Hidden traps in the Windows 7 beta EULA

As reported in Ed Bott’s recent blog article, Microsoft is up to their usual nasty tricks with the license for the beta version of Windows 7.

Even though it is far from new, I find the prohibition on benchmarking particularly obnoxious. A company that truly believes they are releasing a superior version of an existing product should be able to accept a benchmark with a previous (and intended-to-soon-be-inferior) version as yet more feedback. But this isn’t just any company, this is Microsoft, and publishing a benchmark subjects you to immediately losing your privilege of running the Windows 7 beta.

Continuing in this same theme, Microsoft has specifically forbidden the use of the Windows 7 beta in a production environment. That, combined with the prohibition on benchmarking, suggests very strongly to me that this is just a pacifier for the people who really hate Windows Vista and Microsoft just wants people to casually kick the tires and rev the engine a little bit, not really test what new PCs will ship with this summer.

And of course, there’s the expiration date. On 2009 August 1, your Windows 7 beta chariot turns into a pumpkin. I suspect this can and will be defeated by some enterprising souls, but given the de facto corporate police state of Windows starting with XP with regard to validation and activation, it probably won’t be easy.

I’ve looked back enough, so I’ll wrap this up before I turn into a pillar of sand, or something.