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Windows Operating Systems Software The Almighty Buck

Amazon US Refunds Windows License Fee, Too 284

Posted by kdawson
from the sound-of-a-crumbling-business-model dept.
rrohbeck writes "Today Amazon credited my card with $65.45. After ordering an Eee PC 1005 HA from amazon.com, I asked them for a refund for the cost of Windows XP via the 'Contact us' form. At first they told me to cancel any items on my order that I wanted a refund for, but after I explained that XP was pre-installed on the machine they got it. They asked what the cost of the OS was, and I answered that I had no idea but that Amazon UK refunded £40.00. Within a few hours I got a response saying 'I've requested a refund of $65.45 to your Visa card.' Somehow I doubt that Amazon will charge Asus or even Microsoft, but maybe they will one day if more people do this. Oh, and peeling off the 'Designed for Microsoft Windows XP' sticker is easy, too."
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Amazon US Refunds Windows License Fee, Too

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 31, 2009 @09:33AM (#28895217)

    The news about the death of customer service are greatly exaggerated.

  • by inject_hotmail.com (843637) on Friday July 31, 2009 @09:37AM (#28895279)
    Instead of a ~$65 refund, I bet you could peel the sticker off and sell the COA to someone for $100. MS may not like it, but it'll activate on another computer and won't ever fail WGA. You end up with an extra $35 in your pocket, and your friend will have slightly cheaper oem COA. This is especially handy because one cannot buy XP retail anymore.
  • by mcnazar (1231382) on Friday July 31, 2009 @09:46AM (#28895385)

    I did the same with Dell last year when I ordered my XPS M1330. It came with Vista + MS Works (at the time they had no pretend Linux alternative - with lower specs and same price as a Vista laptop).

    I wrote to Dell for a refund and enclosed a printed out screenshot (via digital camera) of me ticking the "I reject license" on Vista bootup and another screenshot of Kubuntu running on the laptop.

    A month later I was refunded £120 + vat for both Vista and Works. Not bad considering the laptop cost £520 - minus M$ Tax = £400.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 31, 2009 @09:46AM (#28895393)
    Newegg still has awesome customer service. They have bent over backwards for me due to my being a repeat customer.
  • Re:Keep the sticker (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 31, 2009 @09:53AM (#28895475)

    I use a glue solvent (want to say orange glo but that could be wrong). There are a few out there. Any office supply store caries them by the gallon (5 bucks tops). Learned that tip from a dude who worked at a video game store and was removing a competitors stickers from his used product that he was selling.

  • by 1s44c (552956) on Friday July 31, 2009 @10:09AM (#28895673)

    Or do you get the refund and the option to continue to use the OS? Surely Amazon isn't tied all the way back through ASUS to Microsoft's licensing servers.

    The point isn't to rob Microsoft. The point is to not pay for something you are not going to use.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 31, 2009 @10:14AM (#28895717)

    It will not activate.

    For quite some time now, all major OEMs have been printing "dummy keys" to the COAs. The official method of recovery (a recovery CD or a recovery partition) never asks for the key as the OS is pre-activated. This official recovery method obviously won't install to anything other than the hardware it was shipped with. Usually it is tied to a specific custom BIOS. If you try to install a standard OEM disc with the key found on the COA, you'll find that the installer won't reject it outright (it will allow you to complete the installation) but when you try to activate, it will instruct you to contact Microsoft by phone.

    I haven't had experiences with laptops but in cases of desktops you can get MS to issue you a new working key by stating that the PC was repaired and this required a motherboard replacement (hence, you had to use a replacement media and this issue came up). For laptops, not sure what would make MS give you a new key - the license is tied to the piece of hardware it was sold with. You are most likely out of luck and have to contact the manufacturer of the hardware. You could try to bluff the droid on the phone by stating the same thing (motherboard was replaced due to fault) and assume that the key doesn't tell if it was bundled with a laptop.

    Before MS and OEMs started doing this, people just wrote down keys off publicly accessible computers and used those to activate standard OEM disc installations. I never quite got the original idea why it was smart to print the valuable product key on a sticker where anyone could snap a picture or write it down, but this was MS we're talking about...

  • by RobotRunAmok (595286) on Friday July 31, 2009 @10:15AM (#28895725)

    ...at least according to this article [sitepoint.com]. The author makes a convincing argument that MS took a bath with that price in order to keep Linux from gaining a toe-hold in the netbook/notebook market, and also credits the threat of Linux Netbook Popularity with the extension of XP to 2010 and modifications of specs on Windows 7. A good read.

  • by RandoX (828285) on Friday July 31, 2009 @10:21AM (#28895811)

    Actually, I was asking about the technical side of it, but thanks for making it an ethical issue.

  • by thoi412 (1604933) on Friday July 31, 2009 @10:27AM (#28895877)
    You can still buy XP from Newegg. XP Home [newegg.com] and XP Professional [newegg.com] are there as well as Media Center Edition.
  • by The Open Sourcerer (1198101) on Friday July 31, 2009 @10:52AM (#28896215) Homepage
    In the EU bundling like this and making the user have to agree to something else after purchasing the product is actually illegal AFAICT. This chap explains it quite well: http://www.3spoken.co.uk/2009/07/eula-and-cars-analogy.html [3spoken.co.uk]
  • by jgostling (1480343) on Friday July 31, 2009 @10:52AM (#28896219)
    Except you can remove the TomTom from the car and sell it aftermarket. The last time I checked an OEM EULA wording (admittedly some time ago) the license was tied to the hardware, so you could not transfer it separately from the hardware.

    Cheers!
  • by dominux (731134) on Friday July 31, 2009 @11:05AM (#28896435) Homepage
    there are still vendors colluding with Microsoft to disregard European Competition policy (page 26 of http://ec.europa.eu/competition/publications/rules_en.pdf [europa.eu])
    from http://www.theopensourcerer.com/2009/07/30/taxing-times-for-free-choice/ [theopensourcerer.com]:

    Dear x,
    Thank you for your response.
    I have been speaking to the Product Managers for the Software and Laptops and they have both advised that we would not issue a refund on the OS.
    You may return the product for a refund if you are within the time period of 28days after purchase but other then that we are not going to be issuing a refund on the OS.
    The Product Manager for the laptops has been speaking to the manufacture and they have come back with the below response regarding the matter:
    'It's a load of rubbish, I don't know where this rumor has come from J we started getting people asking for it on the EEE PC when we first produced the XP versions.
    We get the odd person phoning up saying this to us but no one gives the cost of XP back and I can understand why they think we would.
    I'm sorry we cannot help -- I have never heard of any manufacture or reseller giving the money back.'
    Kind Regards,
    y
    Ebuyer Customer Support Team

    isn't it remarkable that they started getting these requests when they did the XP eeePC! What an uncanny co-incidence.

  • by SoTerrified (660807) on Friday July 31, 2009 @12:43PM (#28897841)
    When I purchased my ASUS EEE 900, all I had to do was check the 'Linux' version and I got my laptop. (And the 20GB HD was nice compared to the 16GB HD on the Windows version.) Now, yes, I did the same thing I did with every other computer I own and wiped the installed OS (Xandros) and replaced it with Debian initially and EEEbuntu currently. But the point is that I didn't have to call anyone to get my money back. I didn't have to convince anyone of anything. I just had to check the "I'm not paying for Windows" button and I got my laptop for a Windows free price. Why can't the vendors just put that back please? Stop making the consumer's life difficult!
  • by aztracker1 (702135) on Friday July 31, 2009 @01:46PM (#28898847) Homepage

    I don't think that it's actually Newegg that makes the credit decisions. I'm pretty sure that the credit is actually supplied by another provider, and that Newegg probably just gets a kickback on the deal.

  • Re:Not very scalable (Score:3, Informative)

    by jejones (115979) on Friday July 31, 2009 @02:57PM (#28899967) Journal

    In the case of the Eee 900A I bought from Best Buy, it looked as if it were designed to make sure no one really wanted Linux on it, as it was set up with a 4 GB SSD and Xandros Linux with UnionFS, so that as soon as it got an Internet connection it downloaded enough updates to fill the SSD and make it unusable.

    I knew enough to wipe Xandros and install Ubuntu Eee (later Easy Peasy)--but Joe Average would stomp back to Best Buy in a snit and ask for his money back or trade up to a different {net, note}book, almost certainly running Windows. It's almost as if ASUS or Best Buy or both wanted Linux to fail so they could dump it while still being able to claim they'd given it a fair chance.

  • by jmorris42 (1458) * <jmorris.beau@org> on Friday July 31, 2009 @03:08PM (#28900149)

    > As a Linux user I don't understand why I'd pay someone to hit next 4 times and partitioning a drive which a 5 year
    > old could do. Even when I talked to Dell they only offered to install the "Big" Linux names.

    Just try it kid. I double dog dare you. The preloads ARE worth it. Just bought three HP Minis and looked at just wiping their over customized Linux off and putting Ubuntu Netbook Remix on. No fracking way, the wired port didn't work, two battery applets would appear at random, the internal speaker didn't work (headphones did), the microphone was useless, etc. Instead I nuked harbour-launcher and reverted gnome-panel back to the stock UNR version and otheriwse kept HP's custom version. Just hit ALT-F2, say "gksudo synaptic" and Bobs yer uncle!

    OEM Preloads are indeed a wonderful new thing and one we should encourage by BUYING them. So get out there and buy one and insist on a preload. Even if you do eventually nuke it and reload you should have a careful look at the preload to learn how they did it. Look for those module options, xorg.conf tweaks and such. These Minis are fully functional out of the box, exactly like a Windows preload, something I have NEVER seen in a laptop before right out of the box.

  • by jbn7343 (1367715) on Saturday August 01, 2009 @04:07AM (#28906999)
    In case you all need a 100% way to get any version of your OS from Micro$oft activated... tell them you had to move it into a VM and now its rejecting it, they provide you will a new key always on the spot.Have personally done this many times.

I judge a religion as being good or bad based on whether its adherents become better people as a result of practicing it. - Joe Mullally, computer salesman

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