AAPL Stock: 118.3 ( + 0.49 )

Printed from

MS sued for charging for Vista-XP downgrade

updated 01:20 pm EST, Fri February 13, 2009

MS Sued for XP Downgrade

Microsoft has been sued this week over claims that the necessity to pay for its Vista-to-XP downgrade program abuses the company's Windows monopoly. Filed in a Seattle federal district court, the lawsuit found by the Seattle Times accuses Microsoft of violating Washington state business and consumer protection laws by creating an unfair license that cost plaintiff Emma Alvarado $59.25 to revert from Windows Vista Business to XP Professional when she bought a Lenovo notebook in June 2008.

She believes Microsoft has knowingly exploited Vista's poor reputation and created a captive audience which has no choice but to pay a significant amount to use an operating system it believes is more compatible and reliable. About one third of all computer buyers have paid to use XP when Vista was the only choice, Alvarado claims. She further argues that Microsoft's repeated extensions of its downgrade program, which may now run until the end of July, are meant to exploit the "tremendous profits" that come from charging extra for XP.

"Consumers have encountered numerous problems using the Vista operating system, and these problems have been widely publicized in various media outlets," Alavardo says in the complaint. "As a result, many consumers would prefer to purchase a new computer pre-installed with the Windows XP operating system or at least not pre-installed with the Vista operating system."

The downgrade mentioned in the lawsuit is the virtue of conditions in Microsoft's Vista licensing that lets PC builders load the older Windows version in place of Vista while still providing a copy of the newer software for an upgrade later. The process originally had a pure cost of $104 but has varied wildly in price depending on the manufacturer and Vista version, with downgrades at Dell costing as much as $150 per system for conversions from Vista Home editions to XP Professional.

Dell and others have long argued that they have kept XP as an option, both before and since the downgrade program began, in response to public demand for the software and not at Microsoft's request. These companies are still subject to Microsoft's licensing and would have had to remove the XP option entirely at the end of January.

Alvarado is hoping to get class action status for her lawsuit, which would let all US residents join the complaint if they have paid for XP downgrades in the past four years. Beyond asking for Microsoft to halt its practices, the plaintiff is also looking for triple damages and court costs.

Microsoft spokesman David Bowermaster says the company hasn't yet been formally served with the lawsuit and can't comment on it as a result. Previously, the company has acknowedged Vista's buggy launch but has maintained that last year's Service Pack 1 and the previous fixes it includes have eliminated many of the problems named by Alvarado.

by MacNN Staff



  1. manleycreative

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Buy a Mac?

  1. nelsoon

    Joined: Dec 1969


    59.25$ not costly.

    When you pay for Vista-XP downgrade you get with your Vista license, a xp license. So you have both. So you paid only 59.25$ for windows xp. It's the right of Microsoft to offer a old OS to people. They could force you only using vista. And yeah if you're not happy buy a Mac or another solution that exclude Microsoft and companies like Dell. But I think that any other company would had simply killed XP system.

  1. bigjimid

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Wow, is she serious!?

    Emma, we're sorry that the electronics industry keeps growing and moving forward. They should have asked first before they went ahead and started advancing technology. How dare they!

    But seriously, XP sp1 was buggy too. Get used to it. Just because your new 09 Lexus had a ball joint fail within the first few months doesn't mean that they are going to give you a brand new left over 08.

  1. Athens

    Joined: Dec 1969



    I totally agree with her. People didn't want Vista licenses at all, they wanted to buy the machines with XP. There should have been no cost at all. This was Microsofts attempt to force Vista on people and to inflat there sales numbers.

  1. bigjimid

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Athens. Yes and no

    That's why it is offered as an option for less than it costs retail. It's still a product that you have to pay for regardless of the fact that someone isn't ready to use it. I agree that I'd rather still work in XP, which I do (XP Pro sp3).

    The main reason people were having issues in Vista were because they were upgrading their computers that had old hardware. Vista just allows you to take advantage of newer technologies available.

    "DVD? My VHS works just fine. We don't need no dang DVD system."

  1. LouZer

    Joined: Dec 1969



    They actually give you the option of using a previous version of an OS, and they get sued for it?

    Does this mean Mac users can sue Apple for not allowing them to buy any mac with 10.4 on it?

  1. luckyday

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Nice woman.

    Her damages are $59.25. And she is going to Court? Why doesn't she sue Lenovo for only offering Vista? And while she's at it, why doesn't she sue BMW for changing the taillights on the new 3 series. She wants the old ones!

  1. LouZer

    Joined: Dec 1969



    She further argues that Microsoft's repeated extensions of its downgrade program, which may now run until the end of July, are meant to exploit the "tremendous profits" that come from charging extra for XP.

    Um, you also have the option of NOT downgrading... Oh, right, then you wouldn't have a reason to sue.

    And MS can nip this one really quick, by just stop selling XP at all. Oh, wait, that would cause another lawsuit.

    And does this mean we should also be able to downgrade to Windows 98 or Me for free as well?

    Alvarado is hoping to get class action status for her lawsuit,

    Class action? What a shocker! And I bet they're willing to settle, too...

    which would let all US residents join the complaint if they have paid for XP downgrades in the past four years.

    Four years? Wow, that's a long time. I didn't think Vista's been out that long.

  1. elroth

    Joined: Dec 1969


    not so fast

    Most of you haters are missing a major point: there were millions of computers advertised as "Vista Capable" that really weren't.

    So you think Microsoft should charge extra to people who bought a Vista computer that ran like c***? Those people deserve free downloads of XP.

    The other point is that for the people who want or need to run XP, they have to pay for Vista and XP both. If Microsoft wants to quit selling XP that's fine, but as long as they're offering it on new computers, why do people have to pay for both OS's?

    Bottom line: MIcrosoft will allow Dell to sell you a computer with XP on it, but you have to pay for Vista too. Coming from a company with 90% market share, this is monopolistic (in a bad way).

  1. Athens

    Joined: Dec 1969



    The price of Vista is already included in the price of the machine. Since when did Vista become Cheaper then XP? It has not. It would be different if the machine price was with out a OS then charging for XP or Vista is the same unless your saying MS gives Vista free to the computer builders and they have to actually pay money for XP which would validate the cost. Since I doubt they do that your wrong, Wrong wrong wrong.

Login Here

Not a member of the MacNN forums? Register now for free.


Network Headlines

Follow us on Facebook


Most Popular


Recent Reviews

Ultimate Ears Megaboom Bluetooth Speaker

Ultimate Ears (now owned by Logitech) has found great success in the marketplace with its "Boom" series of Bluetooth speakers, a mod ...

Kinivo URBN Premium Bluetooth Headphones

We love music, and we're willing to bet that you do, too. If you're like us, you probably spend a good portion of your time wearing ...

Jamstik+ MIDI Controller

For a long time the MIDI world has been dominated by keyboard-inspired controllers. Times are changing however, and we are slowly star ...


Most Commented