There are a couple of updates to discuss this month. First of all there?s the Vista downgrade rights issue I talked about last month. I had bought a Lenovo laptop from Ingram Micro identical to one I?d had a couple of weeks earlier.

Opinion: Friends in high places

It came with Vista Business disks but not the XP Pro ones I had expected like the last time. It was a job in hand as I was writing the column and I was using it as an example of how you might find yourself in a difficult situation where none of the parties seem to want to help. But being in a trade association like NASCR can help in negotiating for solutions.

To their credit, it was quickly resolved by Ingram Micro who sent me the disks, so a big thank you to them. However it has left a bit of a question about just how the downgrade rights should be implemented. The official Microsoft line appears to be, if the end user has XP Pro on some PCs, we can use one of their existing XP licence numbers and activate it for a second time by telling MS to associate it with the new Vista Business licence number.

But the way some companies do it is to give out both sets of disks with the computer and let us reinstall XP if the customer asks for it. I much prefer this way of working and, because we had been sourcing laptops like this for about a year, I expected that was the way things worked. With a bit of luck PC Retail will do some more digging into this and give us a better idea of what to expect.

The month before, I told you about a deal NASCR had negotiated giving a whole suite of exciting new benefits including a fantastic card processing deal. Well it just keeps getting better; there are two further additions to the range of services with discounted business insurance and a low priced parcel courier deal with Fedex.

With the fuel price increases of late, it is worth checking what you are paying for your parcel deliveries and doing a quick comparison by email at

I also recently mentioned BT’s i-Plate suggesting it might end up being sold inappropriately as a magical cure-all for broadband woes. It seems it has now been released and has been sold by BT to some ISPs who are sending out i-Plates to end users.

The funny thing is that it doesn’t seem to have found its way into the retail supply chain. Or do you know differently? Are there any distributors supplying these things? There are certainly some NASCR members who would like to know…

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