updated 07:43 am EDT, Tue September 4, 2012
Removes Windows SP downgrade option
Microsoft will let users of Windows 8 Pro downgrade if they wish. A change to the operating system licensing agreement allows users that don't like the way Windows 8 works to replace it with Windows 7 or Windows Vista at no extra charge, however this will not be possible for the basic Windows 8 and Windows RT versions.
Downgrade rights work in the same way as they did for Windows 7 Professional, namely not working for cheaper editions for home users, and limiting previous OS choices to the last two iterations of Windows. While Windows XP was included in the Windows 7 downgrade options, it isn't present for Windows 8, and the oncoming Office 2013 will not support the legacy OS either. A thread on LinkedIn for Microsoft licensing professionals told of the Office 2013 changes earlier this month, while also suggesting that Windows XP downloads for Volume License Service Center customers will cease shortly after the Windows 8 introduction.
According to current Microsoft policies, OEM installs of Windows 8 Pro, namely pre-installed by system manufacturers, will be eligible for downgrades. OEMs will be able to sell pre-downgraded Windows 8 Pro PCs, which would allow the users to upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 8 at no extra charge. PCs sold with a standard Windows 7 install will continue to be sold until late October 2014, but buyers of these systems will be forced to pay for the Windows 8 upgrade. [via PC World]