back to article Microsoft railroads little man with Office Live U-turn

Microsoft has decided to charge annual fees to all users of its domain renewal service on the Office Live Small Business (OLSB) site. The company told early adopter customers of the service, who had previously been promised free website registrations for life, that from 1 October it would begin charging them a $14.95 a year …

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It's english Jim, but not as we know it

perpetuity in microspeak clearly means "until we decide otherwise".

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WTF?

Can someone consult the agreements...

...and find us the clause that specifically states that Microsoft reserves the right to do such a thing? Otherwise, could this not be considered breach of contract?

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Stop

$15 for a domain, for a year?

Is this some sort of joke? Still I guess MS are trying to work out where to get money from and milking a captive customer is pretty much how they've always done it anyway.

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C-units

C-units.

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"Because It Is My Nature"

A turtle was happily swimming along a river when a scorpion hailed it from the shore.

"Dear friend turtle!" called the scorpion. "Please let me climb upon your back and swim me to the other side of the river!"

"No," replied the turtle, "for if I do, you shall sting me, and I shall die."

"Nonsense!" replied the scorpion. "If I kill you in the middle of the river, you shall sink, and I shall drown and die with you."

The turtle thought this over, and saw the truth of the scorpion's statement. He let it upon his back and began swimming towards the other side of the river. Halfway across, he felt a sharp pain in the back of his neck.

"Why have you stung me?!" cried the turtle as his body began to stiffen. "Now you shall die as well!"

The scorpion simply replied, "Because it is in my nature".

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Contract

Is this not breaking the contract terms,

do they have the equivalent of a small claims court for small business's ?

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Anonymous Coward

So, no news then..

What I would really like to know is why *anyone* would be surprised by this. This is the kind of stunt they pull all the time (remember education? "Would never happen" they say, "MS is committed to support education". Whoehahaha - and Gordon Brown knows something about economics, LOL).

I hope every single user moves to Google or maybe gets hold of OpenOffice. Not that it replaces Outlook (THE biggest lock-in on the desktop, and no summer of code has ever done anything to address it), but for what the average office needs, OOo is good enough.

And it supports domain names.

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Megaphone

If there's no consideration, there's no contract

An elementary point of law. If I agree with you to do X for no charge, then change my mind, I haven't broken a contract: there never was one. The phrase is "valuable consideration" in exchange for goods or services, and it can be nothing more than a token sum, but without it our agreement is no contract.

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Outlook replacement

Just Google "evolution for windows", job done.

As for them charging... they're M$, of course they're going to milk you for $, the scorpion & turtle fable is appropriate.

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There's one born every minute.

How much wreckage does there have to be strewn all around the IT world before some people learn that *any* agreement with MS is a disaster waiting to happen?

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wsm

Nothing new

I know a few small business owners who were suckered into this arrangement. Each of them has said they will no longer use their sites and will let them expire rather than deal with Microsoft again.

Since Dell pushed this "free" service on them whenever they bought PCs through their small business division, Dell may be losing a few customers also.

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Grenade

Outlook??

Someone actually USES that piece of carp??

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The problem with business units

You'd think that the goodwill is worth $15 to MS...

When the salestards are having a hard time keeping everyone buying MS products, surely MS need all the goodwill they can get.

This sort of action only needs to result in a small amount of backlash (a lost Windows license here, a lost Word license there) to lose them lots more than this will actually bring in.

But MS is comprised of many distinct business units that compete within the corporation. The Office Live crew will grab their $15 even if it costs other business units $50+ in lost revenues.

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Troll

did it ever occur to you?

Did it ever occur to you that MS got in trouble with the lawyers exactly because it gave this away for free?

As a market dominant company it cannot do things that are perceived as anti-competitive, and has a lot of internal policies to insure market level pricing is always in place.

It's a weird world , post anti trust. Do you really think if this was the case that MS would announce to the world , ooops we forgot we were not allowed to give things away to gain an advantage in the market.

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Take note

Take note of this, when MS releases things with a 'community promise' or 'covenant not to sue'...

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Free for life ... until we change our mind

Free for life ... until we change our mind, in which case what we say actually means fuck all!

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Contract law

A contract requires that a something of value be delivered in return for "a consideration". It's well known that "a consideration" need not be monetary - "a peppercorn" is sometimes used by lawyers, when both parties wish to create a contract, and it's not necessary for the peppercorn to be delivered if it's not demanded.

In this case Microsoft has obtained your sign-up details and (possibly) permission to use them in the course of its business and to sell them on to third parties. That could surely be held to be a consideration, in which case a contract might exist. Although given the army of lawyers that MS supports, I expect that there's some other sort of get-out for MIcrosoft.

Also, what is the applicable law? In the UK, there is legislation outlawing unfair contract terms. Saying "in perpetuity" up front and defining that to mean "until we change our mind" in the small print legalese is almost certainly unfair and therefore unenforcible.

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Linux

Thought i smelt a fish

thought it was to good to be true when it first came out.

ha ha

mmmm

lycos now dead office whats next to die ?

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