Italy’s High Court has struck a blow to the practice of forcing non-free software on buyers of PCs and laptops. According to La Repubblica, the court ruled on Thursday that a laptop buyer was entitled to receive a refund for the price of the Microsoft Windows license on his computer.

The judges sharply criticised the practice of selling PCs only together with a non-free operating system as “a commercial policy of forced distribution”. The court slammed this practice as “monopolistic in tendency”. It also highlighted that the practice of bundling means that end users are forced into using additional non-free applications due to compatibility and interoperability issues, whether they wanted these programs or not.

“This decision is both welcome and long overdue”, said Karsten Gerloff, President of the Free Software Foundation Europe. “No vendor should be allowed to cram non-free software down the throats of users.”

Free Software Foundation Europe has been long fought the “Windows tax”, as the involuntary payment to Microsoft is often called. The organisation maintains a wiki page with advice for consumers who want to avoid funding the development of non-free software, and accounts from people who have successfully returned the licenses they were forced to buy.

More on Free Software Foundation https://fsfe.org/news/2014/news-20140912-01.en.html

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