CoJeff writes in to point out Wendy Seltzer's quick analysis of the new Microsoft Vista EULA. While, as she notes, it's nice to see them put the EULA in plain language, rather than all legaleze, there are problems with it. Basically, it seems like a case where they've realized they can put whatever they want in the EULA, and you have no choice but to agree to it. This has been an ongoing argument, as people point out that a contract you have no right to negotiate over shouldn't be considered an agreement on both sides. Most of the provisions aren't really that surprising -- as they relate to Microsoft's overactive spying/copy protection. However, the broadest, and most worrisome term is: "You may not work around any technical limitations in the software." As Seltzer points out, while it's intended as an anti-circumvention tool, you have to imagine there are other technical limitations people are going to have to work around (such as crashes, security holes and bugs). Seltzer asks: "Can you work around a document's failure to save properly?" The bigger issue, really, is that, as you look down the list of restrictions (oh, how nice, Microsoft can suddenly make the software I paid for stop working!), not a single one of these are features that a customer wants. They're all limitations that make the customer experience worse, and decrease the value of the software. You can get away with that when there's no real competition, of course. But, it sure seems like an opportunity for a more user friendly provider.
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