Microsoft – Test purchasing a PC near you! – Watch out small business?

Before we start this is the followup to my previous article (here).

Lets begin by reminding ourselves of two comments made by Bill Gates – you might have heard of  him, he is/was? quite influential at Microsoft.😉

It’s easier for our software to compete with Linux when there’s piracy than when there’s not.

As long as they are going to steal it, we want them to steal ours. They’ll get sort of addicted, and then we’ll somehow figure out how to collect sometime in the next decade.

Read those sentences a few times, take a deep breath and then consider the companies mentioned in the last article.  hypocrisy? or maybe underhanded tactics to allow the spread of Microsoft wares until such time as they decide to collect? –  I hope everyone can forgive me for thinking this sounds very much like the drug dealer who gives the first few “hits” for free, safe in the knowledge that an addict will keep coming back.

I digress (as is my want) and this article is about the contact I have had from some of the companies/individuals who were named on the Microsoft hit list.   It certainly makes interesting reading and certainly (in the cases Ive seen) not a case of selling cracked copies of Windows 7, its more a licensing agreement issue when selling refurbed PC’s as a business.  Lets make something clear here, the hit list that has been published (although some sources would suggest otherwise) is not a list of people caught selling copies of Windows 7.  As the links that follow will show, this is Microsoft cashing in on alleged licensing issues, in particular (in the example) a business selling on a refurbished PC.  This is no “Knock off Nigel”.

There was one company in particular who contacted me from the hit list linked in the previous article.  For arguments sake we will call them Company X, as you will see, from theirs (and other supporting comments from others) there is a genuine fear of retaliation for speaking out against the “Mighty Microsoft”.  I however have no such fear in regards to my comments and if Microsoft feel the need to ever take legal action over my words, I would welcome it.

So lets start with some questions I put to Company X who kindly got into contact with me to tell me the following [1]

I have just read your blog about this and thanks for ‘defending’ the small guy. About the only article that has done.
As you probably guessed I am on that list.

Now I need to be careful about the details I give.  This person has a genuine concern about Microsoft retaliation should they speak out and I don’t want details exposing them to Microsoft.  In summary they sold a PC with Windows on it (which must have been to a Microsoft test purchaser) and subsequently received a warning letter and a fine.  I won’t disclose the exact sum, but lets just say it was more than £1000.

I have also seen a copy of letter which this particular individual received. If anyone from Microsoft (who has had knowledge of the letter) disbelieves I have read it, I can give proof merely by telling you that one of the titles in your letter was: “Our Evidence: Test Purchase” and followed by: “Basis of Microsoft’s Claim against you” – I think that those two will confirm that I have in fact seen the letter in question.  How about “One time opportunity to settle“?  The reason why I am not printing the letter is that I am not sure how “unique” it is to the company in question, I would expect the headings are pretty standard but the detail is not.

Moving on, Company X also said in reference to the machine which was bought by the test purchaser:

I thought all was as it should be

And whilst to be fair I am only going off the information provided to me, I can say that it does appear in the case I read to be more of a simple mistake or misunderstanding on behalf of the supplier and a OTT reaction by Microsoft.  As I say though I cannot expect to make judgement myself and as I always say, there are always two sides to every argument.  What I can say is that Company X is not some sort of Jolly Roger Pirate.  Company X is not someone selling pirate disks out of bags at a train station.  I’ll leave it there and simply quote some of the other points Company X make:

….ruined with the possibility of having my business crushed by MS I “settled”, the terms of which I am not allowed to say of course.

and also says (when I ask for more information)

Yes I am happy to give more info but a little reticent about being quoted as basically I don’t truct MS not to come after me in some way for daring to speak against them.

In the newsgroup uk.legal (which you can see here) we have another recipient talking about the Microsoft warning letters and it seems this letter incident has started at the end of last year, with some receiving letters in December.  Here are some quotes which I think show how yet again Microsoft actions are being interpreted:

Sounds like scare tactics. Don’t cave to these crooks.

and

…..nobody has the bankroll to withstand Micro$oft’s corporate/legal steamroller.

and in respect of the fee to settle mentioned on uk.legal, another user comments:

the disproportionate amount  could be seen as blackmail and should be reported.

Another user comments about the Microsoft letter and says:

he’s a sole trader during a global recession.  I imagine his primary concern is with the survival of his business at the least possible cost and inconvenience.

Please read the link and see these comments in context, we are not talking some forum on a “scene” torrent site full of teenagers, some of these people are traders and people who come across as trying to make a living.

So it appears that Microsoft reputation, certainly with some small vendors has sunk lower.  What

We’ve seen allegations of copyright infringement/settlement claims handled in the past with companies like ACS:Law.  In Microsoft’s case though, there is no third-party involved in collecting monies.  The spoils are all theirs!

I wonder, will Microsoft count the test purchase as a sale of a Windows platform?  – I would expect so, but this revenue collecting exercise (and the one described on uk.legal) suggest it could be a very profitable route for Microsoft to take especially in light of allegations of layoffs, disgruntled customers and discontinued products.

Whilst Openbytes won’t recommend a supplier, why not start supporting those companies on the list?  Check out their products and consider giving them your custom, in addition, if anyone on the list would like to email their full company details to me, I will quite happily print them in an article so readers can visit them.

Whilst I would not give legal advice here, on the letter I saw there was only a small window of time for you to pay the sum demanded after which legal action was implied.  What I would suggest (to anyone else getting a letter) consider contacting BBC Watchdog, they have chased up and run stories before on IPR infringement allegations and may well take an interest (if your case is anything like the one I’ve read)

In the meantime, if Microsoft wants a right of reply, they are more than welcome either in the comments here or by email for me to publish.  I wouldn’t expect one, I think times are hard for Microsoft:

Thanks for your interest in reporting piracy. We will investigate any leads you give us.

Source: http://www.microsoft.com/uk/licensing/homeuser/how-to-report-piracy.mspx

Im sure they will, they are after all the pennies they can grab.

“Im a PC and Windows settlement letters were my id…….DOH”😉

And after the comments Bill Gates made though, I don’t think he will be invited to the Anti-Piracy divisions Xmas dinner any time soon.

After speaking with many people regarding Microsoft’s latest tactics, this video to me represents Microsoft perfectly.  Enjoy.

Goblin – bytes4free@googlemail.com

If you are new to this blog (or have not yet read it) please take time to view the OpenBytes statement, here.

32 Comments Add yours

  1. In Canada the BSA runs ads on the radio telling people about the nice rewards they can get for reporting ‘software theft’ to a toll free line. The problem is that software licensing is complex. Microsoft software licensing is worse than complex, it appears designed specifically to put your company in a state of non-compliance. For an example, the code glued to the side of your PC doesn’t count as proof of a license, only an original invoice that states that ‘Microsoft Windows’ or whatever was included counts.

    This is complicated by Canadian business law, which requires close retention of invoices for seven years, which means the invoices fr all computers running Windows 2000 and all computers running Windows XP purchased prior to January 1, 2003 are now in deep storage. And that of course assumes that there was a line item on the invoice for Microsoft Windows in the first place. Back then there often wasn’t.

    So basically any small to medium sized firm is open to attack (Large firms often have direct deals with Microsoft).

    And then of course there are the shops that do refurbs. A computer comes off lease, and it has a Windows decal on it. As far as Microsoft is concerned it needs a new copy of Windows, even if it has the original discs. But adding the cost of a copy of Windows to it, means that the computer is unsaleable – ewaste in other words. While you can install Linux on it, most users aren’t familiar with anything other than Windows, and won’t want it.

    Tony Soprano would be quite comfortable working for Microsoft.

    This does appear to be slowly changing. Vista and Seven both have wildly different user interfaces than XP/2000, which means that some versions of Linux are actually easier to use, as they are closer to XP. And of course the gain in market share of the Mac, never mind the IPod Touch, IPhone, and the IPad are starting to break the Windows monopoly, which again opens people to other operating systems like Linux.

    As I’ve said in the past, I think no more than five years, and Microsoft will be filing for Chapter 11.

  2. Robotron 2084 says:

    It is not a clear case of hypocrisy for Microsoft to say that software piracy (at some level) helps the company, then take actions (again, with a variable degree of severity) to curb the spread of pirated copies. Rather it’s a revealing look at reality when faced with imperfect choices that return both positive and negative results and the unintended consequences that follow such actions. Read “Freakonomics” and “SuperFreakonomics” for many more such examples.

    Your current stance on Microsoft is pretty clear based on what you have written on your blog and based on the other individuals you socialize with who are also vehemently opposed to the company. You know the old saying; the enemy of your enemy is your friend. In this case your new friend is Company X. Despite having a common foe, it’s unlikely you know anything more about Company X than what they told you and what pieces of information they decided to share. Do you honestly believe it’s common for a company that may have violated the law to freely discuss their wrongdoings with you? Do you think there aren’t guilty parties who still publicly express innocence and resentment despite knowing they did wrong?

    While we’re on the subject of hypocrisy, explain this statement:

    “Whilst Openbytes won’t recommend a supplier, why not start supporting those companies on the list?”

    Why not? Because you told us, “I cannot expect to make judgement myself and as I always say, there are always two sides to every argument. ” If you can’t make a judgment right now, how can you then reward one side by giving them free advertising and endorsements prior to making that judgment and hearing from the other side? I think the only logical conclusion here is that the statement you made is false. You have already made a judgment some time ago, long before this post was written.

    1. Read “Freakonomics” and “SuperFreakonomics” for many more such examples.

      Read them – terrible books. Qite frankly they were written by idiots, for idiots.

      Wayne

  3. openbytes says:

    Quote “It is not a clear case of hypocrisy for Microsoft to say that software piracy (at some level) helps the company, then take actions (again, with a variable degree of severity) to curb the spread of pirated copies.”

    Really? I’d take those comments of Bill Gates very seriously and to me it makes perfect sense. Bill Gates and Microsoft were never in it for the “short haul” so it is an excellent business plan to saturate the market with your products, entrench them for the few years and then start to collect on the unlawful copies.

    Steve Ballmer to some degree echoed the flippant attitude on piracy some time later.

    Quote “Your current stance on Microsoft is pretty clear based on what you have written on your blog and based on the other individuals you socialize with who are also vehemently opposed to the company. ”

    Really. So pray tell, enlighten us what you think my stance is. In terms of socializing maybe you would like to give examples there too, since I have contact (and public respect for) a Microsoft MVP called Winobs.

    Quote “the enemy of your enemy is your friend. In this case your new friend is Company X.”

    Not at all. Infact I have had a strong anti-piracy stance from day one on this blog. If you claim to know my “stance” you would know this.

    Quote “Despite having a common foe”

    Foe? Who Microsoft? Don’t be so silly. I have repeatedly said (going back years) that I DONT WANT TO SEE THE END OF MICROSOFT. You claim to know my “stance” yet you have missed repeatedly over the last two years me saying that I don’t want Microsoft destroyed, I don’t want Microsoft removed, I merely want diversity in computing solutions. Please by all means check that out and also look to Microsoft-Watch.com in 2008 where I was an active commenter and said the same thing.

    Quote “Do you honestly believe it’s common for a company that may have violated the law to freely discuss their wrongdoings with you?”

    Yes. This is civil not criminal. The facts were layed out very clearly in the letter from Microsoft which supported what Company X had claimed had happened. I didn’t claim Microsoft acted unlawfully, I claimed it was an OTT reaction . Please read my article if you are trying to comment on it.

    Quote “If you can’t make a judgment right now, how can you then reward one side by giving them free advertising and endorsements prior to making that judgment and hearing from the other side?”

    As I say, after reading the accusation from Microsoft’s letter (which was not disputed by the Company by the way) I considered the reaction OTT and very hard considering it was a small firm trying to make a living and it was not a case of “selling dodgy disks at a local market” – Theres a big difference.

    Quote ” I think the only logical conclusion here is that the statement you made is false”

    What statement? The allegation from Microsoft? The similar allegations to other firms reported on uk.legal or how about my ability to quote the headings in the letter Microsoft sent to prove me reading it?

    What exactly is false here “Robotron”? Company X’s admition of guilt? Microsoft’s allegation? Or was it a case (if you had actually read the article properly) that none of this was in doubt and it was more of an article on fairness by a massive corporate monster like Microsoft against a small business?

    BTW You imply bias on my part, what you seem blissfully unaware of is that originally I decided to leave out the fact that some of these companies sell Linux systems now (and are planning to switch from Microsoft completely) I originally left this out because I did not want the topic to be diluted by a Linux advocacy post. Now you imply bias, I feel justified to report that.

    Robotron, take a deep breath. Read the article again.

    1. Robotron 2084 says:

      You employ two tricks in your articles and responses quite often to either mock critics or try and prevent confrontations.

      First, you claim fairness and tell people to believe you simply want “diversity”. There’s the catch. You see the Microsoft as having an unfair advantage, so you will do whatever it takes to counteract that imbalance. Similar to what Fox News does. They claim their news is fair and balanced because they see themselves as the only way to counteract the liberal bias coming from the other news networks. In your defense, you aren’t a news reporter. Just a guy with a blog and his opinion. Still, since professional news reporters still have problems sticking to the facts and finding accurate sources, it only stands to reason that the average Joe would have a worse time.

      The second trick you pull is claiming that people you disagree with aren’t reading the article, or at least not the way you intended them to. In this case you picked out a single statement and tried to surround it with confusion to make it look as if I’m fighting with ghosts; your way of painting me as less intelligent and unable to form a coherent argument. Except this only works if someone else reading the comment doesn’t read my entire response in full or have a full grasp of the conversation as a whole. Your trick fails outside these conditions and here’s why:

      Let’s read my quote again. “I think the only logical conclusion here is that the statement you made is false.” Which statement am I referring to? It’s easy to find out. Let’s begin by remembering what a paragraph is. A number of sentences that together deal with one point or idea. Did you notice that my quote was taken from the end of a paragraph? Since that quote is just once sentence in that paragraph, the best place to look for the statement I was referring to is within the paragraph itself. Low and behold it’s the second sentence. Once again, your statement, “I cannot expect to make judgement myself and as I always say, there are always two sides to every argument. ” This is the statement I claimed (and still claim) is false. In essence, you attempted to create your own winnable argument by placing my own statement in a vacuum where it’s kept separate from its supporting paragraph. An interesting method, but one I’m assuming only works in written form. The irony of this tactic is that when it backfires it leaves you looking like the one with reading difficulties.

      My only question for you is: do you really believe such cheap literacy tricks work with anyone outside your small but faithful audience of advocates? I’m betting you know they won’t work, but you aren’t writing for them. You blog for you and those like you.

      1. openbytes says:

        ok, I’ll bite Robotron and I’ll address you directly. I’ll first off say that I claimed you didn’t read the post properly because you seem to think my article is attacking the allegation Microsoft made. Its not and if you read the article properly you will see I not only acknowledge that Company X has admitted its mistake, but that they have settled. I have learnt before Robotron that you enjoy playing stupid, this may be to waste my time or you can’t comprehend what is being written. In the case of this article I will put it in caps just for you.
        I DID NOT SAY OR IMPLY THAT THE ALLEGATION MICROSOFT MADE AGAINST COMPANY X WAS DISPUTED, AS YOU CAN SEE THEY HAVE FULLY ADMITTED IT. THIS IS A CASE OF MICROSOFT GOING AFTER A SMALL COMPANY WITH AN OTT RESPONSE WHEN BILL GATES (AND STEVE BALLMER) SEEM TO HAVE A RATHER FLIPPANT VIEW ON PIRACY AND ITS EFFECT ON THE INDUSTRY. IN THE CASE OF THE LIST OF SHAME, COMPANY X WAS NOT SELLING “DODGY DVD COPIES” AND THE LIST DOES NOT MAKE THAT CLEAR, IT MERELY NAMES AND SHAMES. REMEMBER THESE ARE/WERE PEOPLE SELLING MICROSOFT PRODUCTS. THEY DID NOT SEE MICROSOFT AS A “FOE” (AS FAR AS IM AWARE)

        Quote “You see the Microsoft as having an unfair advantage”

        The first truthful comment you have made on my opinion. Yes, I do think Microsoft have an unfair advantage, they have the MVP program which keeps people faithful (as documented here when one was caught nymshifting) Microsoft has a massive budget to spend on TV advertising. How can the message of say Open Office get out without people talking about it? Will Microsoft start mentioning it in its ad campaign for Office? I wouldn’t think so and as I say I am after diversity.

        Maybe Robotron, you can tell me how the Microsoft PR machine can be competed against when FOSS software and its associated contributors don’t have the sort of budget to throw it in our faces in the commercial breaks on TV?

        Im rather unimpressed at your “appraisal” so far , although you do try to be clever:

        Quote “In your defense, you aren’t a news reporter. ”

        Nice way to state a fact wrapped up in an implied insult. Shame is though Robotron, I relish the fact that Im not a news reporter and Ive said so often enough. I write on the basis of my personal honest held belief.
        I would also suggest to you Robotron that maybe the cynicism of the mainstream PC user in regards to the written word of the press, that a bloggers text is taken far more seriously. After all Robotron, you do like coming here with you cheap analysis and implication (with a rather scant helping of truthfulness)

        I loved your rather poor example of challenge when you said:

        “In essence, you attempted to create your own winnable argument by placing my own statement in a vacuum where it’s kept separate from its supporting paragraph.”

        To which I would reply, I stated the facts presented to me, I gave my opinions and then reminded everyone that I was in no position to judge (a line I take with all my articles as I champion people forming decisions FROM THEIR OWN RESEARCH)

        Shoot me then, I ask people to independently form their own opinions.

        Quote “The irony of this tactic is that when it backfires it leaves you looking like the one with reading difficulties.”

        Really? lol. Thousands of readers and its our resident lurker Robotron who picks that up? Ok Robotron, thats your take. I’ll be quite happy to leave it to everyone else to decide.

        Quote “do you really believe such cheap literacy tricks work with anyone outside your small but faithful audience of advocates?”

        Does that include you? You comment here after all. Please Robotron, pick up on anything untruthful. Infact why not report it to Microsoft. They can take me to court. If we are talking about opinion, then the fact that I remind people to research themselves really doesn’t have any “trick” to it. And I must have a rather large “faithful audience” including the website Tuxmachines and Distrowatch as I am regularly linked on their site(s).

        Quote “You blog for you and those like you.”

        I can’t believe this. The second correct observation you have made. Yes, I blog because I enjoy writing and I hope people enjoy reading. My view is one that you can’t be paid for an opinion, so yes I write in the hope that the people who read support that ethos. Of course, I have many readers that don’t agree with various (or all) aspects of what I write, you are one of them and infact as a reader stat, I hold you in more worth than someone who has similar views. The fact you come here every so often and spend your time with weak textual analysis of my work suggests that I gain the interest of people who, for whatever reason can’t agree with anything I say.

        Thats the biggest compliment of all and I leave you with a thought, sure I may have a UIP readerbase of only approx 28,000 per month (check my stats) but what do you have Robotron? Can we have a look at your work or do you merely just comment on mine?

        Kindest Regards
        Tim.

        1. Robotron 2084 says:

          I’m here largely for my own curiosity and entertainment. What has me interested at the moment is trying to determine if your confusion is genuine or just for show. Let’s continue….

          A third tactic in your arsenal, as Benjamin Franklin would put it, is buying your ink in barrels. Rather than using a simple response that sticks to the point, you’ll write a long winded expose detailing every incorrect quotation no matter how irrelevant they are to my previous response. Confusing the argument on your own turf makes you appear to have the upper hand, but I’m not interested in your audience, only you.

          Again, because it has to be said, I’m here largely for my own entertainment. Your dedication to FOSS and the mental gymnastics you perform to justify your worldview are very intriguing to me. You aren’t up to the level of Mr. Schestowitz in your zeal, but he’s only a one way street of quotations and one-linters in the response department. I have kicked around the idea of writing a book on the topic of FOSS being a kind of techno-cult, but I consider the target audience to be too small at the moment. I suppose you want me to take your bait in asking what great things I’ve accomplished. I can say this. If I did anything that was actually for the greater good of mankind I would be humble enough not to brag about it, sensible enough to know my contribution is small, and whatever I did it wouldn’t revolve around a blog that caters to a sub-culture on the net. I mean no insult whatsoever when I call your actions and my own for what they are: surrogate activities.

          1. openbytes says:

            Of course Robotron. and you are the one to highlight me of this “confusion”? Out of the 30,000 unique visits a month, its you, Robotron who is to tell me of my confusion. Not one other person has misunderstood the point of this article. Not one other person pops up every month or so on one article, makes a claim and then pops off for a while longer.

            Your claims are as false as your IP, and comments such as:
            “Your dedication to FOSS”
            Is easy to be shown as a complete lie because I often argue and champion the need for a proprietary model. Please look at my articles over the last two years.

            You claim (which I hope is truthful of you for once)

            “i’m here largely for my own curiosity and entertainment”

            to which Ive served my purpose. I HOPE PEOPLE ARE ENTERTAINED. I HOPE THEY ENJOY READING IT (WHETHER THEY AGREE OR NOT) – Ive even got words to that effect on my description page for this site. I care not if you agree or not, if you are entertained then Im happy. Genuinely, I just wish then you would comment more.

            “…have kicked around the idea of writing a book on the topic of FOSS being a kind of techno-cult,”

            and I would probably agree with many of the points raised, but please actually READ when I say I support a proprietary model and go with the software that is BEST FOR ME. At the moment thats mostly FOSS, however that may very well change.

            Quote “I mean no insult whatsoever when I call your actions and my own for what they are: surrogate activities.”

            And no insult was taken. Even if you did mean it as one, you could not offend me. How about answering a question Robotron.

            Quote “If I did anything that was actually for the greater good of mankind I would be humble enough not to brag about it…”
            Very good way to avoid the issue that you havent created anything. Just like all your “implications” its merely words with double meanings. Its a nice answer though as you pretend some people may believe you have actually contributed something, since you suggest you wouldn’t brag about it.

            You are very quick to pass comment (and thats your right), so let me ask again, how about us seeing some of your work (I hope which has more substance than a brief mention of a book you might write)

            As for sub-culture……call it what you will. I get enough readers (and comments like yours) to give me the enthusiasm to continue. I hope I continue to entertain and I hope you continue to comment.

            Best of British.

            Tim.

            1. Robotron 2084 says:

              30,000 hits per month, yet most of your articles don’t reach double digits in the comments department. In fact, this is your most active article of late thanks in part to my arguments. You’re welcome, but let’s face it: Most people don’t care about this except me, you, and a handful of your internet friends. So be it, I’m still having a good time and I know you are too. By the way, my IP is only false because I’m living and working in China where blogspot is currently blocked by the Chinese government. This forces me to use a proxy to get to some goodies. Please don’t think I’m trying to hide from you. Quite the opposite, I’m touched by your interest.

              You’re absolutely right. I’ve never contributed to any great cause or had any kind of measurable impact on the world, positive or negative. Yet I don’t feel so bad because neither have you, your readers, or anyone else I’ve ever met. If you think this blog is some great contribution to anything I’m afraid you are sadly mistaken. I know blogging about the topics you do feels good for you, but that’s really all it does. Just as most of my tasks, duties, and activities provide a feeling for me. You are I may never really do anything great for the world, but let’s hope we remain humble if we do. Bragging to others about what we’ve accomplished and chastising others for not following in our footsteps would cause others to believe we were motivated by fame and self-interest rather than simply doing something good for mankind.

              1. openbytes says:

                Quote “30,000 hits per month, yet most of your articles don’t reach double digits in the comments department.”

                And neither do other sites. I know that MS-Watch get more hits than me, yet they get less comments on average…..go figure. If you are casting any sort of doubt on my stats, I post screen dumps yearly. I am quite happy to screendump the wordpress reports.

                Quote “Most people don’t care about this except me, you, and a handful of your internet friends.”

                And Indiana Gregg? Singer songwriter? Oh and Ben Askem he’s a TV journalist, oh and the hundreds of emails I get a week? And lets not forget WordPress doesn’t count repeat visits daily, merely unique views….but hey….

                Do you really think I would type as much as I do if I wasn’t seeing the readership to make it worth my while? – Answer that in your own time.

                Quote “Yet I don’t feel so bad because neither have you, your readers, or anyone else I’ve ever met.”

                Hang on. In respect of this blog, I entertain….otherwise people wouldn’t read. But putting that aside, you have no clue what I do for a living. Do not make sweeping statements.

                Quote “If you think this blog is some great contribution to anything I’m afraid you are sadly mistaken.”

                Why? Because you say so? – For the record I don’t think this is a great contribution, but it certainly entertains…..thats good enough for me.

                Quote “Bragging to others about what we’ve accomplished and chastising others for not following in our footsteps would cause others to believe we were motivated by fame and self-interest rather than simply doing something good for mankind.”

                An interesting view….but then Ive never sought to say that my view is the only view (infact the reverse) and both in my statement and on every article I ask the reader to do their own research. I would not like to think of anyone blindly following anything I said….thats not good. I would rather have people (like you) who challenge everything – which probably makes us very similar in that respect. The only difference between me and you is that I haven’t sought to second guess your opinions or made judgements on what you do outside of IT.

                1. Robotron 2084 says:

                  You could be having daily phone parties with world leaders, but ultimately what’s arguable and relevant is what’s here on this very page. Right now that’s pretty much just us, but I know everybody talks a big game on ye olde Internets.

                  You do entertain a few people, but that isn’t the great cause or measurable impact I was talking about. My sweeping statement has a high probability of being correct, so I stand by it. I also think it was fair since I wasn’t doing anything you hadn’t done yourself. Look back and you’ll notice remarks like this, “Very good way to avoid the issue that you havent created anything.”

                  Some shared tactics aside; I don’t think we are alike. I see myself trying (though not always succeeding) to be as objective as possible despite the odds against battling my own nature. I see you as falsely presenting yourself as someone who has already achieved just that. I’m calling your bluff.

                  1. openbytes says:

                    I’ll start with this:

                    Quote “I see you as falsely presenting yourself as someone who has already achieved just that. I’m calling your bluff.”

                    Please call it. What would you like to know? What are you suggesting?

                    So by your own remark, I have created something….you say yourself:

                    “You do entertain a few people”

                    There we are. Ive entertained people…thats my job done. Im not going to force my opinion on anyone and Im not going to repeatedly hound a blog like you do. But please feel free to continue.

                    Quote “You could be having daily phone parties with world leaders, but ultimately what’s arguable and relevant is what’s here on this very page”

                    Stop babbling…thats silly. I make my posts, some people respond, some don’t – infact read my statement sometime where it says that I created this page to chat with on line friends…..get a grip please.

                    Quote “but that isn’t the great cause or measurable impact I was talking about”

                    What on earth are you on about. Great cause? measurable impact? I write a blog, you don’t have to come here. My stats are easily verified with WordPress and if you think they are impressive that great, but in anycase Im pleased with them.

                    Robotron, take the time to read “about Goblin” I make no claims about my background, I repeatedly say my job is as far removed from IT as you can get, I say that I wish I could finish the many projects I start, I list my hobbies and interests….are you suggesting I am making any great claims? if so where?

                    I’ll leave you to think about that for a while.

  4. Company X says:

    In reply to tobotron’s comment above I can asure you I gave full and truthful disclosure.

    I had a PC which came in with a blank hard drive. I installed the operating system to match the COA label on the machine, used the keycode to validate the installation which then passed MS activation and ‘WGA’ testing by the MS update website & sold the tower on. I genuinely thought at the time I was doing things ‘properly’ and legally.

    Unfortunately I had not completely read the EULA which states that
    1) I should only have used the original restore media for that particular make and model. Otherwise I should have purchased a new licence and OEM Windows XP disc from Microsft and used that to do the install
    2) I should have then supplied said media with the machine to the customer.

    As pointed out above, the cost of purchasing a licence and discs from MS will exceed the retail value of most machines. So unless you have the original install media (which you never get when dealing with disposed of business machines) the two main options are to sell the macine with Linux installed or (as I did with the remaining machines) sell them with blank hard drives – and make it highly likely that they will end up with completely illegal installs of Windows set up by the end users anyway.

    Fortunately as I tend not to deal in mainstream home PCs and suchlike mean it was no great hardship for me to simply pull out of that area of business entirely with no real adverse affect to my business. In that I suppose I am lucky.

    1. openbytes says:

      @Company X

      Thanks for commenting, as I said in my email if there is anyway Openbytes can support/help you, please feel free to just ask.

      In respect of Robotron, he/she infrequently turns up here and they will find an argument in anything said whilst also making rash implications without reading the article properly

      If I said PC’s ran off electricity, Robotron would find a way to differ (and imply all sorts of things into the bargain)

      Kind regards

      Tim (Goblin)

    2. Robotron 2084 says:

      You can’t really assure me of anything since you can’t give the true identity of the company you represent. Nor can you give the full details of that accusations levied against you since we don’t have a copy of the letter you received. Regardless of any claimed consequences that might prevent you from telling us more, all we have is your anonymous testimony. Nothing personal, but that simply isn’t enough to garner support from anyone except those already hostile toward Microsoft. If you wish to get some public sympathy for your situation you’re going to have to give a lot more and use a larger vehicle than some geek’s blog to get the message out.

      1. Company X says:

        I am not interested in public sympathy or support and nowhere do I ask for any. My motivation is to give the other side of the story that MS are spouting and make people aware of just how despicable they are acting in their tactics. When you are aggrieved you may want to shout about it to garner some sympathy but not me pal. If you feel that “this geek’s blog” is so irrelevent then what are you doing here spending so much time on it with your high and mighty “look at me” postings? Irony alert.

        1. openbytes says:

          Hi Company X!

          You ask a question which I don’t think you will ever get a straight answer to. I have always said that should people not like something just don’t read it. Of course you never get Microsoft coming here refuting claims (although from time to time you do get claimed Microsoft employees trying to defend products and also a Microsoft MVP changing his name and gender in order to support his own argument.)

      2. openbytes says:

        Robotron, nobody is seeking anything from you. The fact that the Microsoft allegation and the subsequent addmition by Company X is academic to the article. The article is rather highlighting an allegation of heavyhanded actions and maybe an unreasonable clause in the licensing or eula. That though is a question the readers can answer.

        Other people have come forward in UK.legal and Microsoft is quite able to correct anything, they haven’t which would suggest the facts relayed and the admittions are correct.

        I am not sure why you Robotron seem to think yourself worthy of any further proof or what indeed you seek. As with any article here, I present my writing to the readers and let them decide. I would also welcome a challenge from Microsoft or indeed a right of reply. I have received nothing.

        I wait with baited breath.

        1. Robotron 2084 says:

          On the contrary, the poster known as Company X said he wanted to assure me. I simply informed him that he was not able to do so.

          I don’t dispute that the purpose of this article is as you say, to suggest Microsoft’s actions where “heavyhanded” and “unreasonable”. I simply counter that by saying your own bias towards Microsoft is unreasonable to the point of making the article itself a bit of a joke. A bit like asking a vegetarian which restaurant serves the best tasting cheeseburger.

          1. openbytes says:

            Quote “making the article itself a bit of a joke”

            Ok Robotron.

            According to you this article is joke. Fine – your opinion. I must add though a joke which you have spent quite a lot of time sniffing around.

            Maybe Robotron you can tell us what you find a joke, or better yet something which is untrue.

            How about you email Microsoft and see if there is anything they can take me to court for?

            Best of British
            Tim.

            1. Robotron 2084 says:

              I don’t think it’s fair to say I spend quite a lot of time here. I haven’t been here for a few days now and I’m just now coming back to respond. Why do I spend any time on something I consider to be a joke? Because as I said, this is a form of entertainment for me. Could I be doing something more constructive? No doubt.

              The joke here is the many levels of irony that stem from “Tim VS Microsoft”. I’m not going to go into detail, but you did ask for something more specific. Anyone I could email at Microsoft would have little interest in anything I have to say. Though I’m sure hearing from them would fan your flames and it would even peak my interests, I don’t see it happening.

              1. openbytes says:

                Quote “Why do I spend any time on something I consider to be a joke?”

                I don’t know, why do you spend time on something you consider to be a joke?

                ….sorry was that a joke too? Im waiting for the punchline…The fact you find this a joke suggests to me that you find it entertaining. That to me is job done. I could care less what you think of my opinion, since I agree with it and its mine alone. The fact that my writing brings you entertainment (for whatever reason) is what keeps me writing. Thanks.

                Quote “Tim VS Microsoft”

                Er…right. So I didn’t buy an XP netbook for holiday last year (and recommend it to another)

                I write about news that I find interesting and put my own opinion to it. Im not running a campaign here since I don’t say dump Windows or even dump Microsoft products….all I ask is for people to try an alternative, if they don’t like it – fine. Do I think my writing bothers Microsoft at all? – No. Do I think my writing influences anyone? – No. The only thing I seek to do is keep peoples interest in what I write and get them to make decisions for themselves and their own experiences. Nothing more.

                Quote “Anyone I could email at Microsoft would have little interest in anything I have to say.”

                I agree and the same would go for any other user in my opinion. Thats the problem. Microsoft have, in my view had little interest when they were running the show as they knew people had to buy the products. Its only now when people are looking elsewhere that they try to portray the caring and sharing attitude.

                Quote “Though I’m sure hearing from them would fan your flames and it would even peak my interests, ”

                Im sorry to hear that you didn’t get responses to Microsoft, but I have. Ive had Microsoft employee’s visit here and I certainly get the MVP’s….all of which have passed comment (most of them politely I hasten to add)

                I have a suggestion Robotron. Instead of second guessing my intentions, motives or views, why not ask me questions directly (you can email if you wish) then I can answer you directly and there’s no confusion.

                1. Robotron 2084 says:

                  “Er…right. So I didn’t buy an XP netbook for holiday last year”

                  No, you didn’t. I also didn’t bang the entire cheerleading squad at my high school, but for the sake of argument let’s both assume we did our deeds as advertised. So, you bought a netbook with XP preinstalled. Purchased for someone else, perhaps? Orders from way up the food chain perhaps. There’s some angle here that hasn’t been revealed yet. Either way, I’m fascinated to know why Linux wasn’t the choice given its obvious (technological and moral) superiority. WINO and all that.

                  To clarify, they would have little interest in hearing from me regarding you as the topic, but I have contacted them in the past with a bug report and a sales question. I have no complaints in either instance. Everyone will have different positive and negative stories about different companies that are in conflict with each other. Riveting stuff, eh?

                  1. openbytes says:

                    Quote “No, you didn’t. I also didn’t bang the entire cheerleading squad at my high schoo”

                    Ok, stop right there….before I reply any further, let me take a picture of it with todays date written on it and your handle….

                    Standby for Twitter link.

                    1. openbytes says:

                      http://twitgoo.com/1gj7sz

                      Please don’t waste yours and my time by calling my bluff….I don’t type anything I don’t believe unless in jest (and make that clear)…. and I certainly don’t make claims (like you) that are untrue/incorrect. I present the allegations of others, I present my allegations/opinions/experience and a few links, nothing more.

                      Right addressing the rest of your points.

                      Quote “There’s some angle here that hasn’t been revealed yet.”

                      Liar…Look at the link above… (note the Windows sticker on it)

                      Quote “I’m fascinated to know why Linux wasn’t the choice given its obvious (technological and moral) superiority”

                      Its not obvious because you didn’t ask or read the article from last year….
                      I had an O2 broadband dongle that was incompatible with Linux, so I swapped the Linux netbook for an XP one….

                      Quote “WINO and all that.”

                      You are not taking that seriously are you? It is a take on Wine….but it did get a chuckle…the fact that you bring it up as a point is a joke in itself…

                      Quote “Everyone will have different positive and negative stories about different companies that are in conflict with each other. Riveting stuff, eh?”

                      Yes, thats why I write about it…. and I enjoy doing so.

                      I must be a very bad person and you must be a very lonely one if you repeatedly visit here with disagreement on every matter I bring up. If you don’t like my POV fine, no problems. But why come back for more again and again? If thats your idea of “entertainment” then you do sincerely have my pity.

                      You said a few posts ago:

                      “I don’t think it’s fair to say I spend quite a lot of time here. I haven’t been here for a few days now and I’m just now coming back to respond.”

                      So then is it just me you are interested in? you were pretty quick to mention my “WINO” comment and I only said that yesterday….so you don’t spend much time here, but seem pretty on top of what I say….ok.

                      Additional: Maybe this is what you are after then Robotron?😉

                      http://twitpic.com/2c7ijd

    3. Company X,

      You should read 2003 and Beyond an excellent article where the author forsaw many of the things that have been happening in he IT world. While many of the links no longer work (it was written in 2003), they did at the time, and his references were nothing less than amazing.

      Oh, and it’s close to 100 pages long, so sit back when you have some quiet time with a drink to read it.

  5. Goblin,

    You need to go into Settings/Discussions, the fourth setting under ‘Other Comment Settings’ is ‘Enable Threaded (Nested) Comments, you currently have it set in three, which doesn’t work with the number of comments you are getting. I’d suggest changing it to five or higher.

    1. openbytes says:

      I’ve now set it to 10… thanks!

      Kind regards.

      1. No problem. Hey, I’m playing with some forum software, I’ll let you know how it works out.

  6. aikiwolfie says:

    The answer to this problem is really simple. Sell bare-bones machines. Even if you’re refurbishing them. Or replace Windows with Linux. If the customer really must have Windows? Sell them a retail boxed version.

    1. openbytes says:

      Completely agree. I said before that when the EU was looking at browser ballots, the more important issue was OEM.

    2. And just watch the screaming when end users realize that they’ve been paying for Windows all along, it’s just that the cost has been hidden, and they wonder how badly that they’ve been ripped off by Microsoft…

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