back to article Woman sues over Vista to XP 'downgrade' charge

A woman is suing Microsoft for allegedly charging her extra to downgrade from Windows Vista to XP. Emma Alvarado bought a laptop pre-loaded with the Vista Business edition of the operating system from Lenovo on 20 June 2008. However, she didn’t want to keep Vista on the machine so she paid the computer vendor an additional $59. …

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Stupid woman/greedy lawyers?

“Microsoft does not charge or receive any additional royalty if a customer exercises those rights. Some customers may choose or need to obtain media or installation services from third parties to install the downgrade version."

So the OEM is charging her, not Microsoft. How exactly is Microsoft abusing it's market position by offering a downgrade to XP for free?

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Dumb yank...

I bought this hardware with the full knowledge that Vista was installed, However I want to change it to XP and how dare they charge me.

I bought a red car and now I want to "downgrade" it to blue. What you want to charge me. I sue your f**king ass!

Sorry, but no sympathy for her.

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Linux

Go! Go! Go!

Get it right up them!!

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Sounds like a vendor problem to me.

I really do not see this as Microsoft's fault. Either she did not make it clear to the vendor that she wanted XP and not Vista when she ordered the laptop or they just want extra money for reinstallation.

The way this article reads to me, it is just the vendor charging to reinstall the machine, not Microsoft charging some extra fee to downgrade.

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Paris Hilton

Good Luck

Hope her efforts come to fruition. Bt what is the amount of the claim? Or is it a class action lawsuit?

I thought the French court already had a case where the man was refunded/discounted some money since hinsisted on buying without any MS OS preinstalled !

This should be interesing reading!

Even Paris can see the logic here!

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Can't see this being a Microsoft issue

.. Sure the fact that you can downgrade free of charge means that it's a choice of the buyer..?

If she had to sue, then Lenovo would be the ones, as they have charged the woman a downgrading fee..?

Can sort of see her point, but there are plenty of resellers that can install XP f.o.c. Well in the UK anyway, not sure about the US

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Boffin

How exactly does this work?

Tried forcing the issue but was advised by PC World that they had an agreement with MS which didn't allow them to supply XP anymore. Asked was there something in place which allowed me to downgrade after purchase for free - advised MS didn't give this option. Asked for no operating system - advised their warranty require an OS to be sold with the hardware.

Then asked the staff member to confirm this by email - took my details and haven't heard anything since.

Needles to say like so many others I just don't go to PC World any more - its what the customer wants - not MS

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I'm with M$ on this one.

If you want windows XP why should they give it to you for free? You are opting to not use the OS given to use then that is your perogative. If she wanted XP on the laptop she sould buy an non OEM copy and install it herself. Job done. Stop moaning and gunning for MS just because they have lots of money.

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oh come on...

She's suing Microsoft for charging to do something that they allow you to do for Free....

I do worry about the human race.

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Joke

lolz

What's next, people can buy computers and CHOOSE what OS they want on them?

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Um?

Shouldn't she be suing Lenovo then? They're the ones who charged her for a downgrade to Windows XP, not Microsoft.

Also, her total loss is < $60 so what does she expect to get out of this? Some people have a serious lack of common sense.

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Joke

Beginning to think

That a better name for Vista would have been Event Horizon...

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Gates Horns

Before anyone else says it...

Save your money, install a Linux distro instead.

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Anonymous Coward

First things first...

It needs to be determined if Microsucks is the one who dictates the downgrade charge or if this is a Lenovo profit stream? If it's a Lenovo deal then she is suing the wrong party. If it's a Microsucks deal then she has a valid case. Class action suits however typically make lawyers rich and plantiffs receive little compensation.

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Unhappy

Sorry, with MS on this one

They give you the license to run XP. They do not say anything about reconfiguring a machine for free that has already been pre-configured with Vista. If you have the ability you can install XP by yourself at a cost of £0. If you need help to do that then you need to pay a suitably able person to do it for you.

Its no different than buying some flat pack shelves from B&Q then complaining that they didn't fit them for you. As MS already stated, they don't earn anything from any charge relating to installing XP, that charge is at the discretion of the person or company doing the work.

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ubuntu?

So basically she bought a pc knowing full well she would not want what it came with, and paid the money without complaining. So it's just some woman ranting and wanting money for it? Bloody litigation culture.

She says she didn't want Vista. Did she even bother trying it or did she assume it was shit because everyone said it was? Typical consumer.

Did she look at alternatives? Does she even need a pc?

No I'm not an apple/M$/Linux fanboi but I hate it when people get what they asked for then complain and explain monetary compensation. You know what you were doing when you bought the unit, don't want it? don't buy it!

I'm sure there's some validity to her statement but by immediately issuing a lawsuit it sounds like she doesn't actually care, she just saw dollar signs and went for it.

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Gates Horns

At last

Yes, Microsoft will help you downgrade to Windows XP from Vista for $60.00. It happened to me. They gave me the runaround for about 4 hours before a woman (a supervisor) offered to help me downgrade for $60.00. This despite what this document states.

download.microsoft.com/download/5/f/4/5f4c83d3-833e-4f11-8cbd-699b0c164182/royaltyoemreferencesheet.pdf

Where do I sign up.

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Gates Horns

Me too!

I can symphasise with Emma Alvarado - I bought a laptop last May & had to pay an additional £45ish for XP Pro instead of Vista. No regrets for buying what I think is a better operating system, but I'd like to know whether a lawsuit to recover the extra cost would have any chances here?

Bill, because he's probably responsible for this.

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Anonymous Coward

Misguided methinks...

Whether she likes it or not, Vista was the latest MS OS to be routinely installed on most new PCs at the time she bought. I wouldn't expect compensation for buying a Mac that came with Leopard when I wanted Tiger all along. (Cue Phreaky...)

OK, Vista has had some issues, but then so has Leopard, albeit to a lesser degree. I reckon we should try to instigate a 'Year of Zero Compensation', and force people to think and take responsibility before doing anything. The thought of starving lawyers just clinches it.

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whine whine whine

"I bought a PC, wanted a non-standard option and paid for it."

FFS - If you don't want Vista, and don't want to pay to have XP instead, buy a PC elsewhere

(for the record: I have two Vista installs and neither has caused me headache other than with my ancient SCSI card and a proprietary bit of software)

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Paris Hilton

Idiotic woman

Whether it's an up or downgrade is irrelevant. It's a new product.

I wouldn't expect to buy a BMW 3 series, downgrade to a 1 series and expect to get the 1 for nothing and keep both!!

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Not a hope in hell

As Microsoft mentions, they do not change for downgrades. A holder of a valid Vista Business/Ultimate license is allowed to take *any* copy of XP Professional and legally use it on their machine. If they have no code to activate it, Microsoft must provide the Vista license holder with one (of course the license holder has to provide their valid Vista license..).

The target of the lawsuit should theoretically be Lenovo, but it's neither their or Microsoft's responsibility to provide media. I'm sure Lenovo would argue it's a valid administration charge to provide the user with both XP and Vista licenses (because the downgrade states you can use XP until such point as you are ready to upgrade..).

None of these cases have a chance, anyway, as most of the machines sold were capable of 'running Vista'. Of course, with 512MB instead of 2GB+ on board they might run like half a slug in a hurdling competition, but that really isn't the point. Even if it that point starts to be questioned, the hardware vendors will not want to be involved as they undoubtedly placed a load of bloated software on top of Vista making it even worse..

It's also the case that Lenovo's laptops are capable of running Vista. Their low end configurations typically have 1GB memory, and whilst a clean non Lenovo install of Vista x64 with 4GB is substantially faster than their preloaded Vista 32bit in 1GB, even Lenovo's 1GB Vista Business preload is capable of running software at more than glacial speeds..

I do think they were penny pinching when they shipped 1GB configurations, though. Anyone want to buy a 1GB DDR2 SODIMM?

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Re: Sounds like a vendor problem to me.

>Either she did not make it clear to the vendor that she wanted XP and not Vista when she ordered the laptop.

No, it's a Microsoft problem. They force vendors to only sell machines with Vista as pointed out by "The Sceptic" @15:00. You can't even by the same machine with no OS and install your own. If a vendor doesn't play ball then they don't get windows for any of their machines. The vendors are forced to pre-install the particular version of windows microsoft wants you to have, this is clearly an abuse of their position. The switch from vendors supplying machines with Vista as opposed to XP was virtually done overnight and was dictated by MS.

You do have two options, don't buy a new machine or buy one with vista then wipe it and put on it what you want.

Maybe this case has not been reported correctly and the woman knew she could get a free downgrade according to microsoft but was then charged for it.

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Coat

Everyone who joins this class action should be shot

Its like me buying the new Nissan GT-R, saying I like the RB26, demanding one then asking them to swap it for free.

As most have said, it is the vendor levying this charge, first for re-imaging with a now non standard build and for the recovery media to go with it. The actual license is free.

To the previous poster whinging that MS said they would for $60, line up against the wall with the others. They will supply it for free but if you want help thats classed as a support call which they will charge you $60 for. If you cant re-install yourself stop reading the reg

God im soooo angry with the human races inherent stupidity im gonna push the red button

Mines the one with CLUE in the pocket

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BMW Shoe

... don't you think that a 1 series looks like a slip-on shoe ?

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@John Macintyre

<rant>"Bloody litigation culture"

On an aside, I have a theory that could reverse the trend towards a 'bloody litigation culture' in the UK. Bring back more legal aid. When legal aid made up a substantial line item on UK plc's balance sheet there were few ambulance chasing solicitors firms around dangling 'no win no fee' tit-bits in front of punters who were looking for a way of making some easy money. I'd rather spend my tax money on legal aid than banker's bonuses anyday.</rant>

Anyhow, I don't really care about people who use Windows that much. If you're stupid enough to use it at home, you don't deserve my sympathy. Sorry.

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Sue-pidity

Yes, if vista was such a widely publicised fail that why did she go out and buy it, especially without first examining the downgrade options, which appear to be related to her 3rd party supplier!!?

Mistake #1.

Thinking a private company = a public service provider who "owe" her anything?

Mistake #2

Suggesting that her position was forced by lack of viable alteratives? Apple and Penguin fans - supporting this woman's case is the tantamount to conceeding this!

Mistake #3

Using competition rules with the suggestion that Xp should "compete" with Vista, despite being manufactured by the same company.

Mistake #4.

If the problem is with the (un)suitability of vista, then she should sue on that basis - delivering a product which doesn't do what it says on the tin - these other excuses - that she was forced to do this, and that private businesses should do XYZ - are utter BS.

The time she's wasting over $60, with her eyes on some "No win, no fee" prize and lawyers hungry for a bite of the m$ pie in tow.

It's like trying to sue a beer company for ending up drunk and broke.

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@Alexis Vallance - it does allow XP and Vista licences

Actually, that's exactly what downgrade rights allow on Vista Business and Ultimate. You exercise your XP downgrade rights until you're ready to upgrade to Vista..

Of course the key question here is whether what's actually being purchased is an administration fee to obtain a usable XP downgrade license (which Microsoft must supply for free), or the internal cost of supplying a 'non standard' XP only configuration (i.e. XP license, not Vista+downgrade) In the first case you should get two product keys of which only one can be used at a time, in the latter case you only get one..

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I imagine...

...that since swapping the vista key for an xp is free*, the vendor charged her for the time it took to wipe the hard drive and reinstall xp. This is something she could have done herself but chose not to.

So its her own fault :)

*or has this changed?

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mmm

to be honest, whatever you think of vista , she does not have a leg to stand on.

Though microsoft have a record of moving things around and changing names for no apparent reason to alienate their consumer base,

How has the feature "add and remove programs" become "programs and features" why? WHY?

Oh and UAC was still designed by a committee of chimpanzees

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money-grabber

I hope that after four years of lawsuit and headache, the court decides she should get her $59.25 refunded. That's all she should be entitled to, if even that.

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Gates Halo

Nothing to see, move along <waves hand>

While the downgrade is free you still have to source your own copy of XP. Any copy will do even if you have it installed on another machine, as the downgrade process generates you a new key code.

From microsoft we have http://download.microsoft.com/download/5/f/4/5f4c83d3-833e-4f11-8cbd-699b0c164182/royaltyoemreferencesheet.pdf

When and Why Would Customers Use Downgrade Rights?

Your customer is purchasing a new computer system and needs to run the same operating system as their existing 10 systems—Windows XP Professional. An OEM may facilitate the end user’s downgrade rights from Windows Vista Business or Windows Vista Ultimate to a qualified version of Windows XP Professional (noted below) on the new computer system. This process is further defined in the Desktop Operating System License Agreement (DTOS). The downgrade media must be supplied to you from the end user and must come from a legally licensed version of Microsoft retail, OEM/System Builder, or Volume License channels.

To sum up if you do not have a copy of XP you have to buy a copy because the supplier can not give it to you and as such you can not sue either of them.

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No more non-OEM XPs, remember?

It seems to go over most of these commenters' heads that XP Pro is *no longer* available outside the OEM channels; and even then, OEM's can't sell XP by itself. They are *forced* to sell Vista Business, which has downgrade privs and guess what; that one isn't the Vista version used for "home" computers.

So the extra charge isn't Lenovo's, it is either an MS tax or the "price differential" of buying a Vista Business OEM license and allow the user to downgrade.

You can't just go 'elsewhere', MS dictates that no OEM shall ever sell XP again, except those lucky netbook manufacturers.

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Anonymous Coward

RE: MS force oems to install Vista

No they don't. If OEMs are shipping with Vista Business or Ultimate then they have every right to install XP instead and ship it like that. It's also possible to have the machine ask XP or Vista on first boot and then install as appropriate. If they choose to only ship with Vista then that is entirely up to them. It is more likely to be a cost-cutting measure as they don't want to spend the resources to write drivers etc for 2 different OS

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Coat

@Everyone who joins this class action should be shot

No it's like Nissan only selling a GT-R with the new 'anvil attached to the back feature' THEN charging you $60 to remove the anvil as an upgrade.

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Jobs Horns

No sympathy

No sympathy either. She should have known what she was buying. Don't like it, don't buy it. And as many already noted, you choose to pay the $60 or whatnot, but you don't have to. If they exploited her ignorance... Probably not, since she knows enough to go suing now.

The deeper problem of lack of alternatives is a different story that has no direct impact on her stupidity case, methinks.

@Sue-pidity

"Suggesting that her position was forced by lack of viable alteratives? Apple and Penguin fans - supporting this woman's case is the tantamount to conceeding this!"

Straying from the real issue as I said above, but I think you are wrong anyway. The thing is not lack of "viable alternatives", or how viable the alternatives are to begin with. It's *availability* of the alternatives. As an example, go to a vendor's site. Find a machine you'd like to have. Choose how much memory. Choose the size of HD. Etc. etc.. Now choose the OS. What, you cannot choose the OS!? It's Vista or nothing? See? It's quite a difference from viable alternatives existing and viable alternatives being available to the common people. Of course this goes for evil Apple too, who force you to buy their hardware if you want to use their software (hence icon).

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Unhappy

Microsoft can compete unfairly against itself

There is nothing wrong with Microsoft making deals with OEMs to promote one version of their software over another. Microsoft is under not legal obligation to continue to sell and support XP.

Now it she could prove that MS uses coercive tactics to prevent OEMs from providing non-Microsoft alternatives ... that would be a valid case.

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@dave

Hey, MS wasn't charging for help installing XP, they wanted to charge me to "activate" the XP I had already installed. This service is supposed to be free. Get a clue.

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Anonymous Coward

I want to buy a computer...

...so where do I get one w/o M$?

I ring a distributor / manufacturer / OEM. "Hello, I'd like to buy a computer without Windows please". "Sorry, we can't do that".

That's why it's worth complaining.

Stop the M$ tax.

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@renaming to 'Programs and features'

Stop whinging, will you? It's only annoying because it's been that way for years.

The description 'programs and features' is arguably more accurate than 'add and remove programs' - it handles third party programs, Windows components and provides links to online or purchased (Windows Marketplace - yes, DRMed..) software.

Aren't OS upgrades lovely? First people ask for the OS to be improved, then if anything is actually changed people whinge..

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Boffin

Try asking

Dell or Fujitsu nicely, we've resold loads of their PCs that we ordered minus an operating system....

The fact that OEMs don't want to ship non-standard machines is down to them, not Microsoft.

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Anonymous Coward

@Chris W et al.

Not sure of the other car reference so I will use my own:

If you go to a Ford dealer and want to buy a Fiesta, they will certainly sell you the new 2009 model, and they may have a couple of 2008 models still in stock, but if you want to but one of the old 90s square jobbies brand new, with warranty etc. then you are shit out of luck.

Microsoft can refuse to sell whatever they want. They are not forcing anyone to buy Vista, they are simply refusing to sell anything older*

Likewise resellers are not forcing anyone to buy Vista as such, they are simply offering XP as a cost modification, in the same way they might offer a different graphics card or memory combo. Even if they only supplied their computers with Vista then this is not something that lends itself to litigation, go somewhere else if you don't like their offerings.

Also, IIRC you can refuse to accept the bundled Windows license and demand a refund. You certainly can in the EU**, you will just screw up your warranty.

*Other than the XP downgrade, which has serious caveats and is only aimed at business anyway.

**Although I expect you would have lots of fuss actually doing this.

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@Martin

No it's like Nissan only selling a GT-R with the new 'anvil attached to the back feature' THEN charging you $60 to remove the anvil as an upgrade.

And saw the anvil and still bought it.

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Good Ol' MS

Wrapping useless dried turds in golden cloth.

Hey, marketing knows exactly how stupid users are.

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rob
Jobs Horns

Go for it

Microsoft have been trying to cut off supply of the superior XP ever since they released their latest mess: Vista

Why should anyone be forced to run a clunky slow bloated OS?

Microsoft have been withdrawing support for XP, and have been forcing vendors to offer only Vista laptops

So how ISN'T this a Microsoft problem?

Hit them where it hurts the most, they have only themselves to blame

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Simple case of...

.....a class action troll.

AC as I don't want to be sued either.

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@ whine whine whine

"FFS - If you don't want Vista, and don't want to pay to have XP instead, buy a PC elsewhere"

Where, exactly, perchance? And don't say "Apple", that's NOT a 'PC', although it is an alternative. Point me at someone selling PCs or Laptops, completely sans OS.

To Joe Public.

Retail.

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Happy

Here's an idea

Why not sell all computers/laptops with 2 CDs/DVDs in the box, one contains Windows XP/Vista/7 and the other some form of Linux. If the customer decides they don't want to use Windows they send the disc back still sealed in the pre-paid envelope for a refund. Perhaps you could even get apple to allow OS X to be supplied too?

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Stop

Had this meself

Tried to buy a batch of servers from Dell, they came as standard with W2003 server. The application I was going to run _demanded_ W2000. MS allows a downgrade from W2003 to W2000. Dell agrees and is happy that we (as they would not [could not] supply the serers with W2000 installed) install W2000. However Dell would / could not give us the required license keys to do the downgrade, neither would MS. So the servers were useless to us.

MS and its marketing strategy are the ones to blame for this situation. Most system providers I have done business with are more than happy to provide the bare metal and allow us to install what we wanted on it. It is MS and their enforced "agreements" that are forcing knowledgeable users to receive (I cannot say accept) something that they don't want.

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Who want Vusta anyways?

so what Vista is SHIT so why should microshaft get $$$ for something that NO-ONE wants anyway No wonder they say it was succesful on the release as you cant get an XP license unless you pay Xtra bucks for it and I'll bet you would have to Pay a microshaft license fee even if you wanted a computer with NO operating system as that the only way you can buy one and everyone knows XP is WAY WAY better than the Vista Virus they sell.

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