Customer concerns over projected Vista licensing have forced Microsoft to revise the OS' licensing policy.

Microsoft has changed the retail licence terms for Vista so that customers now may uninstall the OS from one machine and install it on another as many times as they want. The new terms do away with limitations on how many new devices to which the license can be transferred. However, to continue to discourage pirating, Microsoft has worded the licence so that it is clear that users cannot "share this licence between devices." Under the previous proposal, Microsoft suggested limiting a transfer of the license to only one machine.

When the terms of the new licensing weredisclosed several weeks ago, power users who rebuild their computers with new components several times a year or who plan to upgrade their computers more than once in the lifetime of the OS raised a fuss. They demanded clarification from the vendor about how scenarios like these would play out under the new licensing.

According to Shanen Boettcher, a Windows general manager at Microsoft, the company thinks it's come up with an answer to placate those users without encouraging software piracy, which the original change was designed to thwart.

"We think this clarification strikes the right balance," he said. Boettcher said the piracy problem has nothing to do with "the enthusiast community that was sending me emails," but with people who install one licensed copy of Windows on many machines and sell those to other users.

"This is a definite improvement over the original licensing terms and I'm glad Microsoft has relented," said Don Smutny, a Windows user and software developer for a large IT company in the Midwestern US However, he still is not convinced there aren't other hidden complications within Vista's licence that will have to be addressed later.

The change in policy will not affect consumers who purchase their Windows licence preinstalled on a PC from a hardware manufacturer. No license transfers are allowed in those cases.

More information about the license changes can be found here.

Original reporting by IDG news service