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Microsoft Exec Rages Against Vista Upgrade 'Hack'

A Microsoft executive recently blasted sources who've been suggesting that Microsoft doesn't mind them taking advantage of a licensing loophole in Windows.

In a scathing blog post last week, Eric Ligman, Microsoft's senior manager of community engagement for small business in the U.S., took aim at reports that Microsoft is giving users the option of buying the Vista SP1 upgrade edition and installing it on any PC, which allows them to avoid paying more than $100 for the more expensive 'full' edition of Vista.

In an article that appeared earlier this month in the Windows Secrets newsletter, Associate Editor Scott Dunn suggested that Microsoft's failure to close this loophole in Vista SP1 suggests that the vendor approved the back door in order to make Vista more appealing to sophisticated buyers.

But according to Ligman, "the fact that there are people writing articles advising people to illegally install software that they are not licensed for 'because they can get it to physically install' just shows how clueless some people are and how willing they are to share that with others.

"If you are one of those people, let me put it this way, 'It is not OK to do so. It is BAD to do so.' There, no words bigger than three letters, so that should hopefully be easy enough to follow," Ligman wrote.

Windows Secrets' Dunn couldn't be reached for comment.

While Ligman is simply reiterating Microsoft's upgrade policy, the fact is that consumers aren't the only ones who are confused about Microsoft's Windows licensing terms, says Paul DeGroot, an analyst with Directions On Microsoft. "Many corporate customers still think they can buy bare PCs and image them with volume media," he said.

Microsoft's policy of not allowing full versions of software that users purchase with new PCs to be moved to other PCs is also confusing to many users, according to DeGroot.

"The prohibition against moving it to another computer is counter-intuitive for most people, and it smacks of revenue maximization rather than reasonable restriction," DeGroot said.

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