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Microsoft running Beemers ?!?!?!?!? -Long (1 Viewer)

Kirk Gunn

Aug 16, 1999
Remember the old jokes about "If Microsoft ran a car company, you'd have to start/stop it constantly, upgrade to the latest service pack at every gas stop, etc"....
Well - Nothing is funnier than the truth:
(sorry for the length, but I couldn't find a link for it)
Posted May 10, 2002 01:01 PM Pacific Time
MICROSOFT RECENTLY announced a deal with BMW to use
Windows CE in the navigation systems of its cars. That
much is reality, but what follows is my vision of a
future scenario we might expect should current
licensing trends continue. If you have been paying
attention, though, you'll realize such a future might
not be all that distant.
FBI: Interrogation of Ms. Lisa Jones is commencing at
3:23 pm. I am Agent Frank Murphy of the Federal Bureau
of Investigation's copyright squad. With us in the
room is Mr. Ellis Preston, counsel representing ABC
Motors Corporation. Ms. Jones, do you acknowledge that
you have been informed of your rights to have an
attorney present if you wish, and that you have agreed
to Mr. Preston's participation in this interview?
Jones: Yes ... yes, there's just been some mistake. I
didn't do anything ... I just want to clear this up.
Preston: Thank you, Ms. Jones, so do we. Could you just
describe for us the incident you had this morning
involving your ABC Motors vehicle?
Jones: You mean when I couldn't get the car started
again? I've been having so much trouble with that
"electronic key" ignition system lately, I've been
late to work every day this week. I was really anxious
to be on time today, so I called your emergency
service line. When they couldn't help me get the
electronic key working, I asked them how to disconnect
it so I could just start the car with the regular key.
Preston: So you specifically asked them to help you
disconnect the electronic system. Ms. Jones, don't you
understand that's a violation of federal law? The
Digital Millennium Copyright Act makes it a crime to
tamper with digital rights management technology. In
asking our service representatives to help you do
that, you were asking them to be your accomplices in
infringing Microsoft's intellectual property rights.
Jones: Copyright Act? Microsoft? What does any of that
have to do with me trying to start my car?
Preston: When you purchased your ABC Motors vehicle,
the dashboard display presented a notice that your use
of the electronic systems was governed by an end user
license agreement with Microsoft Corporation. You were
given the opportunity to read that license agreement
right on the dashboard display before agreeing to
accept it. Did you read that agreement before you
started the car?
Jones: I tried to, but the print was so small I had to
bend over and peer through the steering wheel. And it
was taking so long to scroll through it, I think I
just gave up and pushed the "I accept" button. The
salesman said I had to do that or I couldn't start my car.
Preston: Yes, well, if you had read the license
agreement when you had the chance, you would have seen
that Microsoft places certain restrictions on the use
of its software that we at ABC Motors, as a Microsoft
OEM, are obligated to help enforce.
In order to protect its intellectual property from
possible illegal transfer, Microsoft forbids you to
disconnect any part of the electronic system.
Furthermore, Microsoft reserves the right to have us
install updates to their software and their digital
rights management capabilities when you bring your car
in for service.
Jones: When my car is serviced? Is that why I started
having all this trouble starting my car right after my
last oil change? You must have put some new software
in my car without telling me, and it's got some kind
of bug. They can't do that, can they?
FBI: They can if it's part of your contractual
relationship with Microsoft, Miss.
Preston: I'm not at liberty to say if there was a "bug"
as you call it, Ms. Jones. I do want to point out to
you, however, that neither Microsoft nor ABC Motors
bears any responsibility for fixing any such defects
with your vehicle. Again, if you had read your license
agreement, you would know this.
Jones: Wait a minute. I don't know about Microsoft, but
there is no way ABC can say they aren't responsible
for any defects in my car. I have a 50,000-mile warranty.
Preston: Indeed you do. But in order to protect its
rights under copyright law, Microsoft includes
essential system components -- such as the drive
train, brakes, tires -- as part of its license
agreement with you. Under Virginia law, which just so
happens to be the law Microsoft chose to govern your
agreement, you and Microsoft can opt to include
whatever parts you choose as part of this transaction.
But I believe that under your warranty, ABC is still
responsible for any defects in the workmanship of the
floor mats.
Jones: I can't believe this. Why wasn't I told any of
this before I bought my car? Why couldn't I have been
given a readable copy of this "license" when I was
signing all those papers in the dealership?
Preston: It's called freedom of contract, Ms. Jones,
and it's one of your most important rights. You and
Microsoft can choose to enter into this contractual
relationship in whichever way is most mutually
beneficial and convenient.
Jones: This is insane. I don't care how big it is,
Microsoft can't treat American consumers in such a
shoddy manner. Just wait until I call the newspapers
and tell them about all this.
Preston: Oh, dear. You really shouldn't have said the
word "shoddy," Miss Jones. Agent Murphy?
FBI: Lisa Jones, I'm placing you under arrest for
criminal violations of the Digital Millennium
Copyright Act.
Jones: Why? What did I do?
Preston: You just violated the most critical terms of
your license agreement right in front of us, I'm
afraid: You disparaged Microsoft.
Disparage whomever you wish in your letters to Ed
Foster, InfoWorld's reader advocate. Contact him at [email protected].

Daniel Swartz

Second Unit
Mar 3, 2002
From someone who owns a BMW, frankly they could use a little help with some of their non-automotive technology. Rest assured though, nothing critical to car operation will be affected. They test the living daylights out of all driving functionality. If my car e-mail crashes, no biggie. The current OEM NAV unit in my car crashes at least once a week anyway....


Senior HTF Member
Jul 24, 2000
I bet the day isn't too far off when that scenario becomes reality...


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