17 June, 2011

hettes and giving back Windows licenses

The dutch hettes is an open source webshop. I've been talking to them as they want to ship openSUSE on their computers.

Now they bump into an issue: the well known Microsoft tax is unavoidable, even if you don't want or use it! They can't ship back the licenses as MS doesn't accept that. In effect, their customers have to pay Microsoft even though they don't use their software.

It is called Tying and illegal, but who has the financial power to do something about it? In the USA, this has been solved - MS has been ordered to accept customers who send back licenses and give them $30 for each. They don't make it easy but at least it is possible now. However, as far as I know, in NL there is no such a rule and I'm not sure about the rest of the EU either. Hettes is talking to the Department of Economics in the Netherlands but frankly, I'm not sure that'll help much.

The question I'd like to put for you all is: what can Hettes do? Is there a way to get their monies back? How can we help them with this silly situation?