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Microsoft Says No Profit In Vista-XP Downgrades 315

Posted by CmdrTaco
CWmike writes "Microsoft has denied that it makes money when users 'downgrade' Windows Vista to XP, as a lawsuit filed last week alleges. The lawsuit, submitted last week, stems from the $59.25 fee that a California woman was charged in mid-2008 when she bought a Lenovo laptop and downgraded from Vista to XP. In fact, it's computer makers, not Microsoft per se, that charge users the additional fees for downgrading a new PC from Vista to XP at the factory. For example, Dell Inc. adds an extra $20 to the price to downgrade a PC. However, Microsoft may profit from the way it structures downgrade rights."
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Microsoft Says No Profit In Vista-XP Downgrades

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  • by VampireByte (447578) on Wednesday February 18, 2009 @01:31PM (#26903831) Homepage

    It doesn't matter if your machine comes with vista or xp because you're probably going to pony-up the dough for MS Office, and there's the profit. As long as Microsoft keeps you on a Windows platform, be it vista or xp, they've got that Office gravy coming in.

    • by jellomizer (103300) on Wednesday February 18, 2009 @01:36PM (#26903895)

      Yes, but Windows use to be Microsoft Turkey that the Gravy just made better.
      Back in them olden days of the 1990's People wanted to get the latest and greatest versions of DOS/Windows. Now today people are not jumping threw hoops. I have been at Big companies who require Windows 2000 still.

    • by the_humeister (922869) on Wednesday February 18, 2009 @01:37PM (#26903917)

      Microsoft makes money of course. But the question is: do they make money on the downgrade? The answer seems to be "no" since it's the computer vendor that is charging for the downgrade. It's right there in the article (even the summary!).

      What you're talking about is something completely different.

      • by von_rick (944421) on Wednesday February 18, 2009 @01:50PM (#26904079) Homepage

        The vendors purchase licenses for a specific number of computers. If the vendor uses two licenses for the same machine (Vista & downgrade to XP), I don't see the vendor profiting in any way. What you did was purchase 2 licenses, and the profits are shared by your vendor as well as M$. Its hard to tell how they share those profits.

        That, or I have no clue what I'm talking about.

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by Peter Simpson (112887)

          Why would you use two licenses? You never used Vista, and downgraded to XP. AND - you already paid (through the "Microsoft tax") for the Vista license, which should cost more than an XP license.

          It all comes down to what image Dell copies to the hard drive as they build the PC. It should cost no more to write an XP image than to burn a Vista image, and only one license is ever used.

        • by Taimat (944976) on Wednesday February 18, 2009 @02:07PM (#26904279)
          Not 2 licenses... At my company, we build clones for our customer - with Vista, but we downgrade them all to XP. It's just 1 license. According to M$FT, They will not provide you with Media (you need your own XP media) or a license key (you reuse a key you have). When you go to activate, (if you didn't use a non-activation code) you have to explain to the rep that you are using your downgrade rights, and they will provide a new machine code for activation (not a new key). Vista Ultimate and Vista Business can be downgraded to XP in this manner.
          • by Bearhouse (1034238) on Wednesday February 18, 2009 @02:43PM (#26904801)

            Not 2 licenses... At my company, we build clones for our customer - with Vista, but we downgrade them all to XP. It's just 1 license. According to M$FT, They will not provide you with Media (you need your own XP media) or a license key (you reuse a key you have). When you go to activate, (if you didn't use a non-activation code) you have to explain to the rep that you are using your downgrade rights, and they will provide a new machine code for activation (not a new key). Vista Ultimate and Vista Business can be downgraded to XP in this manner.

            So, to paraphrase:
            1. They will not provide you with Media (you need your own XP media)
            2. They will not provide you with ...a license key (you reuse a key you have).
            3. Some complex bullshit is required to activate.

            Sounds just like downloading a Torrent, only more expensive...

          • by Khopesh (112447) on Wednesday February 18, 2009 @02:57PM (#26905035) Homepage Journal

            That's exactly the issue (as I understand it); you must pay more money to upgrade to Vista Ultimate or Vista Business so that you can then downgrade to XP Professional. With Dell, this upgrade is an extra $99 (unless you happen to catch them doing a free XP downgrade promo).

            Isn't an up-sell on editions a profit generator for Microsoft in addition to Dell? Doesn't that mean both companies are making MORE money by requiring this?

            The cons of course is that I'm comparing a $99 upgrade from Vista Home Basic to Vista Business Bonus (which has a license transferable to XP Professional), which is comparable to the $99 upgrade from XP Home to XP Pro back before Vista came out, so it's really the same thing, but I don't see how Microsoft can claim they're not profiting off of this. On top of this, nobody running Windows XP independent of an Active Directory server would care about getting Professional instead of Home ... it's just that Dell (et al) aren't offering Windows XP Home downgrades, since there would be no profit. Hmm...

            Microsoft can claim they're not making money on XP, but they can't claim that people downgrading to XP doesn't make more money through upgrading Vista for the transferable license.

        • That, or I have no clue what I'm talking about.

          And wouldn't that be a first on /.

        • by commodore64_love (1445365) on Wednesday February 18, 2009 @03:18PM (#26905419) Journal

          Hmmm, let me think. My name is Microsoft, and I just sold another copy of Windows XP to a new customer. Did I make a profit?

          No, no. Absolutely not! Mmmm-mmmm. No sir, no way, no how. No profit. Nyet, nada, nichts.

          (Oh and thanks for the hundred dollars.)

      • by Bearhouse (1034238) on Wednesday February 18, 2009 @02:01PM (#26904211)

        Not quite correct. FTA:"...when Dell was accused of gouging customers by charging $150 to downgrade a new computer to XP. Dell countered that although it did charge $20 to install XP on the machine, as well as to cover the cost of the additional media, the bulk -- $120 of the $150 -- was the price of upgrading the PC from the standard Home Premium to the more expensive Business edition.

        Microsoft does not offer downgrade rights with its Vista Home Premium, the most popular of Vista's editions."

        Your Dell config came with Vista Home Premium? Well, if you want XP you're SOL, that'll be $120 to 'upgrade' the Vista you want to 'downgrade'.

        • by mysticgoat (582871) on Wednesday February 18, 2009 @03:03PM (#26905159) Homepage Journal

          Since I'm not going to RTFA as I've moved on to Ubuntu, perhaps someone can clarify this for me:

          • Microsoft makes no money off of Vista -> WinXP downgrades.
          • The downgrade option is part of high end Business Vista packages.
          • The downgrade option is not part of the Home Vista packages
          • Most computers that are downgraded from Vista to WinXP are mid and low end models that come with the Home Vista package
          • When a purchaser of a computer with the Home Vista package wants to downgrade to WinXP, the OEM therefore has to sell him the upgrade to a Business Vista package that is then immediately downgraded to WinXP
          • Microsoft gets significant money from all upgrades of Home Vista packages to Business Vista packages
          • Plus, it looks good on the reports that so many people who buy Home Vista immediately see an advantage to upgrading to Business Vista.

          Did I get that right? Shades of Milo Minderbender! Microsoft has developed the digital equivalent of buying eggs in Cairo for 12 cents a dozen and selling them in Rome at 11 cents a dozen at a profit (because they first bought them at 9 cents a dozen in Athens before shipping them to Cairo)...

          I am really glad that Ubuntu got good enough to use fast enough that I could walk away from the Microsoft culture before it sank this deep in Catch 22 logical fruit loops.

    • by Scutter (18425) on Wednesday February 18, 2009 @01:38PM (#26903927) Journal

      they've got that Office gravy coming in

      Mmmm....office gravy....

    • That's not at all what the lawsuit was about.

  • I'm Confused (Score:3, Insightful)

    by SemiSpook (1382311) on Wednesday February 18, 2009 @01:33PM (#26903855)
    For something that was readily available not less than a year ago (do you really think that all those unsold XP CDs just vanished into thin air), it makes absolutely no sense to me that people should be charged EXTRA to use something that to many people and organizations is still considered a valued piece of software.

    Then again, this is Microsoft we're talking about. It's not supposed to make any sense. Carry on.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by sexconker (1179573)

      I'm confused.

      Do you somehow think that buying Vista gives you a free copy of XP?

      Does buying a PS3 give you a free PS2?

      Does buying the bluray of Terminator 2 give you a free copy of the original?

      • by TheCycoONE (913189) on Wednesday February 18, 2009 @01:40PM (#26903945)

        Does buying a PS3 give you a free PS2?

        Yes?

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by claytonjr (1142215)

          Does buying a PS3 give you a free PS2?

          Yes?

          Only when you purchase the older 60 gig model.

      • Re:I'm Confused (Score:5, Insightful)

        by corsec67 (627446) on Wednesday February 18, 2009 @01:40PM (#26903947) Homepage Journal

        Do you have to buy a PS3 to get a PS2?

        Do you have to buy Terminator 2 to get Terminator 1?

        • Re:I'm Confused (Score:4, Insightful)

          by sexconker (1179573) on Wednesday February 18, 2009 @01:50PM (#26904085)

          No, and you don't need to buy Vista to get XP.
          Choose a vendor that still sells XP.
          Buy XP separately.
          Use your old XP license on your new computer.

          XP Home is $90.
          Vista Home Basic is $90.

          If a vendor has entered into an agreement with MS that states that all PCs must ship with Vista, then that was their fault. If they want to offer XP, for free or for an additional fee, that is their choice.

          There is no rock or hard place.

          • If a vendor has entered into an agreement with MS that states that all PCs must ship with Vista, then that was their fault

            Unless, of course, the only way in which you are allowed to sell Vista as an OEM is if you stop selling XP. Then it's an antitrust violation from Microsoft.

          • XP Home is $90.
            Vista Home Basic is $90.

            And elsewhere in this discussion, it is mentioned that the Vista Home Package does not include a right to downgrade to WinXP. It needs to be upgraded to a Vista Business Package (at a cost of apx $100), which can then be downgraded to WinXP.

        • by MightyYar (622222)

          Do you have to buy Terminator 2 to get Terminator 1?

          If you bought Terminator 2 with the assurance from Universal Pictures that you could in fact get a free copy of Terminator 1, only to take it to the store and be told that it would cost you $20.

          That's why people are pissed.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by sexconker (1179573)

            What vendor promised a free copy of XP?
            What vendor didn't deliver?

            What involvement does MS have in the fulfillment of contracts between vendors and customers?

            • by MightyYar (622222)

              What involvement does MS have in the fulfillment of contracts between vendors and customers?

              I'll leave all that stuff to the courts... fact is that customers are being assured that they can downgrade to XP and then getting charged for the privilege... that's why they are pissed. If you take off your geek-goggles for a moment and try to read this mess [dell.com], you'll see why people are confused and mad. I mean, let me get this straight, to get XP I buy Vista Business or do I need Ultimate? Oh, wait, I need Vista Business BONUS or Vista Ultimate BONUS? I mean, jumping Jesus on a pogo stick, this is some mar

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by RoFLKOPTr (1294290)

          Do you have to buy a PS3 to get a PS2?

          Do you have to buy Terminator 2 to get Terminator 1?

          No, but the thing is that the OEMs and Microsoft don't WANT to sell XP anymore... but there's a market for it. It's called supply and demand. Of course, there's as much supply as they feel like making, but if the demand is high, they're gonna raise the price as high as they can get away with... and so far looks to me like they can get away with the high prices, seeing how people keep paying the downgrade fees.

          This lawsuit is a total joke, and if this woman wins it I will have even more concern for the curre

          • by corsec67 (627446)

            This lawsuit is a total joke, and if this woman wins it I will have even more concern for the current state of our judicial system that I already have. If she doesn't want to pay for her software, she should switch to Linux... that's the Slashdot philosophy anyway, isn't it?

            The issue isn't that the woman doesn't want to pay for XP. She wants to get XP without paying for an unrelated and exta OS.

            The issue is that she doesn't want to be forced to buy something that she isn't going to use to buy something she

            • Re:I'm Confused (Score:4, Insightful)

              by Xtravar (725372) on Wednesday February 18, 2009 @02:26PM (#26904565) Homepage Journal

              The issue isn't that the woman doesn't want to pay for XP. She wants to get XP without paying for an unrelated and exta OS.

              The issue is that she doesn't want to be forced to buy something that she isn't going to use to buy something she does want.

              Just because she can't get XP pre-installed for no additional cost from a vendor of her choosing...

              ...does not mean that she can't find a different vendor or build her own machine with XP.

              There are copies of XP out there - buy them! If Dell were her only method of getting a computer with XP, that would be one thing. But it's not - there are alternative options.

              • by jedidiah (1196)

                Just because she can't get XP pre-installed for no additional cost from a vendor of her choosing...

                OK then: name ONE hardware vendor that YOU personally trust enough to buy from that also sells what this woman wants.

                This is the great OEM runaround. Sure there are small mom & pop operations that
                effectively fall through the cracks of Microsoft's monopoly. However, they tend
                to be small operations that may not be in business next month.

                If Microsoft is telling people that they can either sell Vista or XP, then
                there are bound to be few large established vendors selling XP anymore.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Swift Kick (240510)

          When Sony advertises the PS3, it specifically states in the ad or the box whether that specific model will or not it will be able to play PS2 titles. If you want PS2 functionality, you either pay extra for a model that is backwards-compatible (*gasp*) or you will have to buy a PS2 as well.

          When you buy Terminator 2, you're getting Terminator 2 and nothing else, unless you're buying a bundle that includes the previous version.

          Likewise, when a person buys a PC with Vista, that's exactly what they're getting.

          • Re:I'm Confused (Score:5, Insightful)

            by vadim_t (324782) on Wednesday February 18, 2009 @02:31PM (#26904647) Homepage

            You don't want a PC with Vista? Fine, don't buy it.

            Right, so I won't

            You want the PC but with XP?

            Yes

            Fine, buy it with Vista and install it yourself,

            No, I won't pay a cent for something I don't plan to use. I very specifically don't want to reward in the slightest or appear in the usage statistics of something I don't want to touch with a 10 foot pole.

            *or* pay the extra $50 or whatever and have them do it for you.

            Neither. It doesn't make sense that I have to pay extra for the ability of using something older, which by all logic should be cheaper.

            You were given the choice, don't bitch about it.

            I wasn't given enough choice, and yes, I will bitch about it until satisfied, because that's the only way things get done these days. See the recent Facebook TOS change. Have enough people complain about it loudly enough, and things do get done.

            The manufacturers aren't doing me a favour by allowing me to buy their products. I'm doing them a favour by choosing their product and paying a price, and no, I'm not going to comply with arbitrary demands and act as if their offerings were gifts from heaven.

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by Swift Kick (240510)

              No, I won't pay a cent for something I don't plan to use. I very specifically don't want to reward in the slightest or appear in the usage statistics of something I don't want to touch with a 10 foot pole.

              Then don't buy it, period. If you're so adamant about not touching Vista in any way/shape/form, and all manufacturers offer are systems with Vista pre-installed, then I guess you won't be purchasing a system then. That's the choice you have.

              It doesn't make sense that I have to pay extra for the ability of using something older, which by all logic should be cheaper.

              How is it illogical?
              It is not uncommon to find 'older' things to be more expensive than 'new' things for whatever reason. For example, original IBM Model M keyboards are quite pricey, even though they're *old*. You can get a Model M clone from a number of different pl

              • Re:I'm Confused (Score:5, Insightful)

                by vadim_t (324782) on Wednesday February 18, 2009 @03:17PM (#26905409) Homepage

                Then don't buy it, period.

                So as I said, I don't. XP is what I want, but I refuse to get it by getting Vista first. The only option I will go with is "XP, at a normal price"

                How is it illogical?
                It is not uncommon to find 'older' things to be more expensive than 'new' things for whatever reason. For example, original IBM Model M keyboards are quite pricey, even though they're *old*.

                That one is easy, there's demand, there's little supply, and you can't make an original Model M without restarting whatever factory made them, which may have already been demolished.

                Software is much different. Pressing an XP CD and pressing a Vista CD has the same cost, measured in cents. Preloading XP is unlikely to be more expensive than preloading Vista, especially since it's something that's been done for many years, and every manufacturer by now will have the process fully set up and debugged.

                By all logic, XP should be cheaper.

                The only reason it isn't is because Microsoft wants to sell people Vista, regardless of what they want. But that has nothing to do with the economics of CD pressing and distribution.

                Manufacturers are not allowing you to do anything; they make a product and offer it for sale, and it's your choice to buy it or not. If the product does not meet your needs, expectations, or ideology, you're free to buy a different product, not buy anything at all, or go build your own.

                That's how it used to work. Things aren't like this anymore.

                These days, the customers aren't independent anonymous people who show up at a shop and make an independent choice about which flavor of jam to buy. These days they go on forums, communicate and organize, and when they figure out that they can pressure a manufacturer to get what they want, they go and do that, because in large enough numbers it works.

                You seem to fail to realize that what you say enables this. I can say "I won't buy Vista, and won't buy XP at an extra price". For me individually this means that if MS doesn't offer the option I want, then yes, I go and use something else instead. But when it turns out that it's not just me, and there are millions of people who want the same, suddenly they become strong enough to force MS bend to their demand, because when there are that many people who want something, some of them turn out to be in control of important contracts, some willing enough to start a lawsuit, some to make their opinions widely heard, and so on. And collectively, all that, might well cost more than giving people what they want.

                Manufacturers are in business to make a profit, not to respond to every whiner's whim.

                Manufacturers are in the business to respond whims shared by millions of whining potential customers, because not doing that endangers their ability to make a profit.

      • Re:I'm Confused (Score:4, Insightful)

        by SerpentMage (13390) <ChristianHGross&yahoo,ca> on Wednesday February 18, 2009 @01:54PM (#26904131)

        There is computer price X, which includes the price of OS Y.

        Thus when you buy a Vista machine you pay X + Y.

        When you downgrade you are removing Y, and replacing it with Y1.

        The question becomes what is the price of Y1? Answer Y1 > Y since you are paying to have a downgrade.

        The thing is that X + Y = Y1 + X, ideally...

        But what I think is happening is that the computer makers are saying with the downgrade you get X + Y + Y1. However the client has clearly stated that they want to downgrade and hence want to buy only X + Y1, and thus should not be charged with Y.

        YET again Microsoft screws it up... Microsoft has become the laughing stock of the PC industry!

      • I'm confused.

        Do you somehow think that buying Vista gives you a free copy of XP?

        No, but if I specified XP instead of Vista, (as is the case here), I certainly would not expect to pay more for it, especially as the 'new' stuff is supposed to better and thus more expensive.

      • Re:I'm Confused (Score:4, Informative)

        by Vancorps (746090) on Wednesday February 18, 2009 @02:10PM (#26904323)

        Actually yes, buying Vista does give you a license to XP Pro, or 2000 Professional, or NT4 Workstation.

        The problem is that Microsoft doesn't maintain this policy on the home side of the fence. If you buy a business OS you can downgrade all you want which is why my volume license for Windows includes keys for even Windows 2000. NT4 is considered EOL so they don't give you keys for it anymore.

        Microsoft just needs to do the same thing on the home side to be consistent. These days companies all over seem to want to make money by nickel and diming customers through licensing. I just got off the phone with VMWare and their licensing model is so screwed up they didn't give me what I ordered despite them producing the quote to begin with based on my specifications. I've had the same thing happen with Oracle, and NetApp. It makes good financial sense from a bean counter perspective but it means that you now have to have dedicated licensing personnel which is annoying to say the least.

      • by hardburn (141468)

        Does buying Half Life 2 get me Half Life 1? Oh, wait, it actually did.

        The PS3/PS2 example demonstrates a problem inheirent with physical products. Computer code doesn't have these limitations, except via a legal fiction. It costs Microsoft nothing to let you use your Vista license on XP, so why not just do it? As Valve demonstrates, you can increase your sales by throwing it in as one big bundle, so it makes good business sense to do so.

      • It's software... not a physical object ... if fact it's not even that it's a licence ....

        The costs charged for the downgrade are for someone taking the PC off the production line re-imageing the drive to the XP image and re-testing it with the XP testbed .... time is money and this takes extra time

        Microsoft *may* not see anything from this at all ...? -1xVista +1xXP =~ 0

    • Re:I'm Confused (Score:5, Insightful)

      by leromarinvit (1462031) on Wednesday February 18, 2009 @01:37PM (#26903915)

      something that to many people and organizations is still considered a valued piece of software.

      There's the problem. People consider XP more valuable than Vista and are willing to pay extra for it, so they charge extra.

    • Re:I'm Confused (Score:5, Informative)

      by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968&gmail,com> on Wednesday February 18, 2009 @01:43PM (#26904005) Journal

      That is why if MSFT wants to pull this "no profits" BS then how about giving us choice, huh? Are they afraid of the free market? The market has spoke and they DO NOT want Vista. So instead of creating a situation where consumers are "damned if you do and damned if you don't" put XP back on the shelves. I'm sure most consumers would rather go buy a nice disc from Staples or Best Buy than deal with "downgrade rights" and all that other crap.

      But of course we all know it isn't about "rights" or the free market. it is about MSFT force feeding customers a Vista Business license for the "privilege" of getting rid of Vista and going back to a decent OS, which is what XP has been since SP2 and is really nice since SP3. And what about the home users? I just had a home user chunk a copy of Vista Premium in the trash after not being able to get it to work worth a damn with his PC, only to schedule an appointment to hand me $120 for putting XP Home on. Why shouldn't HE have "downgrade rights?" Do they honestly think the home users actually WANT Vista? This whole damned thing since XP sales "ended" has smelled like a "wink wink, nudge nudge" kind of deal, where the OEMs get to push an OS that folks will buy, MSFT gets the extra cash from Vista Business licenses even when all they get is XP, and as usual the consumer gets screwed. The whole thing IMHO stinks.

      • by berend botje (1401731) on Wednesday February 18, 2009 @01:56PM (#26904173)
        If you're not happy with Vista (and I can certainly understand that) and you feel you're being winked-and-nudged by the hoops you have to jump through to get XP, maybe you shouldn't still be giving MS the cash.

        What if everyone that wanted XP didn't buy Vista to downgrade and instead wrote to MS that they wanted XP without hoops?

        Sure, the first few hundred will be laughed at by customer support. The next thousand maybe not so much. And after a hunderd thousand customers called (and sales not made) you can bet XP is all over the shelves again.

        Sometimes life can be so easy, but we choose to make it difficult.
        • Or just start phoning up the OEMs and say you want a machine running either 'XP or Linux'. I doubt it would take MS very long to start pricing XP very attractively given this choice.
    • I am guessing the charge is not exactly for XP itself, its the additional work that needs to be done to put XP on a machine that already has Vista on it.
  • Customization cost (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Onaga (1369777) on Wednesday February 18, 2009 @01:36PM (#26903893)

    Maybe their whole production process is customized with a Vista image. Imagine that you now have an employee that needs to yank out the vista hard drive, throw in an xp hard drive, and then have another employee make sure that it is an XP system before it ships out. Not to mention the cost of changing the OS sticker on the laptop...

    • by eln (21727)

      Not to mention the cost of changing the OS sticker on the laptop...

      I told Dell it was a bad idea to switch to those new diamond-studded OS stickers, but nooooo, they wouldn't listen.

      • They still use the same stickers. They only upgraded the glue to "will-never-ever-come-off" strenght.

        I hate those stickers.
        • by Zakabog (603757)

          They still use the same stickers. They only upgraded the glue to "will-never-ever-come-off" strenght.

          I hate those stickers.

          Get a razor blade, slide it between the sticker and the case. If you can keep the precise angle you could leave the sticker completely undamaged possibly with some cosmetic damage to the case (I've done it without damaging the case before.) I used to work in a computer shop and we'd do that if we were swapping out cases on a machine.

          • by GIL_Dude (850471)
            You want to heat the glue a bit with a lighter first. Not enough to scorch the sticker (the case is a heat sink so it doesn't scorch too easily).

            God - I am so old, it was actually part of my early employment to walk around with NEW PRICE TAGS and a lighter to remove old tags and replace them when the price went up. We had to remove them from cellophane packaging, cardboard packaging, you name it. (This was about a year before we got UPC scanners and the only prices after that were on the shelf and not on t
    • by jimicus (737525)

      Well, probably not with Dell seeing as they build to order unless you buy through the retail channel they're starting to establish.

      Perhaps the case that kicked this off was someone who bought through the retail channel?

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by ramsejc (671676)

        My experience with XP Downgrades is with Lenovo, HP, and Dell.

        Lenovo and HP gave me XP downgrades for free (I did have to cover the shipping, like $8 or something.) They said there was no cost, because the Vista Business and Ultimate EULA grants me permission to downgrade without buying an XP license.

        Then, I tried to downgrade a Dell that my friend owns. It has Vista Home Premium, and Dell said the same thing - if it was Ultimate or Business, it would be free, since it is not, I have to buy and install a re

        • by jimicus (737525)

          and the Dell salesman talked her into buying with Vista, saying that she can always downgrade later if she does not like it.

          ... and by sheer blind bad luck, wouldn't you know it, that particular sales call wasn't recorded.

    • by theJML (911853)

      Sad to say, that right there is probably the way it works.

      Yes Dell builds them to custom spec. but they most likely don't have install images for Every combo of components let alone two sets, one with Vista and one with XP. So they take a base XP image and add the right drivers to it to work. Sure this is a small change, but it's a change and one that dell charges $20 for. Which considering the time added (gathering the right drivers for XP, perhaps changing the way they test features that the system has th

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 18, 2009 @01:37PM (#26903907)

    Even if Microsoft was making money off a so-called downgrade, why is that grounds for a lawsuit? Are companies only allowed to profit from certain product lines now?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Abreu (173023)

      One more time, with feeling!

      Microsoft demands that you pay for the upgrade to Windows Vista Business in order to give you "downgrade rights" to install Windows XP

      This is why there's a lawsuit

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        And why is that illegal? You've answered the question without telling him what he wanted to know.
        • by jedidiah (1196)

          Microsoft is a monopoly.

          Whether or not Dell wants to keep selling XP is a choice for Dell. They
          should be the party in control here. Beyond the ability to get XP from
          Microsoft, Microsoft shouldn't have any say in the matter.

          This is why the "car with square wheels" analogy doesn't work.

          Any automaker that decides to be too much of an ass has to worry
          about a planetfull of competitors taking up the slack.

          Ultimately, there should be NO discriminatory pricing for Microsoft
          products and any vendor should be free to

  • by erroneus (253617) on Wednesday February 18, 2009 @01:38PM (#26903933) Homepage

    While it is possible that PC makers are capitalizing on what people don't want, I find it is more likely that Microsoft has a lot to do with encouragement to include/install Vista and/or discouragement to install/include Windows XP.

    I suspect all that needs to be revealed is the ways in which Microsoft influences this activity.

  • by The Ultimate Fartkno (756456) on Wednesday February 18, 2009 @01:40PM (#26903951)

    ...is around $.05 and the development costs have already been sunk, can someone pleeeze explain to me how a $60 downgrade to XP isn't profitable?

    Look, Microsoft, I've tried my best. I've been on Slashdot for going on a decade now and I *still* use Windows. I use all the classic excuses, y'know? I like my games. I like it when things just work. I hate the command line. Hell, I even spent an hour last night fiddling with Ubuntu just so a couple of my *NIXy friends would stop giving me the stinkeye, and even though it took me nine reboots to get the goddamned CD out of the drive I *STILL* went back to XP, just to hear that familiar bootup chime. But y'know what? This kind of shit is getting harder and harder to defend. Seriously. Pick your battles, you jackoffs. Those of us who keep drinking the Kool-Aid are starting to eyeball Mother McGee's Homemade Colon Tonic, if you get my meaning.

    • by Dynedain (141758)

      Because MS doesn't get the $60, the OEM does. MS is saying the small fraction of that $60 they see isn't even enough to cover the admin costs of licensing.

    • by SerpentMage (13390) <ChristianHGross&yahoo,ca> on Wednesday February 18, 2009 @02:00PM (#26904203)

      I hear you...

      I use Windows as well, and Microsoft has become a laughing stock.... This company has become completely incompetent.

      A good friend of mine has said things have changed. I asked how so. Well it used to be Microsoft would produce good stuff, now the management is there to do checkmarks.

      I again asked, checkmarks?

      Yes managers go there do a product cycle or so and then move on. They are not there to see the crap that they produce. They see the other crap and say, "oh this is how things are better and put in something else, thus adding to the crap." Then when they move on in a few years they get the Microsoft name on their resume and do real things...

      There is some truth because NOBODY would work at Microsoft to get vested. The Microsoft share price has been doing nothing for the past 8 years. Thus the only thing you could get is a checkmark on the resume...

  • Can they also prove black is white and avoid being killed by a zebra?

  • The check's in the mail, I'll respect you in the morning and we don't make any money on giving you permission to install a copy of an OS we built 8 years ago and really all we're giving you is a number to use that's tied to that particular hardware and you better pray to God (or whatever flying spagetti monster you pray to) that the hardware doesn't take a shit because then you'll lose your OEM licensing rights because it was tied to the old hardware and there's not a damn thing you can do. /deep breath

    Did

  • Microsoft Says No(t As Much) Profit In Vista-XP Downgrades (As We'd Like)

  • In my experiance when you look at a machine that is availible with various editions of vista and with downgrades to XP the price of a downgrade is usually quite close to the price with the edition of vista it is being downgraded from

    The catch is that you can't downgrade home editions of vista. So if you want XP you have to buy vista buisness (or ultimate but that is even more expensive) even if you would have been happy with XP home.

  • by iammani (1392285) on Wednesday February 18, 2009 @02:10PM (#26904327)

    Then why dont they start shipping XP? May be there is something else to it, than directly making a profit. May be, they can charge the OEMs more for Vista, since the OEMs can inturn charge the customer extra for downgrades. Guess how much vista would have been worth, if no body could downgrade to XP from vista and XP was available in retail.

    Frankly, I dont expect MSFT to do anything that does not directly correlate to immediate profits.

    • Frankly, I dont expect MSFT to do anything that does not directly correlate to immediate profits.

      Imagine that, a business interested in profits! Judging by the sheer number of similar comments I often see here on slashdot, I can safely assume that slashdot is generally full of tech-savvy morons.

      I don't know if you realize this -- I would assume it is implied knowledge, but a business is obligated to be as profitable as lawfully possible to their shareholders and employees. And at least in Microsoft's case, much of that profit is going to a good cause.

  • This is a little OT, but Cringley has a blog post/podcast entitled "Bob the Impaler" where he discusses Microsoft's profitability, and how they've developed a structure of hiding profit to fly low on the radar of the Federal Trade Commission. I have a feeling that these unprofitable up/down grades are somewhere in that fat...

    Cringely's home page [cringely.com] it's about 2/3 down the page.

    -Runz
  • by Ruger (237212) on Wednesday February 18, 2009 @02:23PM (#26904539) Homepage

    ...grade. An XP "downgrade" can only be purchased with a Business or Ultimate version of Vista. So if a customer is looking at a configure-to-order laptop such as with Dell or Lenovo, then in many cases customers have to upgrade their OS from Home Basic or Home Premium in order to get the XP downgrade option.

    Is this charging more for XP...in many people's minds, yes. But legally (Full disclosure: IANAL), they are paying for the Vista upgrade, not for the XP downgrade.

  • by Suzuran (163234) on Wednesday February 18, 2009 @02:27PM (#26904587)

    For every user that buys a Vista license and then downgrades, MS gets to claim that as a Vista sale. The higher sales numbers serve as marketing copy. It's artificially inflating their sales.

  • by ryen (684684)
    Lenovo charges for the downgrade as well. But they justify it by letting you 'upgrade' back to Vista after you've downgraded, if you should choose to upgrade at a later time. Them giving you that 'option' will cost you $70 a pop.
  • The only thing I could think of is that she tried the upgrade after the sale, which would have an added media cost.

    According to Lenovo's Self Maintainer program, The R61 XP Pro Recovery CD's (P/N 44Y2596) Retails for $36 even. Labor claim is anywhere between $20 and $70 depending on what you have to replace (Systemboards are $70 for example) and are set by Lenovo at entitlement. If it's a warranty claim, Lenovo reimburses you the labor. The only way Lenovo would reimburse a OS Reinstall is if the Hard drive

  • There's no fucking profit in forcing me to use an upgrade that requires me to purchase more hardware. If I have to buy 2-3 more gigs of ram and I have to have a higher capacity HDD and I have to buy a flash device for readyboost, and I have to buy a better video card, well, that means that my costs are greater than the lack of profit Microsoft experiences.

    This is a total crock of shit. Who cares if they make a profit. It's about me. It's not about me doing something for them. They shouldn't have produc

  • Upgrades usually involve a fee...so this kinda makes sense if you're cynical enough.

  • 1999 called... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Brandybuck (704397) on Wednesday February 18, 2009 @06:27PM (#26908619) Homepage Journal

    1999 called, and they want their rant back!

    Seriously, can we stop with the Microsoft-is-Eeevil and I-had-to-pay-microsoft-tax crap? Or is it a religious mindset that won't let you see the truth? It's impossible to convince a flatearther that the world is not flat, a troofer that 9/11 wasn't an inside job, and a Microsoft-basher that the world isn't secretly being run from Redmond.

    We all have choices. If you choose to use Microsoft products, then the only one you can blame is yourself. I built a new computer over the weekend. It does not have any Microsoft product installed. Not Windows, not Office, nothing. There was no Microsoft tax. The computer was CHEAPER than the equivalent Dell.

    Don't like that choice? Then buy an Apple. I know it's fashionable to pretend that Macs aren't really computers, but it's not much different from pretending that the world is flat. They're not much more expensive, much more stylish, and slightly more reliable. Don't like that choice either? Buy a computer with Linux, or without any OS. You won't find them at your local BigBox store, but you can find them online. So stop whining and start exercising your choice. If you don't it will just atrophy.

IF I HAD A MINE SHAFT, I don't think I would just abandon it. There's got to be a better way. -- Jack Handley, The New Mexican, 1988.

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