back to article Those Xbox Fitness vids you 'bought'? Look up the meaning of the word 'rent'

Napster had it right, all those years ago: in the new world, you might “own nothing, have everything”. Except for “have everything”: in the second “death of free” today, Microsoft has put Xbox Fitness on the end-of-life list. Users are unhappy to learn they were renting videos they thought they were buying. The service might …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Refund?

    If you bought the content and there was no indication that it would expire, then I would expect that in any country with decent consumer law you would be able to get a refund as it is no longer fit for purpose.

    Never having owned an XBox or seen any of this fitness tat I can't comment any further. IANAL, etc, yada, yada.

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: Refund?

      I suspect you're right. The thing is, this seems to be MS's latest business model. Every bit of software you thought you bought and owned will get converted because it's a "service"... Office is well on it's way and rumor has it that Win10 will end up that way which is one reason they wanted as many machines moved off Win7.

      I'm expecting other companies will suddenly change the EULA and expect rent.

      1. Deltics

        Re: Refund?

        It's not the same as introducing a subscription model to replace a previous license purchase model on older versions of software, as in the case of Office. i.e. your copy of MS Office 95 (c-r-e-a-k) still works, though you might need a VM with an older Windows OS to run it in (the licenses for both MS Office 95 and the OS are still valid).

        It's only your subscription to Office 365 that is contingent on your continuing to pay your subscription dues. Office 95 didn't stop working when Office 365 became available.

        Here, if you were sold content on the basis of a one-off purchase (not a subscription) and if that content was not sold with limits or conditions on access as a clearly stated condition of sale, then I think MS could be letting themselves in for a whole heap of trouble.

        1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

          Re: Refund? @Deltics

          It will be covered in the small print of the EULA, or at least if it's not, it will be soon (according to the same EULA, it will be your responsibility to check online for changes in the conditions).

          Of course, that cannot trump local consumer legislation, however MS or any other company choose to fence their responsibility, but how many people are prepared to take on a company like MS in the courts!

          1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: Refund? @Deltics

            "but how many people are prepared to take on a company like MS in the courts!"

            Maybe you missed http://www.theregister.co.uk/2016/06/27/woman_microsoft_windows_10_upgrades

            The trick is to go for a small claims court - and presumably the amounts here are within those limits - which negates MS's size advantage.

            I wonder if it will find its way onto this guy's to-do list http://www.theregister.co.uk/2016/06/28/chatbot_kills_parking_tickets

            1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

              Re: Refund? @Doctor Syntax

              Crossed purposes. That case relies on the particularly consumer friendly court system in California. It's pretty much not applicable anywhere else in the world.

              And I'm not sure that the small claims courts elsewhere would be prepared to rule on this issue, as the perceived loss verses the use the customer has already had from the product is debatable (how many people are prepared to try to claim back the cost of their VHS fitness tapes, because you can no longer buy a tape player). They may well require it ti be handled by a higher court.

              1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

                Re: Refund? @Doctor Syntax

                "That case relies on the particularly consumer friendly court system in California. It's pretty much not applicable anywhere else in the world."

                It might be unusual in California but consumer protection is widespread in Europe. I don't know about the rest of Europe but the UK has a small claims court.

                "how many people are prepared to try to claim back the cost of their VHS fitness tapes, because you can no longer buy a tape player"

                Not a good analogy. The equivalent would be Jane Fonda knocking on your door and demanding her tape back because you'd watched it.

                1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

                  Re: Refund? @Doctor Syntax

                  I was not saying that there is not consumer legislation or small claims courts outside California, but that article itself says that that case would be unlikely to succeed outside of California.

                  I don't understand your analogy of Jane Fonda. Whether you had watched it or not is irrelevant. I appreciate that in the case of a tape, you retain physical control of the tape, whereas the MS product you never own a physical copy, but the point I was trying to make is that technologies become obsolete. The difference I will admit here is that MS are able to declare the technology obsolete, but suppliers are not legally bound to provide alternatives.

                  Maybe the providing servers run on Windows Server 2003 with one of the withdrawn windows application deployment frameworks, and porting it to a more recent version is not feasible/cost effective, rendering it obsolete.

          2. mark 177

            Re: Refund? @Deltics

            No need to challenge Microsoft in the courts if you bought through a retailer. In countries like Australia, UK and NZ, the retailer is responsible for what they sell.

            In the UK, I successfully got a refund on a PVR when the electronic program guide it used was scrapped. The box was more than 3 years old, but I argued it was now effectively useless. I was given a refund without any quibble by the retailer (Boots, of chemist fame).

        2. Oldfogey
          Thumb Up

          Office

          Don't know about office 95, but 97 still works perfectly well on Win 7.

      2. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

        Re: Refund? ... as a service?

        If they don't refund, disappointed customers might want to use this service

        I particularly like the

        /shakespeare/:name/:from

        entry

      3. I am the Walrus

        Re: Refund?

        Many companies are unfortunately moving this way. Look at Adobe and Autodesk for example.

      4. LDS Silver badge

        Re: Refund?

        MS business model only? Ask Revolv owners...

  2. OzBob

    So, M$ have done a "Braben"

    Quelle suprise.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: So, M$ have done a "Braben"

      Nope, Braben will be doing an M$ when then can't afford to run the servers anymore...

      although I expect they will release the server software into the wild rather than risk the wrath of that many geeks (of which I am one)....

  3. P. Lee Silver badge

    Its all fun and games...

    until people realise what's going on.

    No MS might well consider that the content they have provided far exceeds what customers would have received had they bought a static video.

    Customers on the other hand, are likely to see this as a betrayal.

    Appliances are bad long-term business. They benefit the customer in the very short term, the vendor in the medium term but in the long term, the vendor is tied to stuff they don't want and the customer hates the vendor's (required but poor) support.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Its all fun and games...

      But the vendor is still at fault.

      I see this in mobile games all the time, not many people stop to think about the income they will need to run the online side of a successful game.

      It's not rocket science and being a bit more honest might help... ie: buy this workout game thingy and get updates for 2 years. Pay for paid content in a game and expect the game to die in 2 years. Then any extension due to success is a bonus and customers feel rewarded for being good little consumers.

      Being quite lazy, i'm not sure why they need a new celebrity fitness thing so often, Jane Fonda's work out still does it for me.

  4. moiety

    Why yes, that sounds like the sort of company I should rent an operating system from.

    </weapons-grade sarcasm>

    1. JLV Silver badge

      MS takes foot behind shed. Shots heard.

  5. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

    The race to $0

    Anyone who has used DRM media knows it's rental. When I see a DRM "purchase" I expect it to be as cheap as a single use or as cheap as a streaming subscription. I'm not paying any more for it. Studio greed is creating social expectations of cheap media and archive quality piracy that they probably won't recover from.

    1. joshimitsu

      Re: The race to $0

      Wuaki are the worst - you only get access to a film "purchase" for three years. And it's only 720p and stereo sound, but priced the same as other places.

      All these services should be calling it lease, not buy.

  6. wolfetone Silver badge
    Headmaster

    You know those Terms & Conditions you just click accept to without reading?

    Is now the right time to tell you that if you read them this wouldn't be such a shock to you?

    1. John H Woods Silver badge

      Ts&Cs

      "You know those Terms & Conditions you just click accept to without reading..." -- woleftone

      You mean people who expect consumer law to protect them? Come on, Ts & Cs are so long and complex now that it would take a non-legal person a significant amount of time to give them a reasonable read and get anything approaching comprehension. IANAL but a legal friend of mine opined that if he counted his time at a any reasonable rate he'd have to charge at least fifty to a hundred quid to read the average set of Ts & Cs and then explain them fully to the end user.

      Come on, you buy a physical box item whose functions can be turned off later by the vendor --- this fact has to be front and centre "on the packaging" before it can even be considered remotely valid.

      1. JetSetJim Silver badge
        Big Brother

        Re: Ts&Cs

        Why read them, watch the TV program.

        Seriously, if it takes over 30 hours to read the T&Cs of 33 basic apps, how long would it take to actually analyse them?

        1. wolfetone Silver badge

          Re: Ts&Cs

          I'm not saying it's perfect, but it's not as if Microsoft hasn't told them what their money actually gets them.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      So if buried deeply in the T & Cs of this product there was a clause which said MS reserve the right to shoot you in the face, do you think they would be able to get away with actually shooting you in the face?

      Terms and Conditions cannot trump law, no ,matter how much companies might try and tell you that they can.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Depends on where you live. There's a country where Amendment Zero (an unwritten one, but always enforced) says "the rights of a company always preempt the ones of an individual, especially when this company lobbies with enough money". And there are citizens of said country who truly believes, for example, that the EU two years mandatory warranty is a bad thing, against the customer's interests...

  7. a_mu

    Smart TV's as well

    Sony is quiet happy to drop support fro BBC iPlayer off its TV's after a few years

    just because you purchased the TV with iPlayer as a big sales pitch, its gone after a few years ,

    1. MJI Silver badge

      Re: Smart TV's as well

      TV clients are a moving goalpost. And normally written by the TV channels.

      But I do have a Sony device from about 10 years ago, that does BBC I Player

      I have one from two three years ago and shITV do not support it, despite large sales.

      I'd ask BBC.

      They seem to understand TV streaming quite well.

  8. ecofeco Silver badge

    There's an old saying

    Beware Geeks bearing gifts.

    1. hplasm Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: There's an old saying

      How about a new saying?

      Stop giving Microsoft money

      then the problem will solve itself.

      1. paulc

        Re: There's an old saying

        Stop giving Microsoft money

        then the problem will solve itself.

        problem is that Microsoft has billions still to burn before they finally fold

        1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

          Re: "problem is that Microsoft has billions still to burn before they finally fold"

          All the more reason to start now.

          This is just another nail in the coffin of online content purchasing. I am sorry, but if I see that I have to be connected to actually use the content I put money into, that is an enormous warning sign telling me "this is NOT yours and you WILL lose it one day". Then I evaluate whether or not the price is acceptable for something I will pay to have temporarily. If it is too high, then I do not "buy".

          My preferred choice for online purchase is : I pay for something, download it and IT IS MINE FOREVER MORE. If that is not how it works, then my money is most likely staying in my pocket.

          1. VinceH Silver badge

            Re: "problem is that Microsoft has billions still to burn before they finally fold"

            "My preferred choice for online purchase is : I pay for something, download it and IT IS MINE FOREVER MORE. If that is not how it works, then my money is most likely staying in my pocket."

            That's my attitude as well. If it's a digital purchase, I want to download it so that I can use/watch/listen to it as often as I like, when I like - not stream it, which puts the goods at risk of $company not just moving the goalposts, but removing them and replacing them with a basketball net.

            I might occasionally opt for something that is only streamed, but when I do I am fully aware that I might one day lose access - and the price I am willing to pay therefore reflects that.

            1. moiety

              Re: "problem is that Microsoft has billions still to burn before they finally fold"

              Same here. And it's not just the fact that the purchase will inevitably disappear at some future point - for me the fact that someone can reach into your device to disappear it is more distressing. That's why I'd never buy a Kindle, for example.

        2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: There's an old saying

          "problem is that Microsoft has billions still to burn before they finally fold"

          But it wouldn't be yours.

        3. Mikel

          Re: There's an old saying

          > problem is that Microsoft has billions still to burn before they finally fold

          They have amazing money burning skills though.

          And a huge amount of that legendary cash pile is foreign cash locally borrowed against to get around the tax law. But to pay the debt they have to pay the tax. So it's a lot less than it looks.

        4. fung0

          Re: There's an old saying

          problem is that Microsoft has billions still to burn before they finally fold

          It's not a question of cash, or even cash flow. It's stock value that will decide Microsoft's fate. Once the stock price starts to slide, the ship will sink. (Leaving behind a lot of floating rats.)

      2. PleebSmasher
        Devil

        Re: There's an old saying

        How about: Step away from the Xbox and take a hike.

      3. LDS Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: There's an old saying

        Yes, buy a Revolv from Alphabet/Google/Nest...

      4. VinceH Silver badge

        Re: There's an old saying

        "Stop giving using Microsoft money products"

        FTFY!

        (And yes, I am still using a Windows computer, unfortunately)

  9. Baldy50

    EULAlyze it!

    MS EULA Shortened:- Were going to **** and ta for the dosh!

  10. MJI Silver badge

    Seemd to be on a hiding to nothing

    Gamers do not tend to do their exersizing by their consoles. Either no exersize, gymn or they go outside.

    1. moiety

      Re: Seemd to be on a hiding to nothing

      I dunno - GTA V has yoga.

  11. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge

    Indeed...

    This is why I have an ongoing case against a UK based content streaming service who have just moved the goalposts and cancelled/withdrawn my ability to play back £70 of paid for content on the device I bought it on. They are arguing that the T&C's allow them to withdraw device support at any time, which I am contesting under law as this statement is actually hidden away on page 7 of their T&Cs and not displayed prominently at the time of purchase.

    1. alain williams Silver badge

      Re: Indeed...

      I have an ongoing case against a UK based content streaming service ...

      Do, please, let us know how you get on.

    2. Joefish
      Devil

      Re: Indeed...

      Good luck. Frankly, if the button says 'Buy' and not 'Rent' then I should hope there's a fairly clear legal argument that the Ts&Cs can JFO.

      1. graeme leggett

        Re: Indeed...

        Button probably says "purchase" (without specifying if purchase is subscription) or "confirm transaction"

  12. steamnut

    Contract Law and EULA's

    For most things we buy we have legal rights. If I buy a dud car or TV then I rights. Even on-line purchases are now covered in the UK.

    So, how can any company, even if it's 40+ page EULA says otherwise, actually change the EULA at all?

    Contract law is not retrospective unless it can be proved that the contract contained clauses which were false or not realistic. Surely Micro$oft cannot just ignore UK contract and Consumer Protection laws?

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: Contract Law and EULA's

      Simple. They were always there. It's just no one paid attention.

    2. moiety

      Re: Contract Law and EULA's

      Surely Micro$oft cannot just ignore UK contract and Consumer Protection laws?

      Well they seem to be getting away with interfering with computer devices, theft of electricity & bandwidth and a cubic fuckton of other things that you or I would be nailed hard for.

  13. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

    OTOH

    There will be lots of people out there who made rash promises to get fit and keep fit.

    They now have the perfect excuse to slob out...

  14. x 7 Silver badge

    breach of contract

    " Xbox Fitness (and all associated content) will no longer be available for download/play. This includes content you’ve purchased

    By phrasing it that way they are accepting the content is purchased not leased. That means that if they pull the plug they're in breach of the sales contract - unless there is a way to permanently download the files

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: breach of contract

      No, they say you purchased the license, which has all the strings attached, rather than the product itself. And court rulings in the past have supported that licenses can have terms attached to it that prevent resale, meaning First Sale doesn't apply, either.

  15. david 12 Bronze badge

    It's a TV channel

    It's a TV channel. It's going off air. Those of you who bought pay TV views won't have that anymore.

    Looking at the timeline, it loos like they decided not to carry it into the next generation XBOX.

  16. Old Handle

    NEVER RUNS OUT OF INK!

    In my opinion if they used the term "purchase", "buy" or similar at the time people paid for those videos, they should not be able to override that with a clause buried in a 17-page EULA saying you're only "buying" for an unspecified limited time. This seems very analogous to package labeling laws. You can't get away implying something false about your product in large bold letters and then explaining it's not true in 5-point type hidden on the under side of the box.

    Product is only guaranteed not to run out of ink while not in use.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: NEVER RUNS OUT OF INK!

      Well, whatever happened to caveat emptor? If you don't read all the terms and conditions, it's your own fault, is it?

      1. mark 177

        Re: NEVER RUNS OUT OF INK!

        In UK, etc., this applies only to private sales and purchases from auctions.

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: NEVER RUNS OUT OF INK!

          Microsoft and the consumer are both private (public means the government), so doesn't that apply as a private (as in private-to-private) sale?

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