Windows XP no longer sold, despite protests
For some this is good news, for others it's a kick in the teeth with a steel-toed Kodiak work boot. The thing I find surprising is that Microsoft is already planning a new operating system for 2009. That was quick, no?
REDMOND, Wash. — Microsoft Corp. is scheduled to stop selling its Windows XP operating system to retailers and major computer makers Monday, despite protests from a slice of PC users who don't want to be forced into using XP's successor, Vista.
Once computers loaded with XP have been cleared from the inventory of PC makers such as Dell Inc. and Hewlett-Packard Co., consumers who can't live without the old operating system on their new machine will have to buy Vista Ultimate or Vista Business and then legally “downgrade” to XP.
Gruman, an executive editor at the InfoWorld online tech site in San Francisco, is one of the leaders of a movement seeking to save Windows XP from extinction. Under different circumstances, a company might welcome such an expression of devotion.
But in this case, the initiative isn't as much an endorsement of Windows XP as it is a comment on XP's successor. Windows Vista, released last year, has been negatively received by some PC users because of its early technical problems and steeper hardware requirements.
"I think the issue is that it's not meaningfully better than XP," Gruman said last week. Improvements in areas such as security aren't enough to justify the inconveniences, he said. InfoWorld's "Save XP" online petition has collected more than 200,000 virtual signatures.
The cutoff means it will become tougher to get a new computer with Windows XP -- but not impossible, by any means. Although Microsoft will stop selling XP to retailers and major PC makers, it plans to continue selling the operating system through some channels.
For example, smaller companies that make custom PCs from scratch, commonly known as system builders, will be able to continue buying Windows XP through Jan. 31. And for two years, at least, the company also will continue to offer selected versions of Windows XP for "ultra low-cost" computers, such as the Asus Eee PC and Intel Classmate PC, that lack the advanced hardware needed to run Windows Vista.
In addition, buyers of Windows Vista Business or Ultimate editions will be able to take advantage of what are known as "downgrade rights." In some cases, for example, people will be able buy Windows Vista but get it on a disc for later use, and have Windows XP Professional pre-installed on the PC instead.
The software maker has said it expects to release Windows 7 sometime in 2009.