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As Microsoft repeal some Xbox restrictions, more apply to other products

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Faced with user protests, Microsoft has been forced to make the terms for its latest Xbox gaming console look a little less restrictive. However, the “new” terms which had caused such outrage were not in fact new at all: they were similar to most other proprietary software licences, including those covering other Microsoft software products and on-line services.

Restrictions on selling, sharing and gift-giving appear, for example, in the Windows 7 and Office 2013 licences. Similar restrictions will continue to apply to the Xbox one in that "downloaded titles cannot be shared or resold". Geographic restrictions can also apply to Office 2013, along a class action waiver. Gamers who were angered by the invasive, inadequate and mandatory 24 hour check-in and Kinect voice/motion sensor may be similarly angered by the clause demanding “you must comply with any technical limitations in the software that only allow you to use it in certain ways. You may not work around any technical limitations in the software” in the Windows 7 licence.

“Even after reversing course on some of the more egregious Xbox One terms, Microsoft still leaves its users wearing digital handcuffs,” says Karsten Gerloff, FSFE's president. “We encourage everyone to choose Free Software instead, and break free of these restrictions.”

“While proprietary licenses restrict your freedom, Free Software always guarantees that you can use the software for any purpose, to study how it works, to share it with others, and modify it to your needs” says Matthias Kirschner, FSFE's Head of Public Awareness. “Users should not have to beg for these rights.”

It is still unclear what exactly the full license will or will not contain, for example, mention of the Class Action Waiver has been removed, but no statement has been made to repeal it.