The following is an account of a buyer forced to buy vista. I am taking this from the Philippines Linux Users’ Group mailing list, and searchable here.
Just wanted to share a true story with PLUG members. One of CYWare's programmers' laptop wouldn't power up yesterday and since we were chasing a deadline for a project, I decided to purchase a new one right away. I went to Octagon in Park Square 1 Glorietta and found a decent Compaq laptop reasonably priced at 40K PHP. The laptop box said it came free with the DOS operating system which didn't matter to me since we were going to install Linux on it. I called the sales guy, handed him my credit card, and told him I wanted to purchase the machine. He then told me that they were not allowed to sell the laptop unless I purchased an operating system with it. I told them that my company, CYWare, sells primarily Linux based products and I would be installing Ubuntu on it. The sales guy insisted that a licensed operating system had to be installed on it and told me I had to purchase Vista with the machine. I then asked for the manager and explained what I was trying to do. The manager instructed the sales guy to make a phone call and after the phone conversation, they re-iterated the same policy: Windows Vista had to be purchased with the machine. I then asked the manager if he was willing to give up the sale because there was no way I was going to pay for something I really didn't need. To my amazement, he said he was. Needless to say, I took my business elsewhere. After visiting a few stores, I realized that the nice laptops all came with Vista. I ended up going to WellCom and buying a more expensive laptop that came with Windows Vista installed. Of course, once it got back to the office, the hard drive was reformatted and Vista was replaced with Ubuntu. I know I could have researched the purchase more carefully, but unfortunately, I was in a rush and foolishly assumed that a laptop purchase would be simple. Go figure...
I am sure that there must be similar illegal actions being done here in Singapore as well. Any one care to step up to report?
I dont think its technically illegal because its contractually bundled with the hardware.
You can also get a refund on your Windows license through a long and tedious process http://slashdot.org/articles/99/01/18/1539214.shtml
This kind of tying (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tying_(commerce)) is IMHO completely illegal in most civilized countries.
The French situation
In France it is illegal to bound the hardware and the software.
However, pratically is really hard to find a machine without MS OS install on it.
A association (AFUL) is fighting against that.
re: Pressure tactics to sell Vista?
I am not a lawyer but I think it is illegal to force purchase of Vista when the laptop already comes with an OS installed (DOS in this case). After all, DOS is an operating system. One could argue why does Compaq ship the laptop with DOS if yet another OS needs to be purchased?
To do all this you would have to sue the retailer and the laptop manufacturer in the Consumer court on the lines of misleading promotion. This will cost you time and money.