The dubious customisation option has since disappeared from the website
Dell has made changes to its online store in the UK, after it emerged that the company was charging customers £16.25 to install the free Firefox browser – something that goes against Mozilla’s trademark policy.
Dell previously said that it wasn’t charging for the software itself, but rather for “the time and labour” spent on the installation. However, the dubious customisation option has since disappeared from the website.
“There is no agreement between Dell and Mozilla which allows Dell or anyone else to charge for installing Firefox using that brand name. Our trademark policy makes clear that this is not permitted and we are investigating this specific report,” said Denelle Dixon-Thayer, vice president and general counsel at Mozilla.
On Wednesday, the Register discovered that Dell was charging customers for the installation of a free browser in the “Additional Software” section, just before the checkout. When asked about this practice, Dell explained that the fee was covering the valuable time of their staff.
“Dell Configuration Services, including the application loading service, ensure customers have a complete, ready to use product when it arrives. In this particular situation, 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,” said the company in a statement.
In response, Mozilla said that no company was ever allowed to charge for the installation of any of its products, as long as they carry the Mozilla name. It had even pointed out the relevant section in its trademark policy, which is quite clear on the matter: “If you are using the Mozilla Mark(s) for the unaltered binaries you are distributing, you may not charge for that product.
“By not charging, we mean the Mozilla product must be without cost and its distribution (whether by download or other media) may not be subject to a fee, or tied to subscribing to or purchasing a service, or the collection of personal information. If you want to sell the product, you may do so, but you must call that product by another name—one unrelated to Mozilla or any of the Mozilla Marks.”
The option to install Firefox has since disappeared from the website, and TechWeekEurope is currently waiting for an official statement from Dell.
It is worth pointing out that Dell doesn’t charge a penny for optional installation of a free 30-day trial of McAfee Security Center.
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