Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Dell Responds To XP Downgrade Pricing

In an article posted today on Computerworld.com Dell has responded to reports that they are charging customers $150 to "downgrade" to Windows XP.

"We have not increased the pricing, nor are we charging $150 for Windows XP," said Dell spokesman David Frink, reacting to a similar Computerworld story published yesterday. "For customers who order a system with Windows XP Professional via the downgrade rights program, Dell charges $20 to ... pre-install Windows XP Pro with all drivers on the system, include a reinstall CD and include a Vista Business install DVD, plus a CD with Vista drivers."

"The $130 difference between the $20 that Dell charges for the downgrade and the $150 price the company advertises on its Web site is what it costs buyers to upgrade Vista from the standard Home Premium edition and the Business edition," said Frink. "Microsoft mandates that customers who want to downgrade to XP must purchase the license to Vista Business or Vista Ultimate," Frink said. "[That's] typically about a $130 premium, though some retail outlets charge more."

Frink is correct, according to the Windows Vista Downgrade Rights reference sheet (PDF), Windows Vista downgrade rights are only extended to Vista Business and Vista Ultimate. As I previously mentioned you do receive licenses for both Operating systems which gives you the option of running XP now and transitioning to Vista when and if you are ready.

The problem here appears to be the $130 premium, which I now see is the standard upgrade price for any Dell system. Newegg offers OEM versions of Vista Home Basic at $89.99 and Vista Business at $139.99, that would be a $50 difference not the $130 difference that Dell would have you pay. The second problem is that Dell offers the Windows Vista Business bonus for $99 on the small business site.

It would appear that small business users get the package for $50 less and as advertised "Get Genuine Windows Vista Business Bonus with Windows XP Professional INSTALLED: FREE".

Dell might not be "charging $150 for Windows XP" but they are charging home users a hefty premium for the right to downgrade. Still even I can admit $150 for two licenses isn't bad at all, especially considering XP Professional and Vista Business are both $139.99. I'd take $280 worth of software for half price any day!

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