Microsoft Confirms Windows 7 Downgrades For All

I guess that you can mark my story from yesterday as confirmed. ZD’s Mary Jo Foley has word straight from Redmond that downgrades from Windows 7 will be possible. Not only that you could downgrade back to XP, Windows 2000 or even to Windows 95 too:

MJF: Does Microsoft have downgrade rights for Windows XP planned as part of Windows 7?

Microsoft spokesperson: Yes. This is not the first time that Microsoft has offered downgrade rights to a version other than its immediate predecessor and our Software Assurance volume-license customers can always downgrade to any previous version of Windows. (Note: Microsoft changed the statement from “Software Assurance” to “volume license” Monday afternoon.)

(The spokesperson clarified later that downgrade rights allow users to install previous versions of Windows, not just the most recent predecessor. In other words, a Software-Assurance-covered volume-license user who wanted to downgrade from Vista could, technically, go back to Windows 2000 or even Windows 95, not just XP. Who knew?)

The story also notes that this will be the case for all OEMs and not just for HP. One can expect that downgrade rights will be attached to the Ultimate and Professional versions of Windows 7. Which means that home users who want XP will either have to pay more, or they’ll head to the Apple Store instead for a Mac.

It will be interesting to see the full details of this program when they emerge. Stay tuned.

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