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Vista is here. So what does it mean for virtualization?

Quoting the official Parallels blog site:

Unless you’ve been in hiding, you probably know that Microsoft finally unveiled the consumer versions of Windows Vista today. It’s undeniably cool, and without question will be the OS that most of the world will be running in the months and years ahead. If you buy a new Windows machine, chances are that it will be pre-loaded with Vista. There are 4 increasingly powerful consumer flavors of Vista – Home Basic, Home Premium, Business, and Ultimate – each of which are licensed for unlimited and unrestricted use on a PC.

If you’re moving to a new machine, getting up and running on Vista will be relatively straight forward (NOTE: I’m writing a post for later this week on how to use Parallels Transporter to ease the migration from XP to Vista, so stay tuned). But what if you want to run Vista in a virtual environment, via a product like Parallels Workstation 2.2 or Parallels Desktop for Mac? That’s where things can get sticky.

Microsoft has released a new EULA (End User License Agreement) that states that only certain versions of Vista – Business and Ultimate (and Enterprise for corporate customers) are eligible to be run in a virtual machine. The EULA says that Home Basic and Home Premium CANNOT be run in a virtual machine.

Here's the tecnical legalese from the EULAs:
For Vista Home Basic and Home Premium Editions:
“USE WITH VIRTUALIZATION TECHNOLOGIES. You may not use the software installed on the licensed device within a virtual (or otherwise emulated) hardware system.”

For Vista Enterprise and Ultimate Editions:
“USE WITH VIRTUALIZATION TECHNOLOGIES. You may use the software installed on the licensed device within a virtual (or otherwise emulated) hardware system on the licensed device. If you do so, you may not play or access content or use applications protected by any Microsoft digital, information or enterprise rights management technology or other Microsoft rights management services or use BitLocker. We advise against playing or accessing content or using applications protected by other digital, information or enterprise rights management technology or other rights management services or using full volume disk drive encryption.”

In short, this means that if you’re a user and you want to run Vista virtually, you MUST buy the highest end versions of Vista, or you’ll be in violation of the Microsoft EULA.

Here are the price points for each version:

  • Home Basic $199
  • Home Premium $239
  • Business $299
  • Ultimate $399

To me, this strategy could hold back users who embrace cutting-edge technologies like virtualization, which means they won’t upgrade to Vista. This means that Microsoft has effectively lost an upgrade customer (in the case of Windows PCs) or an entirely new customer (for Mac and Linux users).

Microsoft has a great opportunity to open their operating system to an entire market of Mac users who would never normally use Windows, and to ease the way for enterprises around the globe to upgrade to Vista.

Want to weigh in on the debate? Leave a comment here, and make sure to contact Microsoft and let them know what you think! You can email them, or post a note on their Vista community forum.

Read or comment on the original, here.

Published Tuesday, January 30, 2007 10:46 PM by David Marshall
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