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Vista downgrades can’t really be this rampant, can they?

A recent study — albeit a highly unscientific one — has found that 35% of business users who bought PCs with Windows Vista licenses have downgraded to Windows XP.

The study comes from InfoWorld’s Windows Sentinel, which collects system statistics from more than 3,000 PCs — including the system’s manufacturer, the system’s product name and the version of Windows it’s running. The study identified the number of systems that typically ship with Vista, then found out how many of those were actually running Vista. Only 65% were.

I’m the last person to come to Vista’s defense, but it’s hard to believe this study is representative of all business users. When you basically force your customers to buy your new product, and they still find a way to avoid using it, that’s never good. But if a third of all Vista buyers were doing that, Microsoft would have a full-fledged crisis on its hands.

Microsoft put an end to Windows XP sales June 30, but OEMs are still able to install XP on new PCs through a Windows licensing loophole. The discontinuation of XP sales led the Taiwanese government today to launch an antitrust investigation — a move that observers have called “unusual” and “silly,” according to Todd Bishop’s Microsoft Blog.

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