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More Vista licensing ugliness

Vista EULASuprises Inside Microsoft Vista's EULA! Oh, sorry, that was supposed to be a sad frowny face, not an exclamation point. These are not surprises like the ones you find at the bottom of your Froot Loops. They're like the ones you find in, well, Microsoft licenses. The SecurityFocus article by Scott Granneman says that while Microsoft has tried to spit-polish Vista's license terms in recent weeks, they're still pretty draconian. Here are some of the delightful nuggets you can find: Benchmark gag order: You can only perform benchmarks on Vista, but only when you comply with Microsoft's conditions, which can change at any time. Virtualization limits: You can't run Vista Home Basic or Home Premium in a virtual machine, and if you use Vista Business or Ultimate in a virtual machine, you're not allowed to access any Microsoft DRM-protected content, including music and documents. Transfer to to other systems: You can transfer your Vista license to a second machine (provided you take it off the first machine), but after that you're done. No second transfer. Game over.

Okay, so not all of this is news. We've talked about some of this before. But all of it sucks. As I've said before, your average user isn't going to read the EULA, much less care overmuch about its clauses on virtualization and benchmarking. But people who make purchasing decisions and give advice--those users' techie friends, IT managers, and so forth--aren't blind to these things. Is Microsoft slowly killing itself by making its EULAs increasingly consumer-surly? Will the power-users eventually bail, and take their layman friends and family with them?

Update: It seems like maybe both I and Granneman are behind the times. Several users have pointed out that Microsoft has backtracked on the limitations on transferring a Vista license to a new machine after outcry from pretty much everybody.

Tags: commercial, eula, license, microsoft, osupdates, scott granneman, ScottGranneman, vista, windows vista, WindowsVista