miércoles, 22 de junio de 2011

A no-OS-computer? You must be a pirate!

After reading this piece about a
Linux keyboard PC , I got excited. I've been looking for a nice computer that is sold without any operating system so that I can install my own. Yes, I'm aware of the existence of System76 (Ubuntu systems) and ZaReason (several Linux offers), but I wanted to try something else. Thus, I checked the vendor's page and, sure enough, there was a "NO OS" option. With a high heart, I selected the components of the system and submitted my request waiting to receive the quote with the price.

A day later, I received it and, with it, there came a surprise. The price was satisfactory ($555), but they had included Windows 7 Professional 32 bits and were charging me for it!

I immediately contacted the sales representative to ask why they were forcing Windows on me if I had explicitly selected a "No-OS system"(I changed the names):

Dear Sales Representative,

I have one question concerning the quote. Why are you including and charging Windows 7 if I explicitly selected the "NO OS" option? Can you sell it without Windows? I am not interested in paying for Microsoft software; I only want the computer.



This was her answer, which I found rather strange:

Hi Mechatotoro,

We can sell the unit without the OS provided you do have OS licensing. I included the pricing info for the OS so that you can deduct the $176.00 price point if you do not need one included which would make the price $379.00. Attached is the revised quote.

Please let me know if you have any additional questions.

Best Regards,

So, she said that she had done it because, that way, I could deduct from the price the cost of Windows (?!) as long as I had "OS licensing".

This showed to me that, thanks to Microsoft's dirty campaigns, you are seen as a pirate when you request a computer without any OS. Is it so unbelievable that a customer does not want Windows? So, I replied to her:

Hi, Sales Rep,

I am a Linux user and plan to install Linux to the computer. Consequently, your point about licensing (Microsoft license, that is) does not apply in my case. Your offer seems very attractive. Thanks.

The good thing about this exchange is that I could do the math. If the price of the No-OS unit is $379 and Windows 7 costs $176, that means that Microsoft software accounts for almost 50% of the price of the system (46%)! From $555 to $379 for exactly the same computer...That is a considerable difference!

Another interesting point is that OEMs, companies that work with HARDWARE, not SOFTWARE, are actually doing the dirty work for Microsoft. If piracy affects the Redmond software vendor, it should be the one checking for licenses and doing the police work, not OEMs. I wonder how Miscrosoft is going to keep up with the abusive idea of the MS tax. Can they still bully OEMs assuming that No-OS necessarily implies Windows piracy? Can they get away with it in a world in which we see multiple OSs and users are aware of this today?

So, OEMs think that I'm a pirate because I don't want Windows? That's fine with me, really... Just give me the option NOT to buy Windows and we call it a deal!

UPDATE: The sales rep got back at me and said I can buy. It seems that I am on the clear now. Great! :-)

6 comentarios:

  1. Well, the piracy concern is not surprising if Windows as an OS assumes that you are a pirate and thus you must prove you are not...and keep doing it periodically for as long as you have Windows installed.

  2. So have you heard back from the Sales Rep yet?

  3. @Megatotoro,
    Good point. For Microsoft, you are always a pirate even if you paid your license.

    Yes. She accepted to sell me the unit.

  4. Very interesting! I saw that post too, and also thought the PC looks great. How about doing a review of the hardware, and about how you get on with it and Linux?

    Regarding your experience with their sales department, most people just assume that the only two operating systems in existence are Windows and "Apple" (I bet a lot of people don't even know the name of the OS), and can't understand why anyone would want to use anything else. Microsoft's hegemony over the desktop is just depressing in many ways.

  5. @Fitzcarraldo,

    Thanks for the good suggestion & comment. I'll write my humble review when I get the system. Please don't expect much; I'm no computer expert.

  6. I had the same experience once on a phone call to Dell about buying a laptop. When I said I didn't want the Windows license, they asked what I was going to run on it instead. I answered either Ubuntu, Fedora, or Debian. They said I was just making names up and that I was only going to pirate Windows, so they couldn't sell it to me without the Windows license.

    I brought up relevant clauses in the Windows EULA and Dell's policy at the time, but they just transferred me to another sales rep. I kept getting transferred another 2-3 times until finally the call just "mysteriously" disconnected mid-transfer. And I bought the laptop from a Linux laptop vendor.