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Sony Not Reimbursing Retailers over "Other OS"

Sony Computer Entertainment (SCE) is putting its foot down and refusing to reimburse retailers over the whole "Other OS" ordeal. As reported earlier this month, SCE yanked Linux support from the PlayStation 3--originally labeled as "Other OS"--in firmware update v3.21. Consumers who purchased the console for its multifunctionality beyond the console "norm" were outraged--one was even provoked into quoting European law and demanding a refund. Although Sony played no part in the exchange, Amazon UK granted a partial refund to the customer.

But SCE is standing firm with its decision to remove the Other OS feature and not compensate consumers. "We do understand the frustration a small number of consumers may feel at SCE's decision to provide an upgrade to the firmware to disable the Linux operating system," said SCE's David Wilson, "but we refute any suggestion that this action is in any way a contravention of the terms of Sale of Goods Act."

In all actuality, SCE should be accused of false advertisement: promoting a product with services that doesn't exist. Many consumers purchased the PlayStation 3 knowing that Linux was an optional operating system. But now that option has been denied, and those consumers are left with a machine that no longer performs as advertised.

But like all business agreements between the manufacturer and the consumer, there's always the fine print as Wilson kindly points out. "The console packaging and the in-box manual for the console do not refer to the use of Linux on the console," he told THINQ. "Rather, the console packaging states that the product's design and specifications are subject to change without notice and that the system software within the console is subject to a limited license between SCE and the consumer, and this license permits SCE to update the system software and services offered from time to time."

He goes on to explain that the Sale of Goods Act only applies to the contract between the retailer and the consumer. "The decision by Amazon to give a  consumer a partial refund is clearly between Amazon and the consumer, but we do not expect the decision to have a legal basis and we have no plans to compensate retailers," he added.

Consumers who wish to keep the Other OS option merely need to decline future PlayStation 3 firmware upgrades. The drawback to that is that consumers won't be able to play the latest games or connect to the PlayStation Network. But as THINQ points out, consumers can chose not to install the updates, use the PS3 as Sony intends, or request a refund from the retailer and use that money to purchase an Xbox 360.