There is one aspect of Vista that I’m really curious about. How much does it cost to buy it? I see you have some fantastic renting/leasing scheme dreamed up, and you’ve released those figures while calling them straight-up prices, but clearly they are not since your EULA specifically limits the number of times we can use the software.
I know someone right now is thinking “But copyright law bla bla publishers can specify appropriate use bla bla.” Fine. I can go buy a book and read it as many times as I like. I can’t reproduce it, I can’t make copies and give them away or sell them, but I can use it in good faith in my own home (or elsewhere) as many times as I like (Although it turns out I can sell the book when I’m done with it to someone else, another aspect of ‘ownership’.)
I can buy a DVD or computer game and play it until it’s unreadable. I can even *gasp* use it on a different DVD player – say, one I have in my bedroom or my vacation home. I can take it to a friend’s house for movie night (although I can’t invite 30 of my other friends over – I understand that part. I can also sell DVDs I no longer wish to ‘own’.) In the case of games, I can reinstall it with no problem on my new machine, or I can uninstall it and give away or sell it and be done with it.
The difference here is – even though books and DVDs and games are no less protected by copyright law, end-consumers OWN those particular instances. There are really very few unreasonable limitations on their use. An argument can be made that the copy protection limits fair-use backup creation on DVDs and games (an argument I agree with) but still, ‘owners’ can view the material as often as they like.
With Vista, the EULA specifies that this is the not the case. The interviews with Microsoft employees tend to back this view up as well.
If your computer hardware changes to a significant degree, you must re-activate because Vista will un-activate itself, or refuse to seamlessly activate if you re-install on a blank drive after a significant hardware change. This means the several motherboard changes I have recently made in the interest of upgrading my personal desktop would technically invalidate a Vista license. Microsoft would be within their rights to insist that I buy a new copy of Vista, or at the very least pay for a new license (Which is essentially the same thing.)
Thankfully, I only had to deal with the irritation and humiliation of calling Microsoft’s activation hotline and begging their indulgence in activating my new re-install of XP. No, I promise I’m not a dirty-dirty software pirate. Yes I’ll answer all your questions.
So, again… how much does it cost to buy Vista rather than renting it? If I buy something, I expect to be able to use it until I’m done with it – not until it’s done with me.
References and reading material:
“With a retail version of Windows XP, there are no restrictions on the number of times you can transfer the software from one computer to another in your household or office. That’s about to change for the worse in Vista, with only one lifetime transfer allowed.”
Peter Ramins aka InThrees @ OCForums