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Norway to probe Sony's PS3 Linux 'downgrade'

Unreasonable change, consumer org claims

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A government agency in Norway has reported Sony to the Consumer Ombudsman after floods of complaints over removal of "Other OS" functionality from PlayStation 3 consoles.

Norway's Consumer Council claims Sony breached the Norwegian Marketing Control Act, by withdrawing a key feature after sale. It says Sony's terms of service are unreasonable and leave the consumer without any legal protection.

The consequence of the Other OS removal, means it's no longer possible to install any operating systems other than Sony's own. With the PlayStation 3 hacked recently, Sony will no doubt claim the removal is a necessary means to tackle piracy.

The company previously said removed Other OS because of "security concerns", though did not elaborate as to what it was specifically worried about, but the company is currently fighting "GeoHot", a well-known hacker, in the US courts, in an attempt to eradicate the PS3-rooting tools he has developed.

"There needs to be a limit to what constitutes a reasonable change to products we buy." says Thomas Nortvedt of the Consumer Council. "When a company uses terms like updates or upgrades, it is reasonable to expect a significant improvement of the product and not the risk of being stuck with a lesser product".

The Consumer Ombudsman will try to reach a compromise between the two parties. If this can't be achieved, the issue can be taken to the Market Council with the power to ban unlawful marketing and contract terms if within the interest of consumers. ®

Hat tip to Extrospection for the news tip.

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