Open letter to Thailand’s Software Bullies

June 21st, 2008 | by Sajal Kayan |

Kind attn : Microsoft Thailand (Sorry I cant read your Thai only website)
Kind attn : Lenovo Thailand (Sorry cant find name of contact on your site)
Kind attn : Prasert Charoonpaisal – General Manager – Personal Systems Group (PSG) – HP Thailand
Kind attn : Corporate Communications Dept. – Sony Thai Co., Ltd.
Kind attn : Asus Thailand (Sorry I cant read your Thai only website)
Kind attn : Acer Head Office – Acer Computer Co., Ltd.
Kind attn : Benq Thailand (Sorry I cant read your Thai only website)

Dear Sirs or Madams,

This is to bring to your notice that almost all notebooks available in Thailand come bundled with windows preloaded.

I had purchased a Sony VAIO 3 or 4 years ago which came bundled with Windows XP. Due to quality problems in the software provided, I had to switch over to a different Operating System. I have no claims on the licensing fee of the inferior software provided to me as during the time of purchase I had intended to use it, and I did for quite a while.

Now, the time has come for me to purchase a new notebook. A self conducted study at fortune town on June 20th 2008 reviled that almost all notebooks came with Windows pre-installed and the license bundled. On asking any of the vendors that I don’t want to pay for the license, I was informed it is impossible. The very limited selection of notebooks which do come without Windows pre-installed are bottom of the line models which are usually outdated or very heavy.

My questions to all of the addresses :-

  1. Do you assume a non-windows user to not be able to afford your mid-segment notebooks?
  2. Is your intention to force Linux users into buying a Windows license?
  3. Is this an effort to form a cartel against Linux?

Question to all the notebook vendors :-

  1. Do you refund any difference amount in case the buyer does not use the license?

Question to Lenovo :-

  1. Lenovo USA does offer an interesting range of notebooks without Windows. Does Lenovo Thailand do the same?

Question to Microsoft :-

  1. Do you refund any unused windows License?
  2. I am aware of the software piracy issues in Thailand, but have you ever conducted a study as to how many non-windows users own a windows license? Do you reduce this number when publishing piracy rates?

Please respond, via comment form below in English only. The replies would help me decide weather or not to get a new notebook here in Thailand or order it in the States or Singapore, potentially making the Thai Government suffer a loss of tax revenue.

PS : Apologies to other companies who fit my criteria and I missed them out! They are also free to respond.

Sajal Kayan

Update 1 : Thanks to @bact for translating to Thai and publishing on blognone.

Update 2 : Online discussions at blognone and ubuntuclub.

  • Petchty

    I want to answer or suggest my opinion from some questions:
    Q1: “Do you assume a non-windows user to not be able to afford your mid-segment notebooks?”
    A1: I think so, but notebooks in Thailand which don’t have Windows pre-installed have a good specification, such as Toshiba L310: 2.1GHz Core 2, X3100 integrated graphic card.
    Q2: “Is your intention to force Linux users into buying a Windows license?”
    A2: No, I think Microsoft doesn’t know which operating system(s) you use.
    Q3: “Is this an effort to form a cartel against Linux?”
    A3: No, you may have multi-operating systems in your PC. (I don’t know which ‘Linux’ distribution you want to install, but I know Microsoft against Redhat Linux.)
    Q4: “Do you refund any difference amount in case the buyer does not use the license?”
    A4: Please see the A6.
    P.S.: Sorry for wrong grammer.
    Q5: “Lenovo USA does offer an interesting range of notebooks without Windows. Does Lenovo Thailand do the same?”
    A5: I think Lenovo should provide mid- or high-segment notebooks don’t have Windows pre-installed. (But if I buy Lenovo notebook from Thailand which don’t have Windows pre-installed, I will buy Windows license.)
    Q6: “Do you refund any unused windows License?”
    A6: Please see EULA from Microsoft website. Open Microsoft website and type ‘EULA ‘ where is the software name you want to see EULA. But in general, I think Microsoft provide the way you refund. (From the sentence “By using the software, you accept these terms. If you do not accept them, do not use the software. Instead, contact the manufacturer or installer to determine their return policy for a refund or credit.”)
    Q7: “I am aware of the software piracy issues in Thailand, but have you ever conducted a study as to how many non-windows users own a windows license? Do you reduce this number when publishing piracy rates?”
    A7: I don’t know, please contact Microsoft!

    P.S.: I think you protest Microsoft about the licensing issues, but I think if ‘Bill Gate’ don’t talk about ‘licensing’ in the past, software development shouldn’t grow up to now.
    P.S.: Sorry for wrong grammer.

  • Sajal Kayan

    Hi Petchty,

    Thanks for defending microsoft. I dont like microsoft, but in my letter above i dont intend to protest(yet ;) ) just need some answers!
    You spoke about Toshiba L310 i think this one : it is 2.35 Kg. I spent over an hour yesterday looking. I couldnt find one below 2Kg which came without OS. 2.1 Ghz is not too high. last 2 days I spent time digging up on the net and it seems 2.6 Ghz core 2 duo is also available.

    Also ELUA might say that we have to check with manufacturer about refund of License, That’s the reason im asking the manufacturers here.

    PS : Lets debate about history some other day?

  • Patranun Limudomporn

    Actually this is quite a problem for customers like us. Anyway, I’d prefered Windows pre-installed on my laptop or my PC already. However, if there’re customers like you, the computer manufacturers should concern about this issue. I guess it is not a Microsoft problem but it is depends on computer manufacturer. (Microsoft forced computer manufacturer to pre-loaded Windows? I guess not except there’re some interest or revenue.)

  • Moosamchun

    About 80%. When they have bought a new PC/notebook,they asked the supplier…including the Windows or not ?

    Why ?

    Because I can not use the Linux,OpenOffice, My office uses the WindowsXP,My customers use MS-Office.

    Education and the policy of government will support.

    ps. I have known you from

  • Kobkrit

    It’s very hard to find notebook without pre-loading Microsoft Windows.
    I find for a long time and I got one which is A8Sseries of ASUS.
    I use only linux so Why I pay for Windows?
    I will buy only notebook that gimme the linux or No-OS choice.
    So wise vendor should adapted themselves, If they want my money..

  • cloverink

    So! In Thailand, notebook without OS windows is very hard to found it.

    same problems
    – i want to use xp pro. but that notebook spec to use xp home .. -3-

    so in Thai is a developing country, have so many people dont konw how to use OS window !!
    ( that mean linux os-x is impossible )

    please understand about agent.
    if you want to buy a spec require maybe you should be require spec to a major store.

  • Sajal Kayan

    @Patranun : Thats exactly my point. I dont know if its microsoft who is forcing the vendors or if it is vendors who want to force customers. Customers must have a choice!

    @Moosamchun “Because I can not use the Linux,OpenOffice, My office uses the WindowsXP,My customers use MS-Office.” <– thats a very lame excuse. Thats what microsoft wants you to think. Linux is 100% compatible in a microsoft dominant ecology. Also openoffice opens all word files – Including Office 2007 format which i believe office xp does not!

    @Kobkrit Exactly my point. It is specifically “abusive monopoly”, where the big corporation wants to push their product(s) down your throat! This is unacceptable, we want answers!

  • Jom

    I agree with you Mr.Sajal

    I hate M$ also and now i leave M$ behind and full-facing OS x now and mac software are compatible with M$ user quite-well

    BTW i never use linux or UBUNTU yet. But i think i will try later.

  • Petchty

    Dear Sajal Kayan … I try to customize configure Lenovo notebook on Lenovo USA Website, but I found that I must select Windows version (XP / Vista) :)

  • Anonymous Coward

    Hi, I don’t know if you realize this, but Thailand is one of the only (or perhaps the only) country in the world that brand name notebooks and desktops WITHOUT Windows can be sold openly. In other parts of the world, due to licensing issues with Microsoft, non-Windows notebooks have to be special ordered, which you can also do here in Thailand, especially if you want higher-end notebooks and not the cheap stuff they sell in the shops. (Be prepared to pay even more though, since you won’t be getting discounts.)

    If you can buy a notebook from abroad, you should consider that option, since you can get far better specs than anything you can get here, and you can even customize your notebook anyway you want, without having to pay ridiculous corporate prices.

  • Mark Rist

    I’m afraid this is utter rubbish. I myself walked around fortune town a few days ago and was hard pushed to find laptops / notebooks that did come with Windows pre-installed. They seem to be charing similar prices but offering only fee Linix distributions or DOS which I think is a rip-off.

    If you claim not be have been able to find a machine without Windows then you must be blind.

  • Sajal Kayan

    Mark : I guess you didnt read the letter in full.
    I said “almost all notebooks” . I did finally find only one lenovo notebook which match my specs and came without windows after 3 days of scouting the markets. The notebooks you are talking about are normally crappy celerons or weighing over 3 kg.

    Just let me know how many windows and non-windows notebooks you find which are : over 2 Ghz core 2 duo , 2 GB RAM and weighing less than 2 kg.

    Im afraid your comment is “utter rubbish” and you have replied without any research done. My point being that why does the notebook vendors have to shove windows up your a** ? please check carefully next time. The notebooks you were talking about were bottom of the line junk. Try getting the latest acer or HP models.

  • Sumet

    This is just not the case for Linux users but for licensed Windows users too. My friend’s company own the multi-user license of Win XP.
    The problem is, many notebooks come with pre-installed Windows Vista we’ve never wanted to use. So, like Sajal’s question, why do we’ve to pay for what we don’t use? My friend/colleague bought the notebooks, low level formatted them and install the Windows XP. We wasted our money on Windows Vista!
    Hence, it would be great if they were Linux or Non-OS notebooks since we bought and of course, save some bucks from pre-installed Windows Vista.

  • Mark Rist

    Sajal: I guess you didn’t read my comment in full either. I said I was hard pushed to find a notebook with Windows pre-installed on it, i.e. the majority don’t have it. Maybe i did not read your initial comment thoroughly but you shouldn’t have started it with this line:
    “almost all notebooks available in Thailand come bundled with windows preloaded.” and repeated it further down in the text when it is patently untrue.
    In any case, from what I have seem personally it is not just the bottom of the range models. I have come across this problem in numerous shops in Bangkok. I have the opposite problem to you. I object to paying for a decent notebook or laptop and then having to shell out an extra 5000 baht to get a usable OS.

  • Mark Rist

    Just as a point of interest and speaking as a software developer, I would think there was a more elegant solution to dealing with attempted posts that lack an email or name, than the standard HTTP 500 error message?

  • Sajal Kayan

    Mark : Sorry for the delay in responding, I didn’t notice your comments in my moderation queue till now.

    Personally I don’t know what to say if your definition of a “Usable OS” is Windows.

    I also do not know why you find the statement “almost all notebooks available in Thailand come bundled with windows preloaded.” to be untrue. If you are in Thailand, we could plan a visit to Pantip, do a survey and decide on definitions of words like “almost” and “majority” does that suit you?

  • Yunge

    Have to agree with Sajal I have spent a lot of time trying to find a good deal in Pantip and I don’t mean a few hours. I would say that a great deal of notebooks come bundled with windows preloaded. If I were to have a educated guess it would be in the majority.

  • Ben Finesilver

    This is a very amusing blog. Why, in shopping IT centres, selling pirated everything and original nothing, would someone not be able to find a notebook without windows. ARE YOU BLIND! Very few notebooks come with windows, because you would have to be insane to shell out the extra cash for a legitimate copy. What are you going on about? Why have so many people commented about something that is patently untrue?

  • Sajal Kayan

    @Ben : When was the last time you went to any IT center in Bangkok?

    Only the lower segment notebooks are available without windows. It took me 3 days to find one which fit my needs and came without windows.

    To all people who don’t believe me, pick a date and lets go on a field trip! … and decide who needs an eye exam?

  • Ben Finesilver

    What do you mean by lower segment? Just check the prices online ( -they are so cheap, that there is no way that windows could be charged- example ASUS Aspire 1 netbook- 5000baht!/ 100 pounds/$150. a 2.23ghz 2mb cache core 2 duo with 250gb hd + high 512mb ati graphics can be picked up for 20,000 baht – 400 pounds/ 600 dollars. Granted the first is indeed lower segment, but to my mind the latter isn’t.
    In which case windows installed will not have cost you any additional money; why not just delete windows. I have an ASUS catalogue on hand, you can get a notebook without windows. I will give you that some models have windows and are 5000 baht more expensive. However, when you see a good deal, it is obvious that the proper licensing fees for the software have not been payed to Msoft.
    unless it is purchased from a prime distributor of such brands as Dell, HP or ASUS – the copy of windows will be essentially free.

  • Angsuman Chakraborty

    In India it is worse. I enquired about a Dell laptop without OS and within hours had a call from M$ salesman accusing me as to why we don’t have any Windoze license!

  • Joe

    You can contact Dell Thailand by phone (they can usually find someone who can speak English) and order a laptop from any part of their product range with or without an OS.

    In fact, they’ll even remove the MS license fee and pre-install Ubuntu Linux for you at no extra charge.

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