Microsoft to simplify downgrades from Vista to XP



Microsoft is simplifying the processes via which its PC-maker partners will
be able to provide "downgrade" rights from Windows Vista to Windows XP for
their customers.
Microsoft will implement the first of the policy changes for its Gold
Certified (top-tier) OEM partners within the next couple of weeks. The
company will streamline downgrade-rights policies and procedures for the
broader channel somewhat later, said John Ball, general manager of Microsoft's
U.S. Systems Group.

Under current licensing terms, Microsoft allows customers buying PCs
preloaded with Windows Vista Ultimate and Vista Business to roll back to
Windows XP until they are ready to make the move to Vista. For OEMs, the
process via which these rights can be activated has been quite cumbersome,
Ball acknowledged.

Under the current rules, OEMs must call about and file for each and every
machine the license keys required to downgrade from Vista to XP. But
Microsoft is planning to move to a new policy which will allow its top 170
OEM partners to submit these keys online for groups of machines, which will
save them time and reduce complexity, Ball said.

Microsoft is working on ways to allow the rest of the channel to take
advantage of these simplified downgrade procedures, but is still in the
midst of hashing out the details, Ball said. He didn't have a timetable for
when Microsoft will make its more liberal downgrade-rights policies
available to the rest of its PC partners.

Microsoft doesn't view the popularity of user requests to downgrade from
Vista to XP as a ding against Vista, Ball emphasized. In fact, at Microsoft's
Worldwide Partner Conference in Denver in July, Microsoft plans to evanglize
Vista to its OEM and system-builder partners, and play up Vista's momentum
as proof that system vendors should get on the Vista bandwagon, Ball said.

Ball said Microsoft officials will highlight data meant to counteract the
impression by some that Vista isn't doing well in the marketplace. Among the
datapoints Microsoft will emphasize, according to Ball:
Ninety-nine percent of all Windows PCs sold at retail are being sold with
Vista preloaded
Seventy-eight percent of PCs preloaded with Vista are shipping with
"premium" SKUs (like Vista Ultimate and Vista Home Premium)
Microsoft is experiencing 21 percent fewer support calls with Vista than it
did with Windows XP
Fewer security issues that need patching with Vista than XP (five Vista
issues in the first 90 days vs. 18 with XP in the first 90 days)

Device compatibility is high and getting higher daily
All this sounds good on (virtual) paper. Like my ZDNet blogging colleague Ed
Bott, I wouldn't go so far as to call Vista "Windows Me2." But I know I
still wouldn't want to be a Vista salesperson




Your link brought me to somebody's *blog* with today's article

"Top 10 Vista Hacks"

No surprise there. Somebody always does it, sooner or later.


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