An upgrade is an upgrade. Apparently some people are easily confused.


Below is the first post.  You can find the follow-up here: An upgrade is an upgrade. Apparently some people are easily confused – Part 2.


It seems that there are some people out there who don’t quite get the concept of an upgrade.  These people are even writing articles fully articulating how little they know (and unfortunately, confusing many customers with these non-factual writings).  Because of this, I am going to explain it again and even use pictures to try to make this very simple…


You can buy a software full license that gets you the rights to install and run the software. You can buy a software upgrade license that allows you to upgrade from the full license you have to the upgraded product you purchased the upgrade for.


For instance:









General Example Example with Product Names
image image

To qualify for an upgrade license, you MUST have a full license to upgrade from first. Without the full license, you have nothing to upgrade from and an upgrade from nothing gets you nothing:









General Example Example with Product Names
image image

So if you see any of these people writing that buying an upgrade by itself (Windows Vista Upgrade for instance) without having a full license first gets you the rights to run the software, just realize that what the person is actually stating is, “I clearly have no clue what I am talking about and so I am writing a bunch of gibberish that proves this hoping people will think I have a clue, even though I obviously don’t.”


If they continue to tell you that, “But I can get it to physically install, so it must be legal,” this further shows their complete lack of comprehension. Just because something will install does not make it legal. For example, a pirated piece of software will (usually) physically install; however, running pirated software is 100% illegal (and who knows what else it will install on or do to your computer). If you don’t believe me, try calling 888-NO-PIRACY and letting them know that you are running pirated software throughout your company. Explain to them that you feel it is legal to do so because you got it to physically install, so it must be legal and ask if they would mind auditing your company to verify the legality of this. Let me know how that turns out for you.


NOTE: For anyone who missed my complete tone of sarcasm there, I am in no way condoning the installation or use of pirated software. As mentioned above (in red), it is 100% illegal to do so, and if you choose to really be foolish enough to try the above actions, you and you alone are fully responsible for any and all legal actions taken against you.  So I would advise you to use your one phone call to contact your legal counsel instead of telling me how this turned out, as I already have a pretty good idea of what the results will be for you.


While I really can’t believe I have to put that ridiculous note on my post, just the fact that there are people writing articles advising people to illegally install software that they are not licensed for “because they can get it to physically install” just shows how clueless some people are and how willing they are to try to confuse other with their articles. And just in case one of these writers happens to read this, I want to make sure they are not confused by the paragraph above. If you are one of those people, let me put it this way, “It is not ok to do so. It is BAD to do so.” There, no words bigger than three letters, so that should hopefully be easy enough to follow.


To answer some follow-up questions I have received since posting this:  Yes, please feel free to forward the link to this post directly to the authors of those articles who are stating that the upgrade alone is legal to use without owning a full license first.  Make sure to have them read the sentence with small words too so they don’t give excuses like, “It’s too hard to understand the legalese,” etc.


FOOTNOTE:  There have been questions as to who this post is targeted at and the concept of the “loophole” seems to be in question as well.  I did address these in the comments below through my reply to one reader; however, I thought I would append it here to the post as well to avoid any ambiguity.  Here is what I posted in the comments below, “Thank you for the feedback.  My intention is not to be condescending to my readers.  To be very clear, my comments above about the “clueless people” are not directed at the customers or my readers.  They are directed at those trying to confuse the customers by telling them that it is OK to do this “just because it physically installs.”  (Which is why I went back and added the footer to please forward my post to the authors of those articles)  As an example, I even conducted an interview early last year with one of the online publications writing about this now and explained in plain English that the physical ability to do this is not a “loophole,” it provides a way for technology Partners to help clients who are legally licensed for Windows Vista (meaning they have the qualifying full license first) to perform a clean install vs. doing an in place upgrade.  Yet here we are, over a year later, and the same “It’s a loophole and must be legal to not own the full license,” gibberish is being published by that same publication that only confuses customers with non-factual information.  Considering I explained it very directly before and they still don’t seem to get it, I thought I would publish it in REALLY simple terms this time for all to view.  Yes, I agree whole heartedly that customers of all sizes should engage with their technology Partners for how to buy information vs. relying on publications, like the ones referred to above, that seem to rely on sensationalism and speculation.”


You can find the follow-up here: An upgrade is an upgrade. Apparently some people are easily confused – Part 2.


Thank you and have a wonderful day,


Eric Ligman
Microsoft US Senior Manager
Small Business Community Engagement
This posting is provided “AS IS” with no warranties, and confers no rights

Add to Technorati Favorites


Comments (71)

  1. I think that the above needs some clarification.

    Consider: two years ago you bought a new Dell with Windows XP Pro preinstalled.  Yesterday, you bought a Vista Business upgrade for the same system.  But: you would prefer to do a fresh install rather than upgrade.  This is both 1) legitimate, and 2) permitted, isn’t it?  You did, after all, buy XP Pro and then the Vista Business upgrade, the latter giving you the right to run Vista Business on the system you previously ran XP Pro on, yes?  

  2. Anne Stanton says:

    Great Post Eric!

    Now if I can just explain Open Value 3 year, Open Business 2 year, Open Volume with the Professional, Enterprise and Workgroup edition twist as well :) (all relating to the purchasing of Dynamics CRM)

    Cheers

    The CRM Lady

    Anne Stanton

  3. mssmallbiz says:

    @ Fredrik – Yes, if you have the full Windows XP Pro license and then purchase the Windows Vista Business Upgrade for that PC, you can choose to do a full install from the Vista disk vs. performing an in-place upgrade install.  This is why we have this on the disk.

  4. Igor says:

    One problem is, that many people I talk to are thinking, that when a Microsoft product pass it’s genuine test, it’s legal.

    Correct me, but the Upgrade way, which is indeed not correctly licensed, will pass it’s genuine check – so here we have a big problem:

    Think about the pc stores in your street. What’s when you buy new pc running Vista, which will pass it’s genuine test, but the seller used an upgrade?

    You need to do something, or the genuine program will lose something, you just started to create…

    Note: It isn’t a problem with the Genuine program itself, but the effect the genuine program has, created that problem.

    You understand what I tried to tell you?

  5. Robert says:

    I think the real issue is why bother installing Vista at all? What does it give me over XP? You stripped most of the features out that we were looking forward to before RTM, so this isn’t much more than a slower, prettier XP. Meh. I’ll be waiting for Windows 7. Hopefully Microsoft gets that right. It appears that they are headed in the right direction. However, we saw what happened to Vista and how it started losing features to meet a deadline. If 7 gets the same treatment, by then Linux should be a viable alternative to Windows from a non technical user standpoint…

  6. Ed says:

    What an amazingly condescending post from a "Senior Manager" of "Community Engagement."

    Eric, as part of your solution, why didn’t you encourage Microsoft customers to "engage" the LAR "community" that works every day to support the accurate licensing of your company’s products?

    We’d be happy to help any and all customers find the correct licensing solution – and we’d do it without condescension or sarcasm!

    What a concept!

    Thank you and have a wonderful day!

  7. mssmallbiz says:

    @ Ed – Thank you for the feedback.  My intention is not to be condescending to my readers.  To be very clear, my comments above about the "clueless people" are not directed at the customers or my readers.  They are directed at those trying to confuse the customers by telling them that it is OK to do this "just because it physically installs."  (Which is why I went back and added the footer to please forward my post to the authors of those articles)  As an example, I even conducted an interview early last year with one of the online publications writing about this now and explained in plain english that the physical ability to do this is not a "loophole," it provides a way for technology Partners to help clients who are legally licensed for Windows Vista (meaning they have the qualifying full license first) to perform a clean install vs. doing an in place upgrade.  Yet here we are, over a year later, and the same "It’s a loophole and must be legal to not own the full license," gibberish is being published by that same publication that only confuses customers with non-factual information.  Considering I explained it very directly before and they still don’t seem to get it, I thought I would publish it in REALLY simple terms this time for all to view.  Yes, I agree whole heartedly that customers of all sizes should engage with their technology Parnters for how to buy information vs. relying on publications, like the ones referred to above, that seem to rely on sensationalism and speculation.

  8. Steve-O says:

    Can something really be less than 100 % illegal, say, 90 % illegal, and if so, would this reflect on any prospective punishment? Would it not in that case be fair to say that; if you are 80 % illegal that you are also 20 % legal?

  9. T. Summers says:

    Call me crazy, but I would think that you should be satisfied that there are people who choose to plunk down money on Vista at all considering its shortcomings and Microsoft’s less than noble reputation.

    Furthermore, I really fail to see the point of your rant aside from basically saying, "You’re not paying us enough money! Give us more! MORE!"  Not a very good PR move.

  10. The CAT says:

    Bigger than the upgrade loophole is the activation cracking methods. If you’re a pirate it would be easier to crack the RTM straight away as using the upgrade trick is also illegal and wastes time. If anything Eric, people who use the upgrade improperly are not your biggest problems in Vista-land….

    Piracy is impossible to stop when installations exist on local computers. Once companies are able to offer all their products in an "online only" format will they have any control.

  11. Richard says:

    The problem is Microsft’s ridiculous variety of different packages and licensing for Vista, not the customers.  This is clear to anyone and everyone in the world that doesn’t work at Microsoft so wake up and get a clue.

  12. mssmallbiz says:

    @ CAT – Yes, piracy is by far a larger issue.  Not only for us, but for the entire industry, and one we continue to work against.

  13. Big Mike says:

    Maybe if Microsoft actually produced a product that was not complete junk (Vista) then more users would be willing to pay for it and follow the EULA. Sales are down for Vista, more people than ever are switching back to XP, even if they have to pay another $100-200 to do so.

    So what good is blasting those that use the “upgrade” version in this manner when a majority of them will likely remove it and go back to XP within the first month? Microsoft is still making money off of it regardless of how it is actually used.

    Piracy with Vista is at an all time low. Why pirate something that is pretty much useless? The driver API screwed the users out of direct kernel usage of their hardware which is how 95% of hardware is meant to be used. Since there is that emulation layer in the name of “security”, performance is 25-40% lower in Vista when compared directly to XP.

    As a consumer and speaking for much of the public: WE WANT A FUNCTIONAL AND FAST PRODUCT THAT DOES NOT SCREW US OUT OF OUR MONEY OR HARDWARE USAGE.

    I hope the developers for Windows 7 are keeping a close eye on the community and do decide to use the modular and kernel based setup, similar to a linux kernel. Keep it light and simple without the useless junk. You can only pile so much luggage on to a car roof before it all comes tumbling down or crushes the very base that holds it up.

  14. mssmallbiz says:

    @ Richard – So you are saying that having different editions of the software such as Vista Ultimate, Vista Business, Vista Home, etc. changes the understanding of the difference between a FULL LICENSE and an UPGRADE LICENSE, even though the upgrade package has the following marked directly on the front of the package: a red "UPGRADE" banner with "For users running Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional, Windows XP, or Windows Vista only."  If you don’t own a Windows license already, how would you be one of the qualified people for the upgrade under that statement on the front of the box?

  15. Michael says:

    While you’re at it, could you do us all a favor?

    Fix Vista.

    Thanks!

    Oh, and let’s not forget Jeff Raikes comment regarding piracy:

    "If they’re going to pirate somebody, we want it to be us rather than somebody else." — Microsoft Business Group President Jeff Raikes

  16. Matthew P says:

    I bought Vista. The “loophole” in question was the only way I could get Vista to install. When I (down)graded to Vista it was completely unstable and many things didn’t work. Rather than reloading my ghosted XP and trying for a third time I went ahead and used this workaround. I have a legal purchased OEM Windows XP Home that had only ever been run on this machine. Oh and it turned out the “Vista Compatible” video card I purchased a mere week before Vista’s release never did work in Vista fully. After reloading many times trying to get Vista to work, my license was flagged and I had to check in with Microsoft. I’ve tried to load Vista in numerous times since, usually on a new driver release- Each time checking in with microsoft. Even after disabling all the eye candy, UAC, and other new “features” it’s still less stable, less compatible, and slower than XP by a large margin. I have since given up and Vista sits on a shelf unused. Can I have my $179 back now? I bought your product in good faith that it would be an improvement over the last iteration, rather it’s like a pretty blonde. Nice to look at, but nothing upstairs.

  17. Gordon Freeman says:

    The latest Gartner poll reveals that illegal copies of Vista are still trailing illegal copies of XP at the same point in its lifecycle.

    It seems people just don’t want it that bad, legal, illegal, or even free.

  18. Clueless says:

    Instead of ranting about people exploiting an upgrade, why not rant about your "clueless" programers that wrote the FLAWED upgrade in the first place!

    PS FIX VISTA then whine.

  19. User... says:

    Hey guys,

    The people who made Vista worked really hard on it and delayed the release on it and put out free betas to try to get it as good as possible. The people saying “fix Vista” should have got the Betas and reported all errors. Even then, there would still be problems. But tell me software that doesn’t have problems.

    “Clueless”, if you’re so much better than the “clueless PROGRAMERS” [IT’S “PROGRAMMERS”], then you should apply for a job and do a better job coding.

    That said, Vista looks cool but isn’t very good. I installed the beta, used it for a bit, and then uninstalled it. I’m very happy with XP, it’s great! But Vista is slow and bulky and buggy. Just looks good.

    SOLUTION:

    Stop selling Vista and just work really hard on the upcoming one. Delay it for 8 years and make it ridiculously awesome, make people crxp themselves.

    Continue selling XP but include a Vista skin. Upgrade all current users to XP+SKIN.

    DONE!

  20. Jerry Landry says:

    For anyone at Microsoft to whine about anything having to do with Vista is an aberration and insult to the million or so paying customers stuck with this OS.

  21. LipSync says:

    Hey here is an idea Eric!

    Maybe if Microsoft offered Vista at a decent price and without all the confusing ‘editions’, more people would be inclined to pay for the full copy of the software.

    AS to people not knowing the difference between an upgrade and a full version, they know, they just don’t care. You’ve priced the product in such a fashion that they do not see the ‘value’ in paying the higher price.

  22. Jim S. says:

    You know, I have absolutely zero sympathy for any of this because you brought it on yourselves.  There was time when a software purchase could be treated like any  other copyrighted work.  Then you guys decided that you needed tiers, licenses, and EULA’s to confuse and monetize the heck out of customers with OEM, upgrade, student versions etc.  Now you’re annoyed because people are gaming the system  right back at you.  You are actively deceiving others when you call this ‘illegal’, implying that there are laws against it.  Sure you can *can* sue your customers for not following 10 page abusive EULA’s.

    Good luck with that.  

    I’m done with your products, Eric.

  23. JMan says:

    Dump Vista, get Linux. 100% Legal, give to your friends, install on ANY computer/device you want. Did I say free?

    I take from this post, Microsoft it against all “clueless” people and proves the consumers are smarter then deveoplers…wow!

    This comment is provided “AS IS” with no warranties, and confers no rights.

  24. geez says:

    Now you will know not to release 10 different versions of the same OS and create confusion to end users.

  25. Jack Bauer says:

    Yo, Eric…

    Please waste your time to your Microsoft engineers’ colleagues to really go back to square one and start over with Windows 1.0 again.

    Vista is a scam and it is not worth it!

    We already quit Windows!

  26. Nick Ballard says:

    These users are exploiting a flaw in the upgrade model so they can purchase a genuine copy of Vista at a more reasonable price.

    Microsoft should be thrilled; the fact that any sane person would even be willing to purchase the “upgrade” version is amazing.

  27. SomeGuy says:

    Wait … what?! Microsoft OS’s still are not open or free?!

  28. Anonymous says:

    Every company needs feedback from its users, right?  Well here goes.

    1. Fix all the problems in Vista

    (a) the performance SUCKS. fix that.

    (b) games run a lot slower on Vista. fix that.

    (c) the countless bugs are a lot worse than just being annoying. fix those.

    2. lower the price.

    (a) you guys are rich enough already. no need to sell every product (that includes Office) at such sky-high prices.

    3. work on customer support and stuff like that, instead of wasting time on blog posts like this. you are still earning big bucks selling at upgrade prices, so quit whining!

    4. actually work on Windows 7. suggestions from many experts over the years:

    (a) remove the registry. looking at the huge hard drives these days, we don’t really need to share the components, do we?

    (b) improve the security. DUH.

    (c) revamp the ui. it can always be better.

    (d) figure out why all versions of Windows get BSOD’s, crashes, stuff like that.

    5. listen to your customers.

    Cheers

  29. balh says:

    i agree, people really need to learn this stuff. an upgrade is an upgrade.

  30. Daniel Wolf says:

    Eric, before I mention anything else I have to give you props on those "examples".  I actually laughed looking at them.  Please do more!

    Just because you think a product is crappy does not give you the right to say "It’s crappy so I’m going to pay half-price".  That works at the supermarket.  Maybe that’s how it should work with software, but it’s not.  Buy the full thing or don’t use it.  Especially THE BASIS FOR YOUR COMPUTER.

    I am a Vista user.  I BOUGHT the FULL Ultimate edition.  Of course, I got screwed like every other Ultimate user out there.  Nothing "Ultimate" about this but the price.  

    HOWEVER,  I do not think it is half-bad.  Microsoft made a BIG step forward in the background. The features and changes you have introduced are clearly for the betterment of Windows.  However, these features are poorly explained and implemented.

    EVERYONE AND THING needs a stepping stone.  ME was a stepping stone for many features (ME introduced System Restore, System File Protection, Automatic Updates and UNIVERSAL PLUG AND PLAY!!!!).  XP was the beyond-impressive refinement.  Vista IS a stepping stone for many features.  I hope Windows 7 will be the refinement.

    Eric is ticked that people are not paying what they should be for his company’s products. Eric have every right to feel the way he does. At least he cares about his company.

  31. David Hutchins says:

    Either figure out a way to intelligently protect your products from easy illegal installation or just remove all the validation and “genuine” junk that has given honest people far more headaches than the crooks. Piracy is still rampant and apparently product validations don’t really work all that well to prevent it.  Instead they are just a headache for the honest user.  Deal with it some other way.  How about including a proprietary key in the form of a USB flash drive, along with the OS?  Without the OS reading the key from the drive, it won’t install.  Also once installed in a given system, the key could not be reused to install on another system, but would allow reinstall on the same system.  Yes, there would be problems if a key is lost or damaged, but it seems this could be a really effective way to prevent piracy.  The key could be serialized to match the OS install CD, so if lost, Microsoft could replace the key.  Of course someone will figure out how to hack this too.  Just make exceptional products that people want to buy and prosecute those who do steal.

  32. Gordon says:

    C’mon people.  I remember when XP came out and Microsoft made the claims of “improved security”.  The buffer overflow vulnerabilities continued to pour in.  Then SP2 was released with even better security.  The buffer overflow vulnerabilities continued to pour in.

    Then Vista was released, with a whole new architecture to increase security.  The buffer overflow vulnerabilities continued to pour in.  Now SP1 for Vista is out.  You can guess the rest.

    So Dear Microsoft, instead of lecturing us on how to pay you more for an inferior product, how about you send all your crack programmers to buffer overflow school first?  Seriously, after the first couple of hundred you would think someone would be lighting a fire to find them ALL, and find them yesterday, before your company is further humiliated.

  33. Quality says:

    This is quality. How about fixing this major loophole in your products, instead of throwing your toys out of the pram?

    Microsoft bigwigs seem to have serious problems with communication. Look at Ballmer’s rants about the GPL being a ‘cancer’ a few years ago. You guys really, really need some courses on interacting with your customers. Not only would you come across as less pompous, you’d also hear what they want, and make better products accordingly.

    Yes, using this loophole is wrong. But you guys are hopelessly out of touch in communicating with your users.

  34. Josh says:

    Eric, I think the big thing about the upgrade edition and the fact that the community “promoted” the work around was that FUNCTIONALITY OF THE VISTA UPGRADE DISC compared to a Window’s XP Upgrade disc was taken down a step.  By FORCING an individual who wants to format and repartition his hard drive to FIRST INSTALL AN OLD OS is ridiculous.  The “OLD OS CD CHECK” functionality should have been included in all Vista Upgrade installations and then we wouldn’t have this problem.

    I own 2 copies of Vista Ultimate, the first one of which I purchased as an Upgrade.  I can tell you this: after being FORCED to install my copy of XP first, after I had already formatted my computer not knowing that Vista required an OS to be installed, I WAS INFURIATED!  I had very little time left that day due to grad school and was prepared to return my copy to the store I bought it at, and would have FOUGHT THEM UNTIL THEY TOOK IT BACK… else I would have canceled payment on my credit card.

    THE ONLY THING THAT SAVED MY PURCHASE WAS THE FACT THAT THE WORK AROUND EXISTS.  AND EVEN STILL, I am not happy that you have to install it twice to do this.

    The community news post that I saw EXPLICITLY stated that it would be illegal to do this if you did not own a licensed copy of a previous OS (ie XP pro).  So not all individuals that you are referring to reported it in an illegal fashion.

    THE SOLUTION to the problem therefore would be to correct the problem by selling upgrade discs that allow an install with a CD check.

  35. Christopher Lee says:

    Well,

    You’ve made me just want to put all my customers on Linux, Macs, or Billy-Bob’s OS with your silly and poorly written keyboard clickety-clack blog ramblings.

    By the way, while you are criticizing vendors and reps out there, didn’t your Go Team Go! ever teach you how to write for the web properly?  You don’t underline headlines or section headers, as they confuse people into thinking that they are hyperlinks and try to click on them.  You see, Eric, underlining words to represent links has kinda been around since the mid 90’s for internet content usability.  

    You may want to read up on Blogging 101 before criticizing your partners.

    Jerk.

    Chris

  36. Jeff Eyges says:

    When you begin to produce an operating system of decent quality at a reasonable price, <i>then</i> you can complain.

  37. Wesley Parish says:

    Re: the supermarket comparison, Daniel Wolf, most supermarket products have a shelf-life, and once they’re past the best-by date, their price automatically gets reduced – otherwise the customers would stop buying and go elsewhere, because generally there’s a lot more than one supermarket to buy goods and produce at.

    Judging from the general lack of interest in Vista, people seem to have concluded that Vista’s shelf-life is largely over, and XP’s is still viable.

    And Vista’s still being sold at the same high range of prices.  How much is ME being sold for these days?  Ditto MS-DOS 4.0?

  38. Joe Bag Of Donuts says:

    Sorry, I’m running Ubuntu. Can somebody explain this full product/upgrade stuff to me again?

  39. What an interesting week it has been. Since my original An upgrade is an upgrade. Apparently some people

  40. mssmallbiz says:

    @ Jim S. – Jim, You mention we’ve confused people with licenses, EULAs, etc.; however, licenses and EULAs are the same thing.  EULA = End User License Agreement.  So are you saying that the different versions of the product are causing the confusion between an upgrade and full license?  You might want to read through Part 2 of the post: http://blogs.msdn.com/mssmallbiz/archive/2008/04/21/8415385.aspx

  41. mssmallbiz says:

    @ Josh – You mentioned you have a previous Windows O/S license that you are upgrading from.  As such, using the upgrade to do your install is fine since you own a qualifying license to upgrade from.  My comments on it not being legal are for those who do not own the previous version license first.

  42. Steven McElrea says:

    Fix Vista… I just went back to XP a few days ago since, well Vista is crap. Oh yeah, my main computer runs Linux

  43. suezz says:

    our company switched over to ubuntu and never looked back

    your company too can do without windows and all the complexity in managing it.

    our desktop never looked so pretty with invisible windows and floating cubes.  all on hardware that is 2 to 3 years old.  if it the hardware works why upgrade.  wait till it fails.

    just switch to ubuntu folks on the server and client and you will never go back to microsoft.

  44. Gary says:

    Eric – I agree strongly with Ed who said, “what an amazingly condescending post from a “Senior Manager” of “Community Engagement.””

    As for your answer, “@ Ed – Thank you for the feedback.  My intention is not to be condescending to my readers.  To be very clear, my comments above about the “clueless people” are not directed at the customers or my readers”, maybe you need someone to explain some things to you, with the same dripping sarcasm and usage of small enough words for you to understand.  Just who do you think reads your remarks?  Eric, that would be “your readers” so the clue in small, easily understood words that you seem to need – is that its a pretty ignorant argument to write such a drippingly sarcastic and condescending post, and then hide behind the stupid statement that it wasn’t aimed at “your readers.”  Amazing, truly amazing.

  45. Not running vista says:

    Um, since Vista is considered a DOWNGRADE by many, and an "upgrade" by few, how does that work? If I own a licensed copy of XP, and I choose to install Vista, how much will Micro$oft refund me for performing this downgrade on my machine?

  46. Shane says:

    Yeah, its like saying if I can get into your house I can take whatever I want. <sarcasm> Well you didn’t lock it securely right?  I’m physically able to get into your house uninvited so it should be legal to do whatever I want in there right? </sarcasm>

    Obviously no.

    The same logic applies to all kinds of cheats.

  47. Esteban says:

    OK.  Obviously someone got reamed for this problem, but I echo some of the comments others have posted.  

    Economics aside, I have customers that have been faithful to Microsoft thru the years that have just had it.  Not Microsofts fault that a huge partner in HP decided to stop support on rafts of hardware that still works with XP.  However, looking at the cost of refitting thousands of worker bees to function in the vista world was very daunting.  Thus, Xandros was the solution.  

    Instead of bitching at us about licensing, spend that energy with a media campaign that uses little words to describe what the goal of Vista is and play it during primetime.  Most of the tech shops I support don’t have clue # 1 what the goal of Vista is.  They just keep parroting problems someone else had.

    The other thing I’d suggest is to have more aggresive pricing to make it look more reasonable against a $40 copy of linux with support.  I want to sel Microsoft, but if we’re having to jump thru hoops like having offshore divisions purchase all the software because it is cheaper that way, it lets you know something isn’t hitting.

  48. Steven says:

    “how much will Micro$oft refund me for performing this downgrade on my machine?” I don’t think the words “refund” & “Microsoft” can be used in the same sentence. I just don’t think it’s possible…

  49. mssmallbiz says:

    @ Esteban – Thank you for the feedback, and rest assured, I am sharing all of the feedback I get with the various teams here.  

  50. Tconnors says:

    You’re all correct Stealing is stealing, even if you’re stealing crap.

  51. Jason says:

    I Really wish MS would do more to check for valid versions of xp/vista and totally disable "Dodgy" versions.

    Why ?

    I and my wife are not rich we don’t have money to waste but I budgeted and paid for Vista home premium twice one for our two main pc’s, our media and laptop also run valid single licence xp professionals.

    Its a kick in our teeth when we see these people trying to justify pirated versions.

    vista not worth it ? then don’t use it, simple as that.

    Vista is not perfect but its tweakable and an improvement aslong as you have hardware to handle it.

    Up until a year ago one of my pc’s still ran win98se, it cost me when I bought it about the same as vista, how many updates how much support over time ?? you don’t get that many other places.

    Same with XP I invested and bought it many years ago and have had free support and fixes and updates since then.

    Same for vista.

    Please start protecting those of us that paid for it.

  52. Dave says:

    @ Jason:  I agree – protect those of us that paid for it…  from further being subjected to inferior, sub-standard software.

    I’m not trying to jump on *you* specifically, but let’s face facts – I bought Vista because it was supposed to be BETTER than the XP Professional I was using.  It was the single biggest waste of money I have spent in years – and I’m not exactly brilliant with my financing.  I BOUGHT and PAID for Vista, just like you – and I have to agree with everyone complaining about it.  As a person who BOUGHT and PAID for it, I’m entitled to that right.  Your post suggests otherwise, which prompted me to make this point.

  53. Jim S. says:

    Responding to: “@ Jim S. – Jim, You mention we’ve confused people with licenses, EULAs, etc.; however, licenses and EULAs are the same thing.”

    I phrased that poorly, Eric.  What I meant was the software industry made a cultural shift from “you own this” to “you merely license this”.  Part of this shift was the creation of shrinkwrap EULA’s (which seem to be toppling into ridiculously lopsided free-for-alls).

    Charge OEM’s a bit more, retail consumers a bit less, junk the myriads of SKU’s, and you’ll deliver a much better customer experience.  Where you’ve taken Windows is both obnoxious and unhealthy.

  54. Peter says:

    An important exception: Under clause 7 of their School Agreement, MS specifically allows installing an “upgrade” version of Windows on a Macintosh with no need to have ever purchased a full version. Student purchasers of new Macs get free Windows (running under Parallels or Boot Camp) and student purchasers of other new PCs have to pay for it. I don’t get it…

  55. mssmallbiz says:

    @ Peter – If you look at the Microsoft Product List (http://www.microsoftvolumelicensing.com/userights/PL.aspx) there is a chart showing what qualifies for the Windows Vista Upgrade.  You will notice that Macintosh is listed as a qualifying O/S to upgrade from.  So, you are not installing the upgrade without owning a qualifying license, you already have a qualifying license to upgrade from in the Mac O/S.

  56. mssmallbiz says:

    @ Jim S. – Thank you for the clarification.  The commercial software industry has been a "You are licensing this" not a "you own this" model for as long as I can remember.  Software is about Intellectual Property and you license people to use your IP, you don’t have them buy your IP.  Awareness of this fact may have increased recently, but the fact it is that way has not changed.

  57. Steve Sanders says:

    @ Eric/mssmallbiz: Any comment on the very valid point Jim S. raises regarding Microsoft’s confusing licensing?

    Here’s what he wrote:

    Charge OEM’s a bit more, retail consumers a bit less, junk the myriads of SKU’s, and you’ll deliver a much better customer experience.  Where you’ve taken Windows is both obnoxious and unhealthy.

  58. Kris says:

    I purchased Windows Vista Ultimate Upgrade.  I do have a legitimate previous copy of Windows XP Pro which was also an upgrade from a full version of Windows 98 SE.  I build my own computer and always buy retail.  I was able to successfully install Vista Upgrade and did notice some performance loss.  So I did some hardware upgrades and my performance improved.  I did how ever run into one problem.  Vista Ultimate allows me to encrypt my drive.  Now being that I have to have XP installed to install Vista I was unable to use this feature that I clearly am licensed for as I have to encrypt the drive during setup and can’t do that with an existing OS installed on that drive (needed for verification) so after talking with Microsoft I was given the clean install method and was able to encrypt my drive.  The key here is that I had a legitimate copy of XP to upgrade from and that Microsoft Engineers had the forethought to give me a work around so I could use all the features I was licensed for.  I like Vista works fine for me though the Ultimate edition doesn’t seem worth the money after the fact.  Keep plugging along MS you will get it.

  59. Billy Ray Johnson says:

    Why did I "upgrade" to vista?  I can’t remember.