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Linux user wins refund for unwanted Windows 95

I don't want Windows, and Microsoft's licence says I can have my money back, says user

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A loophole in Microsoft's end user licence agreement -- and a little perseverance -- has allowed an Australian user to be refunded for not to use Windows on his Toshiba laptop. However, it's clear the PC vendor has to bear the cost -- not Microsoft. Notebook owner Geoffrey Bennett spotted a clause in the End-user Licence Agreement (EULA) for Microsoft Software which was included with the pre-installed copy of Windows 95 that shipped with his new Toshiba. The Agreement (ungrammatically) said: "If you do not agree to the terms of this EULA, [the] PC manufacturer and Microsoft are unwilling to license the software product to you. In such [an] event, you may not use or copy the software product, and you should promptly contact [the] PC manufacturer for instructions on [the] return of the unused product(s) for a refund." (our italics) An enthusiastic Linux supporter, Bennett had already decided to install that version of Unix in place of Windows, so he figured he should return the Windows 95 CD to Toshiba. Initially, Toshiba's Australian wing was unhelpful. It would accept return of the notebook, reports Bennett, and issue a refund, but not for the software alone -- its contractual obligations to Microsoft prevent them unbundling the software from the hardware. One Laurie White, a Toshiba Australia product manager wrote to Bennett saying: "Toshiba is required by Microsoft contract to provide and purchase a valid operating system. Toshiba cannot get a refund from Microsoft... so we cannot refund you." With costly legal action the only way to secure his refund, Bennett now decided to give in. However, at this point the story starts to get murky, with Toshiba apparently trying to show that Bennett had de facto agreed to the EULA by using his notebook, which had just been discontinued by Toshiba. In response, Bennett claimed he had immediately installed Linux via a boot floppy, and thus had never activated Windows. And so Toshiba finally agreed to pay Bennett A$110 in return for his Windows 95 CD and all the documentation that accompanied it, which he did. ® Full details of Geoffrey Bennett's refund victory can be found on his Web site

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