Ashurbanipal" is rumored to be a proprietary HTTP daemon based on Apache.
  • Serves them right (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Moth7 (699815) <mike,brownbill&gmail,com> on Friday January 09, 2004 @06:20PM (#7933619) Journal
    Frankly it was an underhanded act which is on a parallel with some microsoft have made in the past. Had they used the site to inform users of the process they could go through, then all would be fine and dandy. However, actively leveraging a misdemeanour by another company to gain a competitive advantage in a way such as that just wasn't on.
    • by w3weasel (656289)
      However, actively leveraging a misdemeanour...

      Misdemeanour??

      Abuse of monopoly power is a far sight more serious than a misdemeanor.

      Still though, Lindows was pretty clearly attempting to abuse the ruling

      • by Moth7 (699815)
        Didn't Jesus say that all sins were equally displeasing to the eyes of God?

        Jokes aside, what have we been seeing from the open sources media voices in recent times? Calls not to stoop to the level of those who would do wrong to the community - regardless of what the likes of MS have done, that's no excuse for stupid acts like those of MSFreePC.
        • No, He didn't.
        • There was nothing wrong at all...it was a MS trying to get out of paying on a technicallity! After all, MS & the state of CA both accept digital signitures and "mouse Clicks" as legally binding...there were even electronic actions MS was allowed to take to fufill it's part of the settlement. They just didn't like Lindows mooching as the middleman.

          Frankly, Lindows was mearly filing by proxy...in order to ensure MS compliance to the class action by addressing thousands of claims in one place...given

      • Re:Serves them right (Score:2, Informative)

        by gantrep (627089)
        From the spelling, it appears he's British, and the British connotation of the word misdemeanor, if I'm not mistaken, is more serious than the American one. For example, in our US constitution, a misdemeanor [cnn.com] is something for which we would impeach our President.

        BTW, apparently "high crimes and misdemeanors" is an anagram for "Monica hiding dress
        hem smear."
    • But WHY? (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Frankly it was an underhanded act ...

      Fine, but "underhanded" isn't a legal term, so I'm curious by what reasoning the thing was disallowed. The linked ruling didn't give any reasons at all, merely saying that the website and process did not comply with the terms of the settlement, but not saying how or why they did not comply.
    • by pla (258480) on Friday January 09, 2004 @06:44PM (#7933835) Journal
      However, actively leveraging a misdemeanour by another company to gain a competitive advantage in a way such as that just wasn't on.

      You just described the US political system in one nice, neat sentence.


      Anyway, I think you view this somewhat more harshly than the situation warrants... MSFreePC.com did nothing more than tell people "Hey, Microsoft owes you money for screwing you. Do you really want to hand it right back to them, or would you like to use it to get the hell away from their crappy products?". This ruling suggests that they went too far, but conceptually, I see it as far more in keeping with the spirit of the original settlement than any possible result of filing directly with Microsoft.
      • Do you really want to hand it right back to them, or would you like to use it to get the hell away from their crappy products?".

        More like "Do you really want to hand it right back to them, or would you like to use it to get the hell away from their crappy products and use OUR crappy products INSTEAD!?"

        I'm not talking about Linux here -- just Lindows.... which is, in fact, crap and despite being based on a Linux kernel is in many ways as bad as Windows when it comes to security, etc.

        • But hey, they're the only one trying this...

          Robertson is willing to use MS tactics as a playbook against them even if it's not pretty...it is fun to watch! It also shows how spoiled sport MS really is about this stuff.

    • by NanoGator (522640) on Friday January 09, 2004 @07:41PM (#7934271) Homepage Journal
      "Frankly it was an underhanded act which is on a parallel with some microsoft have made in the past."

      The CEO of Lindows is constantly yanking Microsoft's chain. There's this, intentionally naming the software Lindows, offering a reward to hack the XBOX, etc... If this guy EVER gets support from the EFF, you all should be PISSED.
      • > If this guy EVER gets support from the EFF, you all should be PISSED.

        Why? Suddenly Robertson doesn't have any rights? Yeah, he's on that thin-edge of harassing MS, which is a lot less than they deserve.

        His company has contributed quite a bit to a few OSS projects, for that alone he deserves some kind of respect.

        Personally, I don't get into all this drama. If Robertson wants to play the role of 'thorn in MS's side' that's just fine with me. Having some slashdotter tell me how I should feel if the
  • was it too much? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 09, 2004 @06:21PM (#7933621)
    for robertson to funnel claims through his site to ms's transparently?
  • by brasten (699342) on Friday January 09, 2004 @06:24PM (#7933669)
    Was it slightly underhanded? Sure... but, I'm sure the hardware they gave away was contingent on their claims being accepted (correct me if I'm wrong)... otherwise, they give out a little free software (not that expensive to Lindows.com to do so), got their name out a bit... Can't see this HARMING them all that much... Now, if they start asking for their software back over it, that could be a bad thing... Let people keep their LindowsOS', consider it a marketing cost...
    • " Can't see this HARMING them all that much... "

      If they get sued? Oh yes it can.
      • Sued for what? Microsoft has not been harmed. Lindows.com has not taken any money from anybody, Microsoft nor consumers. No laws have been broken, and the question of whether or not Lindows was doing conformed to the settlement agreement was up for interpretation, which a court determined.

        The only harm to Microsoft, if any, is that people are more aware of the settlement and therefore more likely to file for their piece, which is cash that Microsoft would rather keep.

    • Now, if they start asking for their software back over it, that could be a bad thing... Let people keep their LindowsOS', consider it a marketing cost...

      msfreepc.com [msfreepc.com]:

      Lindows.com does not agree with the ruling, but stands by its customers. Consumers who processed their claims through the MSfreePC.com site are permitted to keep and use all the software that they received.
  • by kertong (179136) on Friday January 09, 2004 @06:28PM (#7933704) Homepage
    Microsoft filed suit against the website Michael Robertson, owner of Lindows and a strong anti-Microsoft voice, will undoubtedly be disappointed with the ruling.

    sorry, but what does that mean?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 09, 2004 @06:29PM (#7933706)
    Lindows doesn't really care much about this. Sure, they would have taken the money, but what they really wanted was to give MS a black eye by publicizing the court ruling, and also to expand the Lindows user base.

    They accomplished a fair bit of each, and what they gave away were just copies of software that hardly cost them anything in the first place. This was another smart marketing move by their CEO, and inline with his other moves: not very classy, but shrewd nonetheless.
  • by nolife (233813) on Friday January 09, 2004 @06:30PM (#7933721) Homepage Journal
    I'm all for choice but I was not at all impressed with Lindows compared to other desktop based Linux distibutions. I bought $199 Walmart PC's for my kids this christmas. One with Lindows and one with Lycoris. Lindows was usable and it worked without problems but the click-n-run selection was too limited. I tried several non Lindows repositories and regular old packages but eventually I got frustrated and started over with Mandrake. Although not required, I feel the money I could have spent on a Lindows subscription was much better spent on a Mandrake membership.
  • by graniteMonkey (87619) on Friday January 09, 2004 @06:32PM (#7933739)
    I have no pity for Lindows. Naming a project "Lindows" implies that Linux is some cheap knock-off of the "Real Thing".

    I remember seeing goods imported into Russia from China with things like alarm clocks with names in Russsian, which, when pronounced, sounded remarkably like "Hyundai", and "Adidas" bags with too many stripes and a bunch of garbage characters that were supposed to be a slogan. That's the kind of stuff I think of when I hear "Lindows".
    • by Anonymous Coward
      I have to strongly disagree. If they called themselves something like NycroSoft Lindows you might have a point. However, the idea of allowing someone to trademark a word as generic in the computer field as ``Windows'' is absolutely insane. Didn't X Windows exist before Microsoft Windows? Don't you refer to ``windows'' on a Macintosh or an Amiga or any other kind of system?
      • If i remember corretcly, The buissness model for Lindows was to run Windows software on free software (gnu/linux) - hence the name Lin(LINux)dows(winDOWS) (duh). The name was originally supposed to make you associate it with windows. Anyone honestly claiming otherwise is IMHO full of it.
        Sure, i have no problem with this and i dont think Microsoft should be able to force Lindows to change its name. But i really dont like how Lindows "sort of" denies this now, when they couldnt make the technology work as the
    • by Makarakalax (658810) on Friday January 09, 2004 @06:47PM (#7933856) Homepage
      True the name is tacky, but they have sponsored the upcoming ReiserFS 4 they sponsor kde-look.org and to my knowledge they are also funding a number of other OSS projects (like that web-page creation one, is it NVU?).

      They are contributors. They have gradually won my respect.

      On the other hand distros like Xandros are gradually losing my respect. They don't seem to offer anything back to the community. Looks like a mighty fine distro though and I'm glad it's available.
      • Respect is due. (Score:3, Interesting)

        by polyp2000 (444682)
        Id have to agree, despite having a crappy name and questionable linux distribution. What they are doing, or trying to do is a good thing. Its not my choice of Distro, but in terms of getting linux out there on hardware and software bundles. Its a sterling job.

        I respect them for what they are trying to do , even if there are a number of things about the distro im not keen on.
    • For some reason I'm reminded of this [bonitadailynews.com]...
  • Double standard (Score:5, Insightful)

    by El (94934) on Friday January 09, 2004 @06:34PM (#7933759)
    Why is it when SCO implements a business model based on extremely questionable legal interpretation, they are accused of being "on crack"; whereas when MSFreePC implements an extremely questionable business model, they're really good guys? Wouldn't it be more consistent to conclude that the guys at SCO have been sharing their bad crack with the guys at MSFreePC?
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Companies like this don't share crack - they're run by people who consistently got "does not play well with others" on their report cards in elementary school. No, MSFreePC has their own crack - it makes them greedier and less stupid than SCO's crack - different impurities, I guess.
    • Re:Double standard (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Altrag (195300)
      From the other comments here, it doesn't seem like too many people consider them "the good guys".
      I went to the MSFreePC page myself and to me it looked a heckuva lot like it should have been in a popup window or a spam email -- a questionable "scam" filled more with bright colors than content. Admittedly I didn't bother going past the second page, but what I did see certainly didn't impress me.
    • 1) Microsoft loses anti-trust suit and has to pay consumers
      2) Lindows makes a site so people can easily buy lindows products, on top of an EXISTING business where people can..... already buy lindows products.
      3) PROFIT!!!!

      I don't see any missing steps, It's kind of underhanded, and if it was microsoft benefitting from linux I'd be pissed, but I really don't see what the problem is.
    • Proof positive that the trolls here do not even bother reading the other comments.
  • Biased article (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 09, 2004 @06:34PM (#7933761)
    undoubtedly too bitter a pill for Microsoft to take

    The Lindows msfreepc.com site was discussed here a couple of months ago.

    The site was encouraging people to sign up for the rebate whether or not they were eligible and regardless, they had no basis to collect names.

    This is one of those rare instances when MS is totally right.
    • Re:Biased article (Score:4, Informative)

      by shaitand (626655) on Friday January 09, 2004 @07:58PM (#7934406) Journal
      "whether or not they were eligible"

      That's a load of crap, the site in no way suggested you sign up if you were not eligible. It encouraged you to go through a series of web based questionaires to DETERMINE if you were eligable and sign up if you were.

      At worst this site encouraged every eligable party to sign up and use the anti-trust settlement funds to purchase competiting products (which is what the money was for). It was entirely in spirit with the ruling, and there was nothing wrong about it.
  • by graffix_jones (444726) on Friday January 09, 2004 @06:35PM (#7933774)
    Lindows was just trying to get a free ride on the settlement's coattails.

    The letter of the settlement said that all claims must be submitted by the original purchasing party (not an intermediary like Lindows) and each claim must also must be signed by the original purchasing party (electronic signatures don't count).

    It's my hope that Lindows does the right thing and notifies all parties that submitted a claim through them that their claim was rejected... at least that way the 'injured' parties still have time for recourse (of course 90% of those claims were probably from Slashdot readers... who are now notified ;P ).
    • Well, the court order says that the company handling the claims will notify everyone who submitted a claim via msfreepc.com that their claim was rejected. Further, the msfreepc.com FAQ says that they intend to honor claims regardless of what the court decides.
      • If that company is smart, they'll make sure to include proper instructions for settling so the people can get it right...and another batch of coupons for their product along with the notice so they can get a second chance at getting that check! Right now there's nothing shaddy going on...thing of Lindows as accepting the competition's coupons or a used car salesman matching another dealer's prices. This is good and fair and right...just how capitalism should be. Bill G has hidden his nerdy butt behind la
    • "(electronic signatures don't count)."

      Your right on the first point. But what is your basis for this? Does the settlement explicitly forbid electronic signitures? Because physical signitures are no more or less legally binding.
  • Lindows saw an opportunity to capitalise on the ruling by getting Microsoft to pay for users to have Lindows software and hardware; undoubtedly too bitter a pill for Microsoft to take.

    And no one sees anything wrong with this? I know I just woke up, but wtf should Microsoft dish our for another company's product... Call me a troll, d***, whatever you'd like but kudos to MS on this one

    • Microsoft is dishing out cash, what people decide to do with that cash is none of microsoft's business. If I were eligible, and I want to buy a lindows based pc with the settlement money that's my business. If Lindows wants to handle the details for me so I have to do less work, yay for them.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 09, 2004 @06:37PM (#7933787)
    Lindows is out a few linux distros which are really just debian distros prettied up a bit so they are out of no real money here.

    Microsoft looks bad for shutting down a site to help consumers take advantage of the settlement, so they can be spun in the press to be trying to get out of their obligations.

    To be honest you can't really blaim Robertson or Lindows.com for putting up the site becuase they win either way.

    Now Microsoft... They eitehr Lose or have a Neutral outcome from shutting down this site. To be honest I don't know why they did it... unless they are still trying to claim that they won/were not found to have violated the law in the antitrust case.
  • by John Seminal (698722) on Friday January 09, 2004 @06:45PM (#7933838) Journal
    Many companies do this. H&R block will give you a "loan" check when you fill out your taxes, based on what you will get back from the government. How is what this website does different? They are giving people products based on how much money Microsoft will owe them. What is the big deal? Nobody is forcing people to use that service.
    • by pavon (30274) on Friday January 09, 2004 @07:02PM (#7933963)
      The difference is that the tax code explicitly allows you to file on behalf of someone else, while the terms of the Microsoft settlement explicitly disallow it.

      msfreepc.com was telling people they could do something which they did not have the right to do. (The loan aspect of it was fine, the filling aspect was the problem)

    • The difference is that H&R Block is authorized to file tax returns on your behalf and does not actively encourage you to file fraudulent returns by supplying you with misleading information.

      Lindows, on the other hand, is not authorized to file settlement claims on your behalf and further misled people while trying to entice them to file claims through them.
    • Well, what H&R Block is doing is legal, while what Lindows was trying to do was not. Whats more H&R Block was giving you money rather then software and you have to have a real claim to the money in order to get it.
    • by poot_rootbeer (188613) on Friday January 09, 2004 @07:23PM (#7934117)
      What is the big deal? Nobody is forcing people to use that service.

      The 'big deal' is that msfreepc is not authorized to even PROVIDE that service in the first place.

      H&R Block can submit your tax return on your behalf because the tax codes say a taxpayer can authorize another party to submit on their behalf.

      The conditions of the settlement in this case explicitly stated that claimants could NOT authorize another party to act on their behalf.
  • by geekee (591277) on Friday January 09, 2004 @06:54PM (#7933914)
    I'm insulted that the govt. thinks I'm incapable of making an informed purchase. I bought Windows at a price both MS and I agreed was fair. What the hell is the govt. doing saying that I paid too much. If I don't claim the money, it doesn't stay with Microsoft, but gets donated to schools (minus lawyer fees). I don't think it's right for the govt. to interfere in either my freedom or MS's freedom to trade. So, how do I give my share, including lawyer fees, for lawyers I did not hire, back to MS.
    • by phorm (591458) on Friday January 09, 2004 @07:22PM (#7934104) Journal
      They aren't basing it on the concept that you couldn't make an informed decision, they are basing it on MS's anticompetitive practices that basically destroy competition.

      Lawyers were hired because MS was breaking anti-monopoly laws, not because you paid too much for windows. It's the concept that - were MS not so heavy-handed and dominating, there might be a lot more competing products. If there were competing products, you would have had more choice, and may have chosen something else.

      Really, I think that the settlement should pay out those that belonged to companies destroyed by MS, they're the ones that by far took the brunt of anti-trust.

      You may be happy with windows, I myself don't mind XP overly much. But if it weren't for MS, there might be something just as good, possibly better. We'll never know because very few were able to ever reach a workable status before being destroyed by MS, except for OS/Linux mainly due to availability, freedom, and wide distribution (not to mention dedication of many individuals who make OS possible).
      • You won't get it until they start regulating Linux. Then you'll understand the injustice of what was done to MS.
    • by vidarh (309115) <vidar@hokstad.com> on Friday January 09, 2004 @07:37PM (#7934238) Homepage Journal
      Microsoft broke the law, and have to pay the price. It's as simple as that. Because of their anti-competitive tactics, consumers have paid billions of dollars more than they would have been likely to had Microsoft played fair.

      The fact that you're offered the chance to get part of the money they illegally overcharged you with is in recognition that for many people there was no real choice. It wasn't about "making an informed purchase" but about customer being given the choice of Microsoft or nothing because of Microsofts illegal practices.

      If you don't want it, don't take it. But don't go around whining because the government upholds the law.

      If you think anti trust laws should be repealed, fine, but if they do, don't come whining when you get shafted left right and center by companies that get powerful enough to dictate whatever price they choose.

      • by geekee (591277) on Friday January 09, 2004 @11:53PM (#7935603)
        "Because of their anti-competitive tactics, consumers have paid billions of dollars more than they would have been likely to had Microsoft played fair."

        How do you come to this conclusion? Microsoft Windows costs $99, $30 cheaper than MacOS. The so-called law MS broke is so vague, they didn't even know they broke it until they were convicted. There are no strict definitions of what constitutes a monopoly in the Sherman antitrust act. Given the existence of products such as MacOS, Linux, various flavors of unix, OS/2, etc., why should MS be called a monopoly? Anti-trust laws are unfairly written and give the govt. too much power to destroy companies they don't like. Just look at Standard Oil as an example of a so-called harmful monopoly that managed to decrease the price of oil by 70% to consumers. There was no evidence of predatory pricing, which was the standard up until then to prosecute monopolies, but they were attacked anyway, because of other comapnies who couldn't compete, not through any goal to improve things for consumers.
        • by Accipiter (8228) on Saturday January 10, 2004 @09:10AM (#7937069)
          Microsoft Windows costs $99

          Uh, no. Where [compusa.com] the hell [compusa.com] did you get [compusa.com] THAT idea [compusa.com]?

          Since Windows 3.1, there has never been a full retail version of Windows for $99. EVER. Windows 95 and 98 retailed for $189 - $50 more than the newest Mac OS. Windows XP Home Edition is $10 more than that. Now WXP Home Upgrade, THAT'S $99, however you still need a valid copy of Windows 98 or ME. (95 won't do.)

          Given the existence of products such as MacOS, Linux, various flavors of unix, OS/2, etc., why should MS be called a monopoly?

          Now you're just trolling. It's not illegal to have a monopoly; it's illegal to abuse a monopoly to squeeze out competition. Try looking up what Microsoft did to IBM with Windows OEM pricing in an effort to get them to stop developing OS/2.

          Get your facts straight before spouting off bogus arguments.
    • " but gets donated to schools (minus lawyer fees)"

      Please cut the crap, if it's unclaimed a small portion of the unclaimed funds gets donated to schools NOT the full unclaimed sum. Furthermore that portion unlike the settlement can be paid in MS products (.02 windows cd's that price at whatever they feel like calling fair value, $500, $1000 per copy if they want).
    • If you didn't like the settlement, you could opt out. The members of a class in a class action always have the right to get out and either pursue their own lawsuits or not bring them

      Of course, since you're just a troll, you don't care. I doubt you are even a member of the class.
      • You want to see the letter I received? This MS case has been a tactic by looting companies who can't compete to extract money from MS, and it worked. And now the lawyers are doing their share of looting. People on /. are hypocrites. They whine about how their freedom is being attacked from every angle, yet they have no problem enslaving people they don't like. I can't opt out. If I dont claim my share, 2/3s of it goes to schools.
    • > how do I give my share, including lawyer fees, for lawyers I did not hire, back to MS.

      For the non-lawyer part, file a claim. Then endorse the resulting check over to Microsoft.

      As for the lawyer part, I don't know. I'm still waiting for reimbursement to cover all the roads I have never used (but you have), not to mention three or four military adventures which I don't remember authorizing. Chalk it up to overhead.
  • is here [slashdot.org]
  • by MeanMF (631837) * on Friday January 09, 2004 @07:34PM (#7934203) Homepage
    The MSFreePC site is still accepting applications for their "instant settlement" and they say that they will be honoring claims even if they ultimately lose in court: "We will fully honor all of the terms of the MSfreePC.com web site and will not be asking you for money or taking back product that has been made available to qualifying consumers, even if we do not receive payment from the Settlement Administrator" This means that you can get your $100 worth of free Lindows software AND file a legitimate claim to get your $100 from the settlement! Woo hoo!
    • Claims from users who submit to msfreepc.com will be rejected according to the court. You can bet microsoft will use this to their advantage and crossreference. Anyone who files there WON'T get their claim anywhere else period.
      • by MeanMF (631837) * on Friday January 09, 2004 @08:46PM (#7934673) Homepage
        Claims from users who submit to msfreepc.com will be rejected according to the court. You can bet microsoft will use this to their advantage and crossreference. Anyone who files there WON'T get their claim anywhere else period.

        The court ruling specifically orders that people who filed through MSFreePC.com be mailed an official claim form, so if MS tries anything like that I think they'll get slapped down. Besides, if they really wanted to screw people on this they would have waited until after the deadline had passed to challenge the claims.
        • hardly the whole point is that msfreepc.com was making it easy for people to claim funds. If people don't claim the funds Microsoft gets a huge percentage back straight off the top and the rest can be paid out in microsoft software valued at whatever microsoft wants. So in reality 99.99999% of all unclaimed funds stay right in microsoft's pocket.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 09, 2004 @07:50PM (#7934329)
    Michael Robertson has a history of aggressive yet haphazard business models and this is not the first legal smackdown one of his companies has received.

    When he was at MP3.com his "strategy" was to confront the music industry head-on, effectively trying to take the banana from the 800 pound gorilla. It wasn't until he launched the infamous myMP3.com service and the copyright violation lawsuits started pouring in that he attempted any sort of amicable agreement with the industry. Surely we haven't forgotten the massive legal smackdown MP3.com incurred as a result.

    Robertson's strategy with the Microsoft rebate smacks of the same confrontational and haphazard business decisions that doomed his earlier business.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 09, 2004 @07:50PM (#7934332)
    Just a few of many things about M$'s proven (IMO) monopoly violations that disturb me ad infinitum.

    Last I read, the "settlement" explicitly included only Windows and M$DOS based products. So according to the settlement, legally speaking, if I bought a Mac version of Office because I "had" to interact with college courses/employers that "require" (so called by M$) "standard" .doc or .xls files, I suffered no economic hardship and was not robbed at all, unlike those poor Windows users! So if you bought the Mac version instead of pirating, your reward is being locked out of settlement! Way to promote ethical behavior! Typical of the way lawyers manage to reach settlements for their client (often corporate as is M$) that allow them to disavow responsibility for damages to a potentially large group of plaintiffs, all the while proclaiming to repent their past "mistakes" (fraud!). They should be forced to reimburse 100% of those affected, not the whatever percent using Windows. Justice isn't about being partly/mostly fair.

    Also, why is it that money unclaimed goes to schools? I am 100% for more school funding, better teacher salaries, more books, computers, whatever. But by making it a either/or choice (either you claim refund from M$ or it goes to the schools) they (M$) get total win-win (ha punny) PR! If a lot of people claim the refund they say "look we helped people". If a lot of people refrain in order for the money to go to schools, then M$ says "look we helped schools", makes inroads into another market they are trying to monopolize. There are plenty of M$-drones in positions of Education IT who will spend an M$ monopoly penalty refund on more M$ gear!

    Ugh! what an a great illusion of justice and the masses will naively believe they "won" over M$! Saddest of all!
  • by Z4rd0Z (211373) <joseph at mammalia dot net> on Friday January 09, 2004 @08:29PM (#7934581) Homepage
    I never thought that looked legitimate at all. You can't just set up your own system for filing legal complaints. If you could every kook out there would be doing it. It reminds me of people who try to start their own country, only not as interesting.
  • Got my claim form (Score:3, Informative)

    by saberworks (267163) on Friday January 09, 2004 @10:34PM (#7935213) Homepage
    Got my claim form in the mail and they're basically offering $15 per copy of windows. That's not even worth the half hour it's going to take to fill out the stinking form. Maybe if it were $50 it would be worth it.
  • Cheap profiteering (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 09, 2004 @11:10PM (#7935400)
    I'm glad. Lindows is nothing but cheap profiteering, and this site was a horrible example of it. Sun's Java Desktop and IBM's efforts are serious attempts to bring Linux to the desktop.

  • by armando_wall (714879) on Friday January 09, 2004 @11:18PM (#7935438) Homepage

    In the site's frontpage they quoted a guy from Microsoft [msfreepc.com]:

    "But Microsoft's Drake said Lindows.com's online process makes it too easy to make a claim".

    But they omitted the rest of his comment [lindows.com] (also here [sfgate.com]): "[comma] making it more likely that people without legitimate claims will file.".

    Heh, that reminds me of some movie ads, where they show quotes from magazines like "Brilliant!", but they omit the rest that goes "It was brilliant the way the director blew it with this piece of crap. Just brilliant!".

  • It strikes me as odd that the only info is a link to a court file. I see no statement from Michael Robertson, nor any artical in any newspaper to confirm this. Also, wouldnt Michael Robertson have a chance too appeal?

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