Eight years ago, the PC market was a completely different place than it is now. Windows Vista was the hot OS and customers where upgrading then regretting it en masse. However, one French user decided he just didn’t agree with Microsoft’s terms and conditions and started a fight with Sony.
A fight that has only just seen a resolution. Back in 2008 Vincent Deroo-Blanquart bought a Sony laptop preloaded with Windows Vista Home Premium. Upon setting up his new purchase, he found issue with the Windows terms and conditions. What exactly his objections were are unclear, but people obviously DO read the wall of text before agreeing!
Vincent wanted a refund for the cost of the operating system. Sony declined this requested but offered a refund of the full cost of the product if it was returned to them. Unhappy with this he sued Sony for €450 for the software and also €2,500 for damages.
Preinstalled Windows Costs
Mr Deroo-Blanquart made a familiar argument that practices of reinstalling software is an “unfair commercial practice”. Something that has been the centre point of some of the EU issues with Google. Unfortunately, after 8 years of arguments, the European Court of Justice sided with Sony.
The ECJ ruled it was not unfair for companies such as Sony to preinstall software on its equipment, as long as it informed the customer about what is installed before they make the purchase. Noting that the general understanding of consumers is that computer equipment has a preloaded operating system.
Should the ruling have gone the other way, the belief was that companies would have to provide a version that does not contain an operating system. Or gives the customer a ‘browser choice’ like pop up on first boot, and the customer would have a choice to load Windows or not.
Thank the lord for a common sense ruling. Although this ruling wouldn’t have affected Sony in the slightest, given that they stopped making Laptops two years ago!