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Virtual Windows Vista users will have to pay for the high-end OS

With the release of Windows Vista on Tuesday, the final end-user licensing agreement (EULA) is reaching the eyes of the masses – for those who actually care to read through it instead of blindly clicking “next.”

One particular clause found in specific versions of Windows Vista is catching the attention of many Mac users, particularly those using Parallels Desktop software, which allows Mac users to run the new Windows OS on their systems. The Parallels Virtualization blog found that only the higher-end versions of Vista permit the use of virtualization software.

The EULA for Vista Home Basic and Home Premium Editions is quite clear in its stance on virtualization:

“USE WITH VIRTUALIZATION TECHNOLOGIES. You may not use the software installed on the licensed device within a virtual (or otherwise emulated) hardware system.”

On the other hand, the EULA for Vista Business and Ultimate Editions allows virtualization, but with some boundaries:

“USE WITH VIRTUALIZATION TECHNOLOGIES. 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, you may not play or access content or use applications protected by any Microsoft digital, information or enterprise rights management technology or other Microsoft rights management services or use BitLocker. We advise against playing or accessing content or using applications protected by other digital, information or enterprise rights management technology or other rights management services or using full volume disk drive encryption.”

For most Wintel PC users, the limitations set forth in the EULA for the Home versions of Windows Vista are meaningless. But for Mac and Linux users, the restriction to the top tier Windows Vista SKUs means a greater investment is required to virtually run the new OS. Microsoft believes that the main users of virtualization technology are businesses who can afford the added cost.

“Most customers using this technology are primarily business users addressing application compatibility needs, or technology enthusiasts,” said a Microsoft spokesperson to MacCentral. “So virtualization will be supported in Microsoft Windows Vista Ultimate and Vista Business SKUs. Home users have rarely requested virtualization and so it will not be supported in Microsoft Windows Vista Home Basic and Home Premium SKUs.”

Update 2/1/2007: Contrary to what we heard from Microsoft spokespeople, apparently the interpretation of the EULA posted above doesn’t present the whole picture of the license. As detailed in the Windows Server Division Weblog, the limitations to the Vista Home editions stems from restrictions to multiple installations. The mere fact that the Business and Ultimate Editions of Vista allow for greater freedom with the number of installations is the reason behind the permission for use in virtualization technologies. Microsoft has yet to offer official clarification on the subject at this time, but that’s the deal with the EULA as we understand it.

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By semo on 2/1/2007 7:41:30 PM , Rating: 2
Microsoft believes that the main users of virtualization technology are businesses who can afford the added cost.
it's probably just me but that sounds a bit too capitalistic to me. i understand this as "why allow home users to do use this technology when we can get away with charging businesses more for it".

what's the real reason for disallowing the use of virtualization in some versions?

RE: .
By AndreasM on 2/1/2007 9:03:11 PM , Rating: 2
Greed != Capitalism

RE: .
By TomZ on 2/2/2007 5:56:57 PM , Rating: 2
Some people would argue that greed is good, since it is the drive that makes capitalism work. In other words, the incentive for a person or company to work hard and smart to make themselves successful is that they will enrich themselves.

RE: .
By Nekrik on 2/1/2007 9:04:45 PM , Rating: 2
Support has to be given, which means testing and development effort, add another OS and it can mean a pretty significant cost in these areas. They're not preventing it, which they could do, they're just not going to help someone if they have issues outside the specific realm they offer support for.

RE: .
By bottle23 on 2/2/2007 11:12:09 AM , Rating: 2
what's the real reason for disallowing the use of virtualization in some versions?

Isn't it obvious by their response? Its about money.

They're saying, because a certain group of customers aren't gonna pay extra, they don't deserve Virtualisation.

While this other group can and will, deserve Virtualisation.

It isn't about capitalism. Its about greed. Plain and simple. Have a think about it with the context of harsher "anti-piracy" measures...They're trying to maximise their profits with Vista.

This is one of those cases where technology doesn't dictate the limitation, but economics.

RE: .
By semo on 2/2/2007 11:41:49 AM , Rating: 2
many argue that the anti-piracy (drm and what not) measures m$ has taken is because (in overly simplified terms) the mpaa/hollywood/whoever made them. you can also say that it takes 2 to tango and argue that m$ could have stepped up for the small guy and made things different (but individuals is not where the money's at).

RE: .
By Snuffalufagus on 2/2/2007 9:04:08 PM , Rating: 2
While I really can't agree with your reasoning as to why it isn't supported in the home version, I find your explanation of greed fricking hilarious.

It's like that time I wanted to buy some RAM for my PC, they had a 512MB stick for $75, but I wanted to get a 1GB stick, and those greedy bastards wanted to charge $120 for it. Those bastards, just cause I wasn't going to pay extra, I wasn't going to get as much as the people who did pay more, so it's like they deserved the extra memory locations, but I didn't. GREED, plain and simple. Charging more more for more functionality (maybe they could make it up by undercharging and selling in greater volume :)).

I can't really think of a scenario where the average home user would need to use virtualization. If you want to use it to experiment with other OSes, run Linux, 2000, 95, QNX, BSD, whatever, that's a little outside of the realm of a home user. And on the support side, I can imagine the nightmare of the call where the 40 year old soccer mom who calls up trying to get that virtualized environment up and running.

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