snopes.com  

Go Back   snopes.com > Urban Legends > Computers

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #21  
Old 25 February 2013, 06:40 AM
Wolf333's Avatar
Wolf333 Wolf333 is offline
 
Join Date: 12 August 2006
Location: Oxford, OH
Posts: 3,205
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hero_Mike View Post
Here's a question - is it possible to purchase a laptop without an OS? I have seen "unbranded" or "house brand" laptops sold by companies like "Tiger Direct", but I haven't looked for a few years. Essentially, you can't "build" a laptop from scratch like a desktop - sure, you can select the value and complexity of components within the laptop but only from a narrow list.
I just looked on Tiger Direct, and they do offer a range of OS, "none" is no longer an option, at least online.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hero_Mike View Post
I did think of a situation where it is advantageous to buy a computer without an OS. It's when you're replacing an existing computer and you still have a valid OS license, but a computer that won't run.
There is still the fact that the OS is really a small portion of the price of a PC. You can still (possibly) install the old OS on the new computer, but it really isn't cost effective for large companies to sell PCs with no OS loaded.
Reply With Quote
  #22  
Old 25 February 2013, 07:29 AM
ganzfeld's Avatar
ganzfeld ganzfeld is offline
 
Join Date: 05 September 2005
Location: Kyoto, Japan
Posts: 23,108
Computer

I think it's around 3 to 5%, nothing to scoff at but negligible considering that, well, you do need an OS, hardly anyone's using a free one, and even the people who are sometimes end up needing a mainstream one. The tiny minority who complain about the fact that they can't get a machine without an OS doesn't seem to be very aware of the fact that they wouldn't get a whole lot off the for leaving the OS out even if there were some reason for the OEMs to offer that option.

Last edited by ganzfeld; 25 February 2013 at 07:34 AM.
Reply With Quote
  #23  
Old 25 February 2013, 07:45 AM
Wolf333's Avatar
Wolf333 Wolf333 is offline
 
Join Date: 12 August 2006
Location: Oxford, OH
Posts: 3,205
Default

Exactly, Ganzfeld. And if there is a situation where a company needs a bunch of computers without an OS for some reason, they probably are not going through normal consumer channels.
Reply With Quote
  #24  
Old 25 February 2013, 08:57 AM
Troberg Troberg is offline
 
 
Join Date: 04 November 2005
Location: Borlänge, Sweden
Posts: 11,580
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by snopes View Post
It is true that many OEMs have bundling agreements with Microsoft to sell their computers with Windows installed on them, and that computer retailers therefore cannot simply wipe the operating system off such PCs prior to selling them.
Yep, they often claim that, and that it would be illegal for them to do so, but it's just a sales trick. It's perfectly legal, and most retailers will rethink their position if you simply say "OK, then I'll go and buy it somewhere else...".

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hero_Mike View Post
Here's a question - is it possible to purchase a laptop without an OS?
Yep, most dealers will sell without an OS if you put some pressure on them.

If not, just don't click on any "Agree"-button and instead call Microsoft and say that you do not agree with the terms, and want, as promised, a full refund. They don't like it, but they will give you some money, although, only about one tenth of the shelf price. I think there is an upcoming court case here where someone is questioning how "a full refund" can be 10% of the shelf price, it'll be interesting to see how it ends.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hero_Mike View Post
I did think of a situation where it is advantageous to buy a computer without an OS. It's when you're replacing an existing computer and you still have a valid OS license, but a computer that won't run. About 15 years ago, we had a rash of computer failures where the motherboard and power supply would fail together. These were a bunch of store-built "white boxes" long past their one-year warranty. A new computer was more economical than merely replacing the components on the old one, since 2 or 3 years later you got more for the same money. So we recovered the files from the old hard-drive and had a much-improved PC, but it still used the same OS. This is back in the days where there was no "improvement" upon Windows 98 (Windows NT, Windows ME) until Windows 2000 became established after its first Service pack rolled out - at least 3 years, if not more, where Win 98 SE was the "best" thing available.
I can think of several reasons:

* You don't want that OS. You want Linux or BSD or some older Windows (that you probably already have a pile of legitimate licenses for).

* You already have legitimate licenses 1. This is very common with companies, as they often buy their licenses separately, or simply have a pile of unused licenses.

* You already have legitimate licenses 2. It could be that an older computer is switched out, and you transfer the license from that computer. Now, license transfers rules differ between different jurisdictions and license types. If you buy a license off the shelf, you are usually free to transfer it, but if it's an OEM license, then you are probably not. Then again, in some jurisdictions, licenses are bound to a person only, and OEM restrictions does not apply (for example in Sweden). Also, in Sweden, any license you can't read before you buy (ie, it's inside the shrink wrap) does not apply.

* You already have legitimate licenses 3. If you have a MSDN subscription, you have the licenses needed to setup a development/test machine. Why buy again?

* You are going to use the computer for some specialized task, such as media player, firewall, web server, mail server and so on, requiring only a very minimal specialized OS (usually free and included in the server product).

* The preinstalled OS is usually a bloated beast, and you prefer to do your own install.

I've encountered all of these myself.
Reply With Quote
  #25  
Old 25 February 2013, 10:55 AM
Mad Jay's Avatar
Mad Jay Mad Jay is offline
 
Join Date: 19 July 2003
Location: Virginia
Posts: 13,464
Default

People who install a Linux variant over Windows on a new machine tend to have philosophical differences with Microsoft. It's not really about buying a computer without OS. It's more about buying a computer without Microsoft.
Reply With Quote
  #26  
Old 25 February 2013, 09:19 PM
Wintermute's Avatar
Wintermute Wintermute is offline
 
 
Join Date: 04 July 2003
Location: Walnut Creek, CA
Posts: 6,535
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hero_Mike View Post
Essentially, you can't "build" a laptop from scratch like a desktop - sure, you can select the value and complexity of components within the laptop but only from a narrow list.
Actually there are places to buy the parts to do it. I didn't see any cost savings by doing it. So I think it just appeals to people who want to build their own laptop. Normally the case and screen come together and then after that you add your own wifi, video, memory, processor, etc
Reply With Quote
  #27  
Old 26 February 2013, 01:11 PM
Troberg Troberg is offline
 
 
Join Date: 04 November 2005
Location: Borlänge, Sweden
Posts: 11,580
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mad Jay View Post
People who install a Linux variant over Windows on a new machine tend to have philosophical differences with Microsoft. It's not really about buying a computer without OS. It's more about buying a computer without Microsoft.
Exactly. Why should I have to pay Microsoft when I don't use their stuff, and find their business practices (and products) appalling?

Sure, I have a few Windows computers, but they are valid OEM licenses. Most computers I have, though, are various flavours of Linux. Why pay a "Microsoft tax" for something Microsoft has in no way contributed to?
Reply With Quote
  #28  
Old 26 February 2013, 09:40 PM
snopes's Avatar
snopes snopes is offline
 
Join Date: 18 February 2000
Location: California
Posts: 109,624
No

Quote:
Originally Posted by Troberg View Post
Yep, they often claim that, and that it would be illegal for them to do so, but it's just a sales trick. It's perfectly legal, and most retailers will rethink their position if you simply say "OK, then I'll go and buy it somewhere else...".
Not so. It may not be "illegal" (i.e., a violation of criminal law) for computer retailers to remove the operating systems from bundled computers, but it's a violation of their contract with the OEMs and they are therefore not at liberty to do so.

Quote:
If not, just don't click on any "Agree"-button and instead call Microsoft and say that you do not agree with the terms, and want, as promised, a full refund. They don't like it, but they will give you some money
Actually, they'll tell you that the licensing terms are an agreement between you and the OEM that distributes the software, so you need to contact the OEM to obtain a refund.
Reply With Quote
  #29  
Old 26 February 2013, 09:43 PM
snopes's Avatar
snopes snopes is offline
 
Join Date: 18 February 2000
Location: California
Posts: 109,624
Roll eyes

Quote:
Originally Posted by Troberg View Post
Why should I have to pay Microsoft when I don't use their stuff, and find their business practices (and products) appalling?
Nobody's forcing you to buy a Windows-bundled computer. If you don't want to pay for Microsoft products, buy a computer that doesn't come with them.
Reply With Quote
  #30  
Old 27 February 2013, 01:12 AM
Skeptic's Avatar
Skeptic Skeptic is offline
 
Join Date: 16 July 2005
Location: Logan, Queensland, Australia
Posts: 1,744
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by snopes View Post
Nobody's forcing you to buy a Windows-bundled computer. If you don't want to pay for Microsoft products, buy a computer that doesn't come with them.
Which takes us back to the issue I first raised, which is being told that they can't sell you one because it's illegal.
Reply With Quote
  #31  
Old 27 February 2013, 01:16 AM
erwins's Avatar
erwins erwins is offline
 
Join Date: 04 April 2006
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 11,457
Default

But as several people have pointed out, "they" isn't everyone. The only places that won't sell them to you are ones that have contracts with Microsoft in which they promise not to. There are many small computer businesses that will do so, and of course anyone with the necessary skills and knowledge--or a willingness to obtain them--can build their own box. Computers without a Windows operating system are not hard to buy, they just can't be bought from certain vendors.
Reply With Quote
  #32  
Old 27 February 2013, 01:52 AM
ganzfeld's Avatar
ganzfeld ganzfeld is offline
 
Join Date: 05 September 2005
Location: Kyoto, Japan
Posts: 23,108
Default

I can allow them some wiggle room on the use of the word illegal. It's against a legally binding contract.

As for Who's Afraid of Big Bad Redmond, this year more devices without a Microsoft operating system than with will connect to the Internet. It's not as if Microsoft forced everybody to use their stuff all these years. Frankly, they just did it better than anyone else, where "better" is not necessarily something that I personally care for but the consumers voted with their wallets. (I'll use Windows 8 for the first time this week. Fortunately for MS, my expectations are very low!) In a very short time, another Big Bad Wolf will take over and you can quit whinging about Microsoft.
Reply With Quote
  #33  
Old 27 February 2013, 01:59 AM
snopes's Avatar
snopes snopes is offline
 
Join Date: 18 February 2000
Location: California
Posts: 109,624
Computer

Quote:
Originally Posted by Skeptic View Post
Which takes us back to the issue I first raised, which is being told that they can't sell you one because it's illegal.
"We can't sell a computer without software" isn't the same thing as "We can"t sell a computer without Microsoft Windows." There are plenty of non-Microsoft programs and OS in the world.
Reply With Quote
  #34  
Old 27 February 2013, 07:36 AM
Troberg Troberg is offline
 
 
Join Date: 04 November 2005
Location: Borlänge, Sweden
Posts: 11,580
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by snopes View Post
Not so. It may not be "illegal" (i.e., a violation of criminal law) for computer retailers to remove the operating systems from bundled computers, but it's a violation of their contract with the OEMs and they are therefore not at liberty to do so.
Perhaps not from bundled computers, but there is nothing preventing them from selling computers not bundled with Microsoft stuff. Most countries have laws specifically forbidding such contracts as they are not considered fair competition.

Quote:
Originally Posted by snopes View Post
Actually, they'll tell you that the licensing terms are an agreement between you and the OEM that distributes the software, so you need to contact the OEM to obtain a refund.
Actually, I've done that dance, and after being bounced around for a while, it was Microsoft that reimbursed me (at about 1/10 of shelf values, but still...).

I also did check with the consumer ombudsman, and she said that I was entitled to a full refund, but it would probably cost me much more than I would gain to drag it through the legal system, so I didn't bother.

Quote:
Originally Posted by snopes View Post
Nobody's forcing you to buy a Windows-bundled computer. If you don't want to pay for Microsoft products, buy a computer that doesn't come with them.
Actually, it's not that simple. Most manufacturers make crappy computers (especially laptops, which I can't build myself). If I want a good laptop, I'm pretty much limited to ASUS, high end HP and Toshiba. Of these, only ASUS sells without Windows, and only on the low end machines.

So, if you are not prepared to nag the sales person a great deal, you will get Windows, like it or not.

Luckily, there are still a few dealers which sells never used second hand laptops (usually from companies that has ordered too many). There, I can buy good laptops without having to get the Microsoft crap, and at a good price as well.

----

The thing is, that this is damaging on a grand scale. The entire capitalist model depends on the customer making informed decisions. By taking away the practical ability to make a decision at all, indeed, even hiding the fact that there is a decision that can be made, the model collapse. Quality and price is no longer guaranteed by the rules of a fair competition, as there is no longer any incentive to improve products or pricing, just to fence in market shares by signing deals that affect the customers way up over the head of the customers in the production chain.

Development slows down or stalls, as money is easier to obtain by paperwork. Customers does not benefit from that.

We already see the results, with Microsoft not even trying to improve their products, just adding a new layer of paint and some useless features in each release.

Also, there is no incentive for them to cooperate with other products, in fact, they do everything they can to create their own "Microsoft World". Once again, this is bad for customers, bad for technology and only benefits Microsoft.

I really, really hope that the proposition that is underway in the EU parliament, which would make it illegal to sell computers with an OS passes. That would offer a true choice for the consumer, and by showing the consumer that there is a choice, would level the playfield.
Reply With Quote
  #35  
Old 03 March 2013, 09:00 PM
snopes's Avatar
snopes snopes is offline
 
Join Date: 18 February 2000
Location: California
Posts: 109,624
Jaded

Quote:
Originally Posted by Troberg View Post
Perhaps not from bundled computers, but there is nothing preventing them from selling computers not bundled with Microsoft stuff.
Aside from lack of consumer interest in such a product, that is.

Quote:
Actually, I've done that dance, and after being bounced around for a while, it was Microsoft that reimbursed me
Not in North America:

http://www.microsoft.com/mscorp/prod...nd/refund.mspx

What Products Are Not Eligible for a Refund?
Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) software preloaded on a PC (contact the PC manufacturer)

Quote:
at about 1/10 of shelf value
You didn't pay shelf value for it, so why should you expect a shelf value refund for it?

Quote:
Actually, it's not that simple. Most manufacturers make crappy computers (especially laptops, which I can't build myself). If I want a good laptop, I'm pretty much limited to ASUS, high end HP and Toshiba. Of these, only ASUS sells without Windows, and only on the low end machines.
Actually, it is that simple. You apparently just aren't looking very hard and/or have unreasonable standards.
Reply With Quote
  #36  
Old 09 March 2013, 02:33 AM
Mimi Mimi is offline
 
Join Date: 05 February 2012
Location: Macomb, IL
Posts: 98
Default

Well, I don't know all the fancy computer jargon, but I thought I'd weigh in with my own personal experience. The last two computers I purchased were from a store down the street from my parents' house. The second computer I bought after the first was about 5 years old and seriously needed an upgrade. Usually my dad does this but when we went into the computer store for the second computer, the guy had a computer already built that was basically what I was looking for that was a little less than I was planning on spending anyway, so I went with that. It already had Windows installed on it but it was a different version from the one I had on my old computer. However, since I already had a Windows version, code and all, I wanted to just install that on the computer. The guy took Windows off for me and knocked that off the price and my dad installed my old Windows copy on the computer. This store is a sort of mom and pop set up. Just two guys work there full time, one being the owner. It's like a step up from people who build and sell computers out of their basements.
Reply With Quote
  #37  
Old 09 March 2013, 04:19 AM
diddy's Avatar
diddy diddy is offline
 
Join Date: 07 March 2004
Location: Plymouth, MN
Posts: 10,895
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by ganzfeld View Post
Frankly, they just did it better than anyone else, where "better" is not necessarily something that I personally care for but the consumers voted with their wallets.
It's not as simple as that. MS got really lucky with IBM - linking DOS to IBM computers and the early IBM clones made PC's much more affordable. Back in the old days the business mantra was "nobody got fired by buying IBM".

Trouble was IBM thought that their name alone was good enough to keep buyers. Once IBM compatible systems came on the market and you can get DOS it was basically game over for everyone else. Microsoft then started its OEM agreements once they realized that they had something making it very difficult to get any traction. It wasn't so much that people voted with their wallet - MS got lucky with IBM missing the boat big time and giving them a huge advantage in the market. MS might have not gotten so big without cloning.

Of course there were other factors and "cheap computers running the same OS that the office uses" did play a factor in it, but MS did get very lucky with IBM which is what people were really attracted to. That and some pretty predatory licensing. Eventually consumer wallets went with MS since there was nobody left with any real advantages going for it.

ETA: That is all my recollection of what I have read from some brief history about MS dealings with IBM. I may have some facts wrong but my understanding is that without IBM, things could have been very different IMHO.
Reply With Quote
  #38  
Old 09 March 2013, 12:42 PM
ganzfeld's Avatar
ganzfeld ganzfeld is offline
 
Join Date: 05 September 2005
Location: Kyoto, Japan
Posts: 23,108
Computer

Sure, they just got lucky. That's what all the companies who lost that battle would like us to believe. I'm not buying it. You don't just "get lucky" for 30 years. Something they were doing was right. It wasn't elegant or original but business is a battle. What matters is who gets it done. I'm not a Microsoft fan at all but there's no point ignoring the facts. They have helped more people get more work done than just about any other company on the planet. That's a fact.

Yes, they managed to get their foot in the door but so many other platforms could have and many of them even did. Where are they today? Osbourne, Commodore, Xerox, even the original Apple… Many of them had better chances than MS but they blew it in one way or another. That's not luck.
Reply With Quote
  #39  
Old 03 April 2014, 03:04 AM
angrybird angrybird is offline
 
 
Join Date: 21 February 2014
Location: New York
Posts: 2
Default

before. we bought computers and installed an operating system in house.
Up until a few years ago, they all came with an open source OS disk. We ended up with hundreds of these. Dell would not sell a bare metal computer without some form of OS bundled with it.
Now, we buy them with a Windows license that we use when we take them out of service.
Reply With Quote
  #40  
Old 18 February 2016, 04:22 AM
flyboywiz's Avatar
flyboywiz flyboywiz is offline
 
 
Join Date: 18 February 2016
Location: Orlando, FL
Posts: 1
Default

It makes no sense that selling a computer without software is illegal. What about bare bones PCs? Maybe you are referring to computers sold at stores like Best Buy?
Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Illegal to sell used mattresses snopes Legal Affairs 15 21 June 2012 09:36 PM
16 items they only sell at Wal-Marts in China Jenn Fauxtography 51 21 July 2010 01:34 AM
Buy the rumor and sell it as a fact snopes Snopes Spotting 0 20 June 2009 12:12 AM
Software catastrophe myths snopes Computers 22 04 January 2008 02:13 PM


All times are GMT. The time now is 05:40 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.