Microsoft gets sued, and lost

Microsoft gets sued, and lost


A few days after Microsoft released Windows 10 to the public last year, Teri Goldstein’s computer started trying to download and install the new operating system. The update, which she says she didn’t authorize, failed. Instead, the computer she uses to run her Sausalito, Calif., travel-agency business slowed to a crawl. It would crash, she says, and be unusable for days at a time. “I had never heard of Windows 10,” Goldstein said. “Nobody ever asked me if I wanted to update.”

When outreach to Microsoft’s customer support didn’t fix the issue, Goldstein took the software giant to court, seeking compensation for lost wages and the cost of a new computer. She won. Last month, Microsoft dropped an appeal and Goldstein collected a $10,000 judgment from the company. The company denies wrongdoing, and a spokeswoman said Microsoft halted its appeal to avoid the expense of further litigation.

Goldstein explained via an e-mail that she filed an individual suit in a California small claims court. And she did it because Microsoft needed some accountability.

There is a California Uniform Commercial Code which protects consumers. In section 1792 it clearly states that all products and services sold or distributed in California have an implied warranty to be fit for purpose. This code overrides any corporation’s user agreement form. Microsoft knew that its Windows 10 was not fit for purpose and allowed its release anyway. They used thousands of people like us to learn how to troubleshoot the problems with no concern of consequences to the users. This is unacceptable.

Microsoft’s changes to the Windows 10 upgrade happen to address these concerns by allowing users to opt out of the update entirely, as well as making it so that closing the dialogue box actually declines the update, rather than sit on standby until it’s time to install.

Microsoft denies ever being in the wrong – that its settlement with Goldstein was just to avoid further litigation fees – but I can’t help but think there’s some kind of connection between “Microsoft gets sued for ten grand over Windows 10 upgrades” and “Microsoft changes Windows 10 upgrades the very next day.”

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