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Microsoft running Beemers ?!?!?!?!? -Long

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Kirk Gunn, May 14, 2002.

  1. Kirk Gunn

    Kirk Gunn Screenwriter

    Aug 16, 1999
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    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]
  2. Daniel Swartz

    Daniel Swartz Second Unit

    Mar 3, 2002
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    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....
  3. MickeS

    MickeS Producer

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


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