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Mozilla Is Investigating Why Dell Is Charging To Install Firefox 306

Posted by samzenpus
from the power-button-surcharge dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Dell is charging customers £16.25 ($27.18) to install Firefox on a newly purchased computer. We contacted Mozilla to find out more. The company told us it is investigating the issue and denied it has any such a deal in place. 'There is no agreement between Dell and Mozilla which allows Dell or anyone else to charge for installing Firefox using that brand name,' Mozilla's Vice President and General Counsel Denelle Dixon-Thayer told TNW. 'Our trademark policy makes clear that this is not permitted and we are investigating this specific report.' Dell has responded by saying that this practice is okay because the company is charging for the service and not the product."
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Mozilla Is Investigating Why Dell Is Charging To Install Firefox

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  • by mmell (832646) <mike.mell@gmail.com> on Wednesday March 05, 2014 @09:24PM (#46414905)
    Oops, just reread. Yeah, they can charge for the service of installing Firefox - they're not selling the browser, they're selling the effort to install it.

    How dull do you have to be to pay someone to do this for you?

  • by js3 (319268) on Wednesday March 05, 2014 @09:24PM (#46414911)

    Someone is willing to pay me 16$ to install firefox, why would the firefox terms and conditions apply to me? I'm not selling their product.

  • Selling the labour (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dittbub (2425592) on Wednesday March 05, 2014 @09:27PM (#46414943)
    Dell also charges to set up bios parameters. Big woop
  • by ThatsMyNick (2004126) on Wednesday March 05, 2014 @09:32PM (#46414983)

    You are free to charge $16 for it. But you may not use the firefox trademark in your ads/product page etc. Dell should move to iceweasel and avoid using mozilla's trademarks. Then again none would pay $16 for installing iceweasel.

  • by Zero__Kelvin (151819) on Wednesday March 05, 2014 @09:42PM (#46415069) Homepage
    You don't seem to understand the situation. Actually, that was me just trying to be nice. You clearly have no understanding of the situation. Dell isn't selling Firefox, they are selling the installation service. This is no different than if you bring your computer to Circuit City and have them re-install Windows for you. In that case Circuit City isn't charging for Windows; they are charging an installation fee.

    While most of us will see this as exactly what it is, to wit capitalizing on the ignorance of their customers, it is certainly legal.
  • Re: First?? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 05, 2014 @09:51PM (#46415141)

    As someone who works in a repair shop I'll be the first to say that people are idiots. Sure they can manage to install programs, they manage to install every crap tool bar and fix it software know to man. The problem is that many people can't seem to find programs like Firefox without clicking on a crap ad or going to a link that bundles Firefox with even more crap software. Don't even try to tell them to type a Web address in to find it either. They usually type it into a search bar and find even more crap. Nothing is more frustrating then telling someone to type a website into the address bar to do remote support only to find that they're typing the address into conduit.

  • by K. S. Kyosuke (729550) on Wednesday March 05, 2014 @09:57PM (#46415189)

    But you may not use the firefox trademark in your ads/product page etc.

    That sounds unreasonable. What about companies offering Windows installation services, do they need to advertise it as "Installing the world's most popular PC operating system" instead?

  • Re: First?? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Scowler (667000) on Wednesday March 05, 2014 @09:58PM (#46415197)
    There are still quite a few customers out there on satellite or dial-up modem service. Firefox install image is pretty small but still probably annoying to download at 56k baud.
  • by atouk (1336461) on Wednesday March 05, 2014 @10:24PM (#46415387)
    I'm pretty sure that OEMs like Dell just use preconfigured master images to flash an install onto a hard drive. The user when he is selecting what to install is the one actually doing all the work, the rest is just a glorified script to create the configured disk. Manually installing the selected programs would take hours per machine. The generated hard drive image takes only as long as the image takes to write to the hard drive.
  • by dnavid (2842431) on Wednesday March 05, 2014 @11:05PM (#46415587)

    Oops, just reread. Yeah, they can charge for the service of installing Firefox - they're not selling the browser, they're selling the effort to install it.

    Dell is skating on thin ice, because they aren't installing Firefox. They themselves admit that "the fee would cover the time and labour involved for factory personnel to load a different image than is provided on the system’s standard configuration." In effect, Dell is charging customers to have their PC loaded with image A rather than image B, and that seems much more like "software distribution" than "installation." If a dude was actually sitting in a factory installing Firefox on that machine, Dell could legitimately charge for that service. But that's not what's happening.

    In fact, its common practice for bundled software to be loaded in a pre-installation state, so that the software actually installs and is configured when the user first logs in. If that's the case, then the actual act of installation occurs when the customer first powers the system on. Dell would only be copying the software binaries onto the PC as part of the factory build. And if that's the case here, Dell isn't "installing Firefox" by any reasonable definition of the words.

  • by SJHillman (1966756) on Thursday March 06, 2014 @07:53AM (#46417675)

    You forgot the 10 seconds to make sure it opens and the 5 seconds to make sure the homepage is something with ads that make Dell more money.

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