"If you don't like Windows so much then don't use it!"
This is something I have been told more than once (sometimes in not those kind of words) by various people when we have been discussing operating systems. As much as I would like to take their suggestion, the fact is I can't. The sad fact of the matter is, it is a Windows world for desktop computing. Microsoft has a monopoly on the marketplace and this isn't about to change anytime soon.
My most recent dealing with Microsoft on my own personal computers came about when I bought my tablet PCs. They both came stock with Windows 7, meaning they had an inflated price tag to cover the cost of the software. Neither of the systems are currently running a Microsoft operating system - the way I like it. Now, fair is fair so if I wasn't going to use the software they sent me with the laptop - why should I have to pay for it? So I boot the laptop and navigate my way to the Windows EULA. Browsing through the license carefully I find the paragraph I am looking for towards the bottom, it says the following:
"By using the software you accept these terms. If you do not accept them, do not use the software. Instead contact the manufacturer or installer to determine its return policy. You must comply with that policy, which might limit your rights or require you to return the entire system on which the software is installed."
Now I didn't want to return the laptop as a whole, but I wouldn't mind getting some cash back for the copy of Windows. So I call up Asus and get your typical level one run around
Asus: Hello this is Asus how can we help you?
Me: Howdy There, I just received my new Asus EEEPC and the Windows license says that if I cannot agree to it then I need to contact the manufacturer to get a refund for the software.
Asus: You want to return Windows? Your computer will not work without Windows being installed on it.
It annoys me that they would even say this. I've bought Asus computers that don't have Windows on them before, this person knows as well as I do that I do not need Windows for my system to function.
Me: Actually I am going to run an FOS operating system on the laptop, so I don't need Windows for it to function. How do I go about getting my refund for the copy of Windows?
Asus: You need contact Microsoft to get a refund for Windows, it is their software.
Me: Really? The EULA clearly states to contact the manufacturer for the refund. Asus is the manufacturer the EEEPC not Microsoft, correct?
Asus: Yes, but Windows 7 is Microsoft software so you will need to contact them for a refund.
Me: Do you have a supervisor I can speak to?
Two supervisors later I was finally told I needed to contact the place I had purchased the laptop from in order to get a refund on the entire unit. At this point I was three hours into this and was ready to just return the system and get something non-Asus. So I contact the company I had purchased the laptop from and they inform me they have a zero refund policy for opened laptops.
I placed a call back to Asus (thankfully I had the supervisor's direct extension this time) and inform them on this. They apologize and inform me there is nothing they can do about this. They again suggest I contact Microsoft for the refund on Windows because "Asus does not process refunds" even though the EULA says they should.
The EULA is a binding agreement like a contract, if I can get into trouble for breaking it so should they, right? Is it even worth my time to try and sue Asus to get my money back? Maybe next year when I am done with school.