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  • Windows Refund Effort

    Windows Refund Center Home Page

    You might be entitled to a refund for Microsoft Windows and any other related OEM software that may also be included if you have installed Linux, a BSD, BeOS, OS/2, Solaris, NetWare, 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:

    A possible 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 Zork.net.

    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 thenoodle.com for getting this all rolling, and Don Marti at Electric Lichen 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 news report. You may also see pictures taken at the rally by Hironori Sato & Kimiko Shimizu. Finally, here are two more news stories from Associated Press , BBC , National Post . For news from other Locations, see the Orange County Register and The New York Times

    For even more information see the various links below.


    For all refund-related comments and ideas, use the slashdot article and it's related discussion mentioned above for now. Thanks!

    * - We're not lawyers, so you'll have to come to your own conclusions 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 Andrew Hreschak


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