Neil Laver, Microsoft product manager for Windows 2000, said there had been no change in licensing policy. "Gartner's note was prompted by the leak of an internal questions-and-answers memo sent to sales staff to clarify licensing issues," he said.
He insisted the leaked document did not signify Microsoft clamping down on users, but that it was just a regular communication with the sales force.
Gartner said customers who buy Windows licences under the volume purchasing programme, Select, found that they could not reload the operating system over Windows running on a PC from an OEM without purchasing an upgrade license.
"We recognise that there are customers infringing the licence," said Laver. "We're not suggesting that they're doing it knowingly. But it is not unreasonable for us to charge them."
Answering calls for simplified licensing terms, Laver said, "We concede that the licence agreement is complex. We're not making licensing difficult on purpose, but we have to balance simplicity against providing customers with legal protection and flexibility."