Vista Class Action Suit Revised: Claims Extortion

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The California woman suing Microsoft over Windows Vista's downgrade rights has revised her lawsuit to focus on the requirement that users must buy the most expensive versions of Vista if they want to downgrade to Windows XP.

Los Angeles resident Emma Alvarado repeated her charges that Microsoft violated Washington state's unfair business practices and consumer protection laws by restricting computer makers' ability to offer Windows XP on new PCs after Vista's launch in the amended complaint.

Microsoft Took Advantage Of Consumer Demand, Suit Says

According to Computer World, the lawsuit says that many consumers would prefer to purchase a new system with Windows XP pre-installed, or at least without Vista pre-installed. The suit argues that Microsoft used its market power to take advantage of demand for XP. (Source:

The suit alleges that in these situations, those licenses for either Vista Business or Vista Ultimate are unnecessary.

The suit also noted that Windows XP Professional, the only version of Windows XP that users are allowed to downgrade to, is a premium version with a higher price tag and claims that Microsoft designed those rules in an effort to boost Vista sales figures and profits.

Price-Gouging To Recoup Investments?

In the lawsuit, Alvarez claims the downgrade 'right' was designed to maintain and/or inflate its sales figures to recoup its substantial investment in Vista's development and production by forcing customers to purchase more expensive versions of Vista in order to 'downgrade' to Windows XP.

She also accuses Microsoft of price-gouging with its downgrade practices. Her revised lawsuit says that prior to permitting the consumer to 'downgrade' to Windows XP Pro, Microsoft required that consumers upgrade to a premium version of Vista, forcing them to incur an unnecessary expense of around $130 USD, depending where it was purchased from.

Alvarado cited the $130 figure based on Dell's charges to 'downgrade' a new computer to Windows XP. Dell charged $20 to install XP on the machine, and $130 was the price of upgrading from the Standard Vista Home Premium to the more expensive Vista Business edition. (Source:

Microsoft Mandated Downgrade Fees

Last December, Dell spokesman David Frink said Microsoft mandated that customers wanting downgrade rights to XP had to purchase the license to Vista Business or Vista Ultimate which typically cost about $130, but that some retail outlets charged more.

Microsoft denied making money on downgrades when Alvarado's suit was originally filed last month. Emails exchanged between Computer Week and Microsoft maintain that they did not receive any additional royalties if a customer exercised those downgrade rights. (Source:

Alvarado is looking for reimbursement and is still seeking class-action status.

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