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posted by martyb on Tuesday March 02 2021, @05:20PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the windows-refund dept.

The Free Software Foundation Europe(FSFE) (no connections to the Free Software Foundation(FSF), despite the name) has logged a win in Italy in court for the freedom to choose the operating system on new computers. Luca Bonissi won after two years of court battles. He won the first round in a kind of small claims court, but Lenovo responded by lawyering up and attacking. The court eventually rejected all of Lenovos argument, confirming that the right to reimbursment for pre-installed software is due. Further, an additional 20k EUR in damages were awarded to Bonissi.

In a historic judgment in Italy, in a case initiated by FSFE supporter Luca Bonissi, Lenovo was ordered to pay 20,000 euros in damages for abusive behaviour in denying to refund the price of a pre-installed Windows licence. In a motivating gesture for the Free Software cause, Luca donated 15,000 euros to the FSFE.

[...] It should go without saying that everyone should be able to freely choose the operating system to run on their personal computers. Free Software is about granting the liberty for people to freely run software they desire and, consequently, decline the software not respecting their freedom. But Microsoft and the vast majority of hardware manufacturers dishonour this principle by dictating which operating system their customers must use, forcing them to run Windows even when they simply do not want to.

See also the FSFE Windows Refund Guide and the Racketware Guide about how to avoid the Windows Tax.

Previously:
(2014) Windows Tax now Illegal in Italy


Original Submission

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Windows Tax now Illegal in Italy 34 comments

Italy's High Court has struck a blow to the practice of forcing non-free software on buyers of PCs and laptops. According to La Repubblica [Google translation], the court ruled on Thursday that a laptop buyer was entitled to receive a refund for the price of the Microsoft Windows license on his computer.

The judges sharply criticised the practice of selling PCs only together with a non-free operating system as "a commercial policy of forced distribution". The court slammed this practice as "monopolistic in tendency". It also highlighted that the practice of bundling means that end users are forced into using additional non-free applications due to compatibility and interoperability issues, whether they wanted these programs or not.

"This decision is both welcome and long overdue", said Karsten Gerloff, President of the Free Software Foundation Europe. "No vendor should be allowed to cram non-free software down the throats of users."

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  • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 02 2021, @05:46PM (6 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 02 2021, @05:46PM (#1118937)

    I suspect the core issue is not the forcing of an OS to use, but the mandatory payment for a Windows license.

    • (Score: 1, Troll) by wisnoskij on Wednesday March 03 2021, @01:19PM (5 children)

      by wisnoskij (5149) <reversethis-{moc ... ksonsiwnohtanoj}> on Wednesday March 03 2021, @01:19PM (#1119384)

      But who pays for Windows? I do not know how it works over in Europe, but Windows gives their OS away over here, and manufacturers pay a small fee to have it installed on their laptops because it makes them more salable. But that price is not really passed onto the consumer directly. Also, you might as well remove the keyboard and batter and ask for a reimbursement, saying you do not plan on ever using out side of docking mode.

      • (Score: 2) by Immerman on Wednesday March 03 2021, @04:08PM (4 children)

        by Immerman (3985) on Wednesday March 03 2021, @04:08PM (#1119464)

        >But that price is not really passed onto the consumer directly.

        Since when to manufacturers swallow *any* product costs? Every penny paid to produce a product translates directly to more than a penny increase in the sales price. Gotta maintain those profit margins after all, they're the whole point of the endeavor.

        • (Score: 2) by wisnoskij on Wednesday March 03 2021, @04:28PM (3 children)

          by wisnoskij (5149) <reversethis-{moc ... ksonsiwnohtanoj}> on Wednesday March 03 2021, @04:28PM (#1119474)

          The OS preinstalled not only allows them to sell millions of more units, which results in savings of scale to more than pay for the windows license. But also allows them to preinstall trial software which they make a profit on. Additionally, these manufacturers are only paying like $10-$25 per license.

          These laptops do not have a Microsoft tax, they get a MS rebate.

          If you want a $10 refund for not using Windows, you will also have to reimburse the company for all the crapware that you avoided.

          • (Score: 2) by Immerman on Wednesday March 03 2021, @04:56PM (2 children)

            by Immerman (3985) on Wednesday March 03 2021, @04:56PM (#1119483)

            Yes, MS gives volume pricing to hardware producers that's far cheaper than a retail license - I think pretty much everyone knows that, and it's not really relevant - pretty much every case of refunds I've heard of in the last 20+ years has been a refund of the volume price, not retail.

            As for the crapware - that's a separate issue. Those fees may well have paid for some or all of the Windows license, maybe even more, and some of that money probably went to lowering the sticker price to be more competitive. But I'd bet good money that the contracts with the crapware companies say nothing about giving them refunds if the consumer removes the crapware, or even the OS, (and if you had anyone computer-savvy in your circle, removing crapware was something that happened within the first week or so of ownership). So why on Earth would you expect consumers to reimburse manufacturers, when manufacturers don't reimburse the crapware makers?

            Now, if you were able to order a bare machine rather than with Windows the deal would be different - you'd never get the crapware or OS, so yeah, you'd expect to pay the full amount without the crapware "discount"... but you'd still be paying for the Windows license you didn't get, because the manufacturers contract with MS charged per computer sold, regardless of whether it had Windows installed. Generally speaking the only way to not pay the MS tax was to buy from a manufacturer that didn't sell Windows computers at all. Which mostly meant building it yourself, or possibly bare-bones "kits" (sometimes though rarely pre-assembled) from companies that sold components and didn't produce their own Windows PCs at all.

            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 03 2021, @05:22PM (1 child)

              by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 03 2021, @05:22PM (#1119493)

              The crapware sellers paid for the computer to boot with them installed. They realised that most people will uninstall or not use them, but I think it would be common sence that whenn the customer returned this copy of Windows he also returned the crapware along with it, and since he returned an item worth negative x dollars he should have to pay that, and it should be passed along to the crapware sellers.

              I obviously have not read any crapware contracts, but this seems like a common sence application of the law. When you return something you also return everything in it. I would be interrested in seeing any laws relaited to negative value goods. I know consumers do not interact with them very often (beens come to mind), but their are many negative value goods in the industrial sphere and I suspect it is well established that in the case where returns are permited, the returner haso to reimburse the money they were paid to take the negative value goods.

              • (Score: 2) by Immerman on Wednesday March 03 2021, @07:39PM

                by Immerman (3985) on Wednesday March 03 2021, @07:39PM (#1119551)

                > it would be common sence
                We're talking law - common sense has nothing to do with it.

                >The crapware sellers paid for the computer to boot with them installed.
                I very much doubt that - that would require a contract that bound a third party that is not a signatory to the contract (you), which is illegal and unenforceable.

                The crapware makers paid for their software to be pre-installed on the computer when delivered, in the hopes that it'd end up in the hands of a sucker that used it. That's it. And the PC maker delivered. You were never part of that arrangement, and unless you explicitly attempt to separately return the crapware, you retain the license to run that software, and the crapware makers would be delighted if you did. You don't need Windows to do that - lots of other OSes feature a compatibility layer.

                Because lets be clear - you are NOT returning a copy of Windows. Copies of Windows can be downloaded free direct from Microsoft. You can't actually do much with it without a license though, and *that* is what you are returning: a *license* that allows you to use Windows. Returning the license does nothing to the computer - all the crapware is still fully installed and licensed in your now un-licensed copy of Windows.

  • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 02 2021, @05:46PM (16 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 02 2021, @05:46PM (#1118938)

    I want to run Windows on my M1 Mac... gonna make Tim Cook pay me for pre-installing that MacOS crap.

    • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 02 2021, @05:57PM (6 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 02 2021, @05:57PM (#1118944)

      Yup, that will be the maker's logical next step.

      The long, 87 page, 4 point font, shrink wrap license you have to agree to before you purchase the computer will have clause number 784 added:

      784) The purchaser hereby acknowledges that the hardware includes a pre-installed, and pre-paid, license for the Microsoft Windows 10 operating system and the purchaser hereby acknowledges:

      1) that the hardware is sold as a package, hardware plus the pre-installed operating system combined

      2) that the two components are inseperable

      3) that the purchase price of the license to said software is included as part of the overall purchases price for the package

      4) that under no conditions shall the purchaser be entitled to any refund, or other remuneration, for the hardware having been offered for sale in said package form including said bundled software license as part of the combined package

      • (Score: 2) by Runaway1956 on Tuesday March 02 2021, @06:31PM

        by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday March 02 2021, @06:31PM (#1118955) Homepage Journal

        And, all that is necessary in response to that, is a court decision that the clause is unjust and unenforceable. Said decision to be backed up by every appeal court, all the way up to the Supreme Court of whichever nation suit is filed in.

        Of course, that won't happen until an overwhelming number of "consumers" stand up as voters, and demand consumer rights that mean something.

        --
        “If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn't thinking.” ― George S. Patton on Ukraine
      • (Score: 4, Informative) by citizenr on Tuesday March 02 2021, @06:38PM (3 children)

        by citizenr (2737) on Tuesday March 02 2021, @06:38PM (#1118958)

        EULAs are a non legally binding toilet paper in EU.

        • (Score: 3, Funny) by DannyB on Tuesday March 02 2021, @07:29PM (2 children)

          by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday March 02 2021, @07:29PM (#1118982) Journal

          It seems so unfair that you cannot be bound to a EULA in the box, with a binding clause on the outside of the package:

          By opening this product box, you agree to all terms of the EULA which is included with the product in the box.

          --
          Nature abhors a machine that removes dust from the living space.
          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 02 2021, @09:14PM (1 child)

            by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 02 2021, @09:14PM (#1119044)

            That would still be illegal in the EU. The appropriate moment to establish a contract would be at the moment of sale, not thereafter. "Opening this product box" usually happens post-sale (most common exception is if you don't intend to pay for it, in which case you probably don't care about the EULA either).

            • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Tuesday March 02 2021, @10:52PM

              by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday March 02 2021, @10:52PM (#1119092) Journal

              All it takes is a small change to the Uniform Commercial Code to establish a contract with you the moment you see the box on the store shelf or online web page. This is how they first made click-through EULAs legal. The only problem is that nobody reads click through EULAs.

              --
              Nature abhors a machine that removes dust from the living space.
      • (Score: 3, Interesting) by maxwell demon on Tuesday March 02 2021, @08:58PM

        by maxwell demon (1608) on Tuesday March 02 2021, @08:58PM (#1119038) Journal

        Or maybe they will change the offer: You buy a Windows license with a computer included (the same way you buy a phone contract with a phone included). Since the main sold item was a Windows license, you cannot give that back separately; you could give back the computer separately, but since the Windows license is bound to that computer, it won't do you any good.

        --
        The Tao of math: The numbers you can count are not the real numbers.
    • (Score: 2) by leon_the_cat on Tuesday March 02 2021, @07:07PM (1 child)

      by leon_the_cat (10052) on Tuesday March 02 2021, @07:07PM (#1118972) Journal

      They did mention during the court case that Tim Cook is a really big cazzo.

    • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Tuesday March 02 2021, @07:31PM (1 child)

      by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday March 02 2021, @07:31PM (#1118983) Journal

      I want to run Windows on my M1 Mac

      What if you want to run Linux on your M1 Mac instead of the included OS?

      --
      Nature abhors a machine that removes dust from the living space.
      • (Score: 2) by toddestan on Friday March 05 2021, @03:36AM

        by toddestan (4982) on Friday March 05 2021, @03:36AM (#1120162)

        The problem is that you can't really pin down a number for a cost of a MacOS license like you can do for Windows. The reason is that Apple simply doesn't sell MacOS as a separate product. It comes bundled with a new Mac, of course. But as Apple provides updates for MacOS at no cost, in some ways MacOS can be considered "free" - it just happens to be tied to some very expensive hardware dongles.

    • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 02 2021, @08:57PM (2 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 02 2021, @08:57PM (#1119036)

      I want to run Windows on my M1 Mac... gonna make Tim Cook pay me for pre-installing that MacOS crap.

      I believe Apple would tell you you paid for an M1 Mac and the MacOS came with it free. So here's your refund, $0.

      And BTW, your license agreement for buying the M1 Mac precludes you from attempting to install any other OS on it. That would be computer fraud, punishable by many many years in prison.

      • (Score: 2) by pkrasimirov on Tuesday March 02 2021, @09:16PM (1 child)

        by pkrasimirov (3358) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday March 02 2021, @09:16PM (#1119045)

        There is difference between buying and licensing. If I buy the hardware then it is mine to do as I please. On the other hand software is licensed (as in copyright), not sold.

        So I am free to install, deinstall, destroy, reassemble, crash, burn and do whatever with my hardware. Because it is my property.

        • (Score: 2) by Mykl on Tuesday March 02 2021, @10:11PM

          by Mykl (1112) on Tuesday March 02 2021, @10:11PM (#1119064)

          I believe you can install other OSes on an M1 Mac, however Apple is not obliged to make that easy.

          Agree with parent post too - Apple would happily refund you $0 for the OS.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 02 2021, @10:51PM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 02 2021, @10:51PM (#1119091)

      The difference is that MS Windows license has always included the provision for a refund from hardware manufacturer if you disagree with the terms of the license. The problem is that nearly no manufacturers/retailers have ever honored this provision, and if they have, it has not been consistent.

      I've attempted to get the refund on every laptop purchase I've made since 1993, and have been told to, "go pound sand" every time. I once tried to re-sell the license on ebay, but the listing was taken down.

      I love that the EU isn't completely controlled by rich parasites in the interest of rich parasites/corporations like North America is.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 03 2021, @02:10PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 03 2021, @02:10PM (#1119415)

        "I love that the EU isn't completely controlled by rich parasites"

        More like beholden to different masters. And only sometimes so.

  • (Score: 2, Insightful) by istartedi on Tuesday March 02 2021, @06:35PM (30 children)

    by istartedi (123) on Tuesday March 02 2021, @06:35PM (#1118956) Journal

    What's the legal framework for this decision, and how far does it extend? If I don't want self-driving features in a Tesla, do they have to disable that and refund it? OK, the answer could be "no" because the self-driving feature was built by the same company and thus it's regarded as integral to the product. But what if some other feature is sub-contracted, and you don't want it as part of the bundle? Could I force Honda to disable my noise-maker car alarm and refund the cost in Italy? I never wanted it, and if I can prove that it was an item that Honda sub-contracted, how is that any different?

    Don't get me wrong. I don't think you should have to pay for Windows if you don't want it--but I think that regulation should have been established beforehand as opposed to being handed down by a court like this. Otherwise, it seems like we've opened a can of worms here, *unless*, and this is a big "unless", the ruling is due to Microsoft having previously been ruled a monopoly. In that case I'm guessing the legal framework is one that can bar sales of a monopolist's products in ways that would ordinarily not occur.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 02 2021, @06:43PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 02 2021, @06:43PM (#1118960)

      There is a legal framework behind this: Anti-trust law. What makes this refund possible is the Microsoft Tax, where companies are strong-armed by Microsoft to force customers to buy Windows licences that they don't want.

      In your car alarm example, the alarm company doesn't have a monopoly position that allows them to require their product be included in every car under threat of putting the car manufacturer out of business because he can't get any alarm systems at all if he doesn't comply.

    • (Score: 1) by zion-fueled on Tuesday March 02 2021, @06:58PM

      by zion-fueled (8646) on Tuesday March 02 2021, @06:58PM (#1118969)

      >If I don't want self-driving features in a Tesla, do they have to disable that and refund it?

      Funny thing with tesla. They make you pay extra for the self-driving features. You can custom order with new cars and have features removed too.

      Where does it stop? All computers come with an MS office and adobe creative cloud subscription as part of buying it?

    • (Score: 5, Informative) by DannyB on Tuesday March 02 2021, @07:58PM (23 children)

      by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday March 02 2021, @07:58PM (#1119009) Journal

      Don't get me wrong. I don't think you should have to pay for Windows if you don't want it--but I think that regulation should have been established beforehand . . .

      Here is the problem.

      Back in the 1980's . . . The IBM PC came with two OS options.
      1. PC DOS (licensed to IBM from Microsoft)
      2. UCSD p-System (yes, that is an actual operating system that is bootable, has applications, utilities, compilers, etc)

      Then there were PC clones.

      Slight digression here . . .
      Bill Gates had the vision to realize that PCs similar to the IBM PC would emerge and Microsoft could sell into this market of similar devices. (It was probably a dream come true when clean-room work exactly alike machines like Compaq were created.) Of course IBM thought the value was in the hardware, not the software. Also Steve Jobs had a famous quote: the software tail that wags the hardware dog, in response to how VisiCalc on Apple II caused people to demand Apple IIs over other machines at one point in time. When Bill Gates was trying to sell his BASIC to Altair he argued that without my software your computer is just a box with blinking lights.

      Here is the crux of the problem:
      Microsoft decided to license MS-DOS to PC clone manufacturers in a fashion that required the OEM to pay for an MS-DOS license for EVERY machine the OEM sold, whether or not it shipped with MS-DOS. So while there were superior alternatives to MS-DOS, (and I would say p-System was superior, and there are others too that weren't offered by IBM), if you bought a PC, you were already paying for MS-DOS plus whatever it cost to buy the OS you really wanted. So no matter what OS you wanted, Microsoft's cash register would ring with every PC sale.

      By about 1999/2000 then the DOJ finally decided to sue Microsoft for antitrust (but over Internet Explorer), it was already way too little and too late. (and don't get me started about how Microsoft stole Spyglass and named it Internet Explorer)

      Now raise your hand if you remember any PC operating systems other than MS-DOS that were available for PC compatibles in the 1980s? Raise your hand if you even remember the p-System? Raise your hand if you can name any other OS that existed for PC compatibles? Any? Yeah, they all were swept into the distbin of history despite MS-DOS being the worst of all possible choices. But the monopoly paid for the development of MS-DOS 2, and then 3, and by that time it was too late. By 4.0 it was "the dos ain't done until Lotus won't run", etc.

      This is all before the 1990s and the wreckage of many destroyed companies in the wake of Microsoft's abusive behavior. If you build something cool, Microsoft is either going to buy it for pennies on the dollar, or if you won't sell, they'll steal your ideas and build their own and crush you, or they'll find a competitor of yours and buy them and then crush you. And that is how it was. It is why today you know about Forethought's Power Point and have never heard of Aldus Persuasion.

      Yeah, I'm getting too old and cranky.

      --
      Nature abhors a machine that removes dust from the living space.
      • (Score: 2) by istartedi on Tuesday March 02 2021, @08:29PM (12 children)

        by istartedi (123) on Tuesday March 02 2021, @08:29PM (#1119025) Journal

        Yeah, I'm aware of most of that history but it doesn't answer my question. Aside from that, the answer to the "microsoft tax" was to simply not pay it, write your own operating system, and vertically integrate the hardware and software. There was a little ol' "fruit company" that did that, and I think it worked out well for them.

        • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Tuesday March 02 2021, @08:50PM

          by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday March 02 2021, @08:50PM (#1119032) Journal

          Apple was already building PCs before the IBM PC came along. Microsoft was in business at the point in time (1977) when the holy trinity (Apple II, TRS-80, Commodore PET) came along. Microsoft was a nice friendly company that didn't seem evil. They even sold a version of Adventure that was ported to PCs. (prior to IBM PC)

          Apple was already developing Lisa (predecessor to Mac) at the time IBM PC was in development (and thus MS-DOS was in development).

          --
          Nature abhors a machine that removes dust from the living space.
        • (Score: 2) by HiThere on Tuesday March 02 2021, @08:52PM (7 children)

          by HiThere (866) on Tuesday March 02 2021, @08:52PM (#1119033) Journal

          You've got your timing a bit off. Apple was competing against Altair, the S100 computers, etc. MSDos was later. IBM didn't come out with the first IBMPC until Apple was already at (past?) the Apple ][+.

          --
          Javascript is what you use to allow unknown third parties to run software you have no idea about on your computer.
          • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Tuesday March 02 2021, @08:56PM (2 children)

            by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday March 02 2021, @08:56PM (#1119035) Journal

            Altair was 1975. And other homebrew computers in this time. Apple II was 1977 and announced in BYTE magazine. IBM PC was 1981.

            MS-DOS (rather PC-DOS) was simultaneous with IBM PC in 1981.

            I think I have the time line right, and there are years of BYTE Magazine to corroborate. Also in 1977 was the same year of the TRS-80 and Commodore PET. The PET was prior to the Vic or C64.

            Does all that jive with how you remember it?

            --
            Nature abhors a machine that removes dust from the living space.
            • (Score: 2) by HiThere on Wednesday March 03 2021, @01:36AM (1 child)

              by HiThere (866) on Wednesday March 03 2021, @01:36AM (#1119223) Journal

              Yes. That sounds right. So when Apple was building their system, it wasn't competing with MS/PC-DOS. (Actually, IIRC, the IBMPC came out around the time of the Apple III. A really inferior thing to compete against.)

              --
              Javascript is what you use to allow unknown third parties to run software you have no idea about on your computer.
              • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Wednesday March 03 2021, @06:07PM

                by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday March 03 2021, @06:07PM (#1119519) Journal

                At the time, we were developing using the UCSD p-System. (on Apple systems rebranded Apple Pascal)

                At one point, our product ran on four different machines, which was amazing at the time:
                1. Apple II
                2. Apple ///
                3. IBM PC
                4. Corvus Concept (raise your hand if you've ever used that one)

                The non-Apple systems used the UCSD p-System version IV, but Apple had forked Apple Pascal from UCSD p-System version II. So we didn't have binary compatibility, but did have source code compatibility. We had to compile two different versions of our binary. A version II for items 1 & 2 above, and a version IV for items 3 an 4 above. This is because the p-Code object code had changed format and improved opcodes between version II and IV.

                I used an Apple /// for a couple of years. We generally liked it much better than the IBM PC. It wasn't the hardware, but the OS that we liked. The SOS operating system on Apple /// was way better than the standard p-System on IBM PC. So we did source code development on Apple ///, and then did the compile step on IBM PC to service items 3 and 4 on the above list.

                We had a Corvus Constellation network and hard drives. This allowed all our workstations of various kinds to share the same disk space on the server. (at this time server meant a "disk block" server NOT a "file" server as today)

                Those were fun days.

                On IBM PC it became harder to sell installing the p-System as the OS. Even if we set it up with dual partitions and the ability to dual boot.

                Along came this product from a Canadian company Datalex called the Datalex Bubble. It encapsulated the entire p-System within an MS-DOS executable. Now our program looked like an MS-DOS program that could be installed on a standard PC. The underlying "weird" p-System OS was hidden (mostly) from view.

                --
                Nature abhors a machine that removes dust from the living space.
          • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Tuesday March 02 2021, @08:57PM

            by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday March 02 2021, @08:57PM (#1119037) Journal

            Oh, I see who you replied to.

            --
            Nature abhors a machine that removes dust from the living space.
          • (Score: 2) by istartedi on Tuesday March 02 2021, @09:09PM (2 children)

            by istartedi (123) on Tuesday March 02 2021, @09:09PM (#1119043) Journal

            Apple at its inception was competing against those companies. That's just one point in time.

            • (Score: 2) by Immerman on Wednesday March 03 2021, @04:29PM (1 child)

              by Immerman (3985) on Wednesday March 03 2021, @04:29PM (#1119475)

              There was some overlap, but Apple DOS was at the end of its life while MS-DOS was in its infancy.

              Apple DOS first came out in 1978, with the final version 3.3 released in 1980
              Microsoft PC-DOS first came out in Aug. 1981, and MS-DOS 3.31 came out in 1987

              Meanwhile, Apple had pivoted away from Apple-DOS to release Macintosh System Software v1.0 in 1984 (eventually renamed Mac OS)

              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Classic_Mac_OS [wikipedia.org]
              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_DOS_operating_systems [wikipedia.org]

              • (Score: 1) by istartedi on Wednesday March 03 2021, @10:50PM

                by istartedi (123) on Wednesday March 03 2021, @10:50PM (#1119627) Journal

                Sigh... inception is one point in time, and the DOSs are one class of OS. The context for this discussion is not just a DOS tax, but also a WINDOWS tax, so I thought it was plainly implied that we were talking about the companies and their OSs in general, not just the DOS era.

        • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Tuesday March 02 2021, @08:52PM (2 children)

          by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday March 02 2021, @08:52PM (#1119034) Journal

          and I think it worked out well for them.

          So many people bought in to the MS-DOS and PC-compatible world who didn't take Apple seriously. Periodically it would be heard in the industry by people who probably just hated Apple for some reason, that Apple would go bankrupt. Yeah, Apple was the company that was going to go bankrupt every single year since 1981.

          --
          Nature abhors a machine that removes dust from the living space.
          • (Score: 2) by stormreaver on Thursday March 04 2021, @01:11AM (1 child)

            by stormreaver (5101) on Thursday March 04 2021, @01:11AM (#1119661)

            Yeah, Apple was the company that was going to go bankrupt every single year since 1981.

            In 1997, Apple was seriously staring down bankruptcy. The filing was imminent until Bill Gates saved Apple with a $150M contribution to Apple that he probably hoped was going to ward off the DoJ.

            • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Thursday March 04 2021, @04:16PM

              by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Thursday March 04 2021, @04:16PM (#1119879) Journal

              That is very true.

              Apple management didn't believe their own Power PC story. They continued to not make enough new Power PC models and make too many 68K models -- the ones nobody wanted to buy new any more. They suddenly had $1 Billion in inventory nobody wanted to buy.

              Totally stupid move. Totally the fault of management.

              --
              Nature abhors a machine that removes dust from the living space.
      • (Score: 5, Informative) by pTamok on Tuesday March 02 2021, @09:36PM

        by pTamok (3042) on Tuesday March 02 2021, @09:36PM (#1119053)

        Now raise your hand if you remember any PC operating systems other than MS-DOS that were available for PC compatibles in the 1980s? Raise your hand if you even remember the p-System? Raise your hand if you can name any other OS that existed for PC compatibles? Any?

        I don't have three hands.

        You mentioned the UCSD p-System (which I used), but there was also CP/M-86 (which I haven't used, although one of my colleagues used it on an ACT Apricot [wikipedia.org]), Xenix (which I have not used), 386/ix, Digital Research's Concurrent DOS (which I have used with the GEM interface). I'm certain there are more that could be found by using the Internet search engine of your choice, but the above is from memory.

        Yes, I am an old fart.

      • (Score: 2, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 03 2021, @01:32AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 03 2021, @01:32AM (#1119218)

        Raise your hand if you even remember the p-System?

        Not just remember, but actually used. My fourth language was Pascal, specifically UCSD Pascal (the p-System) on Apple II's in my high-school computer class. Of course, after having taught myself Atari Basic and then 6502 assembly before taking the class, the high-school Apple BASIC class (prereq to the Pascal class) and the Pascal class were breezes. Fifteen minutes to complete the lessons that were due two days from now, two and three quarter class hours to play video games on those same Apple II's.

      • (Score: 4, Interesting) by aim on Wednesday March 03 2021, @08:14AM

        by aim (6322) on Wednesday March 03 2021, @08:14AM (#1119339)

        You missed DR DOS (MS was quite rightly vilified for making their software deliberatly incompatible with DR DOS) and OS/2 (yes, it started in the 80ies). Novell Netware ran on PC hardware. SCO Unix started 1989.

        Going up to the 90ies, one could add GEOS, BeOS and some other Unix variants (notably BSDs and of course, Linux). IIRC even NeXTStep ran on x86. Ah, Plan9 and Inferno, too...

        Yes, I'm an old fart, too.

      • (Score: 2) by Muad'Dave on Wednesday March 03 2021, @12:50PM (6 children)

        by Muad'Dave (1413) on Wednesday March 03 2021, @12:50PM (#1119379)

        Now raise your hand if you remember any PC operating systems other than MS-DOS that were available for PC compatibles in the 1980s?

        Minix [wikipedia.org] was around and was targeted to IBM-PCs.

        • (Score: 2) by canopic jug on Wednesday March 03 2021, @02:46PM (5 children)

          by canopic jug (3949) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday March 03 2021, @02:46PM (#1119425) Journal

          "Minix was around and was targeted to IBM-PCs."

          Minix is still around [minix3.org] and has been under continuous development. It's not widely used unless you count the Intel Managment Engines [soylentnews.org], which may catually make it the most widely used OS out there. Curiously Minix moved to the NetBSD user space [soylentnews.org].

          But in the 1980s, until near the end of the decade, the microcomputers were nearly all CP/M of some kind or another except for those which were AppleDOS.

          --
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          • (Score: 2) by Immerman on Wednesday March 03 2021, @04:33PM (4 children)

            by Immerman (3985) on Wednesday March 03 2021, @04:33PM (#1119476)

            Never had the pleasure of using CP/M, but I've heard a lot of glowing praise for it.

    • (Score: 2) by RamiK on Tuesday March 02 2021, @09:49PM (3 children)

      by RamiK (1813) on Tuesday March 02 2021, @09:49PM (#1119056)

      What's the legal framework for this decision, and how far does it extend?

      It extends to bundled software licenses from 3rd party market leading vendors that could otherwise be avoided using competing software.

      Btw, your car analogy doesn't work since the license isn't from a third party and there's regulatory issues where the software must be approved as part of the car anyhow.
      A better question is where does this put Google's bundling of gApps: My guess is that Google would be required to add a home screen app linking to alternative app stores list like how Microsoft was forced to link to browser and search alternatives when you started Explorer for the first time.

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      • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 02 2021, @11:02PM (2 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 02 2021, @11:02PM (#1119106)

        The microsoft license explicitly states that you can get a refund from the place you bought the computer their os was bundled with, if you disagree to the terms of the MS license. The EU courts are enforcing this provision of this specific license.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 03 2021, @09:24AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 03 2021, @09:24AM (#1119344)

          True, and those refund terms are the result of a major anti-trust lawsuit against Microsoft.

        • (Score: 2) by RamiK on Wednesday March 03 2021, @01:23PM

          by RamiK (1813) on Wednesday March 03 2021, @01:23PM (#1119385)

          The EU courts are enforcing this provision of this specific license.

          A Microsoft license being violated by Lenovo would reimburse Microsoft. Not the end user.

          This is a regulatory issue with Microsoft's license wording simply repeating what EU regulations and previous court ruling required of them to notify their users and partner vendors about. They're also putting it in the license to make sure the license won't need renegotiation if the regulations change regardless if it's in their favor or not. It prevents having to notify end users about small regulatory changes every other week.

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