In a surprising but nonetheless pleasing turn of events, Microsoft has decided to revise the Vista license terms to get rid of the starkly-criticized one-transfer limit. The old license terms stated, “The first user of the software may reassign the license to another device one time. If you reassign the license, that other device becomes the ‘licensed device.'” The new terms simply say, “You may uninstall the software and install it on another device for your use. You may not do so to share this license between devices.” According to Microsoft Product Manager Nick White, the change was made specifically to cater to hardware enthusiasts:
Our intention behind the original terms was genuinely geared toward combating piracy; however, it’s become clear to us that those original terms were perceived as adversely affecting an important group of customers: PC and hardware enthusiasts. You who comprise the enthusiast market are vital to us for several reasons, not least of all because of the support you’ve provided us throughout the development of Windows Vista. We respect the time and expense you go to in customizing, building and rebuilding your hardware and we heard you that the previous terms were seen as an impediment to that — it’s for that reason we’ve made this change. I hope that this change provides the flexibility you need, and gives you more reason to be excited about the upcoming retail release of our new operating system.
While Microsoft’s move is commendable, it’s worth pointing out that the amended Vista terms now appear similar to the Windows XP terms, which state, “You may move the Software to a different Workstation Computer. After the transfer, you must completely remove the Software from the former Workstation Computer.” However, Microsoft General Manager Shanen Boettcher recently told Paul Thurrott that the XP terms were never intended to allow unlimited transfers, and that the clause only pertained to “specific circumstances” like a hardware failure.
Let’s hope Microsoft stays true to its word this time and allows enthusiasts to transfer their copy of Vista multiple times regardless of their motive for doing so. Thanks to Neowin for the tip.