Microsoft's Windows 10 upgrade policies have been widely criticized for months, with users generally unhappy with the company's attempts to force them to upgrade. Redmond's actions have been described as excessive at best and like malware at worst. One customer was particularly pissed off and took Microsoft to court.
According to the Seattle Times, Teri Goldstein of Sausalito, California, sued Microsoft and managed to win $10,000 after she argued the forced (and ultimately failed) Windows 10 upgrade left her system underperforming. She said the update made the PC crash multiple times and left it unstable, which is actually something that has been reported by other users.
Goldstein's first reaction was not to drag it through the courts but to do the normal thing of contacting Microsoft's customer service. However, the company did not resolve her problem, so she decided to pursue legal action.
It goes without saying that $10,000 is not even a recognizable amount to Microsoft, it will be paid out of hand after deciding to drop an appeal. The company insists it has done nothing wrong, but aside from a small Californian court case, this result has potential ramifications for the company.
We'll get on to a dented reputation soon, but Microsoft must now surely be worried about other cases like this cropping up. Once a legal precedent has been set, it is hard to break it, even across jurisdictions. Any similar cases would see Goldstein's success as a legal barometer, and while Microsoft can pay $10,000 ad nauseam, the harm that going to legal war with many customers could be huge.
The company's reputation has already taken a bit of a hit, with the Windows 10 upgrade policy leaving a sour taste in customer's mouths. Microsoft has repeatedly changed the upgrade policy and has now made all updates for Windows 10 mandatory. This means the dreaded update can hit anytime and without warning.
We have already seen this to comical effect when an update killed a gaming session being streamed by pro gamer Erik Flom. More seriously, an online petition that called for the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) to investigate Microsoft's practices got plenty of traction.
Redmond started a year cycle of offering Windows 10 upgrades for free, a cycle which will be ending on July 29. It was an excellent idea that has been simply messed up by the company with frustrating policies, not least the fact that Windows 10 updates are mandatory these days.