Q: The End-User License Agreement (EULA) provides for
through the PC's OEM (the "Manufacturer"). Why, then, are you
seeking refunds from Microsoft?
A: The EULA effectively has the OEM acting as agent for Microsoft.
We feel it's in Microsoft's, the OEMs', and the users' interest
to have this refund handled efficiently, directly through Microsoft,
and are estimating they will agree.
Q: You aren't serious about doing without Windows entirely,
A: 100% serious. The Microsoft products being returned are
completely unused, unneeded, and unwanted -- because the machine
was bought solely for use with open-source operating systems,
not Microsoft ones. Many if not most of us are people who use
non-MS operating systems by choice, routinely, every day. That
full-featured, open-source operating systems _do_ exist and that
some PC buyers prefer them is apparently a novel idea for some,
but a fact for us.
Q: What about people who secretly continue to use the product
getting a refund?
A: There are none in our group: We are legitimate users of open-source
operating systems who were obliged to accept bundled Microsoft OSes
(operating systems) to buy their computers, but who declined to
accept the license terms, have _not used_ them, and are therefore
now seeking refunds as the EULA specifies. We will confirm in
advance that all refund participants meet these guidelines.
Q: Will Microsoft's Foster City office accept the products for
A: We don't know, yet. The January 20th "Sm@rt Reseller" piece
says Microsoft is "preparing a response to the initiative".
Q: Are users of proprietary non-Microsoft OSes on Intel, such
BeOS, SolarisX86, SCO UnixWare, NetWare, OS/2, QNX, and NeXTstep
for Intel (to name a few) also welcome?
A: This is an initiative of and by the open-source software community.
We welcome separate efforts by users of proprietary OSes, who
would certainly have an equally valid claim.
Q: I'm not seeking to return software, but may I come
A: Yes. Members of the open-source community and sympathetic
observers are welcome.
Q: May I take video footage / take photographs / report on the
A: Yes. Please let us know, so we can assist and answer your
Q: How can I stay informed of plans, developments, and
A: Two things: Sign up for the Windows Refund Newsletter at
http://www.thenoodle.com/refund/ (the most important step),
and send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org expressing interest.
Q: Specifically when and how are you doing all this?
A: Arrangements are just now being discussed and decided.
Q: The EULA says users should "promptly contact Manufacturer
instructions on return". Is there a time limit?
A: Not as such. Recent purchasers are particularly welcome, since
it is more self-evidently true that they never wanted the
bundled Microsoft product, never used it, and do not agree
to the EULA.
Q: Monday, February 15th (Windows Refund Day) is Presidents
Will this be a problem?
A: No. Microsoft's Foster City office has confirmed that it
will be open.
Q: Aren't you just taking advantage of a legal loophole?
A: No. We're doing exactly what the EULA says: Those who
don't want the bundled product, haven't used it, and don't
accept its license terms were _told explicitly by Microsoft
in the EULA_ that Microsoft is "unwilling to license the
software product" to them, and to return it for a refund.
That is what we're doing.
Q: I don't like the mouse I got with my PC, either, yet
part of the packaged deal, and I have to live with it. Why
is this different?
A: It's different because Microsoft specifically _provided_ for
a refund, for anyone who doesn't accept the EULA. All of our
participants are exactly that -- people who bought their
computers to use exclusively for open-source operating systems
that they prefer.
Q: Are you trying to bring back the bad old days, when
were sold without a preconfigured operating system?
A: We're not challenging the practice of preloading. We're
simply exercising our right under the EULA to return what
is for _us_ an unused, unwanted preload product, for refund.
Q: Why are you attacking Microsoft, when its software
99% of PC customers, and when clearly the mass market wants Windows?
A: We're not attacking Microsoft at all, and acknowledge that many
like its operating systems. We, however, prefer and use
open-source OSes, and are therefore returning these unused Microsoft
products, as provided by the EULA. Perhaps, if other people
want "our" copies (which we are returning in pristine, unused
condition), Microsoft can then sell them to people who actually
want them and agree with the EULA.
Q: If you didn't want the bundled OS, why did you buy the
A: For one thing, in some cases (such as PC laptop computers),
essentially no alternatives exist without a bundled Microsoft OS.
For another, the refund offer _is_ an official, inherent part of
the bundle: That provision is written right into the license.
Q: Will you be returning other Microsoft bundled software
features the same sort of EULA (for example, Office 97), or