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Consumers Get OS for Less: Crucial for Windows 8 Success

Microsoft Windows 8 Release Preview

Source: Microsoft Windows 8 Release Preview | Official Website

According to analysts, downgrade rights will be crucial for the success of Windows 8 and its acceptance in the enterprise. However, when a lot of consumers exercised it, this could be a sign that Microsoft’s latest operating system has pulled another “Vista.”

Downgrade Rights for Consumers and Corporations

Downgrade rights lets a consumer replace a new OS with an older version without the need to pay for two copies. This functionality is only available in copies that have been pre-installed on new PCs.

On the other hand, corporations with enterprising licensing agreements, which include annuity-like Software Assurance, are allowed to downgrade any version of Windows to any previous edition. According to Gartner Analyst Michael Silver:

For enterprises, downgrade rights are tremendously important [for Windows 8]. Most of the traditional form factors—desktops and notebooks—will be downgraded. But if it gets so bad that consumers downgrade, that’s a disaster for Microsoft. That means there’s word in the public that [Windows 8] is just bad.

Michael Cherry of directions on Microsoft added that exercising downgrade rights in business is not unusual. However, it will be more important once Windows 8 becomes available than in 2009 when the company launched Windows 7.

On the enterprise side, my thinking would be along these lines. I’ve just finished my plan to upgrade Windows XP to Windows 7, and along comes Windows 8. This is the last thing that I need right now. I don’t want to stop to evaluate Windows 8.

The analysts’ expectations about Windows 8 and downgrades are somehow due to the factors outside of the operating system’s control. Because Vista failed to take hold, the XP unexpectedly had a long life. However, not all hardware can get the downgrade treatment. Both Cherry and Silver sees that some companies will have a taste of Windows 8-powered devices with their developers or workers new touch component.

Downgrade Rights: Now and Then

Downgrade rights escaped the enterprise niche after the release of Windows Vista 2007, when a lot of users rebelled and downgraded their PCs to XP. In fact, it was one of the signals that Vista is on a shaky ground. But compared to Vista, interest on downgrading Windows 7 is minimal. According to Computer World, Microsoft’s current OS is the most-used version of Windows. Its share is almost two and a half times that of Vista during its peak.

Downgrade rights for Windows 8 enables a customer to fall back to either Windows 7 Professional or Vista Business. Aside from that, users can opt in to purchase new PCs with Windows 7 installed.

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