Re-thinking the Windows Refund

Just came across this LXer article and I think there's a fairly large oversight in there. From the article:
Consider Microsoft Windows in a similar light. It has the lion's share of the desktop market. It has a huge selection of applications that people can choose from. Yet, because of its historical instability, insecurity, and because it's practically impossible to fix without re-installing the whole OS, for which the vendor no longer includes any media, it has lost tremendous value. Indeed, one needs to deduct about 10% from the value just for the Windows Registry alone. I won't mention Internet Explorer. In fact, Windows has lost so much value, that computer manufacturers can actually dump Windows PCs on the marketplace cheaper than they can offer computers without any OS.
The contention is that Windows is actually decreasing the value of a computer. While I'm as pro-Linux as almost anyone, that thinking is a bit extreme. Maybe this is a common misconception though, so let me explain what is actually going on here. Companies like AOL pay companies like Dell to have their software preinstalled. So many companies pay in fact, that for the large manufacturers the money they bring in on these deals actually exceeds the cost of a Windows license for them. In essence, you're getting a subsidized version of Windows as someone is paying for it, it's just not you. Now, don't take this to mean I don't think the current OEM situation is criminal, it's just a bit too ideological to think that just because we see the flaws in Windows that it will devalue a piece of hardware to the general public.
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One Response to Re-thinking the Windows Refund

  1. Anonymous says:

    I think we all have been through this dilemma. Think of this: If my computer, which came with OEM XP Home, should fall off the back of a truck and then get squashed by a steam roller, how would I salvage my copy of Windows XP? Even if I have the installation CD, that copy of Windows is good only for that specific computer. That's what the Microsoft agreement says.
    The same thing applies when you switch to Linux. You can't even give away (legally) your OEM software. If you do try and upgrade a friend's old Windows 98 box with it, you will probably have to lie through your teeth to obtain a new 'Product Authentication Code.” According to Microsoft, you have breached your contract and the software is therefore worth nothing. On this point I'll have to agree with them.
    So there is a little sacrifice to be made when changing camps, to be sure. I think we all underestimate just how bloody this conflict between free software and proprietary software might become.

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