An Italian court in Florence in September ordered HP, the world's largest computer manufacturer, to refund a customer who did not want the preloaded Microsoft Windows operating system and other applications.
Aduc, an Italian consumer rights organisation, filed its complaint against HP in November 2005. According to a statement by Aduc, HP had refused an Italian PC buyer to refund the costs for the Microsoft Windows operating system and some Microsoft applications, saying the software was sold together with the hardware.
The organisation says it absurd that it is impossible to purchase a PC without a pre-installed copy of Microsoft Windows. "We decided to climb this mountain and on 18 October we finally got what we believe is right."
According to Aduc, Microsoft's end user licence agreement instructs those rejecting the terms can turn to the PC manufacturer for reimbursement. However, HP in court argued that it has no influence on Microsoft's software licenses.
The court thought this unlikely: "(these terms) are part of the trade negotiations between the two companies." The judge also instructed HP to ensure the refund process is not too bureaucratic. It told HP to refund 90 euro for the XP operating system and 50 euro for Microsoft Works.
A French court also in September came to a similar ruling, ordering Acer, he world's third largest computer maker to refund 311,85 euro to a PC buyer.
The second largest computer manufacturer, Dell, has recently refunded at least two PC buyers, one in Great Britain and one in Germany, according to reports on the Internet.
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