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Important Updates on Windows OS Downgrade Rights and Licensing

As one of our valued customers, we are committed to providing you relevant information on our products to ensure that you are aware of any new developments and updates. With the launch of Windows 8 last October, there have been some SKU changes as well as licensing updates:

Windows 8 SKUs and Updates

Consumers can choose among two SKUs when purchasing Windows 8 in retail stores with their hardware: Windows 8 (primarily for home users) and Windows 8 Professional (primarily for small businesses). If you have a Windows Software Assurance agreement with us and would like to use Windows 8 Enterprise, which is the ideal operating system for large enterprises, you can use the professional version of Windows as your base license.

Purchased new Windows devices?

The best time to get Windows Software Assurance is when you purchase new Windows devices. Within 90 days of purchase of a new device, you can attach Windows SA at a fraction of the cost of an upgrade license and you get the rights to upgrade to Windows 8 Enterprise plus a host of other benefits.

Downgrade rights

Please note that our standard downgrade rights for any of our retail products cover only two previous versions. This means that Windows 8 Professional OEM (retail version that comes with hardware) may only be downgraded to either Windows 7 or Windows Vista. Those who are looking at downgrading to Windows XP can only do so through a Volume Licensing agreement with Microsoft.

Using Thin Client Devices? They still need licensing.

Certain devices, such as thin clients, are not eligible for Software Assurance and therefore will not have Windows Virtual Desktop Access Rights. You can license such devices with a Windows VDA subscription license. Download the Windows 8 Licensing Guide for more information.

Windows XP End of Support

We cannot emphasize enough the importance of moving your organization off Windows XP to either Windows 7 or Windows 8 before April 8, 2014. On that date, Microsoft will remove all support to Windows XP. This means that we will no longer issue patches or updates to Windows XP users and that if you are still using XP at that time, your infrastructure may become vulnerable to security threats.

If you have not done so already, we urge you to please start testing and porting your current XP applications to Windows 7 or 8. You will find a lot of resources on this at http://technet.microsoft.com/fil-ph/. You may also download an evaluation copy of Windows 8 Enterprise at the TechNet site.

Questions? Ask your account manager or email us at enterpriseph@microsoft.com.