Is it time for a class action against Microsoft?

For too long, Microsoft have been a law unto themselves. Has the time not come for ordinary people to mount a challenge by starting a class action for damages?

If we look at all the fanfare that accompanied the launch of Vista, we, the ordinary public, surely had a right to expect something that was exceptional, a vast improvement on what went before, or at least the freedom to choose for ourselves whether we be guinea pigs for Microsoft. But, no Microsoft entered into elaborate agreements with all the major PC builders that they would no longer supply computers for domestic use with Windows XP home as the operating system. Worse we found these computers supplied with a three month license of Microsoft Office 2007 set up in such a way as to save in a format that not readable by any earlier versions of Office. This done with the sole purpose of forcing people to ‘downgrade’ to office 2007 as they started receiving email attachments that they could not read.

There is little doubt that Microsoft have used their unique position to force a not necessarily good choice on people. I wonder whether Microsoft’s licensing agreement is valid in law. Yes I know, when we sign an agreement we are agreeing to be bound by those terms, however , when you are given no choice … take it or leave it … not at the time of purchase but when we start trying to use the machine it is open to question.

Now let us consider Vista.

A few quotes to start

“Microsoft’s hopes of getting Vista into British classrooms have been held back at least another year after Becta issued a scathing report on the operating system and its equally fresh-faced twin, Office 2007.

The UK’s education technology agency concluded there are very few situations where it is worthwhile for schools and colleges to install the products, which actually hit the market at the tail end of 2006.”

The Register 11th January 2008 for the full article see

Or perhaps to quote a friend who runs the software testing for a large international conglomerate

“Vista … well the easiest way to experience the pain is to take your fast XP machine install IE7 and enable all its bells and whistles, install the full Norton Internet Security Suite and then remove half the Ram in the PC and the computer will almost be as bad as a Vista Machine with a faster processor and twice as much ram as you originally had in the XP machine”

In essence Vista has not brought us further along the path of computing development the new security features could quite easily have been incorporated into XP by way of a service pack, and these have already proved little advance on the vulnerabilities of previous versions of Windows.

While the “partnership” between Microsoft and the large computer manufacturers to create redundancy continues we have no hope but to bow to the will of Microsoft. The licensing conditions imposed in the Microsoft eulela for OEM versions of Windows are designed to make the license expire with the machine.

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