Bundling: Will Lenovo Do The Right Thing?

Lenovo has been ordered by a French court to refund licensing fees for that other OS and costs to a customer who bought a personal computer with that other OS installed when the customer wanted to use GNU/Linux on his personal computer. A previous decision that the customer should have returned or not bought the PC if he did not want that other OS was overturned upon consideration of unfair trading practices involving bundling.

Of course, the legal costs far outweigh the licensing fees. Now, the big question is will Lenovo do the right thing by allowing unbundling of the software, sales of naked PCs or installing GNU/Linux? Installing GNU/Linux may not avoid the problem for Lenovo because a user may object to Ubuntu GNU/Linux and prefer Debian GNU/Linux. The ultimate solution is to sell identical units bundled with a variety of OS or naked, without an OS. Lenovo are in for a lot of trouble selling in France if they don’t do the right thing. Will they?

From a business perspective selling naked PCs avoids the need to support an OS but they may not sell. I would bet Lenovo figures out a way to facilitate retailers installing the OS of the customer’s choice. Lenovo already certifies their equipment for several distros. It would not be difficult to equip retailers with a box for cloning disc images. If Lenovo does the right thing, will other OEMs? Stay tuned. We are watching.

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.
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54 Responses to Bundling: Will Lenovo Do The Right Thing?

  1. oldman says:

    “oldman wrote about “as is” selling of that other OS bundled with PCs.”

    No oldman wrote of as-is selling of systems bought without the OS that they were targeted for Pog.

    Dont put words in my mouth!

  2. oldman wrote about “as is” selling of that other OS bundled with PCs.

    What does “Decline” mean in that context? Something is bought and paid for which cannot do the advertised function because of the EULA. M$ makes a great fuss that folks are buying the licence from the retailer/OEM and not M$ but then M$ refuses to run if the buyer does not jump through more hoops. That’s fraud. Imagine I sold you a car that would not run more than a mile and did not divulge that detail at time of sale? M$ is taking money and not delivering the goods advertised.

  3. oldman says:

    “No business should be allowed to require a consumer to buy something he does not want in order to buy something he does want.”

    In fact as you well know, things are better than that. Dell will sell you computer configurations with either FreeDOS or Ubuntu Linux installed. However Dell also exercises its right to limit the selection of systems that they offer for sale with FreeDOS or Linux. If a particular configuration that they offer for sale is not offered for sale with any other OS than windows, then anyone who proceeds to purchase that particular configuration anyone IMHO has no right to complain.

    In the case at hand, the best that you are going to get out of the lenovo experience is that companies doing business in countries like france will have to be prepared to refund to the person who “accidentally” purchases either a full refund of the computer on return, or a refund of the $30.00 to %50.00 that represents the cost of the pre-bundled windows. Of course the person who requests this refund will have to certify that they have either erased of paved over the image on their computer and would have to acknowledge that the computer was no an “as-is” sale and that the seller bears no responsibility if the alternate OS fails to work.

  4. Yonah wrote, ” The customer then needs to do what every customer has the option of doing: Bargaining! I don’t care if you’re at the checkout lane of a supermarket staring at the grand total of this week’s groceries. You ALWAYS have the option to bargain the purchase price or what is included with your purchase.”

    There are places and times where bargaining is welcome/accepted/standard practice. Most “big box” computer stores are not that. Some guy in Head Office sets the price and the clerks paid minimum wage are not allowed to second-guess him.

    I’ve read various arguments but the EULA discussion says accept or decline and decline accomplishes nothing so the retailer is selling a broken product. The consumer could keep returning it forever and it would never work if he clicks “decline”. I think M$ and the OEM have conspired to make that happen and the retailer has followed their lead. M$, the OEM and the retailer hope the consumers will never get organized and refute the model. The fact that this matter has reached the court of appeal should be a wake-up call to all parties concerned. It’s time governments broke up this conspiracy to defraud consumers on PCs. No business should be allowed to sell nothing and get full price for it. No business should be allowed to require a consumer to buy something he does not want in order to buy something he does want.

  5. Yonah says:

    Robert: “The consumer is often not offered the choice. Lenovo does sell a few systems no OS but not the one the guy wanted.”

    So? The customer then needs to do what every customer has the option of doing: Bargaining! I don’t care if you’re at the checkout lane of a supermarket staring at the grand total of this week’s groceries. You ALWAYS have the option to bargain the purchase price or what is included with your purchase. Just as the business or supermarket manager has the option to tell you to go screw yourself if they don’t like the terms of your deal. Your offer may have a slim chance of success, but that’s your problem. I can’t stress that enough. It is *YOUR* problem.

    In all likely hood the customer was a Linux zealot who wanted to stir up some trouble for his own enjoyment. He knew damn well what he was buying. The smarter option, rather than seeking a refund, would have been to make his wishes clear at the time of purchase, saving himself time and money.

    Robert: “In this case it was the OEM that was sued because they did the bundling, but there would have been no suit if the consumer could have chosen that hardware with no OS or GNU/Linux.”

    No, sir. That is not the reason they were sued. They were sued because they refused to grant the refund the customer wanted. The refund entitled to him by Microsoft’s own EULA, in fact. A simple solution would have been for Lenovo to simply refund the purchase of the unwanted product. A poor business decision on the part of Lenovo. Cut, dried, and simple.

    From now on, hopefully they will do just that. Because the reality is that very few customers will ever request a refund. It’s the easier and (follow closely now) more profitable choice. The more complicated and costly alternative is to make extra configuration options for every single computer model sold.

  6. Yonah says:

    Dougman: “The computer, goes and download’s the most current ISO of the chosen operating system with the most recent patches/updates.”

    What about people who live in an area without broadband Internet access? They should wait hours or even days before their computer is ready to use? Sorry. As it stands now, selling a computer with an OS pre-installed provides the highest level of convenience to the MOST customers. Perhaps you are not MOST customers, but that’s life.

    Dougman: “anti-virus and office suite, etc. as it does not come automatically with Windows and forces the user to spend even more money.”

    Microsoft Security Essentials anti-virus software is free to any genuine copy of Windows, XP and up. I use it myself on the odd chance I’m handed an infected USB thumb-drive. If you don’t want to pay for an Office suite, choose a free alternative. Calling it “forced” is overblown.

  7. oldman wrote, “They can order up a pre-integrated system ready to run out of the box for a cost that is far lower than it was”.

    Irrelevant. For decades the price of systems has been higher than it could have been with Free Software. Those excess $billions were money wasted. In my life, I have bought about 14 PCs in the last ten years either no OS or GNU/Linux. That’s $1400 more or less that I got to spend otherwise or save/invest. In addition, I did get better IT. The gradual lowering in cost of IT over the years has been more about Moore’s Law than M$’s pricing. Years ago a PC cost about $1000 for the box and that other OS cost $100 or so to use, perhaps 10% of the capital cost. Today a medium PC box is around $400 and that other OS is still around $100, or 25% of the capital cost. Add in the price of malware and re-re-reboots and that other OS is a demon devouring our children.

    I can buy a pre-integrated system running GNU/Linux for far less than one running that other OS. e.g. netbooks, smart phones, desktops, notebooks… Chuckle. Look at the Ultrabooks… The whole idea is to charge the consumer more for a netbook by adding useless capabilities.

  8. dougman says:

    Some innovator will find a good way to distribute software. I could also imagine a bootloader on every PC that allowed selection of OS on first boot. Five minutes later, Voila! Perhaps retailers could see extra revenue for the push of a button and the deed would be done while the cash register is working.

    Interesting idea:

    Blank computer, turn the thing on and the boot-loader asks you what you want.

    It gives the user the following options: Android, Linux, iOS, OSx, Windows along with costs and for each decision option.

    Of course Linux and Android is free $0.00.

    M$ would have to change is pricing model as no one would pay $100-300.00, perhaps they could follow Apple’s pricing model here.

    Apple would have to lessen its grip upon it’s software for this to work, rather doubtful at this juncture, but I find $29.95 reasonable.

    The user decides and pays for the decision on the spot, after hitting enter. The computer, goes and download’s the most current ISO of the chosen operating system with the most recent patches/updates.

    The user while waiting for the download to finish, the system makes some recommendations on appropriate software, namely anti-virus and office suite, etc. as it does not come automatically with Windows and forces the user to spend even more money.

    When the download is complete, it proceeds to install and request user information to configure the machine accordingly to the users inputs.

    When complete, it makes a complete system image and uploads it to the cloud, the cost for this could be rolled into the price of the hardware or perhaps it burns a complete ISO right then and there for the user to keep.

    There is no reason why this could not be done now.

  9. oldman wrote, “All Lenovo had to do was refund the cost of windows”.

    That’s correct but that would violate M$’s NDA which it has all OEMs sign. M$ wants to prevent OEMs from ganging up on M$ by demanding the lowest price offered anywhere. Revealing to a consumer what is the price is not in M$’s plan. The ideas behind bundling include getting the foot in the door, hiding the price and excluding competition. M$’s partners still cannot freely compete because of M$. Instead Lenovo preferred to spend $thousands fighting a losing case. If they though bundling was good for their business they learned a hard lesson. Soon all the OEMs will be in that situation. Consumers are fed up with lock-in. They want choice. The hundreds of millions who now use */Linux are soon going to demand that choice from retailers on all personal computers.

  10. oldman says:

    “oldman that is the nasty fact of law in a lot of countries. It is not that companies right at all.”

    But it is the companies option not to do business in theway that you would hope. All Lenovo had to do was refund the cost of windows as part of the package and ship the system in as is condition – the purchaser would however be required to acknowledge that they were accepting the good in as-is condition and to acknowledge that they accepted responsibility if Linux ( or whatever OS) did not run under the hardware being bought.

  11. oldman says:

    “It’s long past the time when Wintel should have been replaced by more diverse systems because users not just suppliers need efficiency.”

    Of course Robert Pogson, lets just erase the past 20+ years of computing and go back to that simpler way that you seem to pine for.

    Its not going to happen.

    As far as Users needing efficiency is concerned, the reality is that the vast majority of users already have it. They can order up a pre-integrated system ready to run out of the box for a cost that is far lower than it was in the “good old days” of roll your own.

    Do you think people are going to go backwards?

  12. oldman says:

    “You have the stupid idea that you have to be a white box custom or a integrate solution provider only.

    If a company is both they can take money from both.”

    And yet you overlook the obvious. If a company does not want to be both then it won’t.The argument that they can make money from both is academic in that context.

    The irony of course is the Dell does provide select system configuration with Ubuntu Linux as well as systems with FreeDOS only installed. The fact that zealots like you and pog don’t like the fact that you can just by any configuration that dell sells with no OS is in the end irrelevant. If Dell does not wish to sell you a configuration, they dont have to .

  13. oldman wrote, “if I am a dell whose business plan is in providing well integrated supportable low cost desktop configurations, why should I turn myself back into a nothing more than a glorified white box desktop clone vendor”?

    The answer is simple, oldman, to maximize profits. That is the major goal of most for-profit organizations especially publicly traded companies.

    profits = units shipped X ( selling price of a unit - cost of a unit) - other costs of operation

    Units shipped is a big factor but must be balanced against “other costs” like maintaining buildings, number of employees needed to support various lines of business etc. Dell does not sell only one kind of box so that they can sell far more boxes by meeting customer needs. There are far more potential customers that just need a plain box instead of state of the art expensive stuff. That’s why Dell sells low, medium and high cost stuff. They optimize the cost of making each of those units to maximize profits instead of sticking to a single kind of unit which might seem more efficient but which would not maximize profits.

    M$ has maximized its profits by shipping just a few kinds of licences and because they had a monopoly granted by IBM and strengthened the monopoly illegally they got away with forcing the world to follow with only one supplier of OS for decades. That’s ending now as we watch. The world is demanding more diversity in hardware and software because monopoly was not good enough to meet the needs for low cost computing and particularly mobile computing.

    The change is not about DIY types. The change is about economics. Every few years, hundreds of millions more people enter the market who cannot afford expensive kit and who prefer mobile kit for many reasons. The suppliers of IT need to meet their needs or new industries will spring up to do that. That is happening. Entrepreneurs large and small are doing a better job than M$ and its “partners” and Wintel is losing share of IT. It’s long past the time when Wintel should have been replaced by more diverse systems because users not just suppliers need efficiency.

  14. oiaohm says:

    oldman that is the nasty fact of law in a lot of countries. It is not that companies right at all.

    Bundling with third party made products is forbin in lots of places. France is one of them. IBM bundling with AIX and saying here this is AIX only IBM is legal.

    The law is very clear in France on this matter.

    Providing support with well integrated solutions still have value. Supporting the linux market like the car market supports people who want to customise does not mean ending the prebuilt up solutions.

    You have the stupid idea that you have to be a white box custom or a integrate solution provider only.

    If a company is both they can take money from both.

  15. oldman says:

    “Windows free, Harddrive free, Ram free…. basically if its a removable part the fully customised option should allow for you to choose not to get it if. ”

    Thats fine, but if I am a dell whose business plan is in providing well integrated supportable low cost desktop configurations, why should I turn myself back into a nothing more than a glorified white box desktop clone vendor just to meet the needs of a very small population of do-it-yourself types.

    If a vendor chooses not to offer linux as a option or only offer it as an option on a reduced subset of their offerings which have less features than the rest of their offerings, that is their right – its their business.

    Your option IMHO is to simply take your money elsewhere.

  16. Flying Toaster says:

    Flying Toaster. Holden Astra when it was here that was the Opel Astra.

    No joke. Now, what did you say about Holden again?

  17. Mats Hagglund says:

    I’m not claiming that Microsoft is taking 200 dollars for every Windows installed PC but people should save at least 100 $ or even more if they have free choice buying computers without any OS and then install Linux (or FreeBSD) on it.

    Windows has nothing to do with freedom of choice just like stalinism had nothing to do with freedom of choice. It’s a shame how that monopoly has sabotaged the whole IT-business including hardware manufacturers so long time.

  18. oiaohm says:

    Flying Toaster. Holden Astra when it was here that was the Opel Astra. Yes you could choose to get it all in parts if you wanted to or what ever combination you want. Including a choice between Opel tags and Holden tags. And when it comes back into the market the same thing will be on offer.

    This is your problem your example is complete bogus for why not. Its one of the cars globally you can have it however you want.

    Yes I could still order a Opel Astra by shipping container in any combination I wanted the complete time. Even when Holden was not importing.

    Some of my friends build funny cars. Yes one of the did a Holden Astra on a drag car base. Yes they just ordered the shell. This is when I found out how many different warped ways you could order a car.

    oldman
    “And this has what to do with lenovo in france?”

    Because simple fact is why are they not offering the option. Option for a person to custom order a bundle. It is even possible to charge extra for the privilege of a custom order.

    Now if someone had the option of a factory custom order without windows and aquired a copy with windows on and was wanting a refund and Lenovo was refusing they would have a leg to stand on.

    Car makers worked this out a long time ago. Give people the option of factory customisation they cannot go to court and complain about given stuff they don’t want. They choose to take the so stiff.

    Windows free, Harddrive free, Ram free…. basically if its a removable part the fully customised option should allow for you to choose not to get it if.

    Cars do have road safety requirements that are law. So ordering a car with engine working and no breaks is not possible. Windows what legal requirement for it on the computer none.

  19. Flying Toaster says:

    That is the complete car as a pile of parts. Yes you can order a Opel Astra as a kit car to assemble how you please.

    It’s not offered by Holden, dear.

  20. oldman says:

    “Car is exactly what the Linux people want. Linux people want to be able to customise.”

    And this has what to do with lenovo in france?

  21. oiaohm says:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opel_Astra

    “complete knock down” kit option. That is the complete car as a pile of parts. Yes you can order a Opel Astra as a kit car to assemble how you please.

    We don’t get complete knock down kits with laptops that often.

    Customisation in cars are limited to how the car was cut down into the complete knock down.

    Car is exactly what the Linux people want. Linux people want to be able to customise.

  22. oiaohm says:

    Factory non roadworthy from car makers does not come with anything more than a 90 day warranty to report defects.

    So yes just providing the hardware without windows the could decide that you don’t get any warranty claims so have to pay third party insurance.

    There is no excuse really not to provide an option for Linux and other OS’s.

  23. oiaohm says:

    Flying Toaster nothing stops them doing a car maker.

    By the way Holden has always been General Motors sub branch. Its never been an Australian company. Australia is R&D for GM.

    Opel Astra. If you are going to race that of course you ask for it gutted. Makes fitting the rollcage and the race seats simpler. Flying Toaster.

    Clarence Moon Ford Edge model can be asked for gutted. Of course you have to wait for it to come from the factory. Most people don’t ask for the full list of factory customisation options.

    “Looking at the choices for my Ford Edge model, there are just 2 option packages and an option for adding rubber floor mats to the standard ones as well as a towing attachment.”
    This list is the dealer customisation.

    All car makers have three levels of customisations. Factory roadworthy, Factory non roadworthy and dealer level. You do have to ask special for the factory level customisations. Its the non road worthy that contains the insane options. Like just a shell nothing else or no engine or full car no panels and the list of weird go on. It is good fun to get the three lists.

    When you do a factory level alteration you have to pay in advance and wait. Linux users should have equal option. Same with any other OS that wants to run on the hardware. They are a hardware makers they should provide hardware basically.

    Flying Toaster “Muslims” run into the issue there religion does not speak tolerance. Also the head scarf and women fully covered is not part of Islam. Its a cultural throw back to being desert people. They are now in France. Lower amounts of sunshine. Being fully covered causes vitamin D problems in areas like France.

    Ruling was on health and that it was not part of the religion so did not need to be protected. They also had to be careful because Christian monks could also exploit the same thing to hide face. So allow women to have covered face you have to allow males dressed as monks to have covered faces. Now you are starting down a path to big problems. There is a Pandora box that you open once you allow face to be covered. I know some people who do anime cosplay narito of all things. Are they allowed to walk down street in full costume with full weapons on display? Yes hair colour most like fake and hiding behind a face mask so zero chance of ID.

    A few 100 years before France ruled that monks could not hide there face either. So you cannot claim religion bias here. Allowing the Muslims would have been bias and opens Pandora most likely would not stop.

    Remember the saying mad dogs and english men will be out in the midday sun. In England having tea in the midday sun is good for health. Doing the same thing in northern Australia bad for ones health. Were you are on the globes surface should say how you dress in a lot of ways.

  24. oldman wrote, “hardware designed and integrated for windows based software”.

    In fact there is plenty of hardware available that works with GNU/Linux. Lenovo and Dell and HP, for example certify everything for GNU/Linux. It costs them almost nothing to do that and avoids lots of hassles like having to find drivers for stuff they ship. In fact very little hardware is designed for that other OS. People design and ship the hardware and if it doesn’t work they tweak the software. That’s why they call it “soft”ware, oldman. It’s easy to change compared to redesigning equipment. While IBM may have made a disastrous error in bringing M$ into the picture they did plenty right by making the hardware open and insisting that Intel keep it that way. Now the world expects hardware to just work with any OS.

  25. Flying Toaster says:

    The courts, after layers of proceedings, found that Lenovo was doing the wrong thing by bundling.

    These “courts” also believe that Muslims are wrong for practicing their own religion.

    I just hope that you simply happen to be heck of a comedian. Yes, I really do.

  26. oldman says:

    “oldman, that may solve one of the problems for the OEM but it gives the OEM a larger set of consumers who will buy the product. That’s a plus.”

    As I thought.

    So it would seem that all the FRench Manufacturers will need to do in order to continue business as usual is to accommodate the needs of those who don’t want
    windows, and they can do so by getting the purchaser to formally decline any warranties on the product beyond those that are CLEARLY hardware related. That seems fair to me.

    Of course whether it provides any more customers is IMHO doubtful. People don’t build computers these days and installing another OS than windows on hardware designed and integrated for windows based software amounts IMHO to building your own system.

  27. oldman, that may solve one of the problems for the OEM but it gives the OEM a larger set of consumers who will buy the product. That’s a plus. I, as a consumer, often decline the warranty in exchange for lower price. It’s usually worth the risk on cheap products and especially on desktops that I can repair myself. There is a phenomenon called “infant mortality” in which a product fails soon after use or is DOA. It’s rare enough that most purchases are not affected and we need not worry about it. The failure of an OS installed at point of sale of by the end user is usually fixable by changing a part of changing the software. It’s not a show-stopper and several OEMs prevent problems with GNU/Linux by testing/certifying their hardware to workd with Linux. Even M$ does not guarantee their software is fit for any purpose. Read the EULA. It’s the manufacturers that cover M$’s ass, not M$. The manufacturers would be more motivated to support Linux if the OEMs shipped more GNU/Linux systems. That works for everyone.

  28. oldman says:

    “We’re just kicking around ideas for unbundling or at least making bundling pro-competitive. ”

    So if I am an OEM who offers a computer integrated in windows in mind, and some wants that hardware integration without windows and I get to get him to agree that if his non windows software does not work on the hardware that he is buying, its his problem not mine.does that solve your problem Pog?

  29. Phenom wrote, “they solely know the right thing for everyone”.

    The courts, after layers of proceedings, found that Lenovo was doing the wrong thing by bundling. We’re just kicking around ideas for unbundling or at least making bundling pro-competitive. What have you got against competition?

  30. Phenom says:

    Doing the right thing

    All leftists (marxists, humanists, philosophers, and all the so called intelectuals) are deeply convinced that they solely know the right thing for everyone, and that they are entitled to speak what is right from the name of everyone.

    What a sad fallacy.

    The ex-regimes in Eastern Europe proved them wrong, and the regime in North Korea is still proving them wrong.

  31. FT wrote, “punishment of suppliers for “bundling” Windows with their laptop.”.

    Doing the right thing is not punishment. Helping a little old lady across the street instead of running her over is not punishment but social responsibility. That businesses have been doing the wrong thing for decades is a crime that the courts are just now getting at stopping let alone compensating victims. This is a start not a solution to the world’s ills.

  32. Clarence Moon wrote, “Let the Linux community start getting in the way of mass market commerce and that will be the end of Linux”.

    Nope. Some innovator will find a good way to distribute software. FLOSS actually has many good tools for that like Clonezilla. I could also imagine a bootloader on every PC that allowed selection of OS on first boot. Five minutes later, Voila! Perhaps retailers could see extra revenue for the push of a button and the deed would be done while the cash register is working. Where there is a will there is a way. GNU/Linux and FLOSS are not the problem. Monopoly is the problem and every thinking person knows that.

  33. Clarence Moon says:

    “The last time I purchased a pick-up truck, I wanted a minimal setup. Of the 947 “options” offered …”

    That must have been some 40 years ago, Mr. Pogson, or else you are just making that story up out of a mistaken notion of how autos are offered with and without options. Automakers offer a handful of packages, after initial color and model selection, along with a couple of engine selections and a few odds and ends.

    Looking at the choices for my Ford Edge model, there are just 2 option packages and an option for adding rubber floor mats to the standard ones as well as a towing attachment.

    I really doubt that the case will change French retail and time will tell. We haven’t heard the final appeal here. If it ever did stand, it would be the death of computer sales in French brick and mortar stores, leaving only on-line direct order as a viable distribution channel.

    Let the Linux community start getting in the way of mass market commerce and that will be the end of Linux when the laws are changed to meet necessity.

  34. Flying Toaster says:

    The objection that consumers don’t want choice is silly and wrong.

    So is one that advocates the punishment of suppliers for “bundling” Windows with their laptop.

    If I don’t like the seats or any other internal fitting I can wait a few days

    Pfft… I just happen to know what Holden is (it’s a former local car manufacturer now owned by General Motors) and no, that’s not how they sell cars. Again, I don’t think you are going to find a lot of people believing in you saving perhaps your biggest fan Robert Pogson.

    Seriously, why not go to a local dealer and ask for them to have an Astra gutted out for you? It’ll be hilarious to see the look on their faces.

  35. oiaohm wrote, “I have full rights to furnish my car anyway I want.”

    Amen. The last time I purchased a pick-up truck, I wanted a minimal setup. Of the 947 “options” offered by the dealer the only ones I wanted were a manual transmission and power-steering (for the “little woman”). They charged extra for a manual transmission. I objected but they gave me a good price for the whole thing anyway. They wanted $hundreds for a rear bumper. I bought one and spare rims at a scrap yard for $40. It was an all-you-can-carry event. I carried the mess over the finish line to I got what I carried… I don’t think no-engine was an option but I did not ask… Definitely there were a choice of engines and no restrictions on parts.

    A modern x86 PC is designed to have industry-standard parts installed all the way from the expansion cards to RAM to CPU to OS. Restricting the OS to one supplier is unnatural and I believe illegal restraint of trade. The objection that consumers don’t want choice is silly and wrong.

  36. oiaohm says:

    Flying Toaster this is the thing. Car is a good example.

    I walk in to buy a Holden here. If I don’t like the seats or any other internal fitting I can wait a few days and get one without it if it a Australian made or wait 2-3 months and get it if its a car they get from overseas. Straight from Holden. I don’t have to go to some after market mod company with a full car.

    Heck I can order one just a shell. No engine No wheels no interior. I can also choose to order the reverse. Funny as it is custom orders are not more expensive. The expense is the wait.

    This is the problem with laptops and lot of other devices. We don’t have options.

    Yes Holden I have full rights to furnish my car anyway I want. Yes I know a funny one of a car ordered without door handles. No hole cut in panelling at all. Electronic unlocking and opening doors fitted after market.

    So why when I buy a laptop do I have to be limited. If I want something special the store person selling laptop should be able to request it. It is my money on the table after all.

    If I want a laptop without windows that should be my choice. Just like if I want a laptop without a harddrive or any other part. If I am stupid enough to order custom and it does not work who fault is that. I still had to pay so the company still make a profit.

  37. Flying Toaster says:

    ZaReason and hundreds of other small and medium-sized businesses crank out GNU/Linux desktops and notebooks exclusively. Emperor Linux takes notebooks from Sony, ToughBooks, Fujitsu, Lenovo and Sharp and installs GNU/Linux on them.

    See? That’s what we call choice. It’s all about going around and looking for what you need – not throwing your dummy at people that you don’t like.

    Here’s an example of what FLOSS can do. Here’s an Acer notebook that sells in hundreds of shops all over Malaysia: 4752G-2352G50L

    Good on them, but does that affect me the slightest as a Windows users? And am I even bothered enough to file lawsuits against Acer and demand them to install Windows on those laptops, because, wah, boo-hoo, you are undermining my ability to install Windows on them? Most definitely not.

    But, hell, why would you vindictive zealots care about such thing as the freedom of choice so as long as some fascist governments that constantly urinate on basic human rights would do your bidding and pave over every single Windows system with Linux for you?

    Software “freedom” my rear end.

    But you don’t mind “inconveniencing” millions of other consumers who must often purchase Windows just to over write it with GNU/Linux.

    If you want to undo everything the manufacturer has done for you as a package and a value-adding feature, that’s your choice. As an owner of a Lenovo laptop, I can tell you all day about how awesome it is to be able to switch bluetooth/wifi/3G on and off in one elegant menu or revert the entire system to factory defaults without the crapware in a few simple steps, but if you are the sort of lunatics that want to buy new cars just so you can gut it out and duct tape random crap into it in place of the dashboard and the seats, then that’s fine for me. What I don’t like, however, is when the likes of you start complaining about how car manufacturers supposedly take away your “freedom” by furnishing their cars for you and then drag every unwilling party into some wacky crusade of “freedom” that is essentially the opposite of its name. As I said, that’s simply self-serving and selfish however you look at it.

  38. oiaohm says:

    Bundling products form different vendors into 1 product and not allowing unbundling is illegal in France. So yes the MS bundling with a laptop is technically illegal in many countries.

    oldman
    “Of course what may happen is that your choice of components that go into that system may be dynamically reduced because the OEM cant make them work with Linux, but thats the way it goes.”

    Who said the person would only want to be putting Linux on the device. Most common cause of Linux issues with hardware. Is not the chip-set. Its the poorly tested bios chips a lot of oems make. Yes the foxcomm classic where Linux would not boot and Windows was randomly crashing comes to mind. This is something we do want better testing on. Testing windows only can let bugs through making the computer unstable to use.

    Choice of components is not reduced. When arch designers design how archs work. They were smart enough to think of the event what happens if I happen to install a OS that don’t know how to drive a part. Simple don’t turn it on. So as long as that not the screen or keyboard/mouse. Everything is ok. You just put a note with the device the following parts will not work if you use Linux as of X date. Like even the nvidia intel combination Linux cannot drive properly. Linux still drives the intel side perfectly. So a simple note on those nvidia accelerator does not work with Linux. Buyer beware basically. OEM does not have to promise that the device is fully functional with Linux. Partly functional with accept-ions would be tolerable. Its not like the parts that are not going to work are going to be a issue all the time.

    There is hardware that windows cannot drive out there oldman. So really this opens up OEM’s to provide devices with broader hardware inside. Some hardware activates for Linux some for windows everyone happy or unhappy depending on what features are displayed.

    Also from a secuirty point of view imaged at store before going out door with the latest version of Windows or Linux…. would be a good thing. Instead of what can be a 2 year old copy that has been sitting in the box not updated. Would help to reduce the most common time for a laptop to be virus infected is the first 6 weeks.

    But this french ruling asks some questions about locked boot loaders.

    oldman the french there laws are kinda evil so they could go buy a Lenovo from another country anywhere in the world go home then demand Lenovo unbundle.

    Lenovo does not really have the option of taken a region by region solution. Neither does anyone else who wants to sell in France. Its a all or nothing location

  39. Kozmcrae says:

    “Surely you don’t believe that by inconveniencing me and others like me you are going to advance the cause of Linux.”

    But you don’t mind “inconveniencing” millions of other consumers who must often purchase Windows just to over write it with GNU/Linux.

    You are a real bastard @ldman.

  40. Sigh. Clarence Moon shows he has no imagination when he wrote, “Imagine the fun that they will have with fire sales of the stack that isn’t selling well and the opportunities for shipping companies to get rich carrying the unsold stacks back to the factories where they can be refurbished and sold at a lower price.”

    Look how browsers were unbundled. The same could be done with the OS. The bootloader could pop up and offer a choice of OS and it would trash the unwanted products and repartitions to free the space, or people could have a 30-day free trial of any and all OS on the drive before the choice has to be made. That could be a selling feature much more attractive than WGdisA.

  41. oldman, writing of FLOSS, wrote: ” you are simply not a market worth pursuing.”

    Who are you to say FLOSS is a market not persuing when bunches of businesses are having great fun supplying the FLOSS market?

    ZaReason and hundreds of other small and medium-sized businesses crank out GNU/Linux desktops and notebooks exclusively. Emperor Linux takes notebooks from Sony, ToughBooks, Fujitsu, Lenovo and Sharp and installs GNU/Linux on them. They are thriving. Just about every one of the top 5 OEMs does as well around the world. Obviously the world cannot instantly switch to GNU/Linux because that would be disruptive and interrupt cash-flow but it is happening little by little.

    Here’s an example of what FLOSS can do. Here’s an Acer notebook that sells in hundreds of shops all over Malaysia: 4752G-2352G50L

    OEMs and retailers are meeting a need.

  42. oldman says:

    “Let the M$-lovers see how it feels to have to install an OS.”

    IN point of fact we are not going to feel any such thing. IN the unlikely event that other countries as so stupid as to defy the market and force systems to be built on the fly, you can bet that the major OEM’s will figure out how to rejigger their workflow so that the consumer still have what amounts to a bundled system generated for them. Of course what may happen is that your choice of components that go into that system may be dynamically reduced because the OEM cant make them work with Linux, but thats the way it goes.

  43. oldman says:

    “How can you look yourself in the mirror, denying consumers’ choice, when you keep repeating that consumers don’t want GNU/Linux in spite of the obvious fact that consumers do want GNU/Linux?”

    How can you look yourself in the mirror denying MY choice and the choices of those or are not part of your IMHO silly crusade against a vendor that you dont like, Pog? Surely you don’t believe that by inconveniencing me and others like me you are going to advance the cause of Linux. Get real!

    The above aside, The reality of supply and demand says Robert Pogson, that as the member of a niche market (i.e. linux desktop users) you are not guaranteed that you will be sold a particular configuration period, because you are simply not a market worth pursuing.

  44. Clarence Moon says:

    The French courts had another field day with Google it seems:

    http://www.pcworld.com/article/249198/google_ordered_to_pay_fine_for_making_google_maps_free.html#tk.mod_stln

    “or they can have a stock of various operating systems and let the consumer choose from which stack he wants his box.”

    I am sure that the OEMs and retailers are just dying to have that opportunity, Mr. Pogson. Imagine the fun that they will have with fire sales of the stack that isn’t selling well and the opportunities for shipping companies to get rich carrying the unsold stacks back to the factories where they can be refurbished and sold at a lower price.

    Alternately imagine the opportunities to educate the Walmart clerks in OS installation methods. This will be a scene worth watching. Bring some popcorn and a comfortable beach chair.

  45. FT wrote, “stripping everyone’s right to purchase a car with a stock engine installed is just not on in my book”.

    That’s not the point. The law in France is that bundling to exclude competition is illegal. There would be nothing wrong with retailers offering that other OS and some others each bundled or with the alternative of noOS. I would think retailers would prefer to have happy consumers. Happy consumers don’t sue retailers and OEMs. In this case it was the OEM that was sued because they did the bundling, but there would have been no suit if the consumer could have chosen that hardware with no OS or GNU/Linux. There’s only a problem for consumers or retailers if the choice is not available or it does not sell. We know GNU/Linux sells. The retailer takes no extra risk he did not take selling Vista.

    If the OEM or retailer ends up out of pocket in the deal, that’s between them and M$. M$ should not be forcing OEMs or retailers to eat the deficit if there is one. The bad guy in this is no one but M$. Retailers could avoid any such problems by selling only GNU/Linux and no OS. Let the M$-lovers see how it feels to have to install an OS.

  46. oldman wrote about bundling, “How about because all of the integration work is done and the system is ready to use?”

    An OEM and a retailer can install a hard drive at point of sale or install the image with all the configuration done or they can have a stock of various operating systems and let the consumer choose from which stack he wants his box. It is awkward for the retailer because he cannot offer every OS under the sun. It cost little to include noOS as an option however and not much more to include GNU/Linux of a particular flavour. Since it costs less, the consumer would not be offended nearly as much as paying for something he doesn’t want or need.

    How can you look yourself in the mirror, denying consumers’ choice, when you keep repeating that consumers don’t want GNU/Linux in spite of the obvious fact that consumers do want GNU/Linux?

  47. oldman says:

    “There is no reason, other than to stuff more money into Microsoft, to bundle the OS with the hardware.”

    How about because all of the integration work is done and the system is ready to use?

  48. Flying Toaster says:

    The consumer is often not offered the choice. Lenovo does sell a few systems no OS but not the one the guy wanted.

    That’s tough. Did he really need to stick to the same brand, though?

    You can buy a car with an empty fuel tank to put in your preferred brand. The bundling prevented that with the OS.

    Get another make. The solution is so obviously it’s simply a no-brainer.

    There is no reason, other than to stuff more money into Microsoft, to bundle the OS with the hardware.

    The blog post I have cited begs to differ in this regard. Have you read it?

    Look – we can keep arm-waving all we want till the cows come home, or you can go and find something more tangible than stuff all to back up your claim that the incorporation of Windows as part of a package is nothing “other than to stuff more money into Microsoft”. I am a Windows user, I do expect Windows to be installed on my PC, and I do want so in a way that will cost me less than having to purchase the OS separately and will work more seamlessly than a DIY install. What you advocate here will take away what I as well as those “85%” in France currently enjoy, and thus from my point of view it is simply self-serving and selfish no matter how you spin it.

    It’s not a service if every machine comes pre-installed with Microsoft. It’s an arm twisting inducement.

    Again, to me, as a Windows user, it’s not. If you want a car with no engine or a customized engine, that’s fine for me. But stripping everyone’s right to purchase a car with a stock engine installed is just not on in my book, nor it is empowering in the matter of choice.

    You’ll definitely need more than a political system that is ridden with Sarkozy’s anti-American/Muslim agenda to back up your position, I am afraid.

  49. kozmcrae says:

    “The right thing, Pogson, is to meet the expectations of the majority of your potential customers.”

    If the OS was always purchased separately from the hardware like it was for the first decade or so this would be a non issue. There is no reason, other than to stuff more money into Microsoft, to bundle the OS with the hardware. It’s not a service if every machine comes pre-installed with Microsoft. It’s an arm twisting inducement.

  50. FT wrote, “despite his clear indiscretion on his purchase”.

    That’s the whole point. The consumer is often not offered the choice. Lenovo does sell a few systems no OS but not the one the guy wanted. You can buy a car with an empty fuel tank to put in your preferred brand. The bundling prevented that with the OS. The courts agreed with the guy. I do too. The EULA says you can decline to accept and get a refund. The guy should be able to keep the PC. Exclusive bundling is illegal in France. That’s awkward for OEMs and retailers but if they want the business they have to give the consumer what the consumer wants.

  51. Flying Toaster says:

    let alone the actual 10% who prefer GNU/Linux.

    And no one wants a Mac?

  52. Flying Toaster says:

    Lenovo has been ordered by a French court to refund licensing fees for that other OS and costs to a customer who bought a personal computer with that other OS installed when the customer wanted to use GNU/Linux on his personal computer.

    A guy bought a computer clearly stated with Windows installed. A French court thought it would somehow be a good idea to rule in the guy’s favor despite his clear indiscretion on his purchase.

    My last reference on the issue aside, will the Muslim finally do “the right thing” and stop practicing their own religion?

  53. Phenom wrote, “The right thing, Pogson, is to meet the expectations of the majority of your potential customers. Who happen to want Windows.”

    Two things:

    1. The French, unlike citizens of the USA, still remember their revolutionary roots and are willing to kick the invader out.
    2. Lenovo’s customers are more or less retailers and distributors. Their expectations may be that M$ gets a free ride but the consumers do not want that other OS. In France, 2% more or less, according to NetApplications, want GNU/Linux and only 85% want that other OS. No OEM can afford to offend even 2% of consumers, let alone the actual 10% who prefer GNU/Linux.
  54. Phenom says:

    The right thing? The right thing, Pogson, is to meet the expectations of the majority of your potential customers. Who happen to want Windows.

    This case is just a mere exception, a single soul like you, who wants to use Linux on his laptop, but bought a bundle with Windows instead of a configuration without OS.

    Nothing will change, Pogson.

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