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IBM is offering downgrades from Windows 98 to Windows 95 to its customers, it has emerged. And Big Blue is having to pay Microsoft twice for the privilege. Sam Dusi, IBM Thinkpad segment product manager, said: "Windows 95 is not a pre-loadable option and we are offering customers downgradeable Windows 95 as an option." He said that many of IBM's large customers in corporations had standardised on Windows 95 and were evaluating Windows NT. That meant they did not want to upgrade machines to Windows 98 because it created support and other difficulties. "We don't get reimbursed for downgrading," said Dusi. "We have to pay Microsoft." He said that its licensing deal with Microsoft meant that after Win98 was announced, it had to offer the new operating system with machines it shipped. "Most customers that use Windows 98 are in the consumer space," he added. A Microsoft UK representative said that such a deal was probably one struck between the software giant and the individual PC vendor. She said that such an option was not available for end users generally. Dusi said IBM effectively paid for two licences from Microsoft when it downgraded its customers. ®

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