More clues: Why Microsoft backtracked on its Vista virtualization plans

More clues: Why Microsoft backtracked on its Vista virtualization plans

Summary: Speculation is continuing as to why Microsoft did a 180 last week and decided not to relax the virtualization licensing wording in its Windows Vista EULA. Here's the exact text of the change that Microsoft planned to make. See any clues as to why the company decided to nix at the last minute its virtualization rules?

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Last week, Microsoft nixed at the last minute planned changes to its Windows Vista end-user license agreement (EULA) that would have broadened virtualization rights. Since then, speculation has been mounting as to why Microsoft did this.

Fear of Mac OS X and Linux on the desktop? A desire to thwart Parallels and VMWare? DRM concerns?

Queries to Microsoft regarding why company officials nixed the planned easing of Vista's virtualiztion license were met with "We have nothing further to say." Period.

I realized over the weekend that none of us press/bloggers who was briefed by Microsoft on the planned changes had run the text of the EULA wording Microsoft officials provided to us. Maybe one of you out there will see some clues the rest of us missed as to why Microsoft decided to continue to ban users from running legally Vista Home Basic or Vista Home Premium in virtualized environments.

Here's the EULA text the Softies sent me under non-disclosure on June 18:

Use with Virtualization Technologies (for all Vista SKUs)

"You may use the software installed on the licensed device within a virtual (or otherwise emulated) hardware system on the licensed device. If you do so, the virtual hardware system is considered a separate device, and must have a separate license. Additionally IRM, DRM and BitLocker are now licensed to run in a virtual machine and that text has also been removed from the EULA. "

On June 19, Microsoft officials sent this revised EULA wording, but still said the planned virtualization change was on. The revised wording read as follows:

Use with Virtualization Technologies (for all Vista SKUs)

"Instead of using the software directly on the licensed device, you may use the software within avirtual (or otherwise emulated) hardware system on the licensed device. Additionally IRM, DRM and BitLocker are now licensed to run in a virtual machine and that text has also been removed from the EULA."

Late on June 19, word came down that all bets were off and Microsoft wouldn't be relaxing the virtualiztion terms for Vista after all.

Given this info, any new guesses as to why Redmond revoked the planned virtualization licensing changes?

Topics: Hardware, Microsoft, Virtualization, Windows

About

Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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