On Oct. 17, TechWeb sent Microsoft a series of questions requesting clarification of questions surrounding the Vista license. A Microsoft public relations representative responded on Oct. 26.
Here's the Q&A with the Microsoft spokesman, edited for space. The exchange took place via e-mail; under terms of the interview, the Microsoft representative, who works for the company's Waggener-Edstrom public-relations agency and is relaying the software giant's official position, is identified only as a spokesman.
TechWeb: What happens if someone adds a hardware upgrade to their PC (like a new graphic card, or a faster processor); does that count as one transfer? If it does, what happens if they do a second upgrade, which is seen by the PC as requiring revalidation. Does this mean they're over the limit and have to purchase a new Vista license?
Microsoft: "The hardware tolerance of product activation for Windows Vista has been improved and is more flexible than that for Windows XP. We believe these improvements will better accommodate the needs of our PC enthusiast customers.
When hardware components are changed, Microsoft's product activation process compares information derived from the initial validation, which includes the hardware configuration of the device, against the changes that have been made. This process uses an algorithm to help assess whether the software is installed on the same device. Validation will fail if the software detects a substantially different hardware configuration.
At that point, the customer is able to use the one reassignment for the new device. If, after using its one reassignment right, a customer again exceeds the tolerance for updated components, the customer can purchase an additional license or seek remediation through Microsoft's support services.
Microsoft cares a great deal for its PC enthusiast customers. In fact, the hardware tolerance of product activation for Windows Vista has been improved and is more flexible than that for Windows XP. We believe these improvements will better accommodate the needs of our PC enthusiast customers."
TechWeb: Will Vista allow these changes without revalidation, or will it ask for re-validation the way XP usually does when you add something, and then you have to call phone support and explain what you did, and if they're okay with it they give you a serial number to type in and successfully proceed with validation?
Microsoft: "The process is similar to what it was in XP."
TechWeb: Does Microsoft have any plans to explicitly change the language in the license.
Microsoft: "No, we have nothing more to share at this time."
TechWeb: How would you like to response to the many users who've been commenting on the Vista Team Blog?
Microsoft: "We are taking all feedback into account, and are encouraged that so many people are interested in learning more about Windows Vista. We have nothing more to share at this time."