Microsoft is changing their Terms of Use and Privacy Statement

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So, I received an email from Microsoft letting me know they are are making changes to their Terms of Use agreement and Privacy Statement.


Being the curious soul that I am, I thought that taking a look at the changes might be helpful.
I'm about as fond of reading Terms of Use agreements, Terms of Service (TOS) agreements and Privacy Policies as the next person - that is, I find them to be yawn inducing with many legal terms scattered throughout, but I must say that Microsoft did a fine job making them understandable. 

If you use Microsoft Windows or Microsoft services such as Outlook.com (formerly Hotmail) you may want to have a look. If you live in the US, you might want to pay particular attention to the first sentence in the Microsoft Services Agreement:
IF YOU LIVE IN THE UNITED STATES, SECTION 10 CONTAINS A BINDING ARBITRATION CLAUSE AND CLASS ACTION WAIVER. IT AFFECTS YOUR RIGHTS ABOUT HOW TO RESOLVE ANY DISPUTE WITH MICROSOFT. PLEASE READ IT.

Happy Reading all. :)
Rhiannon

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Comments

Iowa was one of 11 States to get $75 million out of Microsoft over MSDOS. They are saying you can't have a lawyer or sue them. It isn't legal forcing you to arbitrate. The government can do that but not Corporations.

Microsoft has been using this kind of ploy for years in their EULA. How many remember the shrink-wrap license? The license was inside the box, and said, if you broke the shrink-wrap, you agreed to the terms. Didn't stand up in court.

Likewise, a one-sided agreement like this won't stand up to the first serious effort to try it in court. That'll cost someone some money, which is what they're hoping for: as long as no one establishes a precedent for a "you must agree not to sue us with a[n instrument of some type that is legal] or you can't use our software] (like a RICO action against Microsoft), the courts will simply say "well, it's right there in black and white. They even warned you of it in bold letters at the top." and uphold it.

If this wording makes you uncomfortable, get legal advice. If your legal advice says you can't afford to defend yourself against it, don't use it. Get Ubuntu, and forget Microsoft exists, which may be a good idea anyway.

If you like being treated like this, over and over, well, that's what Microsoft makes their money off.

tiorbinist,

I could live with Ubuntu or Zorin or anything similar.
My "problem" is that literally ALL of my customers could not, definitely not.

That is actually my BIG gripe with the Linux camp: They never banded together, never pooled resources to crate a consumer level viable alternative to Windows.

Would you know one?

Nope. Sounds like time to confer with your lawyer (as a consultant, you should have legal assistance on retainer, right?) and find out just how bad this is. After all, if microsoft screws up, and deserves a class action response, the new clause is going to be the lynch pin of their defense.

Your lawyer should have a better position on it than I do. I'm just an irritated test engineer, who has been irritated since the first Microsoft box with a shrinkwrap-agreement on it. That one died an appropriate death the first time it was challenged. But your Lawyer will know if your clients need to be dealt with any differently because of it, and if you need to change the way you support them in light of it, or if, indeed, it is indefensible, and can be ignored safely.

tiorbinist,

Thanks for your elaborate reply.

I don't need to ask my lawyer (yes, I have one).

I can decide for myself if any M$ product or service is okay for me or not. This here is written on my production machine that still is and will remain Windows 7 until Windows 9 remedies the quirks of 8 or I have to switch to a Linux distro; which one?

I was thinking more of my typical client, grandma or Joe-Next-Door with his small business who trusts M$ or any other cloud service. They all neither have the gumption nor the money to read and analyze M$'s Term Of Service.

A) Windows 9? Not to be completely disdainful, but Windows 9 is not likely to be better, based on Microsoft's trends. Windows 8, after all, was designed to be hard to use for folk like us, but to target the grannies and Joes. If they were on the button, 8.1 and 8.1 update 1 wouldn't have put so much desktop functionality back (or it would have put a darn sight more!)
B) Which linux distro? I doubt you'll ever be free of windows. I will never be free of it, heck, I'm in a business where windows CE 6.0 still has a major footprint.
C) Your clients don't need to worry, as far as I can tell: the problem is yours: you recommend software that works on windows and hardware that supports it. If Microsoft messes things up enough that your clients lose money, _their_ lawyers (and even if they don't have them, they'll get them fast enough) are potentially customers for a class action against you. According to Microsoft's new agreement, though, you and other integraters/resellers/OEMs can't refocus that class action on Microsoft, which is hardly fair if Microsoft causes the problem. They are looking to you to read and analyze uSoft's EULAs and Agreements for them, and you will bear the responsibility.
D) I class you as one of the bravest of the brave. I have had my turn at trying to support mom & pop small businesses who are adopting computerized records. Wow, it was a lot harder than tuning pianos! You have my respect. Just be sure that you don't have Microsoft's respect, and do be sure you have talked to your lawyer. This agreement seems to have the purpose of forcing litigation down the food chain to your level, certainly in uSoft mistakes that would lead to a class action.

Rhiannon,
Thanks a BIG bunch!

WOW, finally we have it black on white: Micro$oft does not even guarantee that I get my (cloud-)data back if or when I need it.

Disclosure: I don't have anything of importance "in the cloud" anyway. Although I use it on small scale to store stuff redundantly so I can access it from any customer's computer as long as their Internet connection works.

You're welcome. I'm not crazy about reading EULA's, TOS or other documents but I like having the data so I can make informed decisions. :)

Well, I rely on you to sum it up...