Mozilla investigates Dell over bogus charges

Big Cheeses at the Mozzarella Foundation are investigating the tin box shifter Michael Dell as to why he is charging customers £16.25 to install Firefox on a newly purchased computer.

Vice President and General Counsel Denelle Dixon-Thayer told TNW that its trademark policy makes it clear that Dell’s charges are not permitted and there is no agreement between Dell and Mozilla to allow this.

To be fair, Dell is short of a bob or two and needs all the cash it can scrape together. It also has not tried to keep it secret. On Dell’s UK site the charge is fairly public. Quite why anyone would pay to pre-install software that is usually the first thing to be downloaded after you get the internet connection going is anyone’s guess.

The problem appears to be unique to the UK – there was no Firefox option on the customization page for any Dell product in the US or Canada and it appeared to be on the Optiplex 7010.

Dell insists that this practice is okay because the company is charging for the service and not the product. The service apparently includes installing the software.

Dell Configuration Services, including the application loading service, ensure customers have a ready to use, product when it arrives, a Dell spokesperson enthused.

The customer would not be charged for the Mozilla Firefox software download, “rather the fee would cover the time and labour involved for factory personnel to load a different image than is provided on the system’s standard configuration”.

However, Mozilla’s policy does not just encompass the software, but its installation as well, so it is on shaky ground here.