Saturday, February 14, 2009

Microsoft Faces "Downgrade" Lawsuit

microsoft logoA lawsuit has been filed suing Microsoft Corp. over the fee charged to "downgrade" Windows Vista on a new laptop to Windows XP.

The case which has been filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington in Seattle, by Los Angeles resident Emma Alvarado seeks the return the fee paid for downgrading a Lenovo PC with Windows Vista Business preinstalled to Windows XP Professional. Alvarado is asking for the return of $59.25 which was added to the cost of her laptop purchased on June 20, 2008, according to the suit.

Alvarado is looking to expand the scope of the lawsuit by inviting others who have paid fees to downgrade to XP to join the suit (PDF) and is requesting refunds for them as well.

As a result of dissatisfaction over Vista many users have opted to "downgrade" their PCs to Windows XP, studies showed approximately 1/3 of Vista PCs had been downgraded.

AVG Internet SecurityMany customers who purchased PCs with Vista installed opted to downgrade to XP because they weren't happy with Vista's "numerous problems," according to Alvarado's suit. "As a result, many consumers would prefer to purchase a new computer preinstalled with the Windows XP operating system or at least not preinstalled with the Vista operating system," according to the filing.

According to the lawsuit by charging for those downgrades Microsoft and the OEM manufactures violated Washington state's Unfair Business Practices Act and the Consumer Protection Act.

"Microsoft has used its power to coerce OEMs, Internet access providers, and others into agreeing to restrictive and anti-competitive licensing terms for its Windows XP operating system in order to stifle competition in the market," according to Alvarado's complaint. "Microsoft did so in order to maintain, protect, and extend its market power in operating systems software into the next generation of personal computing, to lessen competition, and to enhance its monopoly position," Alvarado claims.

"Since the introduction of Vista, Microsoft has effectively eliminated competition in the operating system PC market and created a monopoly position for itself in that market," Alvarado claims in papers filed this week in U.S. District Court in Seattle.

Along with a refund of the downgrade fees Alvarado is seeking unspecified damages and wants the court to make her case a class action suit. Microsoft has yet to file a formal response to the allegations. and has yet to comment on the case.


  1. Anonymous3:35 PM

    personally i say if the people didn't do the proper research and just buy a pc as is and leave it with all the extra craplettes the manufacturers bloat the systems with they can deal with paying to go to a lesser os if they want to. it's just like adding ram or anything to a pc they are altering it from how they bought it. lawsuits like this just prove the kind of society we are in everyone wants everything for free. i have acouple pcs running xp and my main one is running vista ultimate 32bit and my vista machine is faster and far more stable than any of my xp machines.

  2. Although I do disagree with the "fee" charged for users wanting XP I really don't see this going anywhere. Mainly because you get both a license for XP and one for Vista. Now had MS or the OEMs charged a premium that didn't include both licenses then yeah I could see it.

    The one sticking point might be the complaint that MS uses its position to effectively force an OS on OEM users. The lady might have some complaint there an I think that might be the only chance this has to go anywhere.


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