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In many cases, the end of the year gives you time to step back and take stock of the last 12 months. This is when many of us take a hard look at what worked and what did not, complete performance reviews, and formulate plans for the coming year. For me, it is all of those things plus a time when I u...
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Lindows.com CEO: "Dear Bill...[We Will] Continue to Offer the MSfreePC Service in Spite of Your Threats"
Lindows.com CEO: "Dear Bill...[We Will] Continue to Offer the MSfreePC Service in Spite of Your Threats"

[full text of Lindows.com Inc. September 30 response to Microsoft's takedown notice issued on September 26, 2003]

"Mr. Bill Gates
Chairman
Microsoft Corporation
One Microsoft Way
Redmond, WA 98052-6399
USA

Dear Mr. Gates,

I received your letter concerning MSfreePC.com and I am disappointed that you cannot see how MSfreePC honors both the spirit and the letter of the anti-trust settlement agreement.

Consumers should benefit as a result of Microsoft's poor behavior and MSfreePC uses modern technology to make that happen rather than forcing customers to send in paper forms via snail mail multiple times.

I am surprised at some of your objections, specifically your protests that digital signatures are not valid. You seem to have no objections when digital signatures are used to attempt to build Microsoft's profits such as with MSN, Expedia, or .Net. Perhaps it would be more palatable if everyone using MSfreePC also got a Passport account?

I would also point out that Microsoft uses digital signatures to bind people to their restrictive end-user licensing agreements. It is hypocritical for Microsoft to endorse digital transactions to bolster your business, but resist them whenever it may negatively impact your bottomline.

It's also shameful that such a wealthy company uses public schools as a smokescreen to hide your true motivations which is to reduce the payout Microsoft has to perform. As you are aware, Microsoft benefits greatly if consumers do not submit claims or drop-out anywhere in the laborious process. One-third of all unclaimed dollars are refunded back to Microsoft. One-third of unclaimed dollars are required by schools to be spent on software which, given Microsoft enormous market share, means most of those dollars will simply circle back to Microsoft.

The remaining one-third can be spent on hardware which even then will likely come with Microsoft software further reducing the dollars Microsoft will be paying out. If you have genuine concern for California schools, then why not give 100% of unclaimed monies to schools in cash for even non-technology needs of which there are many? This would clearly demonstrate that the settlement is not designed to minimize the amount of money Microsoft must pay.

It's undeniable that Microsoft's actual settlement amount will be dramatically less than the $1.1B amount trumpeted in the headlines - the complexity of the manual settlement claim process and the above favorable terms will ensure that. The $1.1B number is purely a publicity stunt and should not be used as a reference point for any part of this process.

Clearly it's in Microsoft's self-interest to discourage claims and its disappointing to see a technology advocate become so technology adverse and resist even the slightest attempts to help consumers claim a portion of the of the extremely Microsoft-favorable settlement agreement.

The MSfreePC service gives harmed consumers immediate value and access to the solid StarOffice suite (which saves Microsoft Windows and Linux users hundreds of dollars by allowing them to replace Microsoft Office) and LindowsOS, your competition for the PC desktop.

We will continue to offer the MSfreePC service and in fact those who are eligible will receive immediate notification and be the first to download the incredible new StarOffice 7.0 coming out shortly.

Our plan is to continue to offer the MSfreePC service in spite of your threats. If required, we will be a voice in the courtroom defending a consumers rights to use technology and an online process to secure their settlement claims.

I believe your company refers to this as the “right to innovate.”

Sincerely,
Michael Robertson
Chief Executive Officer
Lindows.com Inc."

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Reader Feedback: Page 1 of 1

Sweet! I really like the punch at the end of the letter about the "right to innovate" :-D
Man, I'm tired of hearing Bill & Ballmer yapping on about innovation, innovation & innovation.
Microsoft never innovated even a cup of tea of their own.

Go for it, Michael. We use LINUX for scientific research programming because windows is too top heavy with crap we do not use. We now have LINDOWS here too and look forward to developing special type programming to use with your system. A pox on Gates and his organization!!
Be of good cheer!

Here are my answers to Anon's questions. I use MS daily at work. I have just purchased Lindows, so I have no real experience with it yet. But I do care about who wins the MS vs Lindows fight. I want to win, and I know that I won't if Microsoft prevails. Only real competition (read: lower prices) and choice between competing products lets the rest of us win. I would love to see a world where MS had about 1/3 of the PC market share, Apple had about 1/3, and Linux-based PCs had about 1/3. Anything anybody (including Bill) does to thwart progress toward that consumer paradise irritates me. I need to go now and update the virus definitions on my MS PC *again*.

I have read both letters with some interest and can conclude this: (remember that this is my own opion). I use BOTH products on a daily basis. One for work and one for home use. I like both products and I like choice. So as for MS asking Lindows to take down the msfreepc site and Lindows not doing so I can only assume that this wil be another one of those drawn out battles, wich will give us many more days of slander/counter slander...etc

Now as you can see I am a fence sitter, I dont care much for the winner of this battle, because in the short to medium term it will make NO difference to the Home user or Computer Geek. In the longer term all I can see is MS getting involved in more battles with Lindows and Others.

Ok.. so why my comment here, well it's simple if you like a product then buy it, if you dont then buy something else. MS and Lindows are not the only Operating Systems out there, and I am sure you can get better than both. But in my opion MS has some very good products to use which require no effort on my part to look after as do Lindows. I should also mention that I have a Cobolt Raq Server (which also requires minimal linux / MS knowledge. So before everyone jumps on the Lindows band wagon, ask your self.

1. How often do I use MS and is it really as bad as people say.
2. Do I use Lindows at all and if so how much time and effort is being put into to use it.
3. Do you really care who wins this MS V Lindows fight.

Once you have done that then add your comments to this BB otherwise thay are of little value.

You go boy!

The demise of MS is near... (do I hear commodore, central point, ....)

I agree with Jim! Way to go Mike! He He I think Mike should just email all those folks the form and directions with his Michaels minutes! I bet Bill did not sleep well after that letter!

I read the take down notice and one that really bothers me is that, any one who goes through M$ for there settlement has to provide in writing on what they do with money. I say it is none of M$'s dam business what the ppl do with the money!! MORE POWER TO MICHAEL ROBERTSON!!!!

Michael Robertson, I love you :>)

Man, this guy has some big brass balls. More power to him.


Your Feedback
Henrik Eiriksson wrote: Sweet! I really like the punch at the end of the letter about the "right to innovate" :-D Man, I'm tired of hearing Bill & Ballmer yapping on about innovation, innovation & innovation. Microsoft never innovated even a cup of tea of their own.
Les Matthews wrote: Go for it, Michael. We use LINUX for scientific research programming because windows is too top heavy with crap we do not use. We now have LINDOWS here too and look forward to developing special type programming to use with your system. A pox on Gates and his organization!! Be of good cheer!
Craig Ledbetter wrote: Here are my answers to Anon's questions. I use MS daily at work. I have just purchased Lindows, so I have no real experience with it yet. But I do care about who wins the MS vs Lindows fight. I want to win, and I know that I won't if Microsoft prevails. Only real competition (read: lower prices) and choice between competing products lets the rest of us win. I would love to see a world where MS had about 1/3 of the PC market share, Apple had about 1/3, and Linux-based PCs had about 1/3. Anything anybody (including Bill) does to thwart progress toward that consumer paradise irritates me. I need to go now and update the virus definitions on my MS PC *again*.
Anon wrote: I have read both letters with some interest and can conclude this: (remember that this is my own opion). I use BOTH products on a daily basis. One for work and one for home use. I like both products and I like choice. So as for MS asking Lindows to take down the msfreepc site and Lindows not doing so I can only assume that this wil be another one of those drawn out battles, wich will give us many more days of slander/counter slander...etc Now as you can see I am a fence sitter, I dont care much for the winner of this battle, because in the short to medium term it will make NO difference to the Home user or Computer Geek. In the longer term all I can see is MS getting involved in more battles with Lindows and Others. Ok.. so why my comment here, well it's simple if you like a product then buy it, if you dont then buy something else. MS and Lindows are not the only Operating Systems...
AngryRedMon wrote: You go boy! The demise of MS is near... (do I hear commodore, central point, ....)
ed Martin wrote: I agree with Jim! Way to go Mike! He He I think Mike should just email all those folks the form and directions with his Michaels minutes! I bet Bill did not sleep well after that letter!
coffeelover wrote: I read the take down notice and one that really bothers me is that, any one who goes through M$ for there settlement has to provide in writing on what they do with money. I say it is none of M$'s dam business what the ppl do with the money!! MORE POWER TO MICHAEL ROBERTSON!!!!
Jim O'Quinn wrote: Michael Robertson, I love you :>) Man, this guy has some big brass balls. More power to him.
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