Windows Refund day 15/2/99


For those who hadn’t heard the story, February 15th 1999 was windows refund day. It was a worldwide day when open source OS users went to microsoft’s offices to return their unused licenses of windows that they were forced to acquire since they were bundled with the machine they bought.
The windows EULA (End User License Agreement) clearly states that the agreement can be refused by the end user, and that windows can be returned to the manufacturer. In real life, however, manufacturers typically say that they can’t refund the windows license and tell the user to contact microsoft directly. I can’t say I really blame manufacturers for doing that because:

  1. I don’t have proof for this (only a few top executives would), but I’m convinced that manufacturers would lose the money they would reimburse because microsoft would not pay them back.
  2. They wouldn’t be allowed to re-use the license on another machine
  3. Microsoft would impose a different OEM pricing on them if they decided to ship non ms OSes, or if they shipped machines without an OS (did you notice that typically, the only place that will sell you an OS free machine is a little shop, because they pay retail price for windows licenses anyway, so ms can’t put any pressure on them).
  4. If they were to refund windows, this would reveal their (secret) OEM pricing agreement with ms and I’m not quite sure manufacturers, as well as microsoft, wants people to have that information.

Anyway, a few people from SVLUG, including Don Marti, Rick Moen (yes he was there), Chris DiBona, the world famous Nick Moffitt, and Tabinda Khan, organized the Bay Area windows refund effort.
Since at the Linux tea party, microsoft showed up at our meeting point to try to deter us from going to their offices in Palo Alto, this time, the ultimate meeting point was kept secret, and 4 officers revealed it at the last minute to the crowd that had gathered, as planned, at the four meeting points around the Bay Area…’t,with%20the%20machine%20they%20bought

2 Points