Italian consumer group plans suit against Microsoft

An Italian consumer group is planning a class-action lawsuit against Microsoft over the pre-installation of Windows on computers. According to Reuters, the move comes after a new law was passed, allowing consumer associations to file suits for groups of consumers.

Filled by the Association for the Rights of Users and Consumers (ADUC) in Italy, the suit aims to obtain compensation for customers who bought PCs with Windows pre-installed who did not want to use the operating system. The new law permits the ADUC to obtain only compensation for the 2,000 customers – not punitive damages.

The ADUC has already won a pilot case in a Florence court, allowing many OEMs to give a refund. However, before customers can claim their compensation of €30-40, they must send their computers to the manufacturers headquarters to get the software removed. ADUC Chairman Vincenzo Donvito told Reuters that the system costs consumers money and they only do it to make a point. He also believes that the refund should be higher, as Windows costs between €150 and €250, despite OEMs typically paying $50 for each copy of Windows.

However, Microsoft do not seem worried. A Microsoft spokesperson told technology news site Ars Technica that "consumers are free to purchase PCs with a non-Microsoft operating system, or without any operating system. 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."

The spokesperson added, "computer manufacturers are free to sell PCs pre-installed with another operating system or no operating system at all."

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