Responding to a wave of criticism following news that the licensing terms in Windows Vista allowed the operating system to be moved to another computer only once, Microsoft has changed its position and relaxed the restriction for retails copies of Vista.

Previously, Microsoft had allowed its operating systems to be installed as many times as the customer liked, as long as it was uninstalled from the previous computer. However, with the arrival of Windows Vista, that was to change.

Microsoft attempted to brush off the negative response by saying it was simply updating its licensing terms in Vista to be more clear, noting that Windows XP had the same restriction. But a number of industry pundits and bloggers poked holes in that claim, noting that Microsoft's own documentation said nothing of the sort.

Now, Microsoft is removing the one-computer transfer limit altogether from its retail licensing terms. The company did not specify whether OEM licenses, which come with new computers already running Windows Vista, will also be changed.

Microsoft is not changing its other licensing restrictions, however, including a clause that states Vista Home Basic and Premium cannot be used as a "guest" operating system in VMware or Virtual PC. Users will need to purchase Vista Business or Ultimate Edition to gain this ability.

They must of known it would never stick.