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back to article Microsoft forbids class actions in new Windows licence

Microsoft will make it harder for customers to club together with lawyers to file lawsuits against its products. The company is rolling out new End User License Agreements (EULAs) that forbid punters from joining class-action proceedings. Assistant general counsel Tim Fielden announced the tweak here and said the changes will …

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An unfair contract term will last as long as a snowflake in Hell, the courts will have a field day and Microsoft a bad day.

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Anonymous Coward

Windows 9 will not have these terms because all the bugs, instability and crap interface will have been ironed out.

What Vista is to Win7, Win8 will be to Win9.

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Happy

"Windows 9 will not have these terms because all the bugs, instability and crap interface will have been ironed out."

I like you. You make me laugh. :-D

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Meh

@AC 1827hrs

Wrote :- "Windows 9 will not have these terms because all the bugs, instability and crap interface will have been ironed out."

You ARE trying to be funny, aren't you?

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Anonymous Coward

A joke, perhaps...

Just being cynical!

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Anonymous Coward

the EULA is worth jack shit

at least in the UK anyway

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Windows

Re: @AC 1827hrs

"You ARE trying to be funny, aren't you?"

He's stoned. This is what happens after you give a salmon acid and then smoke the salmon...

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Linux

Re: the EULA is worth jack shit

Unfortunately Americans believe that their laws apply throughout the world, which is why they have people "rendered" to them from almost every country.

Fortunately there's another, more modern, secure and stable option!

Please note - with the release of "Windows Security Essentials" MS finally admitted that their "operating systems" have no security whatsoever.

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Sure it may seem unfair but class action suits are pretty much worthless, the only people who gain anything are the lawyers. I've been on the winning side of several such law suits and have never bothered to claim the award as it generally would barely cover lunch at McDonalds.

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Meh

Re: the EULA is worth jack shit

>>Please note - with the release of "Windows Security Essentials" MS finally admitted that their "operating systems" have no security whatsoever

ffs, Thats tired old bullshit and you should know it if you know anything about security.

But alright, lets assume that you're correct.

By your logic then, with the inclusion of SELinux in the Linux Kernel as of version 2.6 (in 2003 mind you), the Linux community admitted the very same thing through NSA and the University of Utah forcing them to, and the fact that it has mandatory access control and mandatory integrity control embedded in the Kernel its self seems to suggest there was an even bigger problem with Linux rather than Windows.

You can spin it any way you like, but really, *anything* in computing is vulnerable if its improperly configured or you're fucking stupid about how you use it. The choice of OS has nothing to do with a user being a dumbass.

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Re: the EULA is worth jack shit

Correction: The choice of OS has nothing to do with a user WITH ADMINISTRATOR PRIVILEGES being a dumbass.

The whole point of an OS is to isolate programs and data correctly. In the modern ages, everything's abused by most home users being able to execute arbitrary code and to do so with administrator privileges as a matter of course (UAC is pretty weak and full of holes). I agree that an administrator on either system can wreak just as much havoc. But the whole POINT of an OS existing is to stop ordinary users being able to do so, or at worst to do it only to their own files and settings. By and large, that's true on modern OS too, but it's a very different story and one where SELinux totally wipes the floor with anything available on a Microsoft OS.

There's a world of difference between having to trust the users, and spending time setting up a system where the users have (and need) zero trust whatsoever. One is generally a home scenario, one a business/industry/military scenario. There, you end up with a great deal of difference in your assertions. It's POSSIBLE to secure a Linux system so that almost anything (including 99% of all published Linux "exploits") can't actually do anything. It's not really possible on Windows. You can't really control things and isolate program to that finely-detailed level without an awful lot of extraneous, third-party software that can only control what Microsoft choose to expose.

That said, I mostly agree with you. The problem with Windows is political and cultural. Users have been trained to expect to be able to run with privileges, to write to ANY folder, to manage their own PC in the same "mode" as they use to run the web browser, and have little isolation between processes. Hell, you don't even get a "This program is trying to run at startup, do you wish to allow that?" style-dialog for the simplest of actions that a malicious program can perform (and be a pain to undo). Properly secured, bare Linux and Windows are about the same. But SELinux and other solutions are a step above anything Windows offers to the public (and as far as I know, the "military" versions of Windows are still based on an ANCIENT codebase because that's all they could certify).

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at A.C. -- Wrong icon!

"Windows 9 will not have these terms because all the bugs, instability and crap interface will have been ironed out."

Yuh forgot the joke alert.

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FAIL

That's what AV vendors thought, and look at them

with the release of "Windows Security Essentials" MS finally admitted that their "operating systems" have no security whatsoever.

enough said.

MICROSOFT URGED CUSTOMERS FOR YEARS to use anti-virus software to protect their PCs, but the computer security industry's focus on the addictive update model forced Microsoft's hand. Customers wanted a secure Microsoft operating system, and when Microsoft delivered, computer security firms got uppity.

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Devil

Re: the EULA is worth jack shit

Does the USA allow one to waive one's legal rights in this way? Or at all?

Also given the nature of lawyers in general and USA lawyers in particular, I wonder if Microsoft won't be facing a class action lawsuit from the legal profession concerning this nefarious attempt to prevent citizens from asserting their legal rights, thereby depriving lawyers of their right to profit thereby? Sooner rather than later?

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Not an expert, but I'm pretty sure this is not enforceable in US law. In Europe it varies on a case by case basis. We don't have an EU-wide equivalent to the USA's Class Action at the moment. But several countries such as Germany, France, Spain do. The UK does not, but in some cases, there are ways to pursue the claim in other EU countries.

Regardless of legality, it's unethical to try and put this in a EULA, of course.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: the EULA is worth jack shit

Does the concept of a class action suit even exist where laws in the UK are concerned?

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EULA

Since a contract requires an intention to be bound by the contract, and most people just click on accept without paying any attention to the notice, could it be argued that the EULA is no contract as one party at least had no intention of being bound by it?

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Re: the EULA is worth jack shit

@Lee Dowling:

Oh absolutely, for instance I saw some guy bragging about running Fedora 17 as root earlier on another thread and I dont think he was just using it for configuring a regular user account. Im pretty sure he just uses the damned thing as root. Pretty stupid if you ask me. But hey, you cant fix stupid, you just have to try and mitigate it. With user culture being the way it is, especially in the world of Windows, educating people on why having Administrative permissions for everything all the time is a bad idea is always an uphill battle.

Home and Business are indeed different worlds but in the end you can wind up getting hit just as hard if not harder by taking a carefree attitude toward security at home especially if you have anything laying around on one of your computers of a sensitive nature (business email, credit card/banking information, Identity information, passwords being saved in cleartext, etc).

I agree with you myself on your points, to *really* secure Windows you have to run a hell of alot of other programs as well as set Policy configuration, edit permissions til you're blue in the face, attach it to a very secure private network, set very strict firewall rules, etc etc. It sucks, and alot of it is Microsoft's fault for not being as security conscious as they have become during the 1990's and the early part of the 2000's.

In regard to the Security Certified Military versions of Windows that the US uses anyway, Im going avoid going to that level of detail (I do know what they are and its probably the same thing you're speaking of, the certified client is more than 10 years old so yes it is ancient, and the certified server is also nearly ten years old) but as Im not sure its FOUO or above, I wont name versions. I will state though for the record that it takes forever and a day to get an OS certified by DISA, NIST, and NSA/CSS

Then again, I will say that I believe the NIST guidelines for their testing are honestly better than NSA's.

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No class action in France

...as far as I know. People keep calling for it.

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I'm not a lawyer but could we not create a class action suit against Microsoft along the lines of: "Microsoft is using its monoply position in operating systems and office productivity suites to force people to accept unfair licencing terms, preventing them from recouping damages in the event of faults" or something simlar?

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JDX
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No because as the article already said, legal precedent exists for them to do this.

It's rather cynical and mean but if the law allows it, they'd be suckers not to do it.

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No, but complaints can be filed with the Federal Trade Commission, who can file an antitrust lawsuit (which is a criminal, not civil case). I would expect that Microsoft will not be happy if they receive thousands of seperate lawsuits in a short timeframe. Likely to have some summary judgments if they don't employ enough lawyers.

All of this is really just US-specific, of course. Though, I would expect complaints in Europe to be handled similiarly by the EC.

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@JDX -- So the next step is...

...To engineer this common law decision out with legislation. (If good consumer legislation had already existed then this precedent wouldn't have occurred.)

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If the first thing they do

. . is try to protect themselves from class actions, the product must be pretty shitty.

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Happy

Re: If the first thing they do

I owe you a beer, for that comment

Nice one

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JDX
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Re: If the first thing they do

No they're just doing what they're allowed to do. No doubt it will be commonplace soon.

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Re: If the first thing they do

Upvote here.

On a side note I do wonder if they can have a class action suit against the class action clause?

Might be interesting.

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@That Steve Guy

On a side note I do wonder if they can have a class action suit against the class action clause?

Actually, that would create the first legal recursion. Genius idea!

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@ Antoinette Lacroix - Re: If the first thing they do

You've been read where it hurts, reckon at least one Microsoft employee has read your comment.

Who else on the planet would dare down-vote it?

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Re: @ Antoinette Lacroix - If the first thing they do

I'd put that down-vote in the EBKAC category and move along.

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The last thing we, the people, should do...

is agree to such junk.

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Re: The last thing we, the people, should do...

Yes the best course with such repulsive license terms is to decline to buy/use the product.

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Facepalm

Re: The last thing we, the people, should do...

>Yes the best course with such repulsive license terms is to decline to buy/use the product.

And just how many laptop computer models can you buy without a forcibly bundled Windows?

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If you try real hard...

...I'll bet you can think of a few models. Hint - they all come from one company.

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Re: If you try real hard...

Dell? They bundle Linux, no?

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Re: The last thing we, the people, should do...

You can always reject the license and apply for a refund as folks have been doing for several years now - US, Canada, UK, and more...

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Re: If you try real hard...

Is that the same Dell that only allows you to buy the Linux version on the lowest spec laptop? Or thats all I can find in 1/2hr of plugging away at their site

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WTF?

And just how many laptop computer models can you buy without a forcibly bundled Windows?

Dozens, probably hundreds. Of course not from your average consumer temple a la Best Buy, PC World, Curry's and such, but most big brands (like HP or Dell) sell shitloads of laptops without OS to small and large businesses around the world every day.

And then there are the assemblers who use barebone laptops and stuff it with components, and which often happily sell you a laptop without OS.

If someone says that he can't find a laptop without WIndows then he's just lazy.

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Re: The last thing we, the people, should do...

is buy such junk.

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@Gene - Re: If you try real hard...

Yeah, but you have to try really, really hard to get them, even though it's two orders of magnitude easier than from HP

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Linux

Re: The last thing we, the people, should do...

Just wait till the ambulance-chasing spiv lawyers get onto this particular bandwagon. "Were you mis-sold a copy of Windows with your laptop?"

Litigix -- the sue-happy distro, brought to you by Dewey, Cheetham and Howe.

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Re: The last thing we, the people, should do...

Acer, HP, Dell to name a few but the main issue is microsoft is so scared of class suits to temper the EULA that bad.

Class action suits do suck for the class and it's the lawyers who profit great... sad

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Re: And just how many laptop computer models can you buy without a forcibly bundled Windows?

You can buy SOME laptops without Windows, but not the ones you actualy want to buy. I had a business account with Dell and had bought several laptops recently with Windows on for work. I then tried to buy the same laptop WITHOUT windows pre-installed as I'm a Linux user at home and don't like Windows. Dell refused point blank. Their rep offered me ONE choice of low spec high cost laptop and said that they would not sell me any other without Windows on. I took it up the management chain and still got no where. I asked them to sell me one without a HDD then - again this was refused. There reason was that I might 'pirate' Windows if I bought a laptop without an O/S preinstalled! Is this really THEIR concern?

In the end, I said either sell me one, or close my account. The account is now closed.

Next I tried HP - exactly the same result.

What kind of corrupt world are we in when a computer MANUFACTURER won't sell you a computer unles you buy a load of pre-installed software that you have no use for and will never use?

I have the records of my emails and online converstaions to back this up.

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@ Tom 7

"Buying a Dell"

There's your problem!

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Re: And just how many laptop computer models can you buy without a forcibly bundled Windows?

Because the manufacturers are paid for the bundled stuff, is my understanding.

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Re: And just how many laptop computer models can you buy without a forcibly bundled Windows?

I have found this, apparently you just need to insist to succeed... Haven't tried it myself yet, but I definitely will next time I buy one ...

http://blog.linuxmint.com/?p=1073

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Mushroom

Re: And just how many laptop computer models can you buy without a forcibly bundled Windows?

How many would you like?

I wanted some high spec machines from the Sony Vaio range (as a government purchaser) and they fell over themselves to supply the 500 machines I needed. I asked for bare machines with their driver disc and they asked me why I wouldn't want Windows 7. I explained as politely as I could that Windows 7 is just as fundamentally broken as the rest of the Microsoft product line, and was a waste of money for us. They were happy not only to supply the machines at a substantial discount - a slightly bigger discount than just the deduction of the price of Windows - and asked which Linux distribution we'd be using and would we like them pre-installed?

I've had similar results with Dell (though only for desktop machines), with Lenovo and HP. They ALL want my business!

The only company that refused to accommodate me (so far) was Toshiba, and they're in all sorts of financial trouble now, so we wouldn't buy from them anyway.

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Comments on comments on "And just how many laptop computer models can you buy..."

> ...to supply the 500 machines I needed ...

That is so different. If you are shopping for hundreds of laptops, sure the manufacturers will accommodate your OS wishes. When shopping for one, they will either offer an overpriced model you don't wan't, or none at all.

People who responded to my post with examples how to get laptops without bundled Windows, if one tries hard enough, miss the point. All but true zealots will take the easier route, so most Linux users will get the one with bundled Windows (far easier and usually cheaper), and will probably also boot it a few times with Windows, if only to check that the hardware is OK. So Microsoft gets the money they don't deserve, and (what is even worse), the notional acceptance of their EULA, establishing more precedent ("billions of users have accepted our EULA so what are you complaining about?").

I don't see how the playing field could be leveled other than by law that forces every general purpose computer to be available also without an OS. Or so that any bundled OS must supplied as a separate item, which the user can install or return for a refund with no questions asked. This would hardly be a big inconvenience for customers: my experience with new Windows 7 laptops is that the setting-up and updating that even the "pre-installed" OS does on the first few boots actually takes about as long as a full OS install would...

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FAIL

Comming from a World renowned company in Social networking

Or is that Social Notworking here please.

You have more chance of getting hold of the Jedi bible to wear your oath upon in court than this carrying any weight with contract law and fair use.

False advertising by microsoft et all is still false advertising and if you want one court case or to be stung once by a skilled lawyer that will then act as a land mark case for the umpteen others is actualy going to make Microsofts life alot worse.

Do I have to sign a contract to install the OS you sell to consumers in a shop - nope, as such why are Microsoft wasting there time or are they upset there not seen as bad as Facebook and are missing the bad-press limelight!

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