Microsoft Restricts Vista Transfers
Microsoft has changed its licensing terms, limiting the number of times that Windows Vista can be transferred to a new computer to just once. Despite Redmond's claims that the move is aimed at combating piracy, it has been questioned by some of the company's biggest supporters.
Previously, Microsoft had allowed its operating systems to be installed as many times as the customer liked, as long as it was uninstalled on the previous computer. However, with the arrival of Windows Vista, that will no longer be possible.
Microsoft claims the ability to transfer copies of Windows was abused, leading to wide-scale piracy. The rule changes also affect those copies of Vista installed with new computers. In all but a few circumstances, the copy would not be transferrable to a new machine.
Additionally, changes have been made with regards to virtual machines as well. Windows Vista Home Basic and Premium cannot be used as a "guest" operating system in VMware or Virtual PC. Users will need to purchase Vista Business or Ultimate Edition to gain this ability.
Two prominent Windows bloggers, Robert McLaws and Ed Bott first reported on the news last week. "Think you can transfer that retail license to any machine you want? Think again," Bott wrote. "[The] limitation on retail licenses is a remarkable change."
McLaws added: "I'm thinking maybe they should put this stuff at the top of the EULA, instead of burying it at the bottom. These are important things that people in a purchasing position need to know about."
Windows pundit Paul Thurrott claimed both Bott and McLaws were wrong and nothing had changed from a licensing perspective, but documentation for Windows XP specifies no such transfer restriction. Public comments from Microsoft now contradict Thurrott's assertions, but the company feels the changes should not affect sales of the new operating system.
Noted Microsoft pundit and JupiterResearch senior analyst Joe Wilcox says Vista's new restrictions are a mistake. "Services like Gmail, Flickr, MySpace and YouTube can be used on any computer. Consumers don't necessarily think in terms of operating systems or applications, but what they can do with a PC," he said.
"Microsoft restricts Windows usage at a time when consumers experience more openness elsewhere."