back to article US woman sues again over XP 'downgrade', seeks class action

A US woman who earlier this year unsuccessfully tried to sue Microsoft for allegedly charging her extra to downgrade from Windows Vista to XP has brought another lawsuit against the software giant. Emma Alvarado of Los Angeles, California, filed a complaint in a federal court last week, reports Computer World. She has now …


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  1. gautam

    About time

    ....Microsfot gets it comeuppance and lose this case.

    Can I buy a computer from any of the UK retailers cheaply (ie without any MS OS preinstalled)?. What amount of OS does the PC retail costs ?

    This should prove interesting. Will anyone sell it cheaper minus the OS? How about such a test case here.

    1. Skrrp

      OS-free computers

      When you look at their systems they are all listed as without an OS and you choose to add any of the current flavour of MS builds, clearly listing the cost of the component.

      Sadly, their laptops are still forced to have an OS.

    2. Al Jones

      They would sell you one if there was a profit to be made.

      The OS adds about 15-20 pounds to the cost of a retail PC. And the people buying a Windows PC at a retail store often buy software as well, or a printer. In many cases, the retailers profit comes from the software, rather than from the PC.

      People buying a "barebones" PC so that they can install the copy of a free OS probably aren't going to be buying software to go with it. So even aside from the fact that there's hardly any demand (go and ask anyone working in one of those stores how many customers ask for a PC without Windows pre-installed, at least now that Vista is a distant memory), it just doesn't make any sense to waste inventory on carrying a product that is only marginally cheaper (certainly not enough so to drive additional business), but is considerably less profitable.

      If there was a market for PCs without Windows pre-installed, someone would fill it. There isn't, and it doesn't take a paranoid conspiracy theory to see why.

      There's absolutely nothing stopping you from setting up a business to sell barebones PCs, if you think the high street retailers have missed an opportunity.

      1. Keith T

        Tell them that at the Mac Store.

        Of course there is a market.

        But the way you are thinking of the issue is defining a PC as the sort of machine that runs Windows. Yes, Windows PCs (PCs with hardware that only Windows supports) do all come with Windows.

        The problem with selling Windows PCs to regular retail customers without an operating system, letting them install Linux or Unix, or installing Linux or Unix for them, is that they won't succeed and they'll complain to their friends. They'll have problems they can't surmount, and they'll bad mouth you. Even if you sell it to them in working condition, sooner or later they'll need to install some security fixes, and they'll be back on your doorstep.

        But if you are a regular retail customer, ignorant of the upgrade and maintenance of operating systems, sure enough shops will be happy to sell you a Mac.

    3. david bates

      Yes, yes you can...

      I saved £70 by buying an Acer Revo with Linpus instead on Windows installed.

      Mind you, Linpus was such a bag of nails that it didnt even come with the wireless drivers that the Revo actually needed. Acer could hardly have been more halfhearted if they'd shoved the all components in a shoebox with a piece of paper suggesting that the bits plugged together in some way before shipping it.

      Kubuntu solved the problem nicely.

      1. Keith T

        Exactly the problem for retailers

        David, you describe the predicament for retailers exactly.

        You solved the problem yourself, but 98% of retail customers wouldn't be able to.

    4. Naughtyhorse

      err dude

      even pc world will sell you a box of bits for you to screw together yourself at home, and add whatever os you like.

      of course thats not the cheap option it used to be, which is kinda begrudging credit to the likes of dell/hp et al

    5. westlake

      Bare bones is for the enthusiast and the IT pro.

      >>Can I buy a computer from any of the UK retailers cheaply (ie without any MS OS preinstalled)?. What amount of OS does the PC retail costs ? This should prove interesting. Will anyone sell it cheaper minus the OS?<<

      The OEM system install and OEM system bundle has been the gold standard in the home and SOHO markets for thirty years.

      The buyer gets a balanced - tested - configuration that is sold under warranty. It works as advertised or is returned within thirty days.

      Bare bones doesn't sell worth s---t.

      Walmart - with its enormous global purchasing power - has never been able to significantly undercut OEM Windows on price.

      After-Market sales of Windows hardware, software and peripherals are strong. finds it profitable to stock about 1,000 Windows programs, retail boxed. 100 multi-function printers. 79 webcams.

      --- and, however fantastic it may sound ---785 flavors of the Windows keyboard, mouse and joystick.

      Retailers love to see numbers like this - and they become another kick in the teeth for Linux.

    6. Giles Jones Gold badge

      OEM licence

      Microsoft has bullied OEMs into reporting people who ask for a computer without Windows. They obviously assume that such people are pirating Windows instead of the more logical options like:

      1. They already have a Windows CD (non-OEM).

      2. They want to run Linux, FreeBSD or some other non-Windows OS.

      Why do Microsoft sell Windows in a retail box if you can't then buy a new computer without Windows to save the price of a Windows OEM licence? it must inflate their sales figures quite nicely.

      I remember taking delivery of a new computer at work once, it had Windows 98 with it which was then wiped and Windows NT4 installed. So for every computer sold to business it's possible there are two Windows licences for it.

      1. Anonymous Coward


        "Microsoft has bullied OEMs into reporting people who ask for a computer without Windows."

        Really? Really?

        Any proof or are do you just need a bigger tinfoil hat?

    7. Darren Forster

      Buy one with Linux on then...

      You can buy a laptop without Windows on, such as one with Linux on, as Linux is a free operating system the company selling the laptop can only charge the cost to install it on the laptop (and/or the costs for the CD's), not for the actual OS (otherwise they're breaking the GPL and selling something which is not rightly theirs to sell).

      Then buy a Windows XP licence, that way you don't need to purchase Vista/7 with a laptop.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Urm... the GPL doesn't say that?

        The GPL says the opposite: They want you to sell linux!

      2. Mr. Byte

        GPL doesn't prohibit selling are allowed to charge whatever you like for the program, or give it away free of charge. You may only charge a nominal fee for supplying a fee of the source, ie: $1 for the DVD/CD, maybe $5 for copying and a reasonable shipping method.

        I personally never charge for Linux, but I do charge for the time to wipe/backup/install and configure the system.

    8. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      There is also the support issue

      If you buy a PC with an OS and all the trimmings from a retailer and it goes wrong the retailer basically just has to tell you to use the recovery disk to, well, recover your computer. 99% of domestic PC buyers would just suck this up - most people have external backup or use this as a wakeup call to get external backup.

      However if they sell you a bare bones system and something goes wrong they will end up arguing whether it is hardware, software or user error and most domestic users (even those who install their own OS) would blame the retailer for any problems rather than their own OS or installed software.

      Remember that it costs the retailer next to nothing to pre-install a MS OS - they may even make a small mark-up so it is clearly in their interests to pre-install Windows and so absolve themselves of huge amounts of customer service and reputational problems further down the line.

  2. dotdavid

    Unlikely to be successful

    Sympathising somewhat with this lady, but I doubt she'll be any more successful this time. I suspect that not many people bothered to try to downgrade Vista - even I didn't, and I have the requisite technical knowledge - but those that did may have just decided that resorting to... uh... unofficial distribution channels of Windows XP was easier than trying to do it the official way.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      That's right

      If you won't sell me the OS that I want at a fair price -- meaning what XP cost at retail when one could buy it -- then I'll get it elsewhere, for free.

      Every keyboard should come with an [UpYours] key!

  3. No, I will not fix your computer
    Gates Horns


    The logic goes, Vista Basic is not as feature-rich as XP Professional and therefore the "downgrade" is a feature upgrade, so if you upgrade to an equivalent or higher version-level of Vista or Se7en (Buiness/Professional/Ultimate) then go to XP Pro will be free.

    She believes that "downgrading" from Vista Basic to XP Pro should be free (regardless of the fact that you get more features).

    I'm not saying I agree or disagree, and if M$ still supported XP Home then offering XP Home as a free downgrade woud be reasonable alternative, perhaps they should have extended support and made that a free downgrade, but they obviously decided not to (probably because of cost), however legally (not morally!) M$ are probably OK given XP Pro was the only supported option.

    @El Reg - probably would have been a good idea to specify the XP version in the article (and the reasons for using XP Pro)

    1. Ian Michael Gumby

      You're correct...

      Look at it this way...

      Microsoft offers their OS as version X, flavor A, B, C.

      So you buy a machine and you get version 7 A installed.

      You want to downgrade to version 6C.

      So you're told that you have to upgrade version 7A to 7C before you can downgrade to 6C. And there's an additional charge in downgrading. (Cost of media, etc ...)

      That makes reasonable sense when you consider that the hardware vendor is going to ship you the machine with or without an OS for the same price because of the steep volume discounts Microsoft provides these OEMs. Its actually cheaper for the vendor to ship you with a machine that has an OS than to ship you a blank machine. (I'm going out on a limb and point out that there has to be some quality control efforts that take place, and doing an image copy of a known good OS version on a disk is a no brainer...)

      People have to remember that Vista blows and Windows 7 can be a pig and take up lots of resources that didn't exist on older hardware. (1GB memory on a laptop? Seems small, but 4 years ago, it was a lot!) [And Windows 7 didn't really exist when the complaint/action occurred and no one wanted to be on Windows 7 first and feel the pain.]

      So companies wanted the downgrade. Dell, Microcenter, HP, etc were offering machines with the downgrade bundled. This was done on kit that most businesses wanted to buy.

    2. g e


      It might at least force M$ to admit that their next OS had less features than the previous superceded version - I never knew Vista was lesser (know it's complete arse though, having tried it) - or at least maybe open some interesting legal opportunities for M$ using the word 'upgrade' in conjunction with moving from XP to Vista ;o)

      1. Diamandi Lucas

        RE: Well

        Vista isn't a lesser OS than XP in terms of features. The basic entry level version of Vista has less features than the full Professional version of XP. When comparing the equivalent versions of XP and Vista, Vista has more features.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      XP not Vista

      """The logic goes, Vista Basic is not as feature-rich as XP Professional and therefore the "downgrade" is a feature upgrade, so if you upgrade to an equivalent or higher version-level of Vista or Se7en (Buiness/Professional/Ultimate) then go to XP Pro will be free."""

      Her point is more that

      If you want Windows XP you should be allowed to purchase Windows XP

      1. DrunkenMessiah

        Re: XP not Vista

        "If you want Windows XP you should be allowed to purchase Windows XP"

        Why? It's an out dated product that is no longer on sale because there are newer versions. How many vendors still allow you to buy old versions of their products?

        If MS let you buy all their previous versions of Windows they'd be letting themselves in for a support nightmare. Everyone would still be using Windows 3.11 or Windows 95 because that's what they are used to. Bleh!

  4. JDX Gold badge

    Why on earth

    Would MS be required to allow people to buy one of their products? Isn't it theirs to sell as they wish?

    1. doperative

      Where do you read that

      > Why on earth # Would MS be required to allow people to buy one of their products? Isn't it theirs to sell as they wish?, JDX

      Where do you read that, in this case MS is charging people to remove the buggy Vista and replace it with a working version of XP.

    2. streaky

      re: Why

      Pretty sure that's Microsoft's argument. If you don't like it pick up a ubuntu dvd.

      Also this argument is so 5 years ago.

  5. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

    Microsoft's software so Microsoft's choice of licence

    I support Microsoft's right to gauge their customers for all they are worth. I can understand Microsoft admitting that XP is more valuable than Vista. I find it strange that they say XP is more valueable than a top end Windows 7 license, but I am prepared to take their word for it.

    1. kissingthecarpet

      They can gauge me all they like

      It's being gouged that I object to

    2. No, I will not fix your computer
      Gates Horns

      Re: Microsoft's software so Microsoft's choice of licence

      It's unclear from the article;

      The "downgrade" option is only available from a later operating system with more or similar features.

      The only supported version of XP was XP Professional, this posed a couple of issues for Microsoft, because, although it is an older revision of the OS it has some features better than the entry-level version of vista, multi CPU support (multi core is a different issue), ability to log on to a domain etc.

      I think that you have hit the nail on the head when you used the term "valuable", not better or more advanced, imagine if you could (for free) downgrade from Vista Basic to XP Pro, to the home user there's pretty much no loss there (they probably wouldn't use the professional features), however, imagine the corporate businesses that would prefer to buy Vista Basic licences and get XP Pro instead, Microsoft would probably lose out big time because they make a lot of cash from corporations (and they are typically slower to upgrade because of the potential business impact, just look at the Reg surveys).

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Oh give it a rest.

    Four words.




    1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson

      or just three

      1. tilting

      2. at

      3. windmills


    2. Daniel Evans


      Not just me thinking the wave of "omg lol vista r teh suxorz" comments has been done before, then!

  7. Grubby


    She didn't have to buy a computer with vista / win7 installed. I know most stores sell PCs with an OS installed but you can actually ask for one without, PC World will give it to their Geek Squad (can't remember their equivalent group) and they'll un-install it and give you a bare bones PC. It won't cost more, but it won't cost less either.

    Her complaint seems to be that it costs more to get XP on a new PC than it does for the newer OS from MS. Which is exactly the same as what most companies do. Go to your local HMV and try find a none chart CD that isn't in the sale for less than the artists new album, you won't because they want you to buy the new one.

    She sounds like a very stubborn, but wrong, person. I bet her hubby loves it when he's in work.

    1. Anonymous Coward


      err actually the reason you get cheaper chart CDs is because if you actually took the time to find an older album then your gonna buy it what ever the price is, people dont look for things that they dont want....except at xmas were you could probably bottle up "xmas air" and folk will buy it.

      but yes i like your thinking, newer CD thats cheaper than old one, makes sense

      another good one two identical products, one blue, one shocking pink, the pink one half the price, customers "demand" the blue one cheap because its the same and they "know their rights"

      they dont, They have the right not to buy something and companies have the right not to sell anything, if you dont like it then keep your cash an go else where, but whats that i hear you say? you cant? you need windows? well tough luck then, welcome to capitolism :)

  8. Richard Porter

    Why should

    anyone who buys Microsoft products deserve any compensation?

  9. Eddy Ito

    Odd pricing to begin with

    Microsoft's pricing model is about as screwed up as it gets. I'd be shocked if someone could explain the logic behind why the 7 Ultimate anytime upgrade from 7 Professional is $130 (the full boxed version is only $20 cheaper) and from 7 Home Premium it's $140 (full box version $120 cheaper). It pretty much says avoid Pro as $20 is cheap insurance if you ever want something you can only get in Ultimate.

    1. nk

      its just marketing

      I've seen stranger, and occasionally even paradoxical pricing schemes. They all make sense on some level, but the motivations behind them might be different from what most people assume.

      Suffice it to say that some products are not expected to ever sell in any serious quantities and their sole purpose is to make other offerings from that company to look like a bargain in comparison.

      Essentially, they are exploiting the way the human mind works. We tend to anchor on price way too much when making purchasing decisions

  10. Anonymous Coward


    "You have to buy a product which contains our Latest And Greatest Bugs. Certainly we have rearranged all icons in a way you will understand after five weeks of using the new hairball. We don't want to be associated with selling a proven product for more than ten years. Yours, Steve Ballmer"

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Gates Halo

      Get your facts straight

      Everybody knows that Microsoft code has no bugs. If you see bugs, you are using it wrong. Bill Gates said it, so it must be true.

  11. Andyroid5

    Happy new year !!

    Somebody send her an Ubuntu disc.. :)

  12. Paul Leclercq

    Flogging a Dead Horse?

    "Flogging a dead horse"

    True, but it still grieves me that the big battalions can "tough it out" and get away with murder. I was forced to put up with bloody Vista until I bought an OEM XP Pro and have been content ever since.

    1. It wasnt me
      Thumb Down

      good for you.

      Im aware of this as a solution. I just dont see why I should pay MS twice to get a working OS. People paid for Vista. It was nowhere near even approaching 'fit for purpose'. Why then should MS not offer a working alternative?

      Good luck to this woman, I wish I had the energy to fight to get what Ive paid for. For my part, I kicked MS and will never knowingly give them another penny. Life is actually better without them - you should all try to shake free from the monkey on your back.

  13. Doug Glass

    More Money Than Brains

    At some point, most rational human beings realize to continue the "fight" is just costing more than the fix will ever pay and they cut their loses and run. Either she's mentally deranged or has money to burn. I worked hard for my money too, but some loses, such as the one here, are simply inconsequential.

    Must be the principle of the thing. Yeah that's it, she's a mentally defective principal.

    1. Keith T

      The proof of this is that the claim won't proceed unless class action status is granted.

      In US lawsuits like these that have been examined by investigative reporters, it is typical that the first claimant in the lawsuit is in some way loosely related to the law firm making the claim.

      In other words, she isn't wasting her time and thousands of dollars in legal fees going after MS for her own expenses.

      Rather, a legal firm is using her to start a lawsuit so that the legal firm can take 20, 30, 40% of the settlement (whatever the judge will allow), which in the event of success would be tens of millions of dollars.

      The proof of this is that the claim won't proceed unless class action status is granted. She won't proceed, the law firm won't proceed, just to settle her claim against MS.

      This is a lawsuit in pursuit of legal fees, a lawsuit intended to make lawyers multi-millionaires, not a lawsuit in pursuit of restoring money to people "extorted" by MS's "dominant" market position.

    2. Anonymous Coward

      what you mean is....

      Most large corporations, including Microsoft, will drag out any court case for as long as possible knowing that you will run out of money before they do.

      To quote NMA :

      "the lawyers get fat while the law gets bought"

  14. dualcells

    START > Run > winver > click on "Microsoft Software License Terms"

    21. LIMITATION ON AND EXCLUSION OF DAMAGES. You can recover from Microsoft and its suppliers only direct damages up to the amount you paid for the software. You cannot recover any other damages, including consequential, lost profits, special, indirect or incidental damages.

    If you've bought a boxed computer with an included OS that you don't want why buy it in the first place? It's akin to buying a car with leather interior and then saying to the car dealer "I want 'X' trim package but I want to downgrade the leather to cloth seats"

    There are plenty of businesses that will custom build a computer to your needs, so why throw money away?

    In the local jurisdiction where I live the cost of merely opening a court file (consultation & filing fees) to start this type of action would be enough to buy me a couple netbook computers or even a laptop (which could easily come with Windows XP installed)

    I've dropped my two cents on the table, if you don't like them don't pick them up.

    1. Keith T

      such exclusion clauses are useless in most of the USA

      Exclusion clauses that you can only read after purchase are useless and have no effect, other than deterring the casual complainant from seeking legal advise.

      Her case is that she doesn't have a choice in OS, because MS dominates the OS market. And if that claim had merit, I believe it would override even an exclusion clause that she signed before purchase. Anti-monopoly legislation in the USA is that strong.

      After all, a powerful monopoly often will force people to sign inequitable contracts. Anti-monopoly legislation exists to override those contracts.

      1. dualcells
        Gates Horns

        Licence terms are available without purchase

        Type the following words into a google search: microsoft licence terms

        The first result I found was link to a searchable list of Microsoft product licence terms.

        No one forces me to buy a brand of product, Kraft isn't the only box of Mac & Cheese in the grocery store.

        Some people are receptive to suggestive sales (i.e. Would you like fries? Coke to drink?) If all she was offered was a computer loaded with a Microsoft Windows OS, is that the same as losing a bet to a buddy and you HAVE to buy the next round?

        Throughout school I used Mac computers, when I was shopping for my first computer I wanted to buy a Mac. I went to a store and the salesperson showed me a Compaq Presario with Windows 98. It came with a printer and a scanner. In retrospect I feel I should have bought the Mac I went in to buy.

    2. Steen Hive
      Thumb Down


      "It's akin to buying a car with leather interior and then saying to the car dealer "I want 'X' trim package but I want to downgrade the leather to cloth seats"

      It's akin to nothing of the sort. The computer you buy and the OS that may or may not be installed on it are completely different standalone products by different manufacturers! Forcibly "Bundling" a specific OS with a computer is anti-competitive exploitation of the consumer to their detriment full stop.

      Sure retailers can knock themselves out and sell packages as default with a bundled OS - as long as they are specified as 2 separate entries on the receipt and you don't have to buy one to buy the other.

    3. W. Keith Wingate
      Gates Horns

      Not exactly

      It's more like buying a car with an engine that claims to get better mileage, or provide more horsepower, or whatever, which works just well enough to get you half way home. When the car is towed back to the dealer, they want to charge you full price to replace the engine with last year's version. Not only have you bought something which violates the "implied warranty of merchantability", the very reason you've bought it has been negated, and they're charging you for the privilege!

      I have an old XP laptop, which has treated me better than any MS imaged computer (laptop or desktop) I've ever owned. I bought the missus the closest model to mine I could find a year and a half later (because she liked mine), but it came w/ Vista. It was completely unusable. So I've got myself an Ubuntu laptop now (no downgrade was available, not that I was keen to throw away good money after bad), and have offered her my old XP lappie in trade.

      Jury's still out on the Windows 7 desktop I've been playing with for the last few months, as to whether it's an "upgrade" from XP (much less Win2K) but it is far, far better than Vista ever was. A better company would be offering free "upgrades" to either XP or Win7 -- or refunds.

  15. JaitcH

    Sounds like like a lawyer working on commission!

    Oops, I forgot - lawyers don't call it commission they use the fancy term 'contingency', it sounds classier and implies risk - risk of not getting anything!

    In the U.S. losing civil litigants don't usually get to pay winners legal fees.

  16. Lewis Mettler

    consumers do feel powerless

    You must purchase IE.

    You must pay us for any options we do not like to give.

    Consumers do not count.

    Just remember, if you have a copy of IE, your opinion simply does not count.

    1. Diamandi Lucas
      Thumb Down

      RE: consumers do feel powerless

      Does your logic also apply to Safari?

      Does any iPod Touch/iPhone/iPad/Mac user who has a copy of Safari opinion count?

      I can't recall the last time anyone paid for IE or Safari, considering both are free downloads, and buying an OS doesn't constitute paying for the built in browser.

  17. Mectron

    she should be jailed

    for miss use of the court system. all she is trying is a shameless quick cash grab. you got a ultra cheap computer, with a operating system pre-install and now she is complaning that she cannot get 2nd operating system for FREE?

    she is really a low-life that should not be allowed to be near a computer in the 1st place.

    1. Keith T

      The court should make her pay MS's defence costs.

      It is not her that is making the cash grab. It is the law firm, which is probably owned by the spouse of an distant relation.

      The court should make her pay MS's defence costs.

      But judges are ex-lawyers, and many legislators are ex- or current lawyers. They aren't going to do anything to convert the legal system into a justice system, because that would hurt their colleagues fees.

    2. Anonymous Coward

      It's called barratry

      and is a misdemeanor in California. However, she brought the case in front of a federal court, so not sure if that could be made to apply

    3. Ted Treen

      You are Steve Ballmer...

      ...and I claim my prize.

    4. smellmyfinger


      Your post, I mean.

      We have one of tens, if not hundreds of millions of consumers, who have, as the courts in Europe and the US have consistently ruled, been systematically screwed by MS, taking them to court over exactly such an issue. Being screwed.

      MS brings to market a substandard product, discontinue the produce most people actually want to buy, XP, and to enforce their monopoly on Netbooks they keep XP around long after they would ordinarily have killed it simply to try and keep Linux off Netbooks, etc. Including discounting it. So the product everyone wants, but is denied by MS policy is now too cheap for them to make money off, so they force everyone else to buy a product they mostly don't want at an inflated price. Iff that is not the very definition of Monopoly power I don't know what is.

      Meaning Vista is so poor, and market competition forces them to cut prices on their only competitive product, XP, for NetBooks, but they use their monopoly position to railroad everyone else into Vista.

      No one wants their New OS, VIsta, no one with any braincells, but instead of allowing market forces, the ones all the rich pricks in charge of MS pretend to worship, they ram Vista down their customers' throats.

      At the very least MS is so tone deaf that they fail to set customer expectations properly, which is probably at the root of this woman's outrage, justified, because as others have pointed out she is clearly not the most technically au fait.

      Calling it a "Downgrade" was a dumb move, why would anyone not conversant with all the above implied and stated feel they should pay for a "downgrade"?

      MS have this coming, after years, and remember in the US all those lost monopoly cases resulted in bupkiss in terms of enforcement, it was only the EU that actually did anything substantive

    5. Ceiling Cat

      This title conatins some words.

      "now she is complaning that she cannot get 2nd operating system for FREE?"

      No, she's not.

      She's complaining that downgrading to XP costs extra.

      "Downgrading" Vista to XP does not give you the functionality of both operating systems.

  18. Badbob


    How dare Microsoft encourage people to use it's newest product and make life difficult for people that hanker for the olden days. It's MS's product to do with what they wish and i'm fairly certain that their lawyers have made sure the EULA covers luddites.

    I own a new car, it came with a CD player. I own some old cassettes but my manufacturer doesn't install them anymore. I'm sure the dealer could find me a cassette player and install it when the vehicle was delivered, but it would and should cost me more because it is now non-standard.

    The world revolves around the sun and MS will continually upgrade Windows. Deal with it!

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Give Us Money

    Microsoft's business model.

    That's all.

  20. heyrick Silver badge

    Say what?

    Just my tuppence worth - a downgrade from Vista to XP ought to be free (regardless of "feature set") given that Vista's support cycle is nearing its end (SP1 July this year, mainstream April next year) while XP SP3 will be supported until 2014.

    Ironically Windows 7 mainstream support (home editions) is quoted as January 2015, mere months after the end of XPs astonishingly long support period (over a decade, an eternity in IT terms). But downgrading Win7 to XP is... perhaps somewhat less logical.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      XP "Mainstream support" ended on April 14, 2009

      It is Extended Support that continues for XP until April 2014. Vista SP2's Extended Support continues until April 2017.

  21. Stewart Stevens

    Vista Upgrade

    I purchased a system from Dell on behalf of my father with the promise of an upgrade to Windows 7 from the known to be defective Vista. I really felt an Apple would've been a better option but my father wanted Windows because he was used to it.

    Several months later when I was back in the UK and able to deal with my dad's computer Dell turned round and said the upgrade offer had expired - leaving us with a defective system. I spent a while on the phone with Dell trying to resolve this but to no effect.

    I don't have the energy to waste fighting this. I'm not sure whose fault it is but I'd be very reluctant to involve myself in the purchase of Microsoft software or Dell systems again. I will however be honest and open about my experiences.

  22. gautam

    Theres a HUGE Gap

    Al Jones, from what you say that a preinstalled OS is only £15-20 in the price of a new pc, it would seem that MS would not make any money on such licensing! Especially when considering that retail boxed versions are upwards of £100 plus. So who's making tons of money? The retailers or M$?

    So in a court case, if one were to argue for a reduction of about £100 plus (retail boxed Ms OS)from the retailers quoted price of a PC, surely the consumer would benefit and the courts cant argue in favour of MS/Retailer ?

    If I remember correctly in these forums, It was in France that man won a case like this? Any chance of it being repeated here as a class action suit?

    I would love to see this open a can of worms in how the licenses are discriminately priced.

  23. Kool-Aid drinker

    Silly cow

    She should buy a Mac. One OS that works. No problem.

    Flame icon to save you all the bother.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    what is it with people!!

    I have issues with MS as much as the next person but there is no denying they havent done some good, even if your a penguin lover you have to like MS for all the extra effort thats been put in to your OS because of how much you dont like MS products, think about it if everyone loved MS then the need for Linux would be minimal in the desktop markets, anyhow im getting off track.

    Should MS up hung up for this? no, not at all, I am sick an tired of MS having to pander to other peoples ideas, old software and old hardware, most people dont have cars as old as windows XP at least from what i see on the roads, that OS had its day it needs to be burried. Windows 7 is a fantastic recovery for MS, and well done to them, now all i need them to do is burn some more backward compatability and give their next OS a bomber footing in the OS market.

    If people do not like something then they shouldnt buy it, is it Microsofts fault she brought a PC with an OS she didnt want? is it Microsofts fault she wants to go back in time to an OS where daily reboots really were needed to keep the thing running, well yes that is a bit to do with them i suppose but the point is she can choose what she wants, if i buy something and as long as it wasnt mis-sold, its my fault if i got the wrong thing, and if it was mis-sold then its the fault of the retailer for not selling it propperly, in either case, its nothing to do with MS, they are just trying to make money, if you dont like them, dont give them your cash.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Double negative?

      "there is no denying they havent done some good"

      I think you actually got it right! No denying they *have not* done some good. Although "any" would have been better English.

  25. Andus McCoatover
    Jobs Horns

    She has my sympathy...

    My ex-G/F bought the best laptop she could afford. As a now single mum, it was a financial stretch, but it was brilliant. Windows Vista home, or whatever, but when I helped her connect to the internet, I thought it was - well - pretty good, given all I'd heard about Vista. That was about a year ago.

    I run a 700MHz 12-year-old Compaq ES as my main machine, with 512 smeg of ram. That's all it can hold, folks. Ubuntu 10.10.

    I went round to her place New Year's Eve to give my son his belated Christmas prezzie. Needed to use her laptop to find the bus times to get home.

    Myst-All-Chucking-Frighty, it was bad, bad, slow bad. My main machine would knock it for six, and take the Ashes home.. Even my IBM T30, 256Meg, running XP was WAY faster.

    In short, I hope this woman not only wins, but gets the right to lob a chair at Ballmer. Godalmighty, Microsoft CHARGED for that shit, then charge again to get off it???

    No wonder it was code-named "Longhorn". Pure bullshit.

  26. BigBadAl

    Hmm not sure about this one.

    Some of the comments here are having a go at this women. Ok in America everyone want to sue. But I do feel some sympathy - if she has Vista Home then to use XP Pro she needs to upgrade to VISTA Business. That is the way the licensing works. However I have a number of clients who were livid that they had to pay £30.00 plus vat and shipping (Roughly £50.00 per computer no discount for 10 PC's !!!!) to downgrade from VISTA Business to XP. That does suck as this was from HP and other suppliers who insisted this was due to handling charges - why not just leave the damn DVD in the box to begin with and be done with it! FS does include a downgrade DVD or option at first startup. I have no issues there. She should not be suing MS she should be suing the Computer manufacturer she bought the PC from. Anyway I'll get my coat.....

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Down

      too bad about the coat

      Post deserved a thumbs UP, but the coat makes for an automatic Thumbs DOWN.

      1. Andus McCoatover

        Automatically done.

        Glad to oblige, but why an A/C wants a 'thumbs-down' defeats me. Anyway, you got one, "on the house".

  27. Rob Farnell

    I'm sorry but I think some people are missing the point

    Vista Basic is a home product and XP Professional is a business product, which is in a different price range no matter its age. Have you ever seen how expensive it is to buy Vista Business/Windows 7 Professional when it isn't OEM?

    I'm betting that this woman does not see the distinction!

  28. Keith T

    I Say It Is All About Lawyer's Fees. And only about lawyer's fees.

    Anyone with the sense to want Windows XP over Vista, and the knowledge to manage that, has the know how to buy and run a Mac, Unix, Linux, etc, etc.

    The market such operating system purchasers are in is not the mass market, it is a niche market with many competitors.

    This isn't about some retail customer looking for their $100 back from MS.

    This is about a stooge being used by a law firm to launch a class action suit against a firm with deep pockets.

    This is all about some law firm looking to make tens of millions of dollars in legal fees. And that is all this is about.

    Such law suits have as much benefit to society as patent trolling. It is about using the legal system to make legal fees, with legal fees being primary objective.

  29. gimbal


    "The new suit, as noted by Computer World, has many similarities with the original complaint. " - ok. What an eloquent ... echo ... echo ... echo ....

    So, I wonder what the courts will actually do about it, though, given that it's really their opinions that matter, in the foremost, to this matter?

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    easily avoided?

    I dont like MS as much as anyone and i think they licenses are often stacked against the consumer, but on this I don't see the problem.

    If i am MS and I want to charge a certain price for one of my products and different price for another and you buy one, why should you expect a direct exchange for the other?

    Others on here have said that she wanted to exchange the buggy Vista for more stable XP... the buggyness or not of Vista is not mentioned and a separate issue entirely.

    If she was buying 1 or more business machines for her work and Vista was going to be problem then there was more informed ways she could have upgraded the machines and stayed with XP.

  31. TkH11

    Windows 7

    I've just been given a laptop with Windows 7 on it, and it's a dual core machine, and it runs like a dog. It's slower than Windows XP running on a single core!

    What seems to be happening, is that it's much more resource hungry than any other operating system previously provided by Microsoft, and companies are just throwing it on to laptops without considering the performance implications.

    When I buy a new laptop today, with a new operating system on it, a laptop which has much more powerful hardware than my other laptop, I'd expect that new laptop to run more quickly.

    It's an absolutely stupid world we live in, where buying a new computer doesn't give you something faster, you actually take a backwards step.

    1. ffoulkes
      Thumb Up


      I have to agree; some laptops just aren't up to running Windows 7, in the same way that back in the day underpowered laptops were flogged with XP and then Vista crammed on to them. IMHO you need at least a 2 GHz dual core and 2 GB of RAM for acceptable results with 7. Oh, and a decent video chipset if you fancy using the Aero eye candy.

  32. theBatman

    Forward Planning

    This irks me no end, because it's just a lack of forward planning on her part. If she wanted XP on her computer she should have looked to see which versions she was allowed to downgrade from before buying a computer, like the rest of us do. I've had this from relatives who've bought home basic to try out and decided it wasn't good enough despite my advising them not to!

    To me her case sounds ludicrous.

    "I bought this jar of marmalade only to discover it was orange flavoured, and I wanted it to taste like chocolate. Now I'm being told that if I want it to be chocolate flavoured I have to buy this stuff called chocolate spread in a completely new jar when I've already paid for this one that I don't want. Why can't they put it in the one I've got? It's an outrage!"

  33. Synja

    I fail to see what the problem is

    Having been a network administrator for many years, I can certainly feel the pain over Microsoft licensing and pricing, however, it's their right as a company to charge whatever they want. Only the market can change things. Linux isn't ready to take over yet, and Apple has blatantly said they have no interest in enterprise markets. Maybe in a decade, the market will force the various OEMs and developers to act with some sort of logic, but until then, it is what it is. Show me any OSS package that allows the scalable functionality and granular controls that Microsoft offers, with the same verified assurance level, and I'll gladly adopt it. Until then, I'll keep purchasing per CPU server licenses with add on CALs and TS licenses that I'm never going to be able to accurately keep track of without an additional license for an application that does nothing but ensure licensing is correct.

  34. SharkNose

    Why so many versions of Windows7?

    Why does MS feel the need to have so many editions of Windows7? Why not simply sell "Windows 7" and be done with it, rather than home, hone premium, and god knows what else? Apple have it right, a single desktop OS edition.

  35. J 3

    Simple solution

    A simple law would solve that, I suspect. Who knows?

    But how about: when a software package's version is not sold anymore by its manufacturer, it becomes free (as in beer). So anyone who want to sell machines with that software installed can do it, and let the market decide if they want to buy the computers with the new version or some of the old ones. If the new one is good enough to justify spending more money on it, people will buy it. If it's just bloatware without any added benefits for most people, then people won't want the new and will vote with their wallets.

    Of course, it would be unreasonable to ask the manufacturer to continue giving any guarantee on their old versions, but they already seem not to give any as it is now anyway (unless I misunderstood the EULAs I've seen...).

    And maybe later, when the original manufacturer stops supporting the old version, then it could become free again (now as in speech), so whomever wants (and is able to) fix problems or recompile it is able to. Sure, it's hard to see who'd want the code for Win 3.11 or, in a few years, maybe even XP. But there's quite a bunch of quite expensive machinery out there that can only use older OSes because of drivers and old software that will never be updated for the "latest and greatest" OSes.

    I don't know if my suggestions are much good, but I am pretty sure that software manufacturers would think much harder before selling new crap, if my suggestions became reality (fat chance, if even they were great ideas).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      This would not work

      Firstly it would need a change in copyright laws - which would undoubtedly affect other areas such as books, magazines, films, music etc - look at how bad that would be for an outfit like El Reg that doesn't sell anything in the first place.

      Secondly, MS would simply keep selling older versions of Windows but for an unrealistic price - say $10,000 per copy of XP home.

      Thirdly, forcing the opening of non-supported software would be unacceptable for anything that has a current descendant - much of the IP in Windows7 probably originated in 3.x - certainly enough to invalidate many patents and copyrighted code structures. Sure the freetards would like this but they will have to buy their own politicians in order to get it to happen - and the main problem with being freetards is they generally don't have the spending power of the likes of MS, Apple, Oracle etc.

      Fourthly, if software manufacturers "thought much harder before selling new crap" then you would just get stagnation - as shown with my third point if you move software on you risk wasting large amounts of spent R&D cash.

      1. J 3


        >Firstly it would need a change in copyright laws

        Sure, and that's the whole point. And maybe it wouldn't be a bad thing if the same idea was applied to books, films, etc. as you mention. What if a copyright owner is sitting on something and does not make it available? As far as I understand, and in spite of the practices we see all the time, copyright law's intent is not to give authors monopoly as an end in itself, but to benefit the public by encouraging creators to produce -- by, of course, giving them that monopoly.

        >Secondly, MS would simply keep selling older versions of Windows but for an unrealistic price - say $10,000 per copy of XP home.

        IANAL, but wouldn't this fall under unfair and anti-competitive practices?

        >Thirdly, forcing the opening of non-supported software would be unacceptable for anything that has a current descendant

        That's more of a problem, indeed, but... If there is still that much code from Win 3.11 in Windows 7, where the hell is the innovation? And don't patents expire after 25 years? (maybe it was a different number). And anyway, that's exactly the point of what I was thinking. If you don't have innovation enough to replace the old code, why have the "new" one (which is mostly old) and go through the whole "upgrade mill" all over again?

        >Fourthly, if software manufacturers "thought much harder before selling new crap" then you would just get stagnation

        Once again, the same point was missed. I wrote "before selling new crap", not "before selling actually new software that's worth the qualifier of new". Because right now, every couple of years they add a couple of features, make the program 50% larger, and make you buy the new one, which is probably of not much greater benefit than the version from 5 or more years ago -- think, when was last time you saw a new MS Office version with a feature list that made you think "I NEED to get that!", really?

  36. Fuzz

    Clearly miss advised

    This woman has obviously been given bad advise and as a result feels stupid and hard done by. Instead of just moving on with her life she's trying to make something out of it.

    She bought a computer with Vista Basic on. If she wanted XP she should have bought a computer with an XP downgrade disc. You can still buy these PCs now. Whilst it would be nice of Microsoft to allow you to install any version of the OS you liked below the one you own, there's no reason why they should be forced to do this.

    It makes sense for them to provide the downgrade option for the Pro versions because that's what most businesses wanted.

  37. Dave Foster

    Suport your local store

    My local computer store will build me whatever I want with any OS I want at a competitive price. Plus I can chat to the technician and see if he has any suggestions or thoughts.

  38. Tom 13

    Mr. Windmill, please allow me to introduce you

    to Donna Emma Alvarado Quixote from La Mancha Spain.

  39. Anonymous Coward

    So who's behind

    I'm still trying to figure out what her real problem is.

    Was someone holding a gun to her head demanding she use Windows?

  40. petur
    Thumb Down


    Apple has it right? You mean Apple is any better? Smoking some strange stuff lately?

    OSX will only run on Mac (so Apple already gets your money twice), and will happily collect Apple Tax on Mac specific hardware updates. No service packs, but upgrades that come at a price.

    Take it from me, If Apple were as dominant as Microsoft on the PC OS market, some court would have shut down their operations by now. Please let Apple grow more....

    I'd rather have a market where I can select hardware and OS, I might even consider OSX, but not the way things go now.

  41. Nick Pettefar


    Bought my missus a 15" Apple MBP for Xmas. Wow, what a wonder! She has bought a weird programmable craft cutting machine which comes with Windows only software so I installed VirtualBox and then XP. The XP is lightning fast - the fastest Windows machine I have ever seen. It is running in a window on a page whilst she is running about ten other programs and Firefox with about 50 tabs open (she NEVER closes tabs!).

    Oh yes, the reason for this post, VirtualBox also supports running (unofficially) OSX on other hardware, in case you are wondering what owning a Mac would be like.

    My German FiL's laptop runs Vista and seems to be still working OK after 3 years. He is quite careful about where he visits though and hasn't installed much.

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Down votes

    Seems theres a lot of people hitting the downvote button an not even bothering to explain themselves if anyone even suggests MS is not teh spawn of the Devil, mental note to avoid posting before Tuesdays as quality of readers seems to decline in the morning.

  43. Pat 4

    The other bigger problem...

    Yes, the retailers get a few bucks from Microsoft every time they sell a PC with Windows pre-installed. And yes, Microsoft makes it virtually impossible for consumers to get a PC without Windows pre-installed on it... that sucks.

    BUT Microsoft is not the only one responsible for this. You have to remember a whole sub-class of leechers sucking money and processing power out of your computers. McAffee, Norton, Real etc etc... ALL those pesky junk softwares pre-installed WITH Windows are paying OEMs for that pre-installation services. They are ALL part of the problem.

  44. Anonymous Coward


    What's wrong with a company seling you a product at a price, and with terms attached, that they deem suitable.

    Surely it's Microsoft's perrogative.

    This story really annoys me.

    What next - man selling TV on ebay sued because he wouldn't deliver it personally and in the box that the buyer wanted?

    I can think of a number of reasons to attach conditions to a 9yr old operating system at point of sale. How many people would be up in arms if the woman wanted Windows 95 instead.

    Look love, if you don't like it, don't buy it. Stop wasting people's time.

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