Woman Sues Microsoft Over Downgrade Policy

February 19, 2009

After purchasing a Lenovo PC preloaded with Microsoft’s Windows Vista, Emma Alvarado was shocked to learn she would have to pay $59.25 in order to downgrade to Windows XP. She’s now taking the matter to court and has a filed a lawsuit against Microsoft.

“Microsoft has used its market power to take advantage of consumer demand for the Windows XP operating system by requiring consumers to purchase computers preinstalled with the Vista operating system and to pay additional sums to ‘downgrade’ to the Windows XP operating system,” the suit alleges.

The suit is an interesting one, though probably an uphill battle for Alvrado to convince a judge that Microsoft is in the wrong. The software maker had originally intended for XP to go the way of the dodo bird at the end of June in 2008, but has since offered more than one stay of execution due to consumer demand. Both Vista Business and Ultimate come with downgrade rights, but it’s up to the OEMs to decide if they want to offer it as an option, and if so, for how much. Pricing varies by OEM, which might make Alvarado’s claim that Microsoft extended its XP cutoff date because of “tremendous profits” hard to prove in court.


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