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Woman sues Microsoft over Vista to XP downgrade charge

Antony Savvas

A Californian woman has filed a class-action lawsuit against Microsoft after she was charged $59.25 for downgrading her Windows Vista PC to XP.

In a lawsuit filed in the US District Court for the Western District of Washington in Seattle, Los Angeles resident Emma Alvarado is asking that Microsoft return the downgrading fee she paid when buying her Lenovo PC.

That PC came pre-installed with Windows Vista Business but she wanted Windows XP Professional, which she saw as a more reliable system.

Alvarado purchased the PC in June 2008, according to the lawsuit.

Alvarado is also inviting others who have paid similar fees to downgrade to XP to join the action, and is requesting refunds for them as well.

Many customers who purchased PCs with Vista pre-installed opted to downgrade to XP, because they were unhappy with Vista's "numerous problems," according to Alvarado's action.

The lawsuit accuses Microsoft of using its market power to "take advantage of consumer demand for the Windows XP operating system", by requiring people to buy Vista PCs and then charging them to downgrade to the XP operating system they would like.

Microsoft has not commented on the action. It says it has not yet been served with the lawsuit.

When Microsoft released Vista to customers in January 2007, it gave them downgrade rights if they were not happy with the new OS.

As the forthcoming Windows 7 OS is said to be similar to Windows Vista, Microsoft may be worried that there will still be a call among some consumers for rights to carry on downgrading to XP.

OEMs have already had their rights to carry on selling PCs with XP pre-installed, and most slimmed-down netbooks come with XP as the only option. Microsoft says all netbooks will be able to use Windows 7.


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