Microsoft Senior Sales Excellence Manager - Eric Ligman

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An upgrade is an upgrade. Apparently some people are easily confused.

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An upgrade is an upgrade. Apparently some people are easily confused.

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Below is the first post.  You can find the follow-up here: An upgrade is an upgrade. Apparently some people are easily confused – Part 2.

It seems that there are some people out there who don’t quite get the concept of an upgrade.  These people are even writing articles fully articulating how little they know (and unfortunately, confusing many customers with these non-factual writings).  Because of this, I am going to explain it again and even use pictures to try to make this very simple…

You can buy a software full license that gets you the rights to install and run the software. You can buy a software upgrade license that allows you to upgrade from the full license you have to the upgraded product you purchased the upgrade for.

For instance:

General Example Example with Product Names
image image

To qualify for an upgrade license, you MUST have a full license to upgrade from first. Without the full license, you have nothing to upgrade from and an upgrade from nothing gets you nothing:

General Example Example with Product Names
image image

So if you see any of these people writing that buying an upgrade by itself (Windows Vista Upgrade for instance) without having a full license first gets you the rights to run the software, just realize that what the person is actually stating is, “I clearly have no clue what I am talking about and so I am writing a bunch of gibberish that proves this hoping people will think I have a clue, even though I obviously don’t.”

If they continue to tell you that, “But I can get it to physically install, so it must be legal,” this further shows their complete lack of comprehension. Just because something will install does not make it legal. For example, a pirated piece of software will (usually) physically install; however, running pirated software is 100% illegal (and who knows what else it will install on or do to your computer). If you don’t believe me, try calling 888-NO-PIRACY and letting them know that you are running pirated software throughout your company. Explain to them that you feel it is legal to do so because you got it to physically install, so it must be legal and ask if they would mind auditing your company to verify the legality of this. Let me know how that turns out for you.

NOTE: For anyone who missed my complete tone of sarcasm there, I am in no way condoning the installation or use of pirated software. As mentioned above (in red), it is 100% illegal to do so, and if you choose to really be foolish enough to try the above actions, you and you alone are fully responsible for any and all legal actions taken against you.  So I would advise you to use your one phone call to contact your legal counsel instead of telling me how this turned out, as I already have a pretty good idea of what the results will be for you.

While I really can’t believe I have to put that ridiculous note on my post, just 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 try to confuse other with their articles. And just in case one of these writers happens to read this, I want to make sure they are not confused by the paragraph above. 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.

To answer some follow-up questions I have received since posting this:  Yes, please feel free to forward the link to this post directly to the authors of those articles who are stating that the upgrade alone is legal to use without owning a full license first.  Make sure to have them read the sentence with small words too so they don't give excuses like, "It's too hard to understand the legalese," etc.

FOOTNOTE:  There have been questions as to who this post is targeted at and the concept of the "loophole" seems to be in question as well.  I did address these in the comments below through my reply to one reader; however, I thought I would append it here to the post as well to avoid any ambiguity.  Here is what I posted in the comments below, "Thank you for the feedback.  My intention is not to be condescending to my readers.  To be very clear, my comments above about the "clueless people" are not directed at the customers or my readers.  They are directed at those trying to confuse the customers by telling them that it is OK to do this "just because it physically installs."  (Which is why I went back and added the footer to please forward my post to the authors of those articles)  As an example, I even conducted an interview early last year with one of the online publications writing about this now and explained in plain English that the physical ability to do this is not a "loophole," it provides a way for technology Partners to help clients who are legally licensed for Windows Vista (meaning they have the qualifying full license first) to perform a clean install vs. doing an in place upgrade.  Yet here we are, over a year later, and the same "It's a loophole and must be legal to not own the full license," gibberish is being published by that same publication that only confuses customers with non-factual information.  Considering I explained it very directly before and they still don't seem to get it, I thought I would publish it in REALLY simple terms this time for all to view.  Yes, I agree whole heartedly that customers of all sizes should engage with their technology Partners for how to buy information vs. relying on publications, like the ones referred to above, that seem to rely on sensationalism and speculation."

You can find the follow-up here: An upgrade is an upgrade. Apparently some people are easily confused – Part 2.

Thank you and have a wonderful day,

Eric Ligman
Microsoft US Senior Manager
Small Business Community Engagement
This posting is provided "AS IS" with no warranties, and confers no rights

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  • Wait ... what?! Microsoft OS's still are not open or free?!

  • Every company needs feedback from its users, right?  Well here goes.

    1. Fix all the problems in Vista

    (a) the performance SUCKS. fix that.

    (b) games run a lot slower on Vista. fix that.

    (c) the countless bugs are a lot worse than just being annoying. fix those.

    2. lower the price.

    (a) you guys are rich enough already. no need to sell every product (that includes Office) at such sky-high prices.

    3. work on customer support and stuff like that, instead of wasting time on blog posts like this. you are still earning big bucks selling at upgrade prices, so quit whining!

    4. actually work on Windows 7. suggestions from many experts over the years:

    (a) remove the registry. looking at the huge hard drives these days, we don't really need to share the components, do we?

    (b) improve the security. DUH.

    (c) revamp the ui. it can always be better.

    (d) figure out why all versions of Windows get BSOD's, crashes, stuff like that.

    5. listen to your customers.


  • i agree, people really need to learn this stuff. an upgrade is an upgrade.

  • Eric, before I mention anything else I have to give you props on those "examples".  I actually laughed looking at them.  Please do more!

    Just because you think a product is crappy does not give you the right to say "It's crappy so I'm going to pay half-price".  That works at the supermarket.  Maybe that's how it should work with software, but it's not.  Buy the full thing or don't use it.  Especially THE BASIS FOR YOUR COMPUTER.

    I am a Vista user.  I BOUGHT the FULL Ultimate edition.  Of course, I got screwed like every other Ultimate user out there.  Nothing "Ultimate" about this but the price.  

    HOWEVER,  I do not think it is half-bad.  Microsoft made a BIG step forward in the background. The features and changes you have introduced are clearly for the betterment of Windows.  However, these features are poorly explained and implemented.

    EVERYONE AND THING needs a stepping stone.  ME was a stepping stone for many features (ME introduced System Restore, System File Protection, Automatic Updates and UNIVERSAL PLUG AND PLAY!!!!).  XP was the beyond-impressive refinement.  Vista IS a stepping stone for many features.  I hope Windows 7 will be the refinement.

    Eric is ticked that people are not paying what they should be for his company's products. Eric have every right to feel the way he does. At least he cares about his company.

  • Either figure out a way to intelligently protect your products from easy illegal installation or just remove all the validation and "genuine" junk that has given honest people far more headaches than the crooks. Piracy is still rampant and apparently product validations don't really work all that well to prevent it.  Instead they are just a headache for the honest user.  Deal with it some other way.  How about including a proprietary key in the form of a USB flash drive, along with the OS?  Without the OS reading the key from the drive, it won't install.  Also once installed in a given system, the key could not be reused to install on another system, but would allow reinstall on the same system.  Yes, there would be problems if a key is lost or damaged, but it seems this could be a really effective way to prevent piracy.  The key could be serialized to match the OS install CD, so if lost, Microsoft could replace the key.  Of course someone will figure out how to hack this too.  Just make exceptional products that people want to buy and prosecute those who do steal.

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  • C'mon people.  I remember when XP came out and Microsoft made the claims of "improved security".  The buffer overflow vulnerabilities continued to pour in.  Then SP2 was released with even better security.  The buffer overflow vulnerabilities continued to pour in.

    Then Vista was released, with a whole new architecture to increase security.  The buffer overflow vulnerabilities continued to pour in.  Now SP1 for Vista is out.  You can guess the rest.

    So Dear Microsoft, instead of lecturing us on how to pay you more for an inferior product, how about you send all your crack programmers to buffer overflow school first?  Seriously, after the first couple of hundred you would think someone would be lighting a fire to find them ALL, and find them yesterday, before your company is further humiliated.

  • This is quality. How about fixing this major loophole in your products, instead of throwing your toys out of the pram?

    Microsoft bigwigs seem to have serious problems with communication. Look at Ballmer's rants about the GPL being a 'cancer' a few years ago. You guys really, really need some courses on interacting with your customers. Not only would you come across as less pompous, you'd also hear what they want, and make better products accordingly.

    Yes, using this loophole is wrong. But you guys are hopelessly out of touch in communicating with your users.

  • Eric, I think the big thing about the upgrade edition and the fact that the community "promoted" the work around was that FUNCTIONALITY OF THE VISTA UPGRADE DISC compared to a Window's XP Upgrade disc was taken down a step.  By FORCING an individual who wants to format and repartition his hard drive to FIRST INSTALL AN OLD OS is ridiculous.  The "OLD OS CD CHECK" functionality should have been included in all Vista Upgrade installations and then we wouldn't have this problem.

    I own 2 copies of Vista Ultimate, the first one of which I purchased as an Upgrade.  I can tell you this: after being FORCED to install my copy of XP first, after I had already formatted my computer not knowing that Vista required an OS to be installed, I WAS INFURIATED!  I had very little time left that day due to grad school and was prepared to return my copy to the store I bought it at, and would have FOUGHT THEM UNTIL THEY TOOK IT BACK... else I would have canceled payment on my credit card.

    THE ONLY THING THAT SAVED MY PURCHASE WAS THE FACT THAT THE WORK AROUND EXISTS.  AND EVEN STILL, I am not happy that you have to install it twice to do this.

    The community news post that I saw EXPLICITLY stated that it would be illegal to do this if you did not own a licensed copy of a previous OS (ie XP pro).  So not all individuals that you are referring to reported it in an illegal fashion.

    THE SOLUTION to the problem therefore would be to correct the problem by selling upgrade discs that allow an install with a CD check.

  • Well,

    You've made me just want to put all my customers on Linux, Macs, or Billy-Bob's OS with your silly and poorly written keyboard clickety-clack blog ramblings.

    By the way, while you are criticizing vendors and reps out there, didn't your Go Team Go! ever teach you how to write for the web properly?  You don't underline headlines or section headers, as they confuse people into thinking that they are hyperlinks and try to click on them.  You see, Eric, underlining words to represent links has kinda been around since the mid 90's for internet content usability.  

    You may want to read up on Blogging 101 before criticizing your partners.



  • When you begin to produce an operating system of decent quality at a reasonable price, <i>then</i> you can complain.

  • Re: the supermarket comparison, Daniel Wolf, most supermarket products have a shelf-life, and once they're past the best-by date, their price automatically gets reduced - otherwise the customers would stop buying and go elsewhere, because generally there's a lot more than one supermarket to buy goods and produce at.

    Judging from the general lack of interest in Vista, people seem to have concluded that Vista's shelf-life is largely over, and XP's is still viable.

    And Vista's still being sold at the same high range of prices.  How much is ME being sold for these days?  Ditto MS-DOS 4.0?

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  • Sorry, I'm running Ubuntu. Can somebody explain this full product/upgrade stuff to me again?

  • What an interesting week it has been. Since my original An upgrade is an upgrade. Apparently some people

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