No, Having To Pay To Downgrade From Vista To XP Is Not An Antitrust Violation

from the that's-not-how-it-works dept

Last year we noted that while it was amusing to see a lawsuit from someone angry that they had to pay to downgrade from Vista to XP on their computer, it was hard to see how it was an antitrust violation, as the lawsuit was alleging. As we joked, perhaps that could be Microsoft's new business model: keep coming out with worse and worse operating systems, but charge people more and more to stick with the older systems. Either way, as we expected, that lawsuit didn't last long and was recently thrown out. As the court found, there was no evidence that Microsoft actually benefited from users downgrading. It seems pretty clear that Microsoft has always wanted people to sign up for its latest operating systems, and it would greatly prefer that over anyone (paying or not) downgrading to older versions. It also turned out that the "fee" the woman who brought the lawsuit paid was not to Microsoft, but to the computer manufacturer (in that case, Lenovo). In fact, the court pointed out that, technically, Microsoft gave a "free" extra operating system with the deal, since the buyer received both Vista and XP, at no additional revenue to Microsoft.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Mar 1st, 2010 @ 6:33pm

    No "Free" Operating System

    You can only run one or the other, not both. You're not even allowed to dual-boot between them.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    The Truth Beacon, Mar 1st, 2010 @ 6:50pm

    Re: No "Free" Operating System

    Don't be an idiot, yes you can. All you have to do is use any common partitioning app to reduce the factory size so you have a second partition for vista/7. Then install vista/7 to that new partition using the key provided on the bottom.

    This isn't a Microsoft problem, it's an idiot problem. If so many people wouldn't be such fear-mongers about upgrading or changing to something new then not only will the entire computing industry flourish similar to pre-burst days (without the fraud causing the burst) and other technologies from companies such as the horrific Apple to glorious Linux will see much greater success.

    Don't be a moron Lawrence.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    Multi-Boot, Mar 1st, 2010 @ 7:07pm

    Re: Re: "Free" Operating System

    Yes, this is correct, and can be very effective. Although a word of caution is in order. Having multiple operating systems upon a single hard drive is potentially a problem when (some) software vendors think it is a good idea to write things in the master boot record that do not belong there. This can have a detrimental affect upon your dual boot capabilities. It is recoverable, but is a pain. I have found that multiple hard drives is a much better alternative. It used to be easy with cable select, but now there are affordable 5.25' bay devices which allow easy hd changes. Try it, you'll like it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    icon
    Modplan (profile), Mar 1st, 2010 @ 7:13pm

    Hmmm...

    I'm not entirely sure about this.

    "Microsoft mandates that customers who want to downgrade to XP must purchase the license to Vista Business or Vista Ultimate," Frink said. "[That's] typically about a $130 premium, though some retail outlets charge more."


    http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9123045/Dell_We_re_not_charging_more_for_XP_downgra des

    Los Angeles resident Emma Alvarado charged Microsoft with multiple violations of Washington state's unfair business practices and consumer protection laws over its policy of barring computer makers from continuing to offer XP on new PCs after Vista's early-2007 launch. Alvarado is seeking compensatory damages and wants the case declared a class-action suit.

    According to Alvarado, Microsoft coerced computer makers into "agreeing to restrictive and anticompetitive licensing terms" for XP. "Microsoft did so in order to maintain, protect and extend its market power in operating systems software into the next generation of personal computing, to lessen competition, to promote Vista and to enhance its monopoly position," her lawsuit claimed.


    http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9127950/Lawsuit_targets_Microsoft_over_Vista_to_X P_downgrades

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    icon
    Modplan (profile), Mar 1st, 2010 @ 7:14pm

    Re: Re: No "Free" Operating System

    The point is the license is transferred - you cannot use the same license for both at the same time. You are effectively getting one operating system, not 2.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 1st, 2010 @ 7:34pm

    Re: Re: Re: No "Free" Operating System

    Seriously? Read up on Microsoft's EULA. The terms of the license actually cover 2 earlier generations of the O/S that is a "like" system. IE. Win 7 Pro, Vista Business, XP Pro. You can triple boot them and yes the license covers ALL at the same time, you just technically are not allowed to run all three simultaneously. What you are not allowed to do is take that license and use it to install those operating systems on three different machines and run them all at the same time.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    icon
    Modplan (profile), Mar 1st, 2010 @ 7:55pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: No "Free" Operating System

    You can triple boot them and yes the license covers ALL at the same time, you just technically are not allowed to run all three simultaneously. What you are not allowed to do is take that license and use it to install those operating systems on three different machines and run them all at the same time.


    That just confused me - you can use all 3, except you can't?

    My point appears to be exactly the same as you stated. The license is only allowed to be used on one version at any one time. This means you are getting one operating system - you simply get to choose the older one if you didn't want the new one, but regardless you are only allowed one. I've heard nothing about the license being re-transferable (or at least, being allowed to by their terms) once you've gone to XP.

    I consider getting 2 for one as actually getting 2 for one - both products for the price as one to use as how I see fit, not paying for the highest cost one then being allowed to choose the older lower cost one afterwards without refund and neither at the same time.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 1st, 2010 @ 7:57pm

    The real question that should be asked is should Microsoft still have a monopoly on an operating system (ie: Windows XP) that it no longer creates new copies of?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 1st, 2010 @ 8:40pm

    What's up with that topic thingie ?

    It's out of control !

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 1st, 2010 @ 8:44pm

    Re:

    When microsoft or any other company discontinues support for their product, are they still entitled to monetary compensation for its continued use ?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 1st, 2010 @ 8:47pm

    Re: Re:

    What ever happened to TAM? Did the pharmaceutical corporations that hired him to drive people to psychiatric drugs get paid off by the record industry to stop having him post? Will he find another pharmaceutical corporation that will pay him? We need to discuss what happened to him. Any theories?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 1st, 2010 @ 8:49pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Err.... this was meant in response to the AC that said, "What's up with that topic thingie ?" but I accidentally responded to you instead. Sorry.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 1st, 2010 @ 8:50pm

    Re: Re:

    I say NO!!!

    However, by support, do you mean updates? Ie: If Microsoft still provides (critical) updates to XP they still consider it under support. Or by support do you mean the sale of new copies?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    identicon
    Forge, Mar 1st, 2010 @ 9:15pm

    Re: Re: No "Free" Operating System

    That's a licensing violation. If you don't care about those, you can find any MS OS you want on a torrent.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    Dohn Joe, Mar 1st, 2010 @ 10:33pm

    This IS in Fact Antitrust Activity

    From the point of view of a non-Windows user this is definite antitrust violation since they are raising the cost of my purchase of a system, WinXP, which better interoperates with competing platforms.

    As for MS not being involved in the upgrade fee let's get serious - computer resellers can't even fart quietly without Microsoft's thumbs up!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 2nd, 2010 @ 5:13am

    Re: Re: Re:

    By discontinue suuport, I meant that they no longer provide code fixes. In this case, is a company still required to pay its annual license fee for $x * #seats ?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 2nd, 2010 @ 5:15am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "What's up with that topic thingie ?"

    Was in reference to a self replicating topic growing out of control. Looks like it has been repaired.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    icon
    melodycenta.com (profile), Mar 2nd, 2010 @ 7:34am

    It's out of control !

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    identicon
    NAMELESS.ONE, Mar 2nd, 2010 @ 8:14am

    YES and free is good

    why LINUX it boys n girls the 2nd poster has it perfectly ..its a idiot problem and unfortunately he actuially is one too. YOU see there is this OS called linux , its free more secure then windows and has a better chance of staying up should you want. ALMOST all its software is free and if not free VERY cheap often times. AND you even can modify stuff your self if your NOT A STUPID MORON like the 1st two posters.

    YES folks you too can prove your not a mornon or stupid.
    USE LINUX TODAY

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    identicon
    william, Mar 2nd, 2010 @ 9:42am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: No "Free" Operating System

    Let me see if I can sort this out.

    It's basically like you bough an Win7 car and the dealer gave you, for free, a Vista car and a Win7 Car with the same vehicle identification number. You are allowed to drive all three car, but not at the same time. For example, you take XP out for a spin to buy grocery, comes home, pick up Vista to go to work, comes home, then take the Win7 to pick up your wife to go to dinner.

    However, you are NOT allowed to have your family member or any other people besides you drive any of the three car while you are using one of them. For example, you cannot use XP car to go to work, and have you wife drives Vista car to do some grocery shopping. This is basically where the simultaneous thing AC talked about. However, if you come home and leave the XP car, your wife are not free to take any one of those cars and you are not allowed to use those three cars while she uses one of them.

    Is this more clear now? So in essence, you got three cars for the price of one and gets to use it, but you can't use all three at the same time.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    icon
    william (profile), Mar 2nd, 2010 @ 9:44am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: No "Free" Operating System

    sorry correction, I meant to say
    "your wife are now free to take any one of those cars"
    and not
    "your wife are not free to take any one of those cars"

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    identicon
    Anon, Mar 4th, 2010 @ 3:19pm

    Re: This IS in Fact Antitrust Activity

    Ummm actually its not...

    MS is not forcing Lenovo to bundle Windoz on their machines. Just like you could buy a Dell with a version of Linux installed. So in fact, what you are trying to say is utter bull shite.

    Just because MS may persuade them to sell Windows with their systems, doesn't mean that they have too, again Dell as an example.

    I believe you could even buy it without an OS... I forgot what company I was building a system on... but it actually had an option for NO OS installed... I think it was HP.

    So how does it feel to be full of shite....

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This