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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  • @ Jim S. - Jim, You mention we've confused people with licenses, EULAs, etc.; however, licenses and EULAs are the same thing.  EULA = End User License Agreement.  So are you saying that the different versions of the product are causing the confusion between an upgrade and full license?  You might want to read through Part 2 of the post: http://blogs.msdn.com/mssmallbiz/archive/2008/04/21/8415385.aspx

  • @ Josh - You mentioned you have a previous Windows O/S license that you are upgrading from.  As such, using the upgrade to do your install is fine since you own a qualifying license to upgrade from.  My comments on it not being legal are for those who do not own the previous version license first.

  • Fix Vista... I just went back to XP a few days ago since, well Vista is crap. Oh yeah, my main computer runs Linux

  • our company switched over to ubuntu and never looked back

    your company too can do without windows and all the complexity in managing it.

    our desktop never looked so pretty with invisible windows and floating cubes.  all on hardware that is 2 to 3 years old.  if it the hardware works why upgrade.  wait till it fails.

    just switch to ubuntu folks on the server and client and you will never go back to microsoft.

  • Eric - I agree strongly with Ed who said, "what an amazingly condescending post from a "Senior Manager" of "Community Engagement.""

    As for your answer, "@ Ed - 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", maybe you need someone to explain some things to you, with the same dripping sarcasm and usage of small enough words for you to understand.  Just who do you think reads your remarks?  Eric, that would be "your readers" so the clue in small, easily understood words that you seem to need - is that its a pretty ignorant argument to write such a drippingly sarcastic and condescending post, and then hide behind the stupid statement that it wasn't aimed at "your readers."  Amazing, truly amazing.

  • Um, since Vista is considered a DOWNGRADE by many, and an "upgrade" by few, how does that work? If I own a licensed copy of XP, and I choose to install Vista, how much will Micro$oft refund me for performing this downgrade on my machine?

  • Yeah, its like saying if I can get into your house I can take whatever I want. <sarcasm> Well you didn't lock it securely right?  I'm physically able to get into your house uninvited so it should be legal to do whatever I want in there right? </sarcasm>

    Obviously no.

    The same logic applies to all kinds of cheats.

  • OK.  Obviously someone got reamed for this problem, but I echo some of the comments others have posted.  

    Economics aside, I have customers that have been faithful to Microsoft thru the years that have just had it.  Not Microsofts fault that a huge partner in HP decided to stop support on rafts of hardware that still works with XP.  However, looking at the cost of refitting thousands of worker bees to function in the vista world was very daunting.  Thus, Xandros was the solution.  

    Instead of bitching at us about licensing, spend that energy with a media campaign that uses little words to describe what the goal of Vista is and play it during primetime.  Most of the tech shops I support don't have clue # 1 what the goal of Vista is.  They just keep parroting problems someone else had.

    The other thing I'd suggest is to have more aggresive pricing to make it look more reasonable against a $40 copy of linux with support.  I want to sel Microsoft, but if we're having to jump thru hoops like having offshore divisions purchase all the software because it is cheaper that way, it lets you know something isn't hitting.

  • "how much will Micro$oft refund me for performing this downgrade on my machine?" I don't think the words "refund" & "Microsoft" can be used in the same sentence. I just don't think it's possible...

  • @ Esteban - Thank you for the feedback, and rest assured, I am sharing all of the feedback I get with the various teams here.  

  • You’re all correct Stealing is stealing, even if you’re stealing crap.

  • I Really wish MS would do more to check for valid versions of xp/vista and totally disable "Dodgy" versions.

    Why ?

    I and my wife are not rich we don't have money to waste but I budgeted and paid for Vista home premium twice one for our two main pc's, our media and laptop also run valid single licence xp professionals.

    Its a kick in our teeth when we see these people trying to justify pirated versions.

    vista not worth it ? then don't use it, simple as that.

    Vista is not perfect but its tweakable and an improvement aslong as you have hardware to handle it.

    Up until a year ago one of my pc's still ran win98se, it cost me when I bought it about the same as vista, how many updates how much support over time ?? you don't get that many other places.

    Same with XP I invested and bought it many years ago and have had free support and fixes and updates since then.

    Same for vista.

    Please start protecting those of us that paid for it.

  • @ Jason:  I agree - protect those of us that paid for it...  from further being subjected to inferior, sub-standard software.

    I'm not trying to jump on *you* specifically, but let's face facts - I bought Vista because it was supposed to be BETTER than the XP Professional I was using.  It was the single biggest waste of money I have spent in years - and I'm not exactly brilliant with my financing.  I BOUGHT and PAID for Vista, just like you - and I have to agree with everyone complaining about it.  As a person who BOUGHT and PAID for it, I'm entitled to that right.  Your post suggests otherwise, which prompted me to make this point.

  • Responding to: "@ Jim S. - Jim, You mention we've confused people with licenses, EULAs, etc.; however, licenses and EULAs are the same thing."

    I phrased that poorly, Eric.  What I meant was the software industry made a cultural shift from "you own this" to "you merely license this".  Part of this shift was the creation of shrinkwrap EULA's (which seem to be toppling into ridiculously lopsided free-for-alls).

    Charge OEM's a bit more, retail consumers a bit less, junk the myriads of SKU's, and you'll deliver a much better customer experience.  Where you've taken Windows is both obnoxious and unhealthy.

  • An important exception: Under clause 7 of their School Agreement, MS specifically allows installing an "upgrade" version of Windows on a Macintosh with no need to have ever purchased a full version. Student purchasers of new Macs get free Windows (running under Parallels or Boot Camp) and student purchasers of other new PCs have to pay for it. I don't get it...

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