Bundling of Microsoft Windows is the installation of Microsoft Windows in computers before their purchase. Microsoft encourages original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) of personal computers to include Windows licenses with their products, and agreements between Microsoft and OEMs have undergone antitrust scrutiny. Users opposed to the bundling of Microsoft Windows have sought refunds for Windows licenses, arguing that the Windows end-user license agreement entitles them to return unused Windows licenses for a cash refund. Although some customers have successfully obtained payments (in some cases after litigation or lengthy negotiations), others have been less successful.
Microsoft encourages original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to supply computers with Windows pre-installed, saying that consumers benefit by not having to install an operating system. Analyst Vishal Tripathi said that many consumers purchase PCs with pre-installed operating systems because they do not want to deal with the "learning curve" and inconvenience of installing an operating system. Virtually all large computer vendors bundle Microsoft Windows with the majority of the personal computers in their ranges. In 1999, Maximum PC wrote that non-Windows users "have long griped that machines from large companies can't be purchased without Windows". In 1999, analyst Rob Enderle attributed the lack of computers without Windows available for individual purchase to economic impracticality, citing certification and warranty requirements. In 1999, Dell stated that it only offered non-Microsoft operating systems on servers and as part of customized large orders, but if Linux became popular enough to make Linux pre-installation cost-effective, "we'd be foolish not to offer it". The Guardian's computer editor Jack Schofield said that there were significant overhead costs associated with pre-installation of Linux, in part due to Linux's small market share. Serdar Yegulalp of Computerworld said that in the late 1990s, because Linux was not fully developed, Linux computers were "a tough sell for non-technical users".
Microsoft historically engaged in licensing practices that discouraged the installation of non-Microsoft operating systems. Microsoft once assessed license fees based on the number of computers an OEM sold, regardless of whether a Windows license was included. Beginning in 1983, Microsoft sold MS-DOS licenses to OEMs on an individually-negotiated basis. The contracts required OEMs to purchase a number of MS-DOS licenses equal to or greater than the number of computers sold, with the result of zero marginal cost for OEMs to include MS-DOS. Installing an operating system other than MS-DOS would effectively require double payment of operating system royalties. Also, Microsoft penalized OEMs that installed alternative operating systems by making their license terms less favorable.:165–66 Microsoft entered into a consent decree in 1994 that barred Microsoft from conditioning the availability of Windows licenses or varying their prices based on whether OEMs distributed other operating systems. Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith said that the decree was effective in allowing Dell and HP to offer Linux computers, and Jeremy Reimer of Ars Technica stated that the decree made it "fiscally realistic to sell computers with alternative operating systems". In 1999, a Microsoft representative stated that their contracts with OEMs did not "stop any OEM from shipping any operating system on their PCs". In 2010, Microsoft stated that its agreements with OEMs to distribute Windows are nonexclusive, and OEMs are free to distribute computers with a different operating system or without any operating system. In a 2001 article in Byte, it was reported that license agreements between OEMs and Microsoft forbade OEMs from including Windows alongside another operating system on the same computer. According to a 1999 New York Times article, "critics assert that the company continues to use its market clout to ensure that nearly all new personal computers come with Windows pre-installed."
In 2009, Microsoft stated that it has always charged OEMs about $50 for a Windows license on a $1,000 computer. In 2007, Dell stated that its computers with Ubuntu installed would be priced about $50 lower than comparable systems with Windows installed. In a 2010 ZDNet article, Chris Clay wrote that Dell computers with Ubuntu preinstalled were priced higher than identical systems with Windows preinstalled, even though Ubuntu is free and open source. The claimed increase in the price of a computer resulting from the inclusion of a Windows license has been called the "Windows tax" or "Microsoft tax" by opposing computer users.
Some computer purchasers request refunds for Windows licenses included with their purchased computers because they do not want to use Windows, preferring an operating system such as Linux instead. Jeff Walsh of InfoWorld said that businesses with site licenses can save money by requesting refunds of Windows licenses included with purchased computers.
Users can avoid the "Windows tax" altogether by assembling a computer from individually purchased parts or purchasing a computer from an OEM that does not bundle Windows. Some smaller OEMs and larger retail chains such as System76 have taken to specializing in Linux-based systems to their advantage from major suppliers' paucity of non-Windows offerings. Beginning in 2007, Dell offered computers with Ubuntu pre-installed. In 2014, Hewlett-Packard stated that it sells "units bundled with a built-in OS and those without". Some Linux distributors also run 'partnership' programs to endorse suppliers of machines with their system pre-installed. Some vendors purchase computers from major OEMs, install Linux on them and resell them. Chris Clay of ZDNet wrote that employee discount programs create a financial incentive to purchase computers from a large manufacturer, even if the manufacturer does not offer computers without Windows.
Microsoft requires that OEMs support UEFI secure boot on their products to qualify for the Windows 8 Logo Program. Concerns have been raised that OEMs might ship systems that do not allow users to disable secure boot or install signing keys for alternative operating systems. Such computers would be unable to boot any non-Windows operating system (unless that operating system was signed and its keys included with the computer), further complicating the issue of Windows refunds. While Microsoft claims the OEMs would be free to decide which keys to include and how to manage them, competing OS vendors' relative lack of influence on the desktop OS market compared to Microsoft might mean that, even if signed versions of their operating systems were available, they might face difficulties getting hardware vendors to include their keys, especially if end users won't be able to manage those keys themselves. Boot locking is now required for ARM devices.
Microsoft does not provide refunds for Windows licenses sold through an OEM, including licenses that come with the purchase of a computer or are pre-installed on a computer. A Microsoft Denmark representative stated that Microsoft's Windows license terms allow OEMs to offer a refund for just the Windows license. Microsoft's End User License Agreement for Windows 10 states that:
By accepting this agreement or using the software, you agree to all of these terms ... If you do not accept and comply with these terms, you may not use the software or its features. You may contact the device manufacturer or installer, or your retailer if you purchased the software directly, to determine its return policy and return the software or device for a refund or credit under that policy. You must comply with that policy, which might require you to return the software with the entire device on which the software is installed for a refund or credit, if any.
In 1999, the relevant text read
If you do not agree to the terms of this EULA, PC Manufacturer and Microsoft are unwilling to license the SOFTWARE PRODUCT to you. In such event, you may not use or copy the SOFTWARE PRODUCT, and you should promptly contact PC Manufacturer for instructions on return of the unused product(s) for a refund.
In 1999, according to InfoWorld, "Some users are taking this EULA literally and plan to demand a cash refund." In 1999, a Microsoft representative described requesting a Windows refund on the basis of rejecting the license as "a technicality where someone is twisting the language a little bit to come up with the idea that they can run back to the OEM with this". Laurie J. Flynn of The New York Times characterized the license refund argument as using a loophole in the license agreement.
OEM policies for refunding unused Windows licenses vary. Some OEMs have programs that specifically allow a user to receive a refund for an unused Windows license. Acer US has a Windows refund program where a user can ship a computer with an unused copy of Windows to the Acer service center and have the computer returned without Windows for a refund. Acer's policy requires the customer to return items at their own expense, and the balance received by the customer can be as low as €30. The same applies for EU, the reported refund as of 2014 is €40 for Windows 8. Other vendors, like Dell, have ad hoc procedures for users to request a refund of a Windows license; one user who received a £55.23 refund from Dell said of the process, "I was pretty gob-smacked that it was so easy". In some cases, vendors have asked that customers requesting refunds sign non-disclosure agreements. In 1999, a Toshiba representative stated that a case where a user obtained a $110 refund was "not the typical policy and not what other people will run into if they try it". Other vendors do not issue refunds for Windows licenses. In February 1999 InfoWorld reported that "No PC manufacturers are currently offering refunds for users who do not use Windows". According to a 1999 Maximum PC article, Dell did not provide refunds for Windows licenses, interpreting the license agreement to "treat the hardware and software as a single package that must be returned". In 2009, Sony refused to offer a partial refund for a customer who declined the Windows Vista EULA, instead offering a refund for the entire computer, which the consumer declined.:¶20–21
Litigation by users denied a partial refund for the unused Windows license has resulted in rulings in France and Italy that bundling Microsoft Windows and then refusing to offer partial refunds for just the Windows license violates applicable law. In September 2014, the Supreme Court of Italy in ruling 19161/2014 decided that a laptop buyer was entitled to receive a refund of €140 for the price of a Microsoft Windows license and a Microsoft Works license on a computer, saying that bundling was "a commercial policy of forced distribution" and slammed this practice as "monopolistic in tendency". In India bundling is challenged by users as a violation of Competition Act 2002 and one of them has sent a legal notice to HP. However, in another license refund case, a French appellate court ruled in favor of the OEM, "holding that the sale at issue did not constitute the unfair commercial practice of coercive selling, which is not permitted under any circumstances, an unfair commercial tying practice, or a misleading or aggressive commercial practice.":¶24 The case is pending before the Court of Cassation.:¶26
In September 2016, the Court of Justice of the European Union ruled that "the sale of a computer equipped with pre-installed software does not in itself constitute an unfair commercial practice within the meaning of Directive 2005/29 when such an offer is not contrary to the requirements of professional diligence and does not distort the economic behaviour of consumers." The Court also ruled that Directive 2005/29 does not require OEMs to include a separate price for an operating system license.
Websites have been created for the specific purpose of spreading information about the issue and educating others on their options for getting a refund. A 1999 rally opposing the bundling of Windows attracted about 100 protesters and gained media attention worldwide. The overall goal of such events has been to get OEMs to expand their selection of computers without a copy of Windows pre-installed, with the additional goal of getting them to revise and improve their refund policies while the first goal has not been met. An analyst stated that refund actions by individual users were "a publicity stunt [that] has no impact".
However, consumers benefit from the preinstallation of Windows on PCs. It provides the best user experience from the time a consumer first turns on the PC, and saves consumers the substantial effort and resources associated with having to install an operating system that functions properly." ... "Computer manufacturers are free to sell PCs pre-installed with another operating system or no operating system at all," the [Microsoft] spokesperson continued. "It's also important to note that Microsoft's agreements with OEMs are nonexclusive.
The users are hoping to use a loophole that they say they have found in the end user licensing agreement for Windows
AutoCollage 2008 is a Microsoft photomontage desktop application. The software creates a collage of representative elements from a set of images. It is able to detect faces and recognize objects.The software was developed by Microsoft Research labs in Cambridge, England and launched on September 4, 2008.
An update, named Microsoft Research AutoCollage 2008 version 1.1, was released on February, 2009. The software update adds the ability to select images for the AutoCollage, a richer integration with Windows Live Photo Gallery, support for network folders and the ability to define custom output sizes.
A new version, named Microsoft Research AutoCollage Touch 2009, was released on September 2009, and included by some OEMs on machines with Windows 7.Barebook
A barebook computer (or barebone laptop) is an incomplete notebook PC. A barebone laptop is similar to a barebone computer, but in a laptop form.
As it leaves the factory, it contains only elements strictly tied to the computer's design (case, motherboard, display, keyboard, pointing device, etc.), and the consumer or reseller has to add standardized off-the-shelf components such as CPU and GPU (when not integrated on the motherboard), memory, mass storage, WiFi card, etc. separately.
Because it is not manufactured with storage, a barebook does not typically include an operating system or a license key for one, which may make barebooks appealing to opposers of the bundling of Microsoft Windows.A finished, custom-built notebook is called a whitebook.Bing Audio
Bing Audio (also known as Bing Music) is a music recognition application created by Microsoft which is installed on Windows Phones running version 7.5 and above, including Windows Phone 8. On Windows Phone 8.1, and in regions where the Microsoft Cortana voice assistant is available, Bing Music is integrated with Cortana and the music search history is a part of Cortana's "Notebook". The service is only designed to recognize recorded songs, not live performances or humming. Xbox Music Pass subscribers can immediately add the songs to their playlists. A unique feature compared to similar services is that Bing Audio continuously listens and analyzes music while most other services can only listen for a fixed amount of time. Bing Research developed a fingerprinting algorithm to identify songs.On March 30, 2016 Microsoft announced that they'll create bots based on Bing features in Skype of which Bing Music was one.Bing Vision
Bing Vision is an image recognition application created by Microsoft which is installed on Windows Phones running version 7.5 and above, including Windows Phone 8. It is a part of the Bing Mobile suite of services, and on most devices can be accessed using the search button. On Windows Phone 8.1 devices where Microsoft Cortana is available, it is only available through the lenses of the Camera app (as the search button now activates Cortana). Bing Vision can scan barcodes, QR codes, Microsoft Tags, books, CDs, and DVDs. Books, CDs, and DVDs are offered through Bing Shopping.Criticism of Windows 10
Windows 10, an operating system released by Microsoft in July 2015, has been criticized by reviewers and users. Due to issues mostly about privacy, it has been the subject of a number of negative assessments by various groups.Encarta
Microsoft Encarta was a digital multimedia encyclopedia published by Microsoft Corporation from 1993 to 2009. Originally sold on CD-ROM or DVD, it was also later available on the World Wide Web via an annual subscription – although later many articles could also be viewed free online with advertisements. By 2008, the complete English version, Encarta Premium, consisted of more than 62,000 articles, numerous photos and illustrations, music clips, videos, interactive content, timelines, maps, atlases and homework tools.
Microsoft published similar encyclopedias under the Encarta trademark in various languages, including German, French, Spanish, Dutch, Italian, Portuguese and Japanese. Localized versions contained contents licensed from national sources and more or less content than the full English version. For example, the Dutch version had content from the Dutch Winkler Prins encyclopedia.
In March 2009, Microsoft announced it was discontinuing both the Encarta disc and online versions. The MSN Encarta site was closed on October 31, 2009 in all countries except Japan, where it was closed on December 31, 2009. Microsoft continued to operate the Encarta online dictionary until 2011.High Capacity Color Barcode
High Capacity Color Barcode (HCCB) is a technology developed by Microsoft for encoding data in a 2D "barcode" using clusters of colored triangles instead of the square pixels conventionally associated with 2D barcodes or QR codes. Data density is increased by using a palette of 4 or 8 colors for the triangles, although HCCB also permits the use of black and white when necessary. It has been licensed by the ISAN International Agency for use in its International Standard Audiovisual Number standard, and serves as the basis for the Microsoft Tag mobile tagging application.
The technology was created by Gavin Jancke, an engineering director at Microsoft Research. Quoted by BBC News in 2007, he said that HCCB was not intended to replace conventional barcodes. "'It's more of a 'partner' barcode', he said. 'The UPC barcodes will always be there. Ours is more of a niche barcode where you want to put a lot of information in a small space.'"Microsoft Office
Microsoft Office (or simply Office) is a family of client software, server software, and services developed by Microsoft. It was first announced by Bill Gates on August 1, 1988, at COMDEX in Las Vegas. Initially a marketing term for an office suite (bundled set of productivity applications), the first version of Office contained Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, and Microsoft PowerPoint. Over the years, Office applications have grown substantially closer with shared features such as a common spell checker, OLE data integration and Visual Basic for Applications scripting language. Microsoft also positions Office as a development platform for line-of-business software under the Office Business Applications brand. On July 10, 2012, Softpedia reported that Office is used by over a billion people worldwide.Office is produced in several versions targeted towards different end-users and computing environments. The original, and most widely used version, is the desktop version, available for PCs running the Windows and macOS operating systems. Office Online is a version of the software that runs within a web browser, while Microsoft also maintains Office apps for Android and iOS.
Since Office 2013, Microsoft has promoted Office 365 as the primary means of obtaining Microsoft Office: it allows use of the software and other services on a subscription business model, and users receive free feature updates to the software for the lifetime of the subscription, including new features and cloud computing integration that are not necessarily included in the "on-premises" releases of Office sold under conventional license terms. In 2017, revenue from Office 365 overtook conventional license sales.
The current on-premises, desktop version of Office is Office 2019, released on September 24, 2018.Microsoft Store
Microsoft Store is a chain of retail stores and an online shopping site, owned and operated by Microsoft and dealing in computers, computer software and consumer electronics.
The Microsoft Store offers Signature PCs and tablets like the Microsoft Surface and from third parties such as HP, Acer, Dell, Lenovo, and VAIO without demos or trialware (pre-installed free trials of certain third-party software that expire after a limited time). It also offers Windows (most retail versions), Microsoft Office and Xbox One game consoles, games and services including on-site Xbox diagnostics. The Answers Desk helps to answer questions related to Windows, Office, and other Microsoft products. The stores also offer class sessions as well as individual appointments.
The first two Microsoft Stores opened within a week of the Windows 7 launch, in Scottsdale, Arizona and Mission Viejo, California. Additional stores have since opened in California, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri, Texas and Washington. At the 2011 Professional Developers Conference, Microsoft announced that they intend to open 75 new stores in the next three years.The first store outside the U.S. (and the first of eight stores in Canada) opened in Toronto on November 16, 2012 while the first store outside North America (and first store in Asia-Pacific and second flagship store) opened in Sydney, Australia on November 12, 2015 In September 2017, the company announced a store on Regent Street in London, United Kingdom .Microsoft Student
Microsoft Student is a discontinued application from Microsoft designed to help students in schoolwork and homework. It included Encarta, as well as several student-exclusive tools such as additional Microsoft Office templates (called Learning Essentials) and integration with other Microsoft applications, like Microsoft Word. An example of that is data citations, Encarta dictionary and research Encarta features, which are available in a toolbar in Word.
The product also included Microsoft Math, language and literature resources (book summaries), and research tools (such as access to an online version of Encarta). Student 2006 was the first version of the product and a new version was produced by Microsoft every year until 2009.
Microsoft announced in March 2009 that they will cease to sell Microsoft Student and all editions of the Encarta encyclopedia by June 2009, citing changes in the way people seek information and in the traditional encyclopedia and reference material market as the key reasons behind the termination. Encarta's closing is widely attributed to competition from the larger online encyclopedia Wikipedia.Microsoft Teams
Microsoft Teams is a unified communications platform that combines persistent workplace chat, video meetings, file storage (including collaboration on files), and application integration. The service integrates with the company's Office 365 subscription office productivity suite and features extensions that can integrate with non-Microsoft products. Microsoft Teams is a competitor to services such as Slack and is the evolution and upgrade path from Microsoft Skype for Business.
Microsoft announced Teams at an event in New York, and launched the service worldwide on 14 March 2017. It was created, and is currently led, by Brian MacDonald, Corporate Vice President at Microsoft.Satya Nadella
Satya Narayana Nadella (; born 19 August 1967) is an Indian-American business executive. He currently serves as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Microsoft, succeeding Steve Ballmer in 2014. Before becoming chief executive, he was Executive Vice President of Microsoft's Cloud and Enterprise Group, responsible for building and running the company's computing platforms.Surface Studio
The Surface Studio is an all-in-one PC, designed and produced by Microsoft as part of its Surface series of Windows-based personal computing devices. It was announced at the Windows 10 Devices Event on October 26, 2016, with pre-orders beginning that day.The first desktop computer to be manufactured entirely by Microsoft, the Surface Studio uses the Windows 10 operating system with the Anniversary Update preinstalled. However, it is optimized for the Windows 10 Creators Update, which was released on April 11, 2017. The product, starting at $2,999, is aimed primarily at people in creative professions such as graphic artists and designers.Surface Studio 2
The Surface Studio 2 is an all-in-one PC, designed and produced by Microsoft as part of its Surface series of Windows-based personal computing devices. It was announced at the Windows 10 Devices Event on October 2, 2018, with pre-orders beginning that day.The second desktop computer to be manufactured entirely by Microsoft, the Surface Studio uses the Windows 10 operating system with the October 2018 update preinstalled. The product, starting at $3,499, is aimed primarily at people in creative professions such as graphic artists and designers.Timeline of Microsoft
This is a timeline of Microsoft, a multinational computer technology corporation.Windows tax
Windows tax may refer to:
The window tax, an historic British tax on glass
"Windows tax", a term for the cost of Microsoft Windows preinstalled on a computer; see Bundling of Microsoft Windows