You can usually divide tech companies into two groups: those that are basically run by their engineers and those that are run by the marketeers. But the current squabble Microsoft is having with itself over the virtualization language in the Vista EULA demonstrates the Redmond giant seems to belong in a third category: those companies that are run by their lawyers.
But corporate customers have some serious plans for virtualization, so Microsoft's original compromise was to use the Vista EULA to prohibit use of virtualization for Vista Home Basic and Home Premium editions but to allow it with Vista Business, Vista Ultimate, and Vista Enterprise. But no doubt there were many in Redmond, both engineers and marketeers, who were unhappy with that solution.
Sure, some are going to opt for pirating it no matter what choices they have, but why push the rest in the same direction? Clearly, last week's aborted attempt to give the Vista EULA more lenient virtualization language shows that many in Redmond recognize it's silly to keep the EULA this way. Engineers understand that Microsoft has to make its peace with virtualization, while marketeers are going to recognize that encouraging legal use of virtual PCs could be a way to try to win back those who've soured on Windows.