EU complaint concerning the forced sale of Microsoft OS with notebooks in Belgium and other EU countries
ab Iago Dafydd
dafyddabiago at gmail.com
Fri Jun 30 15:37:44 UTC 2006
Here's some info on a complaint I made to the European Commission about not
being able to buy a notebook without having to buy Windows. I think this is
illegal in the EU but also candidate countries as well as other associated
countries such as Switzerland, Norway, Serbia etc etc.
My complaint was made concerning the situation in Belgium as a simple
consumer (I'm a journalist by profession).
Dafydd ab Iago
Rue Royale Ste. Marie 7/9 Koninklijke Sint-Mariastraat
00 32 484 924 013
Dear Secretary General,
Dear Ms Day,
I am writing to make a formal complaint concerning the forced sale of
Microsoft OS with notebooks in Belgium and other EU countries, and more
specifically the failure of Belgian authorities to prevent the distortion of
the market for notebook laptop computers.
All major notebook computer suppliers in Belgium, perhaps representing
almost 99% of the retail notebook market, offer no option other than to pay
for a pre-installed version of Windows. Such companies include Dell, Packard
Bell, Photo Hall, MediaMarkt, HP, Sony, Toshiba, Acer, Fujitsu Siemens, and
The forced pre-installing of and payment for Microsoft operating systems on
notebooks in Belgium has engendered a distorted market. The companies
involved maintain confidential pricing policies as to manufacturer-paid
charges for the Windows operating systems. However, there are indications
that this could lead to excess charges of EUR 100 for unit purchased by an
As a user of an alternative operating system based upon a GNU General Public
License, as do some 5 percent of notebook users, I myself now face being
charged for a product I do not and will not need.
Although the End User License Agreement (EULA) for the Microsoft Windows XP
Professional and Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition refers in vague terms to
the possibility of a refund in the event of not installing and not agreeing
with the EULA terms, notebook providers in Belgium refuse to offer such
refunds and do not have known procedures for so doing.
As a normal customer buying a single notebook, it is not possible in any way
to configure purchase options so as NOT to pay for a Windows operating
system at any of the following retailers: Dell, Packard Bell, Photo Hall,
MediaMarkt, HP, Sony, Toshiba, Acer, Fujitsu Siemens, and Lenovo.
I therefore request that the Commission make a formal investigation into the
distortion of notebook computer market in Belgium and elsewhere as well as
to force local authorities to ensure that consumers have the right to choose
whether or not to buy a Windows operating system when purchasing a notebook
in Belgium and elsewhere within the EU.
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