Microsoft: Using Vista Loophole Is Cheating

In an article that appeared earlier this week in the Windows Secrets newsletter, reporter Scott Dunn noted that the Service Pack 1 version of Windows Vista gives users the option of buying the 'upgrade edition' and installing it on any PC, which enables them to avoid paying for the more expensive 'full' edition.

In the U.S., the list price of the upgrade edition is more than $100 cheaper than the full edition, according to Dunn.

According to Dunn, the same option was available to users when Vista was first released, and Microsoft's failure to close this loophole in Vista SP1 suggests that the vendor "approved the back door as a way to make the price of Vista more appealing to sophisticated buyers."

But a Microsoft spokesperson disputed the notion that the vendor supports users taking advantage of the technical loophole in Vista.

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"Just because a piece of software installs on a PC, doesn't mean that it is properly licensed. The licensing states that upgrades require a fully licensed version of Windows to be eligible to use an Upgrade license," the spokesperson said in an email to ChannelWeb.

Microsoft expects its resellers to help their customers be fully licensed for the products that they want to purchase, added the spokesperson.

Scott Rosenberg, CEO of Miro Consulting, a Fords, N.J.-based firm that specializes in licensing issues, acknowledges that technical loopholes in Microsoft software do exist, but says people who take advantage of them are clearly violating their licensing agreements.

"There's lot of audit activity out there, and people who engage in this tactic do so at their own peril," said Rosenberg.