When Microsoft stopped selling new licenses to Windows XP on June30, it gave users and PC makers a “downgrade” loophole so that thosewho wanted XP could still get it, even though they still had to buy aVista license.
According to data from the exo.performance.network,35 percent of Vista-equipped PCs have been downgraded to Windows XP.“That’s way out of proportion for even the dramatically unpopularWindows Vista,” says Randall C. Kennedy, an InfoWorld contributingeditor, whose company Devil Mountain Software developed the WindowsSentinel tool and analyzes the exo.performance.networkdata. (More than 3,000 PCs are monitored worldwide using the tool, inboth the free InfoWorld Windows Sentinel version and in the moreextensive version provided to Devil Mountain clients.)
The idea of a downgrade option is nothing new for enterpriselicenses, since it can take several years for large organizations toplan out and deploy significant new software, under schedules that bearno resemblance to a vendor’s product schedules. But in a twist of thispolicy, individual users can also “downgrade” to XP from Vista Businessor Ultimate (and later restore Vista if they desire at no extra cost).Most major PC makers offer users the option of downgrading to XP on atleast some models, typically those sold to small businesses and gamers.