Microsoft Backs Off Vista Hardware Ties

Microsoft  has backed down on its previously-disclosed licensing terms for Vista and will now allow for unlimited installations on a single device.

The previous license for Vista marked a change from past operating systems, in that it tied the copy of Vista to the hardware.

The license would allow for one license transfer, from an old computer to a new one, and after that, the customer would have to buy a new copy of Vista. This did not set well among the home PC builder community, who constantly upgrade their computers piece by piece over the years.

“We heard that users wanted more flexibility, and this change should give hardware enthusiasts in particular more latitude to upgrade their PCs or reassign their license to a new PC, while still making clear our intentions to protect our software from piracy,” said a Microsoft spokesperson.

The new license agreement now reads “You may uninstall the software and install it on another device for your use. You may not do so to share this license between devices.”

Also, Microsoft changed transfer rights to other users, so that a Vista licensee may transfer their license of Windows Vista to another user, provided that they uninstall the original copy and do not keep the original installation.

This was all clarified in a blog posting by Vista product manager Nick White.

“Our intention behind the original terms was genuinely geared toward combating piracy; however, it’s become clear to us that those original terms were perceived as adversely affecting an important group of customers: PC and hardware enthusiasts,” he wrote.

Joe Wilcox, senior analyst with JupiterKagan, called it a good move because even though the old licensing plan would affect a small number of users, they are vocal. “Enthusiasts are any company’s best marketers. Best that Microsoft keep them happy,” he said.

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