Microsoft US Senior Manager of Small Business Community Engagement Eric Ligman addresses the recent controversy over whether its possible and/or legal to use Windows Vista Upgrade media to perform a full, clean install of the OS if you don't already own a qualifying product. And he's not too happy about it.

It seems that there are some people out there who don’t quite get the concept of an upgrade.  Some have even written articles fully articulating how little they know.  Because of this, I am going to explain it again and even use pictures to try to make this very simple…

You can buy a software full license that gets you the rights to install and run the software. You can buy a software upgrade license that allows you to upgrade from the full license you have to the upgraded product you purchased the upgrade for.

If you see anyone stating, or writing, that buying an upgrade by itself (Windows Vista Upgrade for instance) without having a full license first gets you the rights to run the software, just realize that what the person is actually stating is, “I clearly have no clue what I am talking about and so I am writing a bunch of gibberish that proves this hoping people will think I have a clue, even though I obviously don’t.”

If they continue to tell you that, “But I can get it to physically install, so it must be legal,” this further shows their complete lack of comprehension. Just because something will install does not make it legal. For example, a pirated piece of software will (usually) physically install; however, running pirated software is 100% illegal (and who knows what else it will install on or do to your computer). If you don’t believe me, try calling 888-NO-PIRACY and letting them know that you are running pirated software throughout your company. Explain to them that you feel it is legal to do so because you got it to physically install, so it must be legal and ask if they would mind auditing your company to verify the legality of this. Let me know how that turns out for you.

Yikes. As we used to say, "Somebody needs a hug!"

BTW, the pictures he uses in the post are both humorous and useful.

Related: Thank God for Ed Bott. Seriously.