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Dell now charging $150 to use XP on new PCs

updated 03:00 pm EST, Fri December 5, 2008

Dell Charging XP Premium

Dell has returned a Windows XP option to some of its home systems but is now charging as much as $150 for the privilege. The company's Inspiron 1525 notebooks and Inspiron 530 regular and slimline desktops now all have an option to configure a system with Windows XP that uses a surcharge to take advantage of Microsoft's "downgrade" loophole intended for business PCs. Dell gives users a pre-installed copy of Windows XP Professional in exchange for paying to upgrade to Vista Ultimate.

The feature is unusual for home systems, which in many cases were the first to become Vista-only regardless of the PC firm. Dell has already been offering XP for its business PCs but often charges a lower $99 by letting these buyers opt for Vista Business, which is normally off-limits to the home Inspiron line.

Dell's quiet introduction suggests a continued reaction by customers against Vista. The company had initially been pushed to restore an XP option as early as April 2007 and had introduced the business downgrade only when Microsoft's self-imposed late June cutoff date for regular XP sales pushed Dell to use an alternative method.

The experience is commonly believed to reflect a wider experience among PC makers. In Electronista's experience with Toshiba's Laptop Experts advice service, users are now regularly asking about installing XP over Vista on computers where the newer operating system has normally been the only choice.

Microsoft has regularly stressed its belief that many of these buyers are operating on assumptions based on early compatibility and performance issues with Vista and that later updates have largely addressed these problems. The company's current $300 million ad campaign is meant both to restore positive discussion about Windows in general and to counteract what it believes are stereotypes of Vista's behavior. [via Alley Insider]

By Electronista Staff


  1. gor3don

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Nov 2005



    So, is this Dell's "Microsoft tax"?

    "Apple may offer lower-priced machines on Tuesday, but one top Microsoft official said Monday that Mac buyers will still be paying an "Apple tax.""

    Pay for an upgrade of the newest OS, but get an older OS.

  1. JuanGuapo

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jan 2008


    Dell Smell

    I wasn't planning on buying a new PC (or a Dell) anytime soon, but this is pretty silly.

  1. Guest

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Nov 1999



    This is not a fair way to describe this situation. Dell has offered XP more widely and for longer than practically any manufacturer, and this is how you reward them?

    The $150 is to cover the cost of a Vista Ultimate upgrade. Everyone and their Mom knows Vista Ultimate is expensive (not Dell's fault). Because XP Professional has full enterprise networking support (as does Vista Ultimate), you have to upgrade to Ultimate to get the "downgrade" to XP.

    It is SO clearly Microsoft, and not Dell, that is making this situation tricky. This piece misleadingly suggests Dell demands $150 for XP alone (and not for the substantially more expensive Ultimate licence), which is a real kick in the teeth given Dell have gone further out of their way than almost anyone to keep offering XP. Not cool.

  1. eddd

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Dec 2001


    This speaks loudly

    This really shows that Vista IS a mess. After all this time, people still pay more to avoid it. And for good reason... I have a machine running it, and some of the conventions are truly bizarre, especially for the 64-bit version. Lots of application incompatibility, lots of bizarre interface changes (many apps don't even show up in the Start menu, icons are hard to recognize, old standard functions have changed significantly, etc), lots of poor imitations of OS X. And I haven't seen any improvements with updates. I often wish I had stuck with XP

    Comment buried. Show
  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001



    At least you can get the old OS still. Can't get a Mac with 10.4 anymore.

  1. elroth

    Junior Member

    Joined: Jul 2006


    re: testudo

    "At least you can get the old OS still. Can't get a Mac with 10.4 anymore."

    Any particular reason why you'd want to? I'll sell you my 10.4 for $150.

  1. moofpup

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Dec 2007



    No, Testudo only said it to be his typical, Apple bashing self. He never has anything to say unless it is a cut to Apple! The guy has way too much time on his hands.

  1. Guest

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Nov 1999


    Get old OS?

    Maybe you can get the older OS because people don't like the new one. People seem to like the new Mac OS, therefore, keeping the old one around isn't necessary. If the new one worked, no one would need the old one. Seems pretty straightforward to me

  1. philomath777

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Mar 2004


    Re: Testudo

    I have a nice Pismo G3 PowerBook with 10.4. Make me an offer! No Apple Tiger tax! However, if you want Virtual PC with XP included, there is an extra $150 Microsoft tax...

  1. loudpedal

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Oct 1999



    My company just bought me a Dell laptop and as my IT guy was running down the list, he said, "and $150 because we want a machine with XP". Ummm, more money for an older OS? Talk about a reality distortion field! Mikey has 'em all snowed!

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