Selling a consumer a laptop with pre-installed software is not an unfair business practice, a European high court has ruled. The decision marked a huge win for Sony and other computer manufacturers.
A top European court has ruled that technology companies can sell consumers computers with pre-installed software without offering a version that is not already equipped with an operating system and ready for immediate use.
The ruling stemmed from a complaint made eight years ago by a Frenchman named Vincent Deroo-Blanquart, who bought a Sony laptop in 2008 with Windows Vista Home Premium already installed on it.
At the time, the plaintiff refused to agree to Window’s terms and conditions and asked Sony to reimburse him for the cost of the operating system. Sony declined, offering instead to refund him for the full cost of his laptop, providing he returned the device.
But that didn’t satisfy Deroo-Blanquart and he sued Sony for 450 euros ($506) for the pre-installed software and 2,500 euros for damages “as a result of unfair commercial practices,” the European Court of Justice (ECJ), which handed down its decision on Wednesday, noted on its website.
The ECJ ruled in Sony’s favor, saying it was not unfair for a company to sell computers with ready-to-go software as long as it is upfront about what is installed. The court also noted that most people in the market for a new computer expect devices to have software already on them.
To underscore just how long ago the case was in technology years, Forbes noted: “Microsoft’s operating system is not three generations along and Sony stopped making laptops two years ago.”