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Win95 EULA (Was: Why hasn't anyone brought this up yet?)
On Sat, Nov 08, 1997 at 05:10:42PM -0500, Dana Newman wrote:
Go to any Best-buy and tell'em you want to buy a Compaq Deskpro. Tell the
store manager you won't buy it unless the disk is "clean" and you want a
discount because it doesn't have any software on it.
You get two answers:
1. They won't do it
It isn't their responsibility. It's Compaq's.
2. They will tell you you can delete the software after you buy the
You could do that. But better you should return it for a refund. Yes,
that's right, return it for a refund. See below.
Call the Compaq corporation at any 1-800 number you can find,
and request the same thing you did from it's retailer(s) (ie;
just a machine, NOT the software).
Just like their distributors:
1. They won't do it.
I'm not surprised. Their current manufacturing operation doubtless doesn't
have a "no-OS" assembly line. It'd be like asking for a Compaq to be
delivered without a CPU. They might do it if you ordered ten thousand of
them, but not just for one. They ain't Burger King.
2. They will tell you that "software is a value added feature,
not included as a cost of the machine".
This is just plain wrong. Did you actually call Compaq and they told you
this? They need to re-read the Microsoft EULA, then. See my story below.
As a consumer I do still have a choice. That choice is
to not purchase the Compaq machine I wanted, but to
purchase a machine I don't prefer from another vendor.
Actually, you have another choice.
I'm about to relate an apparently little-known fact. At least, nobody I've
talked to has been aware of it before I told them.
The Windows95 End User License Agreement (EULA) has a refund clause!
Here's how it worked with the new machine I bought a few months ago:
1. I powered on the machine for the very first time. It booted into a Win95
setup (or installation, I forget which) screen.
2. On one of the first two or three screens, I was asked to choose between a
pair of buttons asking whether I agreed or didn't agree to abide by the
3. Since I was going to run Linux on this machine, I selected the "don't
4. After the program had recovered from its astonishment, it led me to a
copy of the actual text of the Win95 EULA, insisted that I read it, and then
asked me again whether I agreed or not.
5. After I said that I declined for the second time, it took me to a shabby
little screen that told me that it wasn't going to set up Win95 for me
(yippee!) and that I should return the OS to the *manufacturer* (not the
reseller or Microsoft) FOR A REFUND!!!
6. At that point, of course, my only option was to power the machine off.
(As it turns out, I used FIPS to scrunch Win95 into its own (300mb!)
partition and installed Linux on the remainder so I could use the machine.)
7. I immediately contacted the manufacturer of the machine, in this case
Canon America. It took six weeks of back-and-forth communication for them
to sic their legal beagles on the EULA and discover that they had, indeed,
signed up to deliver refunds for returned Win95 packages. Apparently nobody
had ever taken advantage of this clause before, so they had to formulate a
new corporate policy.
8. After walking up the pecking order at Canon from phone-answering drone to
Director of Customer Relations (or some such high-handed title), I
eventually got a call telling me that if I (A) boxed up my Win95 manuals and
CD-ROM and (B) shipped it to them (at my own expense, apparently), they
would (C) send me $99 in return.
9. I did, and they did. I scrubbed the trash off that 300mb partition, and
now am a happy camper.
Not as happy, obviously, as I would have been if I could have purchased my
selected hardware with my selected software pre-installed, but we must start
somewhere, and we already do have some wiggle room.
So buy your Compaq, decline the EULA, and get your money back. And tell