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Would you subscribe to Windows?

Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols | July 7, 2016
Instead of buying Windows, you may soon be subscribing to it — that’s how much Microsoft wants you off Windows 7

In addition, after long being accused of forcing users — whether they want to or not — to upgrade to Windows 10, Microsoft just lost a lawsuit to an unhappy customer. California travel agent Teri Goldstein sued Microsoft for causing her PC to upgrade to Windows 10 without her explicit permission, and won $10,000. Rather than appeal, Microsoft paid up.

Almost immediately afterwards, Microsoft announced that it would change that sneaky upgrade notification. Clicking the red X will no longer be interpreted as approving the upgrade. I wonder what bright dolt ever thought that was a good idea?

Microsoft is hoping to avoid any more lawsuits. Good luck with that, guys.

True, Microsoft’s latest end-user license agreement (EULA) forbids consumers from filing a class-action lawsuit, but I doubt that would hold up in court. Yes, for those of you who know a bit of law, the AT&T Mobility LLC v. Concepcion decision could get in the way. But — probably in penance for my sins — I know many class-action lawyers. They universally regard such clauses as unenforceable.

So what could Microsoft do to 1) promote its latest operating system, 2) keep everyone up to date, and 3) avoid lawsuits?

The answer: Finally get Windows in line with the rest of its services and make it subscription-only.

Oh, did you notice what I did there? I called Windows a service. That’s coming too.

With Windows as a subscribed service, Microsoft solves its legal problems and the difficulties of trying to maintain multiple out-of-date operating systems.

But what about you? Do you want a subscription instead of sort of, kind of owning your operating system? I don’t have any trouble with it myself. Well, so long as Microsoft doesn’t charge me $50 a year for it, anyway.

Besides, I’ve long known that I don’t own Windows. The EULA is a license to use Windows; you never really owned it. If you want to own your desktop operating system, to make your own decisions about when or if you’ll update, you want Linux, not Windows.

Linux, no matter what you may have heard, works just fine on the desktop. I use it every day. And, unlike Windows, it’s under your control, not Microsoft’s or any other corporation’s, and there are no subscriptions involved.


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