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Firm Estimates 35 Percent Downgrade Vista to XP

Chicago (IL) - According to Microsoft, Windows Vista is on a path of success and the operating system is flying off OEM and retail shelves. However, a new survey questions how many of those actual Vista licenses are actually in use, as a new survey claims that a substantial portion of PC buyers chooses to downgrade to Windows XP.

According to market research firm Devil Mountain Software, which runs a global community-based network to collect "real-world" metrics from windows computers, almost 35% of users who purchased a PC within the past six months downgraded from Windows Vista to Windows XP. Apparently, this trend continues, despite the fact that Microsoft officially retired Windows XP from retail and OEM channels back in June.

The survey covered more than 3000 users who voluntarily provided data to Devil Mountain’s exo.performance.network. Devil Mountain came up with final results by matching vendor and system ID data from the exp.performance.network database and comparing it with system vendor offerings, which enables the firm to estimate the number of systems most likely shipped within the past six months.

"Either these machines were downgraded by Dell or HP, or they were downgraded by the user after they got the machine," said Devil Mountain’s chief technology officer Craig Barth. "In any case, these machines are no longer running Vista." The EULAs for Vista Business (including Vista Enterprise) and Vista allows end users to downgrade to Windows XP Professional. Barth noted that 35 percent is an estimate rather than an exact figure. However, he considers the result an indication that "people are taking advantage of Vista’s downgrade rights."

Even if there are no hard numbers, the doubt over how successful Windows Vista really is may grow. While Microsoft recently said that 180 million licenses have been sold so far, some numbers suggest that Vista in fact is facing declining growth. If an estimate of about 5.8 million Vista licenses sold per month is in line with reality, and Barth’s downgrade estimate of 35 percent is also somewhat correct, the negative impact on Vista usage could add up to more than 12 million PCs within the past six months alone.

According to Barth, there is a notable disproportion between Vista’s installed base and the actual number of Vista licenses that Microsoft sold. OEM vendors who continue to offer machines downgraded to XP contribute to the bottom line. For instance, IBM favors Linux and Dell recently launched first consumer Linux PCs - also offers downgraded PCs.

  • I don't see how removing Vista from a machine and installing XP is a "Downgrade" by any measure. Even on "super machines" Vista is a slow pig in comparison to XP. When you have Vista installed on a "consumer" computer removing it and putting XP on it instead turns a barely usable machine into something that can actually do some work. Microsoft just doesn't get it yet. And now it's looking like Windows 7 is actually going to be Vista SE... What a joke.
    Reply
  • tiger00
    Good grief...
    "The survey covered more than 3000 users who voluntarily provided data..."
    So, in other words 3000 tech minded people who subscribe to a site dedicated to the sharing of information regarding computing performance who voluntarily provided info. Yeah, an obviously a randomly sampled set of people that includes kids and grandma. Oh, and then they estimated systems shipped, etc.

    Are we really supposed to take this seriously? We're supposed to believe that this 35% is meaningful across the whole market? really!?

    I'd like to know the actual downgrade rate, without question some fraction of the consumers are downgrading, but this is just sensational headline crap.
    Reply
  • waffle911
    Vista really isn't so bad as everyone thinks.

    When you're running Vista 64 Ultimate SP1.

    With 4GB+ of RAM.
    Reply
  • sanctoon
    Vista runs excellent on my AMD X2 3800+, with 1gb DDR400 and a ATI X1600XT
    and I do a lot of multi tasking, networking and gaming (even Crysis plays well on low settings, lol)
    Reply
  • jaragon13
    The PessimistI don't see how removing Vista from a machine and installing XP is a "Downgrade" by any measure. Even on "super machines" Vista is a slow pig in comparison to XP. When you have Vista installed on a "consumer" computer removing it and putting XP on it instead turns a barely usable machine into something that can actually do some work. Microsoft just doesn't get it yet. And now it's looking like Windows 7 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows_7 is actually going to be Vista SE... What a joke.What a load of bullcrap.
    You haven't even used Windows Vista,I can tell.Secondly,you haven't read a real review with SP1,either.
    On the other hand,you're right,Microsoft are stupid ignorant pig dogs who don't listen to markets.At all.
    tiger00Good grief..."The survey covered more than 3000 users who voluntarily provided data..."So, in other words 3000 tech minded people who subscribe to a site dedicated to the sharing of information regarding computing performance who voluntarily provided info. Yeah, an obviously a randomly sampled set of people that includes kids and grandma. Oh, and then they estimated systems shipped, etc.Are we really supposed to take this seriously? We're supposed to believe that this 35% is meaningful across the whole market? really!?I'd like to know the actual downgrade rate, without question some fraction of the consumers are downgrading, but this is just sensational headline crap.x100,000 people maybe?
    Reply
  • We are talking Vista Business/Corp here though, so yes, probably no kids and grandma's. Just business' purchasing new PC's and downgrading to XP to keep inline with the existing infrastructure rather than doing a full Vista rollout. Fact is that you can use your Vista license at any time, so it is possible that some of these Vista licenses will eventually be used on Vista.

    Simple fact is that even if Vista runs ok on your hardware and there are no compatibility issues, what does it bring? Talking more in a business/corporate environment here. So if performance and compatibility are equal, then that is still just a draw. Vista needs to be in front to outweigh the negatives that will come from doing a full scale rollout, so I think business users will continue to downgrade.
    Reply
  • mdillenbeck
    @tiger00

    Nice catch - you're obviously literate in statistics!

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    @jaragon13

    In statistics, you can only make conjectures about a population if you take a random sample from it. You cannot say the downgrade rate is 35% for all vista users when your sample consists only of "3000 voluneteers who..."

    In other words, this conclusion is only a meaningful statement about those who volunteered to provide data to a specific web site.

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    @waffle911

    Only 4GB with RAM so cheap? I went the full 8GB. It helps when using VMWare 6.5 Beta 2 with XP to play those old DirectX 9 games. 4GB with vista home premium is great for my tablet pc (now if only cisco would develop a 64 bit vista VPN client so I could directly connect it to my university's network...)

    ===============================

    Overall, I understand the desire to downgrade. Vista is a bit of a resource hog to run it with all the bells and whistles, and many figure if it looks like XP then it might as well be XP.

    Of course, I blame the hardware and software vendors equally for the desire to downgrade. Its a bit of chicken-and-the-egg. Vendors are reluctant to make vista and 64 bit components until enough people adopt the software, but then we hear in the media everyone is downgrading due to compatibility issues. So who should adopt Vista first - the consumers or the vendors? - or should Vista be adopted at all?
    Reply
  • tiger00
    Thanks, MD

    I know a lot of people have strong pro/anti Vista stances, but my problem is with people who abuse statistics. Every week I see an example where stats are used to make a point or confuse the public. The stats are often either poorly collected or badly interpreted.

    What I cannot abide is a situation like this, where the supporters of this "35%" are either stupid, willfully ignorant, or worse - they know the 35% is total BS, but are willing to continue to support it because of some agenda.

    end rant. :)

    Next week I'll take you on a tour of my other pet peeves: Consensus science and creative chart axis labeling.

    -tiger

    Reply
  • I
    "So, in other words 3000 tech minded people who subscribe to a site dedicated to the sharing of information regarding computing performance who voluntarily provided info. Yeah, an obviously a randomly sampled set of people that includes kids and grandma. Oh, and then they estimated systems shipped, etc.

    Are we really supposed to take this seriously? We're supposed to believe that this 35% is meaningful across the whole market? really!?"

    You're getting stuck on something irrelevant. It doesn't matter what percentage actually downgraded, it matters what percentage of people who have a clue and the ability to handle a downgrade, chose to do so.

    Grandma, she'd be running FreeBSD if her Dell system shipped with it but we can't very well consider such a statistic meaningful either.
    Reply