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.
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:
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
@ Peter - If you look at the Microsoft Product List (http://www.microsoftvolumelicensing.com/userights/PL.aspx) there is a chart showing what qualifies for the Windows Vista Upgrade. You will notice that Macintosh is listed as a qualifying O/S to upgrade from. So, you are not installing the upgrade without owning a qualifying license, you already have a qualifying license to upgrade from in the Mac O/S.
@ Jim S. - Thank you for the clarification. The commercial software industry has been a "You are licensing this" not a "you own this" model for as long as I can remember. Software is about Intellectual Property and you license people to use your IP, you don't have them buy your IP. Awareness of this fact may have increased recently, but the fact it is that way has not changed.
@ Eric/mssmallbiz: Any comment on the very valid point Jim S. raises regarding Microsoft's confusing licensing?
Here's what he wrote:
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.
I purchased Windows Vista Ultimate Upgrade. I do have a legitimate previous copy of Windows XP Pro which was also an upgrade from a full version of Windows 98 SE. I build my own computer and always buy retail. I was able to successfully install Vista Upgrade and did notice some performance loss. So I did some hardware upgrades and my performance improved. I did how ever run into one problem. Vista Ultimate allows me to encrypt my drive. Now being that I have to have XP installed to install Vista I was unable to use this feature that I clearly am licensed for as I have to encrypt the drive during setup and can't do that with an existing OS installed on that drive (needed for verification) so after talking with Microsoft I was given the clean install method and was able to encrypt my drive. The key here is that I had a legitimate copy of XP to upgrade from and that Microsoft Engineers had the forethought to give me a work around so I could use all the features I was licensed for. I like Vista works fine for me though the Ultimate edition doesn't seem worth the money after the fact. Keep plugging along MS you will get it.
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Why did I "upgrade" to vista? I can't remember.
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