Microsoft not soft in legal matters

David Zamos, a senior bio-chemistry major, has been in the spotlight recently. Zamos attended the University of Akron last semester, and while there, bought some Microsoft software (Microsoft Office Windows XP Professional and Microsoft Office XP Professional) from the school’s technology store, Computer Solutions. When Zamos realized he would have to reformat his computer’s hard drive in order for the software to work, he took the software back to Computer Solutions to get a refund.

However, Zamos said Computer Solutions employees told him they could not accept the Microsoft software back.

Zamos, being an enterprising individual, decided to sell the unopened software on eBay. After he sold the Office XP, Microsoft ended the sale of Windows XP. Apparently, it considered Zamos’ actions illegal because of copyright infringement — at least, according to the lawyers hired to protect Microsoft technology from being pirated or stolen.

This did not hinder Zamos in his quest to get his money back, though. He read the fine print on eBay about the rules concerning selling Microsoft software and realized he was right, after all.

Zamos put Windows XP back up for sale requiring anyone who bought the software to be a student, made $91 and about three months later, was sued by Microsoft for copyright infringement.

Yet Zamos, knowing he had done nothing wrong, filed a countersuit against Microsoft. He didn’t want lots of money. All he wanted was an apology.

Finally, it seems he may get his well-deserved apology. Microsoft and Zamos dismissed their suits Friday. The terms of that settlement, however, are confidential. One thing is for sure, it’s time for Microsoft to say sorry and admit the corporation was in the wrong.

Ridiculous is the appropriate adjective to describe this situation, perhaps for different reasons than some may expect.

It’s not ridiculous because Zamos is a poor student trying to make his way through the treacherous ocean that is college. Being in tough circumstances doesn’t make someone blameless.

It’s not ridiculous because Microsoft is a huge billion-dollar corporation. Being rich and powerful doesn’t automatically make something evil.

It’s ridiculous because the lawsuit is flat-out wrong, and the people who screwed up have been unwilling to admit it.

As the facts stand, Zamos followed all the eBay rules regarding selling student-purchased Microsoft software. He made it clear in the description of his software that whoever bought it had to be a student, and he started both his sales at $0.01. He wasn’t operating a scam or trying to make a lot of profit. All he wanted to do was recover some of the money he had lost on the purchase of the software.

Perhaps Microsoft’s lawyers were mistaken and thought Zamos really was a pirated-software-selling swindler and truly believed they were doing their jobs. It ended up being a bad move. Everyone makes poor decisions some time or another. What makes this situation completely ridiculous is Microsoft’s refusal to apologize.

If nothing else, it is hoped that Microsoft’s lawyers have learned to thoroughly investigate their suspicions before making a mistake like this one — and most importantly not to make that mistake with David Zamos.

The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board.