Windows XP is proving to be the operating system that refuses to die, as major manufacturers such as Dell, Lenovo and HP are going to continue to offer Windows XP – in some cases, installed right out of the box – beyond Microsoft’s June 30 “End of Life” deadline.
Under the terms of Vista’s Business and Ultimate license agreements one can downgrade to XP Professional. PCs sold with either version of Vista come with an XP image CD to allow the downgrade. Dell has said that it will, for a fee on some machines such as the XPS and free on others like the Latitude, ship computers with XP installed.
Dell has a new section on its site, Windows XP Availability that says:
When you are configuring your system online or through the help of one of our sales experts, you will have the opportunity to select which operating system you would like on your PC. When selecting your operating system, you will see an option called “Genuine Windows Vista Business BONUS” and “Genuine Windows Vista Ultimate BONUS.” With these options, you may purchase the licensed rights to Windows Vista but have Dell factory install Windows XP Professional. You will also receive a backup media disc for Windows XP Professional as well as the media for Windows Vista so you can upgrade when you’re ready. Furthermore, with these options Dell will provide technical support for the factory-installed Windows XP Professional image and your licensed version of Windows Vista.
The machines will come with the Vista CD, and technically count as a Vista sale for Microsoft, thus keeping everyone happy. Microsoft can clock up Vista sales, manufacturers can offer what businesses and some consumers want, and the option to keep using XP will be in the table for much longer than anticipated. This saves Microsoft having to climb down once again from ending the life of XP, as Steve Ballmer seemed to be contemplating when he said last week that if consumers demanded it, Microsoft could “wake up smarter” and continue to sell XP.