Microsoft today took another small step back from it?? plans to stop sales of Windows XP at the end of this month. According to an IDG News Service report by James Nicolai, Microsoft said at the Computex trade show in Taiwan that it would allow XP to be preloaded onto certain low cost desktop systems until June 30, 2010. Earlier, Microsoft had extended sales of XP for low-cost laptops such as the Asus Eee PC. No details were given out today, but the move seems aimed at products such as Asus?? new Eee Box. This new breed of low-power PC can?? run Vista satisfactorily and cutting of XP would simply drive the manufacturers to Linux.
So here's where the XP cutoff stands.
--Retail sales of XP end June 30.
--XP preloads by mainstream computer manufacturers sort of end June 30. However, the manufacturers can offer a "downgrade" option if the customer has purchased Vista Business or Vista Ultimate (but not Vista Home Base or Home Premium.)
--"System builders," basically white-box computer makers, can continue to preload XP through January, 2009.
--Enterprises with windows volume license agreements can continue to install XP for the life of their licenses.
--Makers of certain low-cost laptops and desktops can continue to install XP through June 30, 2010.
Confused? Me too. It seems to me that if Microsoft has a product that its customers want to buy, it ought to stop arguing with them and sell it. All this cram-down of Vista is accomplishing is to annoy everyone: consumers,
corporate buyers, and computer makers.