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Microsoft Software The Almighty Buck Linux

How to get a Refund on Your Unwanted Windows 409

lisah writes "Serge Wroclawski recently contacted Dell to request a refund on the unwanted copy of Windows XP that came pre-installed on his computer. Somewhat surprisingly, Dell complied. Wroclawski admits that the $52.50 refund was more of a victory in principal than anything else, but it was a success nonetheless. Using his tips and techniques readers can try their hand at getting a refund of their own. Wroclawski cautions that you should be prepared for a long haul: the process could take hours." Linux.com and Slashdot are both owned by OSTG.
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How to get a Refund on Your Unwanted Windows

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  • by $lingBlade ( 249591 ) on Friday January 05, 2007 @04:26PM (#17479278)
    Is it Microsoft or Dell themselves that *require* you to purchase one of their PC's with an O/S? If it's up to Dell at all, my suggestion to them would be to just have that as an option when ordering via phone or internet. Subtract whatever minimal amount they want and thereby save us and them some grief and some money in the process.
    • by armada ( 553343 )
      If its anything like Microsoft's "you must buy windows if you wanna buy DOS!" tactics then i'm guessing this is a loopehole that the Microsofties will patch up quickly.
    • by raehl ( 609729 ) <raehl311@@@yahoo...com> on Friday January 05, 2007 @04:42PM (#17479698) Homepage
      If it's up to Dell at all, my suggestion to them would be to just have that as an option when ordering via phone or internet. Subtract whatever minimal amount they want and thereby save us and them some grief and some money in the process.

      Every option that Dell adds costs them money. Right now, every computer Dell makes has a hard drive in it with Windows installed. They're all the same. If they add an option so that you can select 'No Windows', then they need to start keeping track of which computers have windows on them and which don't.

      Now, obviously, Dell already has lots of options. But you'll note most of those options lead you to spending MORE money, not less money. And how many people really go to Dell to buy a computer and DON'T want windows on it? I would guess that the number is so small that the extra business Dell might get by offering a no-windows option is not worth the cost to them of doing so. Which is a perfectly rational business decision to make.

      On the other hand, if lots of people keep calling up Dell and tying up their customer service reps on the phone doing Windows refunds, they may decide that offering the option is less expensive than fielding the calls (Dell doesn't want to pay people to talk to you on the phone any more than you want to waste time talking on the phone to them). So, if enough people call, the rational business decision might change from 'Always bundle windows' to 'Offer a no-Windows option'. Which is where 'the principle mentioned' in TFA applies.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by $lingBlade ( 249591 )
        Sounds reasonable from a business standpoint, BUT, I'll bet it costs a lot less to have some people in India pick up the phone and go through the refund process and effectively sidestep the whole issue than it would be to make a refund process easy and effective. Why not then, just offer a credit. Option one - new dell pc, you select "no windows" or "no O/S" they give you a credit of say $40 off the price, optione two - new dell pc, you select "no O/S, credit towards peripherals" they give you a credit of
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by grazzy ( 56382 )
        Whats your prefered os?

        [x] None - add 0 bucks
        [] Ubuntu - add 10 bucks installation fee
        [] Winblows - add 53 bucks to feed bill gates prostata fund

        So really..no, it doesnt add cost to them if the default is none. It makes their deals look better - which is the reason for them having all those "options" anyway. "Loook we got servers starting at $350!!!".
        • A DELL Linux distro? (Score:3, Interesting)

          by RKBA ( 622932 )
          Actually I think Dell is in the perfect position to offer at least one or two flavors of Linux/BSD because of their control of the hardware just as Apple has. Controlling both the hardware and software that goes into their machines is Apple's secret to having a stable OS and application suite. For that matter, Dell could even offer it's own distro customized for Dell's standard hardware configurations. If they did that, I might even be tempted to buy a Dell myself instead of putting a machine together from
      • If they add an option so that you can select 'No Windows', then they need to start keeping track of which computers have windows on them and which don't.

        Now, obviously, Dell already has lots of options. But you'll note most of those options lead you to spending MORE money, not less money. And how many people really go to Dell to buy a computer and DON'T want windows on it?

        I believe this stems from a court case MS lost.

        Initially, MS said to vendors "if you want to sell any computers with our OS on it, you mu

      • by sharkey ( 16670 ) on Friday January 05, 2007 @05:32PM (#17480624)

        Every option that Dell adds costs them money. Right now, every computer Dell makes has a hard drive in it with Windows installed. They're all the same. If they add an option so that you can select 'No Windows', then they need to start keeping track of which computers have windows on them and which don't.

        You mean something like this? [dell.com]

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by gmack ( 197796 )
          It's not that helpful. The difference in price is $21 once you configure the two computers to have exactly the same hardware.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by SeaFox ( 739806 )

        Now, obviously, Dell already has lots of options. But you'll note most of those options lead you to spending MORE money, not less money. And how many people really go to Dell to buy a computer and DON'T want windows on it? I would guess that the number is so small that the extra business Dell might get by offering a no-windows option is not worth the cost to them of doing so. Which is a perfectly rational business decision to make.

        I would have to say I saw quite a few options to spend less when I bought my

      • by mjm1231 ( 751545 ) on Friday January 05, 2007 @06:07PM (#17481274)
        Right now, every computer Dell makes has a hard drive in it with Windows installed

        This is 100% verifiably false. Currently, Dell is offering the Precision Workstation 690 with Red Hat WS v4. The base model is 59 dollars cheaper than an identical base model with Windows XPSP2. As for keeping track of which computers have Windows on them and which don't, surely this is easier than keeping track of which computers have had a Windows refund issued? (Here's an idea... just don't put the Windows OEM sticker on the computers that don't have Windows installed.)

        Whenever I am pricing a Dell system, I will go in through the various choices of Home, Small Business, Large Business, etc. They run different specials under each system and don't ask for proof that you are a large or small business to let you order from those categories. Every now and then, under one category but not the others, they offer one of their lower end desktop systems (which generally aren't available installed with Red Hat) with FreeDos as an option for the OS, for a savings of about 60US$ less than with XP Home. It's pretty clear Dell sets the retail value of OEM Windows at around 60 dollars.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Alchemar ( 720449 )
        That would be true with any other computer supplier, but not Dell. Dell success is due to a business model of stocking parts instead of stocking computers. You order a computer and they either pull the 80 Gig hard drive from Bin A, the 120 Gig hard drive from Bin B, or the 160 Gig harddrive from bin C. The only cost would be having to have the extra bins for one hard drive w/ windows and one hard drive without for each harddrive option. The drives that do not have windows installed would not need to be
    • by Penguinisto ( 415985 ) on Friday January 05, 2007 @04:52PM (#17479874) Journal
      Depends on what model and type you're talking about for Dell's wares. All Dell Servers and most business desktops usually have a "No OS" option (we've ordered most of ours that way), and the servers do have an option for RHEL pre-installed + RHEL subscription IIRC. They even have dedicated Linux guys at the help desk (which you always seem to have to go through even if you're just wanting to replace a bum hard drive... urgh).

      /P

    • Microsoft "negotiated" terms for giving OEMs better rates on Windows. Bottom line is that if hardware vendors don't put an OS on each and every PC/ laptop that they sell they end up paying more for Windows.

      The effect is that the Microsoft Tax becomes great enough that the hardware vendor can't compete with other vendors who get Windows for a cheaper price. Being that Microsoft has a monopoly on operating systems any vendor that doesn't go along goes out of business.

      Microsoft originally required that only
    • by cyberfunkr ( 591238 ) on Friday January 05, 2007 @05:46PM (#17480870)

      The fact that everyone seems to forget/ignore is that the cost of installing Windows is not a big factor when pricing out a system.

      Dell DOES offer machines without Windows. However they end up costing MORE than the version with Windows. Why is this? Because along with installing Windows XP (or Vista soon) they install a lot of crapware. RealPlayer, MusicMatch, AOL, and a host of others are being installed in that system that's built "Just for you".

      And each one of those companies pay Dell every time they are included on your system. Just like you'll see computers that are $299, after mail-in rebate. That mail-in rebate is you have to sign-up for 2-years of CompuServe and they'll help pay for your computer. You can buy a computer without Windows and without all this extra crap but you're going to pay more for it because these other companies are giving a kickback.

      There is a program out there called "The PC Decrapifier [yorkspace.com]". Here is a list of all the "extras" that help lower the cost of your Dell system.

      • QuickBooks Trial
      • NetZero Installers
      • Earthlink Setup Files
      • Corel Photo Album 6
      • Tiscali Internet
      • Wanadoo Europe Installer
      • Get High Speed Internet!
      • Internet Service Offers Launcher
      • Dell Search Assistant
      • Norton Ghost 10.0
      • Symantec Live Update
      • MS Plus Photo Story 2LE
      • MS Plus Digital Media Installer
      • McAffee
      • Norton Internet Security
      • Google Desktop
      • Google Toolbar
      • AOL US
      • AOL UK
      • MusicMatch Jukebox
      • MusicMatch Music Services
      • Wild Tangent Games
      • Norton AntiVirus 2005
      • Norton Security Center
      • Norton AntiSpam
      • PC-cillin Internet Security 12
      • Corel Snapfire Plus SE
      • Yahoo! Music Jukebox
      • Vongo
      • Desktop Icons
      • Startup Menu Items
      • Corel WordPerfect
      • Roxio RecordNow
      • Sonic DLA
      • Sonic Update Manager
      • Sonic RecordNow Audio
      • Sonic RecordNow Copy
      • Roxio MyDVD LE
      • Microsoft Office Standard Edition 2003
      • Quicken 2006

      So what does this all mean? To save money, buy the PC *with* Windows, then follow this guys advice to return the OS. Then send a thank you to Corel, Sonic, Roxio, Real, Google, McAfee, Symantec, and AOL for helping you buy the Linux system you really wanted in the first place.

  • My way? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by armada ( 553343 ) on Friday January 05, 2007 @04:26PM (#17479284)
    I thought dell built the computer exactly how YOU wanted it? Why not order it with No windows to begin with?
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by jo42 ( 227475 )
      You can have any OS with your Dell as long as it matches "Windows *".
      • by Who235 ( 959706 )
        Not so. They have open source desktops now. You get it with FreeDOS I think, and then you are free to load your distro of choice.
        • by dan828 ( 753380 )
          Been that way for a while, it's just hard to find the 'n' version of their current models on the website.
          • by dan828 ( 753380 )
            Here's the link to Dell's N-series (no OS) page:

            http://www.dell.com/content/products/features.as px/nseries?c=us&cs=04&l=en&s=bsd&redirect=1
    • Re:My way? (Score:4, Funny)

      by cloudkiller ( 877302 ) on Friday January 05, 2007 @04:30PM (#17479396) Homepage Journal
      Have you listened to those stupid commercials? In case not, here is an official transcript. Joe Sixpack: "I want a computer." Dell-Idiot: "Let's build you a custom dell." Joe Sixpack: "Cool. I want to play games on it." Dell-Idiot: "Lets upgrade you to a massive 19" flat panel and an intel processor" Joe Sixpack: "Awesome, that's like totally customized." Dell-Idiot: "Your super-customized computer will be at your doorstep in just three days" Joe Sixpack: "I rock."
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      I thought dell built the computer exactly how YOU wanted it? Why not order it with No windows to begin with?

      Their agreement with MS forces them. To get the really good OEM prices, they have to have an OS on every machine they sell. They have been getting around this by loading either Redhat or a version of DOS. The demand has not been very high though.

  • by fragMasterFlash ( 989911 ) on Friday January 05, 2007 @04:27PM (#17479286)
    Can I hire someone in China to go through the refund process for me for a fraction of the refund amount?
  • 1. What computer companies would do if thousands of people followed this example? (freak)

    2. Could you do the same thing with Mac OSX (even though it is a *INX variant with a pretty shell)?

    Anybody want to volunteer for either or both?
    • by faedle ( 114018 )
      As to question 2: No, probably not. Since you are buying both the OS and the computer from Apple, and the EULA covers both items, the legal remedy would be for you to return the entire computer to Apple for a refund on the whole purchase price.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      Could you do the same thing with Mac OSX (even though it is a *INX variant with a pretty shell)?

      OSX isn't just a *NIX variant with a pretty shell.
      What makes OSX OSX is the platform built on top of the core: the Cocoa and Carbon APIs and the Aqua UI. The core is largely irrelevant (indeed NextStep had an both BSD and NT versions of Cocoa; Apple only chose the BSD version because they didn't want dependence on MS for their OS core). You belittle OSX to bring it down to the level of Linux. The Linux distros
    • by iamacat ( 583406 )
      1. They would offer PCs with Fedora, of course
      2. This would probably be an option if Apple charged Apple an OEM fee for each copy of MacOSX bundled.
  • Wait for Vista (Score:3, Insightful)

    by moore.dustin ( 942289 ) on Friday January 05, 2007 @04:30PM (#17479364) Homepage
    Wait for Vista to come out to get a bigger discount (if possible to get any). Right now though, if you get XP on a new machine then you are probably going to get the Vista upgrade, which is going to be worth it considering the likely cost of a new license.

    Also, do not expect companies to start selling OS free computers anytime soon. They make a good profit off charging for the OS (built into price)
    • I tried that back in late 2001 by asking Dell if they could send it with Windows 2000 instead of XP - they wound up wanting to charge an extra $100 for that option, as Win2k was no longer (by that time) a supported OS option for the Inspiron 8100 laptops

      /P

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 05, 2007 @04:31PM (#17479414)
    A lot of people have tried this since the "Windows Refund Day" back in 1999. http://linuxmafia.com/refund/ [linuxmafia.com] Not many have been successful.
  • Makes One Wonder... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by EXTomar ( 78739 ) on Friday January 05, 2007 @04:32PM (#17479434)
    Why Microsoft can't sell a copy of Windows XP to anyone for $52. I'm not sure why "volume discount" or OEM relationships are exactly a satisfactory answer either.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by syrinx ( 106469 )
      I suppose mainly because people are obviously willing to pay $89 for it, so why should they sell it for less?
    • by planetmn ( 724378 ) on Friday January 05, 2007 @04:45PM (#17479752)
      Is this an honest question?

      Volume discounts are a very good answer. First of all, if your partner (in this case, Dell), can guarentee you a certain number of sales, and your marginal cost for each OEM unit is nearly $0, it's definately in your favor to give them a discount.

      Second, supply and demand. $52 may be all Dell is willing to pay to put Windows on their systems. Whereas for somebody going out and buying a boxed copy, they are apparently willing to pay more.

      Third, support costs. If Dell is selling the software, and willing to be the first line of support, that means that they are willing to take on support costs and therefore lower Microsofts.

      Fourth, distribution costs. Shipping thousands of OEM copies to one customer (Dell) is much cheaper than shipping thousands of retail boxed copies to multiple customers (retailers). Also, since you don't have to print up a box and packaging, creating those OEM copies is much cheaper.

      Preferential pricing occurs in virtually any market and for the same reasons it occurs in the OS market. Just because it's Windows doesn't mean it's any different than selling other items.

      -dave
      • by alexhs ( 877055 )

        Second, supply and demand. $52 may be all Dell is willing to pay to put Windows on their systems. Whereas for somebody going out and buying a boxed copy, they are apparently willing to pay more.

        You got that one wrong. And it's wrong because MS is a monopoly.

        If Dell doesn't want to pay more than $52 and MS doesn't want to sell it for less than $53, what happens ?

        The price is studied to maximize profit. If the price was higher, the final price of the whole computer would be higher, less would be sold, and both Dell and MS would get less profit. Well, see price point [wikipedia.org] if needed, Wikipedia has more fluent English than me :P .

      • You also forgot (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 )
        Retail markup. The retailer has to be able to make money on that software, or they aren't going to carry it. You can't sell a retailer something for $50 and tell them to sell it for $50, they'll probably want to sell it for $100. When Dell refunds you money, they aren't refunding the marked up price, since the markup is on the whole PC, they refund you their purchase price. Also their markup on the software is probably lower since it's just part of a whole package to make the package more attractive.

        FYI MS
    • by Infinityis ( 807294 ) on Friday January 05, 2007 @04:50PM (#17479830) Homepage
      They can't sell copies of Windows XP for the same cost because of the physical media involved...I reckon it takes an extra ten cents to print a nifty genuine hologram, and $36.40 goes to the RIAA because someone might figure out how to use the CD to pirate music.
    • I'm not sure why "volume discount" or OEM relationships are exactly a satisfactory answer either.

      Because by buying a very large block of product from MS the OEM alleviates the need for MS to send out sales reps, build POS materials, advertise, additional packaging, etc etc etc. These costs are substantial and by passing on the savings to the same people who help MS get around the bad noise of single user marketing they ensure a favorable marketshare while not having to sacrifice profit margins to overhead
    • by jfengel ( 409917 )
      "Volume discounts" mean that Dell is taking some of the work load from Microsoft. Microsoft does less support because they don't get phone calls from Dell employees who are wondering whether they need a new driver (or if they do, they get it from only one employee). Dell sells the customer a box with Windows already installed and ready to go, perfectly compatible with the hardware, and that's valuable to Microsoft.

      But pricing is always a complicated thing. The question is never, "Why can't they...?" but "W
    • How much is 1 + 1? And 2 isn't a satifactory answer.
  • Discussed Before (Score:4, Informative)

    by Daemonstar ( 84116 ) on Friday January 05, 2007 @04:37PM (#17479560)
    I think we've discussed this before here [slashdot.org]. It's not the same person, but it's pretty much the same story (the other one involves a laptop from Dell). One difference is that it looks like the other guy got more of a refund ($89).
  • by mandelbr0t ( 1015855 ) on Friday January 05, 2007 @04:39PM (#17479598) Journal

    ...Most people who don't run Windows on an x86 PC build their own.

    ...I got just as much satisfaction by tearing the Windows license off my laptop (there's a spot on the laptop chassis marked COA, like it can't work without it) and removing the little sticker that says "Designed for Windows XP"

    Unfortunately, it's just not worth the time when you're really just stroking your ego.

    mandelbr0t
  • What's for sale ? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by quiberon2 ( 986274 )
    The thing the retailer is selling and warranting is 'Personal Computer with Microsoft Windows'. The OEM is buying permissions-to-copy from Microsoft, doing the copying, and selling the resulting 'Personal Computer with Windows' as a bundle to the retailer; rather like 'A textbook with printed pages'.

    If you want an Intel-processor-powered computer without Windows, you can buy them from IBM, HP, Sun, etc; they are Server-type computers. Usually they are noisier becuase they have machine-room-type fans.

    Yeah,

  • by dpbsmith ( 263124 ) on Friday January 05, 2007 @04:48PM (#17479802) Homepage
    Unless you can get millions of people to do this en masse, this does more harm than good. It gives Dell and Microsoft a perfect opportunity to say:

    "Anyone can return Windows for a refund. (Naturally we take just a few simple, reasonable precautions to ensure that people don't abuse the process.) Of umpteen godzillion copies of Windows bundled with Dell PCs last year, Dell's records show that the total number returned for a refund is... twenty-two[or whatever the number is].

    This proves what we've been saying all along. Virtually everyone loves Windows, nobody really minds paying for it. Of the reported 5% [or whatever it is] of Dell customers using Linux, obviously the vast, vast majority of them also enjoying the copy of WIndows that came with their PC and think it is worth far, far more than $52.50.

    It also shows, as we've been saying all along, that there's absolutely no need to make available PCs that are not preloaded with Windows. Anyone that doesn't want it can return it, as is proved by the twenty-two who did. Clearly it's not worth the effort of generating an extra SKU just to serve twenty-two eccentrics."
    • by rlp ( 11898 )
      In addition to the $52 there's the cost of customer care staff that the author had to argue with. Customer care costs can add up (even outsourced customer care). If enough people did this, Dell would have to either offer a no OS option, or may simply refuse to offer any refunds under any condition.

      Dell has always seemed ambivalent about Linux. I recently bought a E521 desktop. I set it up dual-boot (hence I will NOT apply for a refund) with XP and Ubuntu. Ubuntu installed fine, but then the mouse curso
      • Dell quietly released a BIOS upgrade on January 2, 2007. I upgraded my machine, booted in Ubuntu and viola - the problem was gone.

        They fixed it? That's actually much more than I would have expected from them.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by whoever57 ( 658626 )
        and viola - the problem was gone.
        There was music? [wikipedia.org] Or do you mean "voila!"?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by SWroclawski ( 95770 )
      I've kept low profile on the Slashdot comments to my article, but I just don't agree with you here.

      The argument that anyone could return Windows has /always/ been there. Unless you believe in laws like UCITA (which luckily hasn't passed in most states), you could always return your unwanted Windows.

      I believe that perhaps 1-2% of laptops being sold are running some other operating system than Microsoft Windows (not including those from Apple or Sun). Most people, even now, don't know they can get a Windows r
    • I don't think Windows-cide en masse would be very effective. Better to do it by the death of a thousand cuts.

      Also, I fail to see how it could do more harm than good. Let's say they're not offering a no-OS option on a laptop. There are three basic scenarios: nobody requests a Windows refund (your proposal), a small number (I'll use 22) of people request it (this seems to be your fear), or a lot of people request it.

      • Scenario 1: Nobody requests a Windows refund.
      • Result 1: they continue to not offer a no-O
  • $52? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by heatdeath ( 217147 ) on Friday January 05, 2007 @04:49PM (#17479818)
    Since Microsoft contracts out with hardware vendors, there's no actual way to know how much Windows costs a given retailer. This being the case, I was asking for the price of an OEM copy of Windows XP Home SP2 that I found on Newegg, which was $89. In the end they gave me $52.50.

    Try $20 or $25...they paid you $52.50 because it was worth $52.50 to make you leave them alone. Whether you agree with bundling deals or not, making Dell have to deal with you on the phone for several hours and making them pay you money because you don't agree with how they sell their product is a really jerkish thing to do.
    • Re:$52? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by kyouteki ( 835576 ) <kyouteki@NoSpAm.gmail.com> on Friday January 05, 2007 @05:04PM (#17480104) Homepage

      From the Windows XP Home EULA:

      You agree to be bound by the terms of this EULA by installing, copying, or otherwise using the software. If you do not agree, do not install, copy, or use the software; you may return it to your place of purchase for a full refund

      If he did not, in fact, agree to be bound by the terms of the EULA, he had every right to ask for a refund.

  • The sad thing is... (Score:5, Informative)

    by vhogemann ( 797994 ) <victor.hogemann@com> on Friday January 05, 2007 @05:11PM (#17480224) Homepage
    I bought my current notebook, an Acer Travelmate 2420, with Windows XP pre-installed...

    I really tried to find a notebook with Linux pre-instaled, or at least without Windows. And to my surprise, the cheaper ones are those shipping with Windows!

    Mind you that I live at Brazil, and import taxes and such may distort the prices a little... But the shocking truth is, at least here, if you want a notebook without Windows, you have to pay MORE for it.
  • I understand that its cool to "fight the good fight" and "take a moral stand" and all that. But quite frankly, $52.50 is not worth the hours it would take me to get it. I can use that time for something more productive with a better pay rate.
  • The OEM version of Windows Dell includes may not be the version of Windows the end user wants -- this affects Windows users as well as Linux users. If you want to run a dual boot Linux/Windows machine mostly in Linux, the Dell XP OEM will not run in a virtual machine like

    VMWare. So you have to buy another generic XP Pro OEM copy, for perhaps USD 139.

    In a business, re-imaging a mixture a Dell/Non-Dell machines requires a non-Dell OEM version of XP (generic XP OEM works on Dells, but Dell XP only works o

  • $52.50 (Score:4, Funny)

    by dino213b ( 949816 ) on Friday January 05, 2007 @05:19PM (#17480392)
    In theory, one could use that money to purchase World of Warcraft: Burning Crusade. If this Windows refund effort is done on a "patch Tuesday", even the time could be justified in lieu of Blizzard maintenance down-time.
    • If you spend your time playing World Of Warcraft, your probably far too overweight, pallid and weak to get up from your computer chair and go down to the computer store for a refund anyway...
  • I admire the author's perseverence and intent, and I did not RTFA but I think he got reamed. Here [dell.com] is what Dell charges for a copy of XP home. A $52 refund? Good try.
    • $52 is probably a fair enough price since the OS came pre-loaded on the computer itself; I'm sure that MS would give a volume discount to Dell for this purpose alone. Buying the OS separately in a box is a whole other issue. There are quite a few comments further up the page that can explain this to you.
  • by MythMoth ( 73648 ) on Friday January 05, 2007 @05:28PM (#17480546) Homepage
    I bought a Dell the other day. I'll be trying to get a refund for my XP license, just as a matter of principle, since I'm installing Linux (Ubuntu). However, on boot up this machine (an Inspiron 1300) does not display an option to reject the EULA. Instead it displays a message saying that "pressing any key" indicates acceptance of the license!

    If you accepted that at face value, that would mean that hitting the off "key" would accept the license. Removing the battery and power cord allows you to switch off without hitting a key I suppose, but how are you supposed to use it if you can never press the keys again?

    Ok, that's obviously an excessively paranoid interpretation and I doubt a court would hold that to be a reasonable interpretation even in the unlikely event that Dell were foolish enough to press the point, but it does demonstrate a very dubious use of an EULA.

    In practice I expect Dell will pony up the money. We'll see.
  • Check out HP (Score:5, Informative)

    by markdavis ( 642305 ) on Friday January 05, 2007 @07:45PM (#17482698)
    You need to check out HP... suddenly EVERY SINGLE ONE of their business computers is available as a "Linux" model (actually a freeDOS install) and the amount saved is MUCH more than a measly $52. On a lower priced model, you can save 25% on the cost of the computer:

    For example...

    HP site: HP Compaq 2000 series (two models):

    dx2200 microtower base model, MS-Windows XP Pro $637
    dx2200 microtower base model, MS-Windows XP Home $557
    dx2200 microtower base model, "Alternate OS" $487

    Wow! $150 difference from XP Pro and $70 from XP Home! That is the *FIRST TIME* I have *EVER* seen a true, correct, and reasonable difference in the price. Could HP be doing something neat? I actually checked EVERY LINE of the quote to make sure that wasn't a mistake.

    So... in this case, you really can avoid an almost 24% tax!

    Certainly that is the only model. NO- they offer "configure Linux PC" on the entire 5000 line (4 more models) and get this- the difference is *$167* this time. And $160 on the entire 7000 line (three more models). In fact, every single small, medium, and large business line and even workstation line is available with "Alternate OS" (even business laptops!). You only lack the choice with their "Home" computers. Good going, HP!

    I am not saying that MS-Windows isn't *worth* the $160 to some people. But it is worth $0 to people that want to install something other than MS-Windows or already own an MS-Windows individual or site license.

    Now we need HP to do this with their home line too, and hopefully the other vendors will follow.
  • by Kagato ( 116051 ) on Friday January 05, 2007 @09:04PM (#17483432)
    Dell needs Windows to make money. Have you ever purchased a Dell? There is incredible amount of shareware and crippleware on a Dell. Do you think Dell is including this software out of the goodness of it's heart? No, everything icon added on the build was paid for. And if you've bought a Dell, specially Dell Home PC there's A LOT of paid placement.
  • by MarkWatson ( 189759 ) on Saturday January 06, 2007 @12:07AM (#17484892) Homepage
    Sure, provide Windows but make the Windows partition 50% of the disk.

    Then it is easier to install Linux for dual boot. Dell spends very little on OEM Windows licenses so the cost to me of having Windows is very small. However, getting a PC with half the disk unused makes life simpler.

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