While I was helping some friends set up their shiny new Sony TV yesterday, the conversation inevitably shuffled around to me talking about how I won't by Sony products because of some of the things that they do that I feel are categorically "evil". I launched into a discussion of the OtherOS case - the removal of the PlayStation 3's "OtherOS" feature (which let you run other operating systems like Linux), only to remember I hadn't heard much about this case recently.
Fortunately, I didn't have to even think about looking it up, as the indomitable PJ from the watchdog blog Groklaw had just posted a new article
on the issue after some documents from back in July from the current class action suit underway in the United States were unsealed by the court.
PJ draws a comparison between how she imagines Apple would react in a similar case where customers felt like they had been wronged:
Sony is rather coldly relying on the wording in the express warranty and other legal technicalities to try to escape this litigation, and they may even succeed, but can you imagine Apple in a similar situation, with its record of moving heaven and earth to keep customers happy? Jobs used to send unhappy customers personal emails sometimes, for heaven's sake, and free replacement products.
In a nutshell, it sounds like Sony are arguing that while the PS3 did indeed sell with OtherOS, there was never any promise that that feature would be around forever - and indeed the "express warranty" only really covers you for one year. Here's a line from the Sony lawyer:
Now we've got that one-year warranty here. And so there's -- it's just impossible for somebody to say that it was reasonable to expect that this would continue to last forever; or ten years, in this instance.
Not sure when the case will resume at this point.