-- (deprecated) Microsoft Windows OS (XP/NT/Vista)
---- Microsoft To Lock Pirates Out Of Vista PCs
kaled - 11:22 am on Oct 5, 2006 (gmt 0)
stealing is not justified
Under UK consumer law, faults that exist at the time of manufacture have to corrected even outside the guarantee period. Given that MS has dropped support for Windows 98 and will no longer offer security patches (for faults that existed at the time of manufacture) it could be argued that owners of Win98 are justified in stealing a copy of 2000 or XP.
Also, so far as I am aware, MS has never stated on product packaging that they will only provide patches for a limited period of time.
From a legal point of view, MS should allow users to upgrade to new operating systems using existing CD keys but with functionality limits. Given that MS already implements functionality limits (XP PRO/HOME, etc.) it is clear that there is no technical reason for not doing this - merely a commercial one.