And for a few bucks more, we’ll even throw in Windows 95

Truly, you could not make this up. Latest report on the Vista downgrade story from Good Morning Silicon Valley…

The slings, arrows, snubs and insults just continue to land on poor old Windows Vista, the least-loved best-selling software in history. The latest is the decision by the three top PC makers to help their customers take advantage of an escape hatch in Microsoft’s OS program in a way that will keep Windows XP available, in a fashion, beyond the June 10 deadline for the end of retail sales. Both Vista Business and Vista Ultimate (but not Vista Home Premium or Basic) come with what turns out to be a valuable little feature — “downgrade rights.” Buyers of machines with those versions can legally wipe the brand new OS off their machines and retreat to the familiar comforts of Windows XP Professional.

With their interest in keeping their Vista-shy customers satisfied, Microsoft’s hurt feelings be damned, HP, Lenovo and Dell are now all offering product packages that include the downgrade option. HP and Lenovo will include an XP Pro recovery disk with qualifying systems, while Dell, lobbied heavily by its customers, will do the work for you, first installing Vista on your new machine, then cleaning it off and putting on XP, all in a little charade that lets Microsoft keep counting up the new Vista sales even among those who refuse to use it.

Don’t you just love the Dell ‘solution’? It’s almost as daft as having to press ‘Start’ to stop your computer.