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 PostPost subject: XP OEM Licensing Extension Is Urban Myth        Posted: Wed Oct 08, 2008 8:32 pm 
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Fri Jun 13, 2008 10:22 am

Source: ... _myth.html

News Commentary. Contrary to all the blog buzz, Microsoft hasn't extended OEM Windows XP "downgrade" licensing by another six months.

What Microsoft has done is agree to provide OEMs with Windows XP media until June 30. Surely, somebody will accuse me of playing semantics. Not so. It's called accuracy in reporting, and pretty much everybody has it wrong.

The blogosphere buzzed with excitement, ridicule and accusation over the weekend about the rumored extension. Seems like anybody and everybody wagged the "We told you that Vista sucks" finger at Microsoft. I don't doubt that several OEMs want to continue offering Windows XP after Jan. 31, but they didn't need any extension to do it.

There's some crazy urban legend out there that downgrade rights:

* Are new with Vista

* Will expire on Jan. 31

* Can only be obtained through OEMs

These are falsehoods. Microsoft has long provided downgrade rights in OEM Windows versions and through volume licensing. Windows XP Professional OEM editions can be downgraded to Windows 2000. Similarly, Windows Vista Business and Ultimate can be downgraded to Windows XP Pro. According to a Microsoft downgrade rights fact sheet (PDF), Windows XP Pro can be installed by the buyer or by "an OEM, when authorized by end user" on PCs licensed for Vista Business or Ultimate.

The downgrade rights don't expire, at least while the current operating system is available. Yesterday, I bantered back and forth with two Microsoft PR reps about the nuances of the so-called extension. The official response is weak:

As more customers make the move to Windows Vista, we want to make sure that they are making that transition with confidence and that it is as smooth as possible. Providing downgrade media for a few more months is part of that commitment, as is the Windows Vista Small Business Assurance program, which provides 1-on-1, customized support for our small business customers.

I was unhappy with the response, because it doesn't satisfy the market situation. Many OEMs are offering Windows XP downgrade media for consumer PCs. So I pressed and got this equally unsatisfactory response:

Some partners want to be able to support their customers with appropriate media while they transition to Windows Vista-knowing they sometimes need more time to test applications before upgrading. Not all of our partners provide this option, so customers should check with their OEM or system builder for more information.

Neither statement is false, just inadequate for circumstances. Unquestionably, Microsoft provides downgrade rights mainly for businesses, which exercise them as a way of ensuring interoperability and management priorities; IT organizations typically standardize chunks of their organization on a single platform, which easily could be an older Windows version.

What's different about Windows Vista—and this is where the finger pointers have a, ah, point—is the extension of downgrade rights to consumers and for so long. OEMs such as Dell offer XP, because customers want the older operating system. What's more amazing is what happens after Jan. 31. It would be unprecedented for OEMs to aggressively offer downgrade options to consumers more than two years after a newer version of Windows shipped.

Microsoft has chosen—as I understand, at the request of some OEMs—to provide Windows XP installation media for longer time. That extension is six months, until June 30. Even without this extension, OEMs could provide downgrades by stockpiling XP media for distribution with new PCs, or customers could exercise those rights by requesting the media directly from Microsoft.

Logistically, it's more prudent for Microsoft to extend XP media availability, because:

* A distribution and licensing mechanism already is in place that works.

* Microsoft support costs would increase, as consumers request downgrade media.

* Windows Vista Home Premium is the most popular version, not Business or Ultimate, which qualify for downgrade rights; OEMs could easily preorder too few or too many discs.

Something else: Windows 7 is coming and sooner than some analysts have speculated. The six-month XP media extension ends right about the time Microsoft should be finishing up Seven, assuming release target is holiday 2009. That's still my prediction.

Some people will say that Microsoft has given up on Windows Vista, and in some ways that's true. Microsoft's "Windows. Life Without Walls" marketing campaign isn't about Vista. Of course, there are some people who would wag their fingers and accuse: "Vista. Walls Without Windows."

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 PostPost subject:        Posted: Fri Oct 10, 2008 8:55 am 

Wed Aug 22, 2007 8:42 am


Manchester, UK

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How will this fare, if I buy parts to build my own rig, and buy a separate version of Vista Ultimate? would I still be able to use the "downgrade offer" since I will then have the Ultimate?

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 PostPost subject:        Posted: Fri Oct 10, 2008 5:49 pm 
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Thu Feb 07, 2008 1:35 pm


United Kingdom
People should be able to ''downgrade'' to an older version of Windows in their own right. Thats what I think. :x


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