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Has Microsoft “Mislead” Windows 8 Consumers?

Reports today indicated a consumer has filed a complaint to the consumer watchdog about Windows 8 Pro, claiming it mislead consumers in relation to the claims, or lack of, on its box.

The consumer alleges Windows 8 Pro misleads as it fails to mention it’s an upgrade copy only, and that a consumer needs to have a previous version of Microsoft Windows already installed for it to work.

The complaint was filed to the ACCC. Windows 8 Pro selling for $39.99 to download and $69.99 from retailers.

The irked consumer, John Hollow, alleges Microsoft’s packaging and its description of the product is a “misleading and deceptive representation of the product.”

However, the consumer watchdog, the ACCC, would neither confirm nor deny receiving the complaint when contacted by SmartHouse and can’t make such complaints public as it “may have no merit,” a spokesperson said.

But “Australian Consumer Law concerns may arise where consumers are misled into error from representations used as part of the promotion of products or services,” the spokesperson added.

However, consumer advocate Choice also appears to back the claims against the software giant.

Microsoft’s Australian website states “buy the Windows 8 Pro upgrade” for $69.99 and warns consumers to “run the Windows 8 Upgrade Assistant to make sure your PC can upgrade to Windows 8 Pro before purchase—you can run it without purchasing.”

The Microsoft W8 Pro retail packaging is “very confusing” says Choice spokesperson Ingrid Just, adding: “many consumers buying it [in person] are certain to be confused by what’s on the packaging.”

“It’s very difficult to get a sense that it is an upgrade product only” Just told SmartHouse although acknowledged the online description is far more clear.

So it is an isolated complaint against Microsoft?

Not really, she says and added several from the tech community including a number of journalists brought it to Choice’s attention already.

“We’re suggesting Windows 9 Pro packaging could be clearer and needs a sticker saying “Upgrade.”

Choice has not made any official communication to the ACCC, to date.