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Microsoft pays $10,000 for forced Windows 10 upgrade

News Analysis
Jun 27, 20162 mins
MicrosoftSmall and Medium BusinessWindows

Has Microsoft's legal department opened the floodgates to more lawsuits?

Microsoft signage
Credit: Reuters / Rick Wilking

The tech press has documented for months the continued pushy and obnoxious behavior on the part of Microsoft to get people to upgrade their PC to Windows 10, including forced upgrades. Well, now the other shoe has dropped, and Microsoft may regret its decision. 

The Seattle Times reports that Teri Goldstein of Sausalito, California, sued Microsoft after an unwanted Windows 10 upgrade left her system unusable for days and prone to crashing. Other times, her computer, which she needed to run her travel agency, slowed to a crawl.

“I had never heard of Windows 10,” Goldstein told the Times. “Nobody ever asked me if I wanted to update.”

+ Also on Network World: Did the free Windows 10 upgrade push hamstring PC sales? +

Goldstein turned to Microsoft customer service to resolve her issues, but Microsoft customer service proved unable to help her. So she filed suit against the company, asking for $10,000 in estimated lost compensation, as well as the cost of a new system—a reasonable request.

Goldstein won, and Microsoft appealed. But last month, Microsoft dropped the appeal and Goldstein collected a $10,000 judgment from the company. A Microsoft spokesperson told the Times Microsoft halted its appeal to avoid the expense of further litigation.

Obviously Microsoft won’t feel financial pain from this decision, but what kind of floodgates will this open? Wait until the rest of the tech press gets its hands on this and the whole world knows. Now, granted, Goldstein had a solid case. The computer used to run her business was rendered unusable. That’s a significant qualifier. It wasn’t just an unwanted upgrade that went smoothly on a home PC.

Still, how many more Teri Goldsteins are out there? We will probably find out soon enough.

Violation of trust

The whole Windows 10 upgrade has been a debacle from day one by a company legendary for controlling the message on any product. You know they’ve blown it when they finally anger one of their chief supporters in the tech press: Paul Thurrott.

“The violation of trust here is almost indescribable,” he wrote last month. “My God, Microsoft. Just stop.”

The pushy upgrades will stop in a month when Microsoft ends its free upgrades to Windows 10. Then Windows 10 Home will cost $119, while Windows 10 Pro will be $199, although the prices are the same for the downloadable and USB versions of the operating system.

Andy Patrizio is a freelance journalist based in southern California who has covered the computer industry for 20 years and has built every x86 PC he’s ever owned, laptops not included.

The opinions expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of ITworld, Network World, its parent, subsidiary or affiliated companies.