Sony has apologised for the row surrounding the removal of the Install Other OS function from older PlayStation 3 consoles.
We asked Sony UK to respond to reports that at least one user had received a partial refund from Amazon UK in compensation for the fact that part of the device's advertised functionality had been removed.
A Sony spokesman told us:
We are sorry if users of Linux or other operating systems are disappointed by our decision to issue a firmware upgrade which when installed disables this operating system feature. We have made the decision to protect the integrity of the console and whilst mindful of the impact on Linux or other operating system users we nevertheless felt it would be in the best interests of the majority of users to pursue this course of action.
As you will be aware we have upgraded and enhanced functionality and features of the console by numerous firmware upgrades over time and this is a very rare instance where a feature will be disabled. Further enhancements are in the pipeline.
Users do have the choice whether to install the firmware upgrade and this is clearly explained to them at the time the firmware upgrade is made available for installation. Furthermore our terms and conditions clearly state that we have the right to revise the PS3's settings and features in order to prevent access to unauthorised or pirated content.
Whilst we fully understand why Sony has decided to remove this function from the PS3 OS, and that users are free not to install the firmware upgrade, we also understand that not installing the latest firmware will prevent users from accessing a number of online services including the Playstation Network.
We're also not quite clear how Sony's EULA can be used to contravene European Directive 1999/44/EC which quite clearly states that goods must be be "fit for the purpose which the consumer requires them and which was made known to the seller at the time of purchase".
We're pretty sure the proportion of users who bought a PS3 for its ability to run Linux is tiny compared to the many millions in circulation, but they are a vocal minority to say the least.
Our readers are asking us why Sony can, despite EU law, remove an advertised and documented part of the system to protect its own interests.
We'd also like to know whether Sony will be reimbursing Amazon and other retailers for any further refunds they are forced to offer under the law.
We've put these questions to Sony UK and await a response.
We have also spoken to the Office of Fair Trading and Consumer Direct who tell us they cannot comment until an official complaint has been made.
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