Reports from the Computex Taipei trade show indicate there are some changes coming in the carefully orchestrated death of Windows XP. The latest Microsoft leak-like announcement, made June 3rd of this week, extends the use of Windows XP Home for low-cost desktops until June 30th, 2010.
Until this week, Windows XP was to be available for OEM use, only on small ultra-light notebooks, until the June 2010 date. Several people noted in April that Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer was clearing the path for this change when he was quoted as saying “If customer feedback varies, we can always wake up smarter.”
Wake up they did, but pinpointing XPs availability isn’t that easy. Microsoft’s lack of definition on what constitutes a low-cost desktop or small notebook doesn’t help. There’s no doubt in my mind that this vagueness is an integral part of their plan. Because builders will be able to install Windows XP until June 30th, 2010, it's unsure how Microsoft will qualify or control the destination build. I'm not even going to mention the "Downgrade" option that's available, as it would only add to the confusion.
Maybe there will be some further clarification from Microsoft, but I’m betting not enough to stop the use of XP. It seems the DNR (do not resuscitate) orders have been removed. Rejoice and welcome an old friend back to life.
Windows XP Availability
June 30th 2008
1. OEM Manufacturers i.e. Dell, HP, Acer, etc., will no longer be able to sell large, robust systems with Windows XP Home or Pro.
2. Windows XP retail disk no longer available from retail sources. A quick trip shows it is still available form OfficeMax and BestBuy. A quick click show’s it’s still available from NewEgg.
3. Windows XP home and Pro availability or OEM disks through channels, ends.
4. Windows XP Home is available on small notebooks and low-end desktops (net tops).
Windows XP Home/Pro still available preinstalled on notebooks and net tops until June 30th, 2010.
Windows XP Pro still available preinstalled as "downgrade option" from Dell and others. Order system with Windows Vista Businsess or Ultimate and receive system withXP Pro installed.
June 30th, 2010
Windows XP no longer available.
December 31st, 2014
Extended support (security patches) ends for Windows XP Home, Media Center, and Windows XP Professional.
Thoughts on what prompted this change range from, ”It’s the write-in campaign”, “Vista is buggy”, "Mac is a threat”, "Vista will never work on cheap systems”, to “It’s no change at all.”
I take a somewhat more cynical view. To use an old quote “Just follow the money”. If there is one thing Microsoft does well it is make money. That’s not an accident or just the by-product of a bunch of guys having fun with code. Nope, making money is pretty much what motivates Microsoft, and that is as it should be. They are going to do whatever it takes to maintain their market share. If that involves selling only one operating system, then so be it. If that involves selling 3 operating systems, XP, Vista, and Windows 7, then that is what they’ll do.
Vista will never be a good choice for systems using old or limited hardware. It’s just too resource hungry. You know Microsoft is not cutting loose all the low budget sales out in the real world. Intentionally throw Mac a big bone? Absolutely not. Of course we won't know for sure untill around the 4th of July, but you can bet they will do what it takes to keep the green.