Windows XP’s New Lease on Life?

By  |  Thursday, October 2, 2008 at 7:12 pm

The Register is reporting something that’s both really interesting and totally unsurprising: It’s saying that it’s heard that Microsoft will extend the period that PC vendors can offer a Windows XP “downgrade” option with new machines that run Vista from January 31st, 2009 until July 31st of that year.

This is still a rumor at this point. But every time I meet with a PC company and ask them whether their business customers are ready for Vista, the response is amazingly similar, and amazingly negative. They always bring up the January 31st deadline, and when they mention it, you can see the fear in their eyes.

If the desire in corporate America to retain the XP option is so strong a few months from now, I don’t see how Microsoft can give XP its final heave ho. There’d be an uprising among PC buyers, and that uprising would prompt one among Microsoft’s PC manufacturer customers. There might have been a time when Microsoft could have told the world to stuff it, but I don’t think that time is now.

And if Windows 7 really does come out in early 2010 or so, extending Windows XP’s availability until the second half of 2009 would allow companies to sidestep Vista altogether if they so chose. (Not that most of them will go to Windows 7 quickly, no matter how good it is: 2011 is about the earliest that corporate adoption would really kick off.)

The Register’s scuttlebutt may or may not be true–maybe Microsoft will not simply extend the current situation but instead move to some new policy that allows it to save face without ticking off the entire planet–but I’ll be startled indeed if XP does indeed simply vanish at the end of January….

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