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Microsoft The Almighty Buck Windows Your Rights Online

No More Fair-Price Refund For Declining XP EULA 339

mark0 writes "Getting a fair-price refund from Amazon or Asus after declining the Windows XP EULA appears to be a thing of the past. In contrast to reports from the US and the UK from earlier in the year, Amazon simply refuses and provides information to contact Microsoft. Asus is offering US$6. Despite being confronted with publicly available information about the real OEM price of Windows XP Home Edition being $US25-US$30, Asus replies, 'The refund price for the decline of the EULA is correct in it being US$6. This price unfortunately is not negotiable. I do apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused. Please be assured that it is not ASUS intentions to steer you away in any which way.'"
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No More Fair-Price Refund For Declining XP EULA

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  • Markups (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Jiro ( 131519 )

    Why should they be given the wholesale price anyway? The markup the consumer pays is evenly divided among all parts of the computer; if the consumer gets a refund on any particular part, he should get a refund with the post-markup price.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Jiro ( 131519 )

      Or to put it another way: suppose the consumer returned the entire computer. Should he be only given the wholesale price of the entire computer back? Or should he get what he paid for it?

      Obviously he should get what he paid for it. Returning a component of the computer should work similarly. Just because the retail-price-as-a-component of Windows is hidden within the price of the whole thing doesn't make it equal to the wholesale price. If the components of the computer cost $500 wholesale and he paid

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by man_of_mr_e ( 217855 )

        Actually, quite a few places have "restocking fees", which basically means yes.. they do give you about wholesale price back.

        • Re:Markups (Score:4, Insightful)

          by mysidia ( 191772 ) on Sunday November 22, 2009 @08:38PM (#30197842)

          The logic that you can pick the price of an item out of a package is wrong. Do you think you should be able to buy a bundled package.. a complete computer from a vendor that was sold to you for $X price.. and return the Monitor or Keyboard, in exchange for a percentage of the price equivalent to the FMV of a monitor? (Even though the 'monitor' wasn't an option, and its price is built into the bundle)

          The manufacturer doesn't have to allow return of only one piece of a bundled package for its fair value. In fact... the fair market value of each item in the package when all the items are added together, may meet or exceed the price you were charged for the package.

          You can no more rent a hotel room, and after you check into your room... demand to return the kitchen (i.e. have them close or lock it up), for a 30% refund (since your hotel rental has 3 rooms in it, kitchen, bathroom, bed). The cost of that item is already incurred by the retailer, and the relationship to the price of the package may be complex. Parts of it may even be free or promotional.

          In this case, however, the Windows EULA states that you are entitled to a refund if you refuse to accept. It doesn't provide for a restocking fee.

          It would be a violation of the OEM EULA for a manufacturer to charge such a fee.. such a violation might imply that you are no longer bound by the agreement, if your response to not getting a refund is to use Windows, then it would seem that you are taking your self-help remedy in response for the retailer failing to follow the EULA, the EULA no longer properly applies to you, even if you click accept, due to the breach of the agreement by the other party.

          Also, attempting to charge a restocking fee for refusing an unanticipated agreement, would probably result in litigation against the retailer, for deceptive/dishonest business practices.

          However, the Windows EULA term also doesn't provide for separating Windows from the product. My impression of the term was always... if you don't accept, you can return the entire package that Windows was bundled with, for a refund.

          The EULA doesn't guarantee you can return Windows alone, or that you can get a certain price for it.

      • Re:Markups (Score:5, Insightful)

        by PhunkySchtuff ( 208108 ) <kai@nOSpaM.automatica.com.au> on Sunday November 22, 2009 @04:49PM (#30196194) Homepage

        Obviously he should get what he paid for it. Returning a component of the computer should work similarly.

        Sorry, but your analogy does not hold water.

        Say I purchase a laptop that's got an external optical drive bundled, it's part of the package and not a separate configure-to-order option. If this optical drive sells for $150 separately, then there's no way I can purchase this laptop and say "I don't need this drive, I want a refund on it" and get $150 back. It simply doesn't work like that.

        • by Bert64 ( 520050 )

          Does the optical drive come with its own agreement which is separate (and includes additional restrictions) to the agreement under which you bought the rest of the system, not disclosed to you prior to purchase, and also contain a clause stating you can ask for a refund if you disagree with it?

          If they want to bundle multiple components which are available elsewhere, they should detail what portion of the total these components constitute... They don't do that precisely because they want to create the illusi

    • Why shouldn't they? If the manufacturer doesn't offer the opportunity to get a full refund on the OS, when you reject the EULA, then you're not subject to the terms of the license. Which is bad for MS and presumably the manufacturer. The full refund is what you get for not accepting the licensing agreement on the OS which puts you in more or less the same position you would be had you not been forced to by Windows.

      Failing to give a full and complete refund for the license is almost assuredly a violation
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        The Windows 7 (and perhaps also Vista) OEM EULA has some different language than the one for XP. It says

        By using the software, you accept these terms. If you do not accept them, do not use the
        software. Instead, contact the manufacturer or installer to determine its return policy. You
        must comply with that policy, which might limit your rights or require you to return the
        entire system on which the software is installed.

        I don't know if that's legitimate, but if it's enforceable, it means you no longer have th

      • You can't buy a car and then take out the engine and demand a refund on the engine, so why should you be able to buy a computer and not use the software and demand a refund on that?

        • Did your engine come with an EULA you had to accept? Mine didn't.

        • Re:Markups (Score:5, Interesting)

          by the_womble ( 580291 ) on Sunday November 22, 2009 @04:54PM (#30196234) Homepage Journal

          If I buy a new car, when I first put the key in the ignition, does a notice pop up saying: "you must agree to the terms of use of the engine before you can start it"?

        • Re:Markups (Score:4, Insightful)

          by baudbarf ( 451398 ) on Sunday November 22, 2009 @04:55PM (#30196238) Homepage

          Imagine that, after buying the car, you turned the key to start the car and instead a lawyer popped out of the glove box holding out a contract insisting that you were not allowed to start the engine unless you signed it. That's not fair. You have to be permitted to decline that contract, and if the engine manufacturer refuses to let you use that engine as a result, they should buy it back from you.

        • When you buy a car, you don't have to agree to a separate license to use your engine, a license which restricts your freedom and that was not made available to you before you purchased your car.
        • You can't buy a car and then take out the engine and demand a refund on the engine, so why should you be able to buy a computer and not use the software and demand a refund on that?

          I have never tried it on an engine. I have done it with wheels, stereos, and body parts. (Like ugly wings)

      • by Raisey-raison ( 850922 ) on Sunday November 22, 2009 @05:14PM (#30196360)

        I love it that 'the obey the law no matter what' types go on and on about not pirating software and not infringing on copyright but when it's a big large corporation not giving you a refund, its different. When they short change you - very mysteriously its 'not stealing'. How very magical! I call it the 'Powerful corporations can never steal law'. How about we apply the same draconian penalties that we apply to copyright infringes to companies who don't issue refunds when the end users reject the UELA. How about we send them to jail as well?

        Maybe as well if they claim that the cost of Windows XP is only $6 they need to show some evidence that they actually only paid $6 for it!

        BTW the restocking fee is bulls###. They don't need to physically get back anything from you. They just invalidate the license. Besides here is quote from the EULA. Its says nothing about a restocking fee.

  • "Please be assured that it is not ASUS intentions to steer you away in any which way.'"

    but they've definitely steered me away from Asus. I probably wouldn't have even bothered with trying to get a refund, but their dishonorable actions disgust me.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Have fun running your inferior hardware then. Your post is extremely arrogant and has no valid points. Were you just hoping to get modded up?
      • Have fun running your inferior hardware then. Your post is extremely arrogant and has no valid points. Were you just hoping to get modded up?

        Are you referring to your own post, or the parent?

      • Have fun running your inferior hardware then.

        Inferior in what way? While I have no reason to call the quality of Asus products into question (aside from the anecdotal single-case evidence of a motherboard that died on me after a couple of months use), I very much doubt their build quality is greater than that of most other manufacturers. Do you have any evidence to the contrary?

        Acer were perfectly happy to sell me a decent netbook without Windows, for less than the equivalent Asus product at the time even if you took a full Windows refund into account

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Intention or not it should be illegal. If I refuse a product or service, I should not be compelled to pay for it anyway. Being forced to bay for something I don't want is simply wrong. Another excellent case for geeks like me who don't mind putting in the time to build their own rig, which I have always done. Of course, if I want a laptop, that strategy blows and I'm forced to pay the Microsoft tax anyway. I just pisses me off having to pay that money.
      • Being forced to bay for something I don't want is simply wrong

        But you're not being forced to pay anything, you're choosing to. There are workstations, laptops, netbooks, servers and smartphones for sale with no MS software on at all. If you don't want to buy MS software, the logical thing would be to buy one of those. When I buy computers, I don't pick a Windows one and then try to get a refund on it. I buy one that either comes with no OS or comes with a free one. It's far simpler and it it encourages

    • How do you know it's dishonorable? I mean, have you looked at their books? Seems you're being awfully quick to judge, there.

      As another person mentioned, when you don't get Windows XP, you also don't get the pre-installed crapware. That could be the entire reason for the price difference.

      Not everything that looks bad on the surface is really bad underneath. And vice versa.
  • What kind of babble talk answer is that? I hope this is a misquote from a phone conversation.

    • by Pyrion ( 525584 ) *

      Seems like a damage control answer to me. They know it's disappointing, but it's the only answer they have and they don't want it to influence you away from them.

    • Re:Wow (Score:4, Funny)

      by rrohbeck ( 944847 ) on Sunday November 22, 2009 @04:28PM (#30196026)

      At least they didn't say "Wait, it says 'Press F12 for more information'" like the call center drone I talked to yesterday (not related to ASUS or this issue.)

  • Piracy? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by girlintraining ( 1395911 ) on Sunday November 22, 2009 @03:33PM (#30195578)

    The refund price for the decline of the EULA is correct in it being US$6. This price unfortunately is not negotiable...

    So when I download XP off TPB or a similar site, they're going to sue me for $6 in damages? Yeah. Right.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by sopssa ( 1498795 ) *

      Usually the downloaders don't get sued but the uploaders. And if you've uploaded to hundreds or even thousands of people, it's easily argued that you've contributed for that kind of losses.

    • So when I download XP off TPB or a similar site, they're going to sue me for $6 in damages

      I'm not sure anyone (yet) has been sued for downloading. Typically people are sued for the uploading bit (that typically goes hand in hand with downloading in most clients), where you are making it available to others.

      It's a lot easier for them to convince the judge and jury to award astronomical awards if they show you were sharing the file, not just downloading it for personal usage.

  • by MSTCrow5429 ( 642744 ) on Sunday November 22, 2009 @03:34PM (#30195588)
    This story has no link whatsoever to anything about ASUS. Of the two links on pricing, one is from June 15 2009, months before Windows 7 was released, while the other is an ancient article from fall 2006. How did this badly researched, apparent hoax of a story get to the frontpage?
  • If I wanted to buy a copy of XP, I should be able to get it for $6?

    I implore the laptop manufacturing sector to make more than token offerings of linux on your products. Every time I look for a laptop with linux preloaded, they are all very specific models with unappealing specs compared to the full selection available with Windows. If I were cynical, I would presume your linux offerings are intentionally screwed up so as to give Microsoft marketing material about how unpopular linux computers are. Oh, w

    • Typed from a linux laptop with a Windows Vista sticker still on it.

      Maybe you could return the sticker & get a refund on the sticker?

  • by hattig ( 47930 ) on Sunday November 22, 2009 @03:53PM (#30195736) Journal

    If Asus are paying $6 for Windows XP OEM, then surely Microsoft is dumping their product on the market? Probably why they're including it in their netbooks in favour of Linux.

    Dumping product? Convicted monopolist? I think that there's a good chance here that some netbook OS vendors have a case here to make an official complaint about anti-competitive predatory tactics by Microsoft.

    Or the story is a load of rubbish.

    • If Asus are paying $6 for Windows XP OEM

      Asus isn't payng anything for XP, Microsoft stopped selling. XP is 8 years old $6 is just about right for 8 year old software. And talk about making a stink for the exclusive purpose of making a stink... This is just a "non issue".

    • It's not possible to do dumping with Windows XP. Even if they give it away for $0, that is (1) not lower than the competition, and (2) not lower than than the marginal cost of production.
    • by rahvin112 ( 446269 ) on Sunday November 22, 2009 @06:46PM (#30197124)

      I thought it was understood that when the netbook debuted Microsoft knocked the price down to almost nothing to eliminate Linux in the space. This article is nothing more than official confirmation that Microsoft did knock the price down to $6 a copy for ASUS to keep linux off the netbooks.

  • by joeflies ( 529536 ) on Sunday November 22, 2009 @04:03PM (#30195800)
    I'd like to see which stores offer a $6 OEM option for buying XP licenses when you buy a bare motherboard.
  • Small claims (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Hatta ( 162192 ) on Sunday November 22, 2009 @04:07PM (#30195846) Journal

    Take them to small claims court instead. They'll quickly learn that it's cheaper to provide a full refund than to pay someone to show up in small claims court.

  • by ciggieposeur ( 715798 ) on Sunday November 22, 2009 @04:23PM (#30195954)

    A WinXP system is never just WinXP, it's also a boat load of crapware that the crapware authors have paid the manufacturer to bundle in. So ASUS is actually right in their math:

    Option 1: Keep XP. No change in price.

    Option 2: Refund XP: +$50. Also refund crapware: -$44. Net refund to user: $6.

    • by kill-1 ( 36256 )

      Exactly. Given the amount of preinstalled crapware on some notebooks, users should be happy that they don't have to pay more for a notebook without Windows.

  • Everybody assumed that MS was selling XP at a seriously low price to netbook OEMs to recapture the market from Linux.

    That's about how much it's worth I guess.

  • by Hymer ( 856453 ) on Sunday November 22, 2009 @04:52PM (#30196206)

    ...it is now up to the manufacturer to decide whether they will give you a refund or tell you to return the PC, just look at MS EULA page [microsoft.com].

  • Well unless Microsoft steps up an provides the refund, this could mean that XP is finally abandonware. Free XP for all? Yeah... I can't imagine MS would go for that.

  • If there is anything I expect Android to provide wrt laptops and netbooks, is a way to buy them without paying MS tax (or Apple Tax).

  • $6 is a good deal (Score:4, Interesting)

    by John Jamieson ( 890438 ) on Sunday November 22, 2009 @05:55PM (#30196658)

    At a conference on the west coast, an industry insider told me that MS basically gave ASUS XP for free (as part of a deal to FUD Linux). That means that ASUS may be loosing money on this "refund".

    Oh, and it also means that ASUS will sell out easily, which makes me interested in ignoring their products.

  • A DIY system build with the Open Source OS of your choice is by far the best route to avoid the Microsoft Tax. I put trying to get a refund for Windows after the fact right up there with mail-in rebates and free upgrade coupons -- in other words, I would not take it into consideration when making a purchasing decision, because I am not going to count on actually getting it. As often as not the vendor (or their hired-gun fulfillment company) will try to screw you, and you're left trying to explain the situat
  • by mark0 ( 750639 ) on Sunday November 22, 2009 @06:43PM (#30197104)
    A 1005HA with Windows 7 starter on Amazon.com: US$336. Same system with Windows XP Home: US$312. Difference: US$24. Subtract that from the US$50 estimate OEM price in the ars technica article and the remainder would be the price Asus is charging for XP home: US$26.
  • So tired of this (Score:4, Insightful)

    by leeosenton ( 764295 ) on Sunday November 22, 2009 @11:40PM (#30199086)
    Why sit around and debate what the proper value of a refund is for a Windows license when you dont want it anyway? What happened to voting with your dollars? Do you want HP, Gateway, Toshiba, and Sony to sell Linux systems? Then buy a machine that comes with an "alternate" OS! I am typing this on my Dell Mini 9 netbook running Linux. I ordered it from them so I could cast a vote for alternate operating systems on new machines. I wiped the Dell Linux (old ubuntu w/ Dell launcher) and loaded UNR, but I wanted my vote to count. Yes, my desktop runs Windows and that is the right OS for the tasks that I do. Linux is the right OS for my little travel machine. I eventually chose another distro, but Dell sold a PC with Linux and got positive feedback from a customer. I actually liked the HP machine a little better, but wanted to support Linux by recording a sale, and I have no regrets. Canonical rewarded me with UNR 9.1 which is most excellent! So, want to thumb your nose at the big boys? Stop supporting them, there are many vendors out there with alternate choices. Vote with your Dollar!

Disraeli was pretty close: actually, there are Lies, Damn lies, Statistics, Benchmarks, and Delivery dates.