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You might be entitled to a refund for Microsoft Windows
and any other related OEM software that may also be
included if you have
a BSD, BeOS,
Windows NT, or
another OS on a machine which came preloaded with MS-Windows*.
This network of pages and web sites offer a place to learn the whys and hows,
and to communicate and organize with other consumers who don't like paying
the "Microsoft tax" for any OEM software they don't want
and have never used on their machine. This is only an
issue because so many OEMs
flatly refuse to sell a machine without Microsoft's OS on it, some
saying that their agreements with Microsoft require them to pay
Microsoft for an OS for that machine, and include one as well. Some OEMs
even go so far as to say that they may not pre-load any non-MS OS. We
feel this is monopolistic, strong-arm, and restrictive of consumer choice.
Following is the most common qualifying refund process:
Please note that so far this has only been proven to apply to people who
have never run the bundled copy of MS-Windows on their
machine, and thus can say they have never accepted the terms of the
MS-Windows license; this entitles them to a refund.
It also appears to be the case, but remains to be legally determined
whether choosing to cease accepting the license, and deleting Windows
also entitles you to a refund. Certainly the EULA (available below)
appears to read that if the software (Windows) does not perform (crashes)
your remedy may be refund. If this is the case, we are no longer talking
about only the OEM versions. Any attornies care to comment?
There is a newsletter and mailing list is being maintained on
Please direct any comments or ideas to the SlashDot discussion as
mentioned in various locations on this page, rather than contacting
various Linux Mall email addresses that have nothing to do with
this effort. Thanks to Matt Jensen at
for getting this all rolling, and Don Marti at
for bringing it to Linux Mall's attention, and finally
Rick Moen at LinuxMafia
where the much of the visible activity is taking place.
There are a many web sites working together on this project, including
Zork, Slashdot, Niestu, Linuxmafia, Netcraft, Deirdre,
Electric Lichen, and Netscape's Open Directory project at dmoz.org.
More are being added all the time (links below).
Together we'll be adding features for coordinating and tracking people's
progress as they fight for their refunds with various vendors.
February 15th, 1999 was Windows Refund day, and the event went well.
Microsoft chose to reward demonstrators in the bay area
with this letter
. "Valued Customers?" who do they think they are kidding?
This was the expected reponse, so Rick Moen already had
these reasonable questions,
which as yet have gone unanswered.
Here is a
You may also see
pictures taken at the rally
by Hironori Sato & Kimiko Shimizu.
Finally, here are two more news stories from
For news from other Locations, see
the Orange County Register
The New York Times
For even more information see the various links below.
- David Chun's survey of manufacturers, June 1998. (Thanks, Clem)
- If you ask to buy a machine without Windows and they refuse, or they
refuse a refund, make sure you register an FTC (Federal Trade Commission) complaint using this form.
- If you want to register a complaint with a particular company or enter a
poll about freedom of choice, register it here with the
Freedom of Choice Poll
The messages will be tallied and compiled and then sent to the appropriate contacts within various companies.
is offering to do the same thing but even more refund specific at their
Windows Refund Resource
Please give both the feedback they need to be effective!
- Geoffrey Bennett's how-I-did-it refund saga.
There is also a discussion on slashdot
of Geoffrey's story.
- Igor's $5 refund
- Leo Schwab's comments
on shrinkwrap licenses, with a link to his well-regarded editorial on them.
- Jim Gleason's "Can't view the license you are agreeing to till after
you buy the software"
New York experience
- The Bay Area refund effort
has been organized, and they even have a FAQ!
- An Orange County
is also coordinating for Feb. 15th.
- There are additional comments on the Refund for Windows action
on slashdot, and story which describes this web site.
- Full Press Coverage, and further links generated by the "Windows Refund effort" are available at both Mozilla.org's
Open Directory, and at Rick Moen's Timeline & Refund Press Coverage page so go take a look!.
- News items of major importance will also be reported on
Linux Mall's home page news
as soon as we hear about them.
- LinuxWorld has a good piece entitled
Windows license opens door for Linux refund.
Waiting for Windows Refund Day? Class Action, Hmmm... If you're having problems with your OEM, show them this article. It's sure to please.
Conversation with Dell customer service Indicates Dell may now be refund friendly? $199?.
A list of
further resources including news, refund efforts and sites around the world is also available.
For all refund-related comments and ideas, use the
article and it's related discussion mentioned above for now.
* - We're not lawyers, so you'll have to come to your own
based on the EULA that came with your computer, and your own
circumstances. Etc. Etc.
"Microsoft, Windows, and/or other Microsoft products referenced herein are
either trademarks or registered trademarks of Microsoft.
Other product and company names mentioned herein may be the trademarks of
their respective owners." The Windows refund effort and this site are not
in any way affiliated with Microsoft.
Windows Refund Effort banner designed and contributed by
36" Penguin - $89.95
18" Penguin - $29.95
10" Penguin - $19.95
6" Penguin - $9.95
4" Penguin - $5.95