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Ballmer Offers To Keep Selling XP

By - Source: Tom's Hardware | B 4 comments

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has offered to keep selling Windows XP beyond June 30, when it is scheduled to come to the end of its life - if customers show that they truly want it. By truly want it, Microsoft means that sales of Vista will have to plummet and sales of XP will have to explode in the coming two months.

Speaking at the opening of a Microsoft innovation centre in Mons, Belgium, Ballmer said that "if customer feedback varies, we can always wake up smarter." He did point out however that most consumers are choosing to buy Vista over XP at this time. That of course includes all the PCs that are shipping with Vista, and the fact that most retailers are stocking Vista rather than XP makes it much harder to buy the older operating system.

There is a vocal group of people on the internet pointing out the inherent advantages of XP over Vista and pushing for the extension of the OS’s lifespan beyond June 30, which would presumably also see support for the OS extended beyond April 2009. Ballmer is tipping his hat to this group by saying that if the market were to demand it, Microsoft would acquiesce. The fact of the matter is however that sales of XP are not in-line with the vocal demand we’re seeing for Microsoft to continue selling it, and Vista – for all of its muted reviews – is selling well.

The issue isn’t really one of continuing to sell XP to consumers, it’s businesses who are choosing to keep XP until such a time as Vista is more compatible with all of the utilities they use on a daily basis. The fact that Microsoft has extended full support for XP into 2009 was a significant step that signified the company recognising that many people and businesses would not be upgrading to Vista if given the choice.

The problem for businesses now will be in obtaining copies of XP in the future, say if they expand their operation and need new machines for new staff. Microsoft will be continuing to sell XP with ultra low-cost PCs, at the very bottom of the market, but for anything else it will be impossible to buy XP after June 30. Ballmer’s comments may, however, be a lowering of the bar on Microsoft’s behalf ; the company could continue to sell XP to business customers, citing the market feedback that Ballmer referred to.

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  • 0 Hide
    mi1ez , 25 April 2008 22:13
    All these people who are obsessing over XP, what bloody version did they get?! Every XP machine I used, bar none, was sh!t!
  • 0 Hide
    Bugblatter , 27 April 2008 09:52
    Well there's one more common denominator to those machines other than XP... ;o)

    The company I work for plans to buy Vista machines only when it has no choice, and then to upgrade them to XP (which the licence allows).

    They don't think Vista gives them anything they need, they don't want to have a mix of XP and Vista machines to support and they certainly don't want to have to buy Vista licenses for all the current users (many of whose machines would run like dogs with it).

    They're also pretty sure that having Vista machines would bring them a lot of new problems.

    I use Vista at home. Today I bought a BT headset and the dongle is incompatible with Vista. This thing was brand new, bought from Maplins and doesn't support Vista!

    I'm not going to upgrade to XP over a headset but I've found Vista to be a royal pain since I installed it, so I'm getting closer to ditching it.
  • 0 Hide
    Flakes , 27 April 2008 17:46
    same ive installed vista ultimate in my machine...

    -COD4 doesnt work(it freezes for 2 seconds every 10, it was fine with XP)
    -ive had more crashes
    -The public/private network choice keeps screwing up my network(this would cause havoc in a business, especially if they allow laptops to be taken home)
    -You have to turn of UAC to get anything to work.
    -alot of my programs wont install because apparantly i dont have admin rights(this happens even when i run the installer as admin)
    -Gadgets are a waste of space(personal pref)
    -Slower than XP(especially when SP3 for XP comes out)

    i dont understand why people would want vista, i also think that what microsoft suggests is bull, it knows that the retailers arnt going to get XP over vista, and it knows that the average joe wont know how to upgrade to XP once they buy a machine... it should be the other way around, supply the machines with XP installed and give an option to downgrade to vista. Then we will see the REAL figures.

    before anyone says it might be my pc heres the spec...

    4400 X2 AMD
    2 GB TwinX Corsair Ram
    8800GTX
    4 x 320GB drives in RAID 5
    1 x 250GB drive as a main drive

    ^^not top of the range but should be more than enough for vista.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , 23 May 2008 18:12
    With the release of SP1 for Vista it seemed vaguely stable after our initial testing of it proved to us it didn't bloody work. So we entertained the idea of upgrading. We figured probably 60% of the machines in the group didn't have the hardware beef to run it. We'd need to bring them into line with our newest C2D 2GB Optx 755/745s. We also added up the cost of licensing and upgrading the vista capable machines. All in all man hours included it came to circa £250k for about 500 machines. 250k for something that won't really give any real world benefit (and generate no revenue) over what we already have was a business case so hard to push we didn't even bother. I think this is true of many businesses at the moment. Vista doesn't offer enough extra USEFUL functionality to justify the substantial investment required to upgrade.
    Plus a lot of industry specific software still isn't validated on vista yet, which makes it a NoNo in the healthcare sector until it is, and i can't think of anything more confusing for both support staff and end users than a mixed XP/Vista environment.