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The man who took the iconic Windows XP wallpaper photo has bitter regrets

27
Mar
2014

Lush green hills under a cobalt blue sky with precisely the right amount of fluffy clouds floating about. Who hasn’t been lost in reverie staring at the default Windows XP wallpaper, dreaming of Middle Earth or maybe a weekend in Cork County? Yet that shot of a bucolic paradise has turned into a very personal nightmare for Charles O’Lear, the man who captured the iconic photo and sold it to Microsoft. O’Lear took a one-time payment for the photo rather than trying to negotiate a license fee. Even a tiny fee per Windows XP license would have yielded him a hefty payday over the years. Surprisingly enough, the photograph was actually taken on the side of a highway in Sonoma, California, rather than Ireland or

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