January 31, 2007 | By Hugh D'Andrade

Microsoft's Vista: Read the Fine Print!

After numerous delays, Microsoft has launched its new Vista operating system and proclaimed the "Wow starts now." Thanks for filling us in, Microsoft, but what is there to be wowed about? Maybe Microsoft's talking about the collective gasp among consumers who are looking at the litany of restrictions buried within Vista's End User License Agreement (EULA).

As law professor Michael Geist explains in an editorial this week, "In the name of shielding consumers from computer viruses and protecting copyright owners from potential infringement, Vista seemingly wrestles control of the ‘user experience' from the user."

For instance, Vista's EULA limits the numbers of copies that can be made (allowing only one for backup purposes). The anti-virus program that comes with Vista reserves the right to delete any programs it deems dangerous without permission, even though this could mean the removal of legitimate and useful software (or prevent other software from working). And the EULA warns users that "you may not work around any technical limitations of the software."

And that's not all -- read the whole editorial for more, and, check out EFF's "User's Guide to EULAs" for more information on this subject.


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