Microsoft sued over XP downgrade prices

A miffed user has sued Microsoft because of the fee required to downgrade to Windows XP on a new Lenovo computer, according to Emma Alvarado from Los Angeles County filed the suit last week in Seattle, and she's seeking class action status.

Alvarado, who had to pay $59.25 to get Windows XP instead of Windows Vista pre-installed on the machine, alleges that Microsoft "has used its market power to take advantage of consumer demand for the Windows XP operating system by requiring consumers to purchase computers preinstalled with the Vista operating system and to pay additional sums to 'downgrade' to the Windows XP operating system."

The lawsuit points to Windows XP availability extensions as evidence of the "tremendous profits that Microsoft has reaped from its 'downgrade' option." Microsoft originally intended to discontinue Windows XP for new pre-built PCs on June 30, 2008 but the company eventually pushed that deadline back to July 31, 2009. XP will live on in netbooks for a while after that, too.

There's just one little hitch: the site quotes Microsoft spokesman David Bowermaster as saying Microsoft doesn't actually get money from XP downgrades: "Microsoft does not charge or receive any additional royalty if a customer exercises those rights. . . . Some customers may choose or need to obtain media or installation services from third parties to install the downgrade version." In other words, Alvarado should probably be directing her legal ire at Lenovo.

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