CHINESE PC MAKER Lenovo has lost a lawsuit in France over whether it can make customers pay for pre-bundled Microsoft Windows software.
This story began four years ago when Frenchman and GNU-Linux user Stéphane Petrus bought a Lenovo 3000 N200 laptop but baulked at the idea of taking it home with Windows on it. He asked the company for a refund for the Windows operating system and finally took it to court.
A French law states that one item cannot be tied to another when it is sold, but initially a court rejected his claims and his case. That ruling was overturned in late January in a small claims court, and Lenovo was fined and ordered to pay damages, including €120 for the software, €800 for personal damages and €1,000 for legal expenses.
"The current victory symbolizes the crumbling of hardware-software bundling in France. This means that the legal arguments in Mr. Pétrus's case can be used again in any EU country," said the campaigning web site No More Rackets.
"Similar free software teams and lawyers will now stand across Europe to broaden this victory and eradicate hardware-software bundling, for the benefit and freedom of choice of all computer users."
The lawyer representing Petrus has published his response to the findings. According to that report Lenovo argued that buying a laptop without software on it was like buying a car without wheels, an argument that the judge rejected.
We have asked Lenovo to comment. µ
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