updated 09:40 am EDT, Fri September 28, 2007
MS Sells XP Until June 08
Microsoft will continue to sell both retail and OEM (pre-installed) copies of Windows XP for five months more than originally planned, the company announced today. Although plans would originally have dropped both versions from stores by January 2008, the new extension will remove the OS only by June 30th of that year -- nearly a year and a half after Windows Vista's January 2007 debut. The company officially justified the move by pointing out that many past versions of Windows were on sale for roughly two years after their replacements were available and that it was "a little ambitious" to drop XP in half the time, according to corporate VP for Windows product management Mike Nash. However, the executive also admitted that at least some customers were not ready to jump to Vista and that XP would be necessary for awhile longer.
"We are committed to helping customers of all sizes with the transition," Nash said. "Some need more time, and we understand and respect that. [...] We did get clear feedback that there was a set of customers who needed a bit more time."
The software developer has encountered an unprecedented level of resistance to its Windows upgrade since its release early this year, with large-scale computer builders such as Dell restoring an XP option either due to a lack of stable hardware drivers or customer complaints relating to software compatibility and performance. Microsoft recently began offering an XP downgrade licensing option for system builders who wanted to let customers fall back to the earlier OS for systems that would normally ship with Vista. For its part, Microsoft maintained that Vista was the fastest-selling version of Windows to date and noted that far more people were choosing to upgrade through buying a new PC rather than a stand-alone copy. The firm did not say whether the shift was just evidence of stronger growth in system sales or a decline in sales of upgrade copies.
The developer also noted, however, that it would continue to sell XP Starter Edition for considerably longer, phasing out the software for the developing world by June 30th, 2010. Systems sold in these regions sometimes do not meet the recommended or required specifications for Vista and so need to use XP; continuing to sell the software would encourage system makers to offer legitimate copies rather than pirated versions, Nash said.