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Microsoft to keep Windows XP downgrade option until 2014 [U]

updated 09:55 am EDT, Tue July 13, 2010

MS extends option to use XP for 10 more years

(Updated with shortened, clarified date) Microsoft late Monday revealed terms that will let Windows 7 buyers get a downgrade to Windows XP for the next 10 years. Company spokesman Brandon LeBlanc said it would be "confusing" to drop the option for business users while Windows 7 was available and that Microsoft would keep the option during Windows 7 Professional's entire support lifecycle, which ends in January 2020. Windows 7 Ultimate users will lose the option in 2015.

The company also reiterated its policy of keeping the most recently replaced OS on sale for fixed periods past when its replacement has arrived. Windows Vista will still be available in a stand-alone boxed copy until October 22 of this year, while PC builders can still preload it until the same point in 2011.

The XP extension would give the OS one of the longest shelf lives of any version of Windows, as it will have been an option for new computers for 19 years. It comes as the company has admitted that 74 percent are still using XP and that many are hesitant to upgrade to Windows 7. The core architecture change that took place in Vista, and remained in 7, disrupted companies that had become overly dependent on legacy software or older PCs. Many now must buy whole replacements for both hardware and software.

Update: Microsoft clarified the statement and stresses that XP downgrades will only be available as long as Windows 7 is on sale. As Microsoft keeps an OS on the market for two years past when it's superceded, the OS will leave the market after Windows 8, which may ship in 2011 or 2012. The deadline would nonetheless have XP withdraw entirely by 2013 or 2014, or up to 13 years after it first shipped.



By Electronista Staff
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Comments

  1. RoosterJuice

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Mar 2010

    +5

    Difference

    Its comparative to the jump from Mac OS 9 to OS X... companies who invest a lot of money in custom software for an OS are going to use that OS as long as possible... and, well if it aint broke, don't fix it. XP provides a lot of businesses with the functionality it needs on a day to day basis... why spend money on an upgrade if what you are using works just fine and dandy.

    This is why business applications of the future are going to be moving to architectures like SproutCore.

  1. bjojade

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jun 2007

    +3

    I wish Apple would play too.

    Yeah, it sucks that you can't run older OS's on new machines. I have customers that are stuck on 10.4 because of all the software upgrades to move forward. Unfortunately, that means they can't upgrade to new hardware, as they MUST run 10.6 now. So they are stuck buying older used machines until the time comes that they can afford to upgrade the rest of their software. Bummer.

  1. joelwnelson

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Mar 2005

    +3

    Horrible decision

    As a web developer & computer repair tech, this is a horrible move. Keeping in mind that IE9 and newer versions will not run on anything older than Windows Vista, at least if the current betas are any indication, this will force IT staff and web developers to support XP and IE6 for another ten years, or until the software is 19 years old. That's even more extreme than asking for support for Windows 3.1 (18 years ago) or Netscape Navigator 1.0 (16 years ago).

    Imagine using Windows 3.1 or the original Netscape (or the 15-year-old IE 1.0) as the default OS and browser on your work machine today.

    Now advance to 2020 and realize your IT department could choose in that year to still equip you with a "new" machine running software that's been around LONGER than Win 3.x or original 1.0 web browsers have been today. From the standpoint of web features, security, etc. these machines had better be used exclusively on a corporate intranet as users should not expect the Web to just stand still and keep backwards compatibility, just like no one still builds websites today with IE1/NN1 in mind or releases standard software for Win 3.x.

  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001

    +3

    Re: Horrible decision

    this will force IT staff and web developers to support XP and IE6 for another ten years, or until the software is 19 years old.

    Um, did you miss the part that they are doing this because the IT staffs WANT to support XP? Do you really think Microsoft is doing this just to piss all them off? They're the ones all pissy because MS wants them to upgrade.

  1. Flying Meat

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: Jan 2007

    0

    Corporate IT

    is going to take a big hit on this if they don't move forward. Executives won't be stuck in XP, just your middle management and worker bees.

    Dissatisfaction will grow year over year, till no one wants to go to work for your company. People will bring in their own machines just to get more done while they have to spend most of their waking hours around their workplace.

    On the other hand, if you already loath the windows experience, it doesn't matter that much whether you have XP or Windows 7 on your work machine.

  1. Makosuke

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001

    0

    Ouch

    I could be exaggerating here, but this is pretty much admission that MS is done as a relevant company. Not in the short term, obviously--being the monopoly power they are, they will continue to make preposterous sums of money.

    But, when you let yourself give in to demands to support a TWENTY YEAR OLD OS, you're admitting that, from a relevance perspective, you've got nothing. You're essentially admitting that your comfy, entrenched monopoly is all you've got. Short of a Win 7 Phone miracle, MS is likely to bleed their corporate desktop base dry over the next decade while the rest of the world stops caring.

    Apparently, the Kin was just the first taste of what's to come.

    Also, re: "...this will force IT staff and web developers to support XP and IE6 for another ten years..."

    Like h*** it will. Anything past perfunctory support for IE6 is already starting to fade even for big, mainstream sites, and I've already started doing the same on entertainment-oriented sites of mine (not even tech-savvy) since the IE6 share is now well under 5% and dropping fast. Not saying some stupid, ActiveX heavy corporate intranet systems won't stick with IE6 until it should have been dead for a decade and a half, but in the wild I'll bet IE6 support is virtually gone within three years.

  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001

    -2

    Re: Ouch

    But, when you let yourself give in to demands to support a TWENTY YEAR OLD OS, you're admitting that, from a relevance perspective, you've got nothing.

    Yeah, what kind of company actually listens to its customers and gives them the choice that they apparently want. Stupid idiots. They should force the companies to spend millions to upgrade all their hardware, software, peripherals, etc. to work with some new OS!

    You're essentially admitting that your comfy, entrenched monopoly is all you've got. Short of a Win 7 Phone miracle, MS is likely to bleed their corporate desktop base dry over the next decade while the rest of the world stops caring.

    Really? So because Microsoft is letting business customers continue to use their old OS, this makes their new OS irrelevant and no one will use it. That makes sense. If I found out that some company is still tied to XP, I would just go "Oh, well, then no sense for me to run Windows 7 or later. I'll just switch to a Mac!". Oooookkkkaaaayyyy.

    Also, re: "...this will force IT staff and web developers to support XP and IE6 for another ten years..."

    Like h*** it will. Anything past perfunctory support for IE6 is already starting to fade even for big, mainstream sites, and I've already started doing the same on entertainment-oriented sites of mine (not even tech-savvy) since the IE6 share is now well under 5% and dropping fast.


    Well, if you're doing it on your entertainment-oriented sites, that's proof in the pudding it is dead. I mean, no company would dream of running IE 6, because they can't get to your sites.

    Not saying some stupid, ActiveX heavy corporate intranet systems won't stick with IE6 until it should have been dead for a decade and a half, but in the wild I'll bet IE6 support is virtually gone within three years.

    Hey, did you notice that this was ALL ABOUT BUSINESS? Therefore, if a business is running ActiveX heavy web sites that require IE 6, wouldn't that be what they are most concerned about?

    And I have always loved how so many 'web developers' and third-parties are so free with other people's money. Who cares if the cost of updating a system to remove ActiveX and Flash and fix issues with running under Vista or 7 costs hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars. Let alone the costs of buying new peripherals because their vendors decided not to write drivers for Vista/7. They should do it, because, well, some guy on MacNN says they should.

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