Forced Windows 10 Upgrade Costs Microsoft $10,000 - InformationWeek
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6/28/2016
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Forced Windows 10 Upgrade Costs Microsoft $10,000

Microsoft is paying out $10,000 after a woman sued when a forced upgrade caused her computer to crash.

Microsoft's $1 Billion-Plus Acquisitions: 9 Big Bets
Microsoft's $1 Billion-Plus Acquisitions: 9 Big Bets
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Microsoft has paid one of its customers $10,000 after a forced Windows 10 installation caused her business computer to malfunction.

Teri Goldstein owns a travel agency business in Sausalito, Calif., called TTG Travel Group. She claimed she did not authorize the installation of Windows 10 on her PC, which had previously been running Windows 7.

The attempted upgrade to Windows 10 failed and Goldstein's computer slowed down, crashed, and would be rendered unusable for days, as The Seattle Times originally reported.

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Goldstein initially contacted Microsoft support to remedy the problem. "For months I tried to work with them, but they kept blowing me off," she said in an interview with ComputerWorld, noting the issues began in August 2015.

When her efforts proved unsuccessful, she sued the company for compensation for the cost of a new computer and wages lost. The computer problems occurred during her busiest season of the year, which runs from September through December, and customers began to cancel when she couldn't answer email or access files.

Goldstein filed a claim for $10,000 in small claims court, arguing she did not authorize the upgrade that ultimately resulted in lost business for her company. She won the case.

It's worth noting Microsoft originally claimed it would appeal the court's decision, but decided to back out and instead pay the $10,000.

"The company dropped its appeal to avoid the expense of further litigation," said a Microsoft spokesperson in a statement.

The Goldstein court case is a prominent example of how Microsoft's upgrade strategy may have gone too far. While she may be the first person to be compensated for an unauthorized Windows 10 installation, she is not the only person who did not welcome the upgrade.

Microsoft launched Windows 10 as a free upgrade to users of Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 8.1 in July 2015. Since then, it has adopted an aggressive strategy to encourage users to install the new operating system.

Following the public rollout of Windows 10, users were asked to reserve their upgrade. A few months later, Microsoft decided to automatically download updates onto consumer PCs. Its efforts to push Windows 10 onto its goal of 1 billion devices by July 2018 have become increasingly more intense since then.

(Image: Michal Krakowiak/iStockphoto)

(Image: Michal Krakowiak/iStockphoto)

Redmond overhauled its OS strategy in Windows 10, adopting the Windows-as-a-Service model and including new features to improve security, organization, and productivity. While it claims the system is a major improvement over older versions of Windows, many believe the company isn't leaving the choice to upgrade up to users.

The Windows 10 upgrade campaign started with consumer devices, but has since extended to businesses. In January, Microsoft announced its "Get Windows 10" notifications would be appearing on enterprise PCs.

Goldstein encourages other Windows users in similar situations to contact her, and emphasizes the importance of companies like Microsoft taking responsibility for their actions.

"Corporations need to be held accountable," she said in her ComputerWorld interview. "My business was destroyed by a company pushing its products. You have to take the bull by the horns, because as long as Microsoft can get away with this, they will."

Microsoft will terminate its Windows 10 free upgrade offer in July 2016, one year after the official launch. Around the same time, it will release the Windows 10 Anniversary Update, which will bring a range of major new features and fixes to the OS.

Kelly Sheridan is the Staff Editor at Dark Reading, where she focuses on cybersecurity news and analysis. She is a business technology journalist who previously reported for InformationWeek, where she covered Microsoft, and Insurance & Technology, where she covered financial ... View Full Bio

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vnewman2
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vnewman2,
User Rank: Ninja
7/5/2016 | 4:08:20 PM
Re: Yeah but...
I agree with MSFT getting some punishment for pushing out an OS upgrade "automatically."  They ought to know better - shame on them.  I just don't think they should be held responsible for "downtime" that could have been avoided by other means, but I totally get it that small businesses tend to operate this way.  But the sad thing is none of them will learn from - what I see as - her mistake in not having a backup plan.
Technocrati
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Technocrati,
User Rank: Ninja
7/5/2016 | 12:46:12 PM
Re: Yeah but...

@vnewman2    Thanks for this information.  I was not aware that one could "roll back" after upgrade.    I am going to check this out, never know when it might be necessary.

Technocrati
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Technocrati,
User Rank: Ninja
7/5/2016 | 12:43:16 PM
Re: Yeah but...

I am happy to hear someone decided to "kick the giant in the toe".  While it might be hard to imagine that she lost all of her business data. 

One would be surprised how SMB 's operate - I have a client now who has his entire business on his laptop with no backup.  

vnewman2
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vnewman2,
User Rank: Ninja
6/30/2016 | 11:00:02 PM
Re: Yeah but...
@TerryB - I am with you 100 percent on this.  You have to have a contingency plan.  You owe it to your clients.  What if it was just lost or stolen in a burglary?  My guess is this user isn't particularly savvy and pleads ignorance because she's not a "tech person."  I hear that all the time at my company.  My response to that is, "If the computer is the tool you use to do your job, then it is your responsibility to become a "tech person" to some degree and if you don't, it is to your own detriment.  It's like being a carpenter and claiming not to understand a buzzsaw.
TerryB
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TerryB,
User Rank: Ninja
6/30/2016 | 12:06:43 PM
Re: Yeah but...
@alphaa10, I will admit Win admin is only a small sidebar from my real job programming IBM midrange servers but I'm talking about System Save/Restore. But very possible a Win 10 upgrade makes a restore impossible.

But even with just data backup, you use your Win 7 disk to reinstall, then restore your data/programs. You don't go without computer for days and lose $10K in biz. If she couldn't get $700 in credit from Best Buy she wasn't much of biz person anyway.

Watch Judge Judy, if nothing else. Mitigation of damages is required by a plaintiff in any lawsuit. MS could have reimbursed her $700 for computer, plus someone to help her get new one setup, instead of her sticking head in sand and asking for $10K in loss biz. Like I said, she had lienient judge.

For analogy, say you and your roommate have 1 year lease. Roommate bails after 2 months. You can't wait 10 months and suue him for all that rent. You have to make effort to get new roommate in timely fashion. This is same thing.

Besides, if she has no way to recover anything, how vulnerable is she to ransomware? You can't operate like that in this day and age.
vnewman2
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vnewman2,
User Rank: Ninja
6/30/2016 | 12:51:56 AM
Re: Yeah but...
If you've upgraded a PC to Windows 10 — not performed a clean install, but an upgrade — you'll have an easy option that lets you revert to the last version of Windows. To access this, open the Start menu and select Settings. Click the "Update & security" icon and select "Recovery."

You should see a "Go back to Windows 7" or "Go back to Windows 8.1" option. Click the Get started button to get rid of your Windows 10 install and restore your previous Windows install. Microsoft will ask you why you want to go back.

Or in the case of a failed upgrade, just install Win 7 or 8.1 from readily available links on MSFT's site.  Bingo, you're back in business.  I can't tell whether or not she opened a case with MSFT or what type of support package she was using.  I do know that when I've opened cases, they've stayed open until the problem is solved. 

If it were me and I didn't like the assistance I was getting, I jump ship to a local computer repair place if my business depended on it.  
vnewman2
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vnewman2,
User Rank: Ninja
6/30/2016 | 12:35:12 AM
Re: Yeah but...
I'm sorry but I don't agree with you - at my firm we tell folks if you save workproduct somewhere that is not backed up (in our case, the network drives or DMS), if your system crashes you are out of luck.  That's on you.  Hard drives crash, software stops working - that's the nature of computers.  You have to have a disaster recovery plan in place if you care about your ciients and business.  

And if you can't figure it out for yourself - you best hire someone to do it for you or else low and behold here you are holding an empty bag.  Don't have access to another computer?  Go to the library.  Backup your data to the cloud.  Make sure you email has some sort of web-based access.  It's a simple matter of common sense.
alphaa10
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alphaa10,
User Rank: Apprentice
6/29/2016 | 7:12:34 PM
Re: Yeah but...
+ TerryB-- None of us are privy to details of the case, but keeping a backup of data is beside the point of data loss from a malfunctioning Windows.

By the time Goldstein discovers Client X is missing from her data, or that one of her databases has been corrupted, an image of her system may be only a bit-perfect copy of the problem, not the solution. 

Likewise, fixing a Windows problem does not mean buying another computer with another installation of Windows 10. Or did you miss the unintended irony of your recommendation Goldstein spend money she does not have for another computer, because she has suffered no real loss?

 
alphaa10
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alphaa10,
User Rank: Apprentice
6/29/2016 | 7:00:24 PM
Re: Yeah but... you have it backwards
+ Woopti comments, "No she doesn't deserve $10,000 for a few days computer down time..."

Deserve? You need to read more about what constitutes fairness in a consumer judgment. This is not an issue about what you consider fair, but a reasonably accurate assessment of the considerable damages loss of internet access can mean to any business.

Despite your claim, this is not a discussion about only a few days of downtime-- as the article states, Goldstein's problem spans almost a full year of inept / indifferent Microsoft "technical support". Add the immediate cost of maintaining a business to the loss of personal income, and you begin to sense the severity of Goldstein's problem.

There is also the matter of business reputation-- perhaps the greatest potential damage of all to a business. When a prospective customer asks a friend, "What agency do you prefer when you arrange a trip?" that is the question that should bring business to Goldstein's email inbox.

Normally, attorneys for plaintiff include the opportunity cost of managing the crisis (instead of running a business) to actual business losses. This is exactly the same basis for any enterprise, large or small, when making a claim-- the total damage required to be made whole.

You are entirely correct about one thing-- Microsoft's mismanagement of the crisis is a textbook definition of bad public relations. That Microsoft may not care any longer to keep its "Good Guy" mask in place is yet another proof a monopoly never apologizes to anybody about anything.
Michelle
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Michelle,
User Rank: Ninja
6/29/2016 | 12:45:34 PM
Re: Yeah but...
The payout does seem a little high for the issue -- I wonder what kind of financial losses were suffered as a result of the downed computer. I suspect we'll see a class action lawsuit soon.
Page 1 / 2   >   >>
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