The Get Windows 10 campaign will see its day in court

Lawsuits filed in Florida and Israel against Microsoft seek class-action status

The Get Windows 10 campaign will see its day in court

It was bound to happen. Matt Day at The Seattle Times reported this week that two lawsuits have been filed against Microsoft over the ongoing Get Windows 10 controversy. A lawsuit in Florida cites unsolicited electronic advertisement laws, as well as deceptive and unfair trade practices. The other, filed in Israel, says Microsoft installed unwanted software without users' consent.

Both lawsuits are applying for class-action status.

The Al Khafaji et al v. Microsoft Corporation case, 0:16cv61763 filed July 22 in Florida Southern District Court, has been assigned to Judge Bill Zloch, who has been on the Southern District bench for more than 30 years. The plaintiff's attorney, Richard G Chosid, is located in Boca Raton, Florida. The law firm's Facebook page lists Chosid as a real estate lawyer.

Those of you who have been following my reports on this topic since last March know that I consider the Get Windows 10 campaign to be one of the lowest points in Microsoft's history. Deceptive? Certainly. Unwanted? Obviously. Destructive for Microsoft's reputation? Deservedly.

But whether the upgrades were "forced" is largely a matter of semantics.

Those who have Windows Automatic Update turned on and have ticked the box "Check for updates but let me choose whether to download and install them" -- both of which are default settings -- have had Windows 10 upgrades triggered automatically many times over the past 12 months. Sometimes Microsoft warned users about the sudden updating behavior, sometimes it "forgot."

But as best I can tell, the upgrades have always been accompanied by an End User License Agreement that must be accepted before the upgrade will complete. Some of those EULAs obviously warn users they're accepting an upgrade to Windows 10. Many (as seen in this screenshot taken March 13) do not.

windows 10 eula

I don't know how the lawsuit will fare in Florida, but if the one in Israel hinges on the phrase "without the user's consent," it'll be considerably more difficult to pursue.

At least one judge in the United States has already ruled that Microsoft overstepped its bounds with its Get Windows 10 campaign. Many of you may recall Teri Goldstein, the travel agent in Sausalito, California, who won a $10,000 settlement from Microsoft in small-claims court over the upgrade. She has gone on to write a book about her experience, "Winning Against Windows 10: How I Fought Microsoft and Won," which is available on Kindle.

I must hark back to the promise made by Windows honcho Terry Myerson last October: "You can specify that you no longer want to receive notifications of the Windows 10 upgrade through the Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 settings pages."

We've been through a lot of permutations of having Windows 10 rammed down our throats over the past 10 months, but we didn't get a real "off" switch until a couple weeks ago -- so much for promises.

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