XP: The OS that won’t die

windowsxp Microsoft announced yesterday that a public beta of the forthcoming service pack for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 is available for download.

In his post yesterday, Brandon LeBlanc, Windows Communications Manager at Microsoft, said that after only 7 months in market, Windows 7 had nearly a 14% share of the global operating systems market; and Windows 7 has become the fastest-selling operating system in history with 150 million licenses sold so far.

Terrific metrics. As someone who has embraced Windows 7, I can say from hands-on experience that it is the best operating system Microsoft has produced since, well, Windows XP.

And there’s an interesting aspect to Microsoft’s wishes for businesses to move to Windows 7 – what’s happening to Windows XP.

According to ComputerWorld, Windows XP will be available as an option if you prefer to have that OS instead of Windows 7 until sometime in 2020 – ten years from now.

[…Microsoft] announced on Monday that people running some versions of Windows 7 can “downgrade” to the aged operating system for up to 10 years. […] While few consumers may want to downgrade from Windows 7 to XP – unlike when many mutinied against Vista three years ago – businesses often want to standardize on a single operating system to simplify machine management. […] Although Microsoft said it made the change to simplify the work in tracking licensing rights for PCs, the continued popularity of Windows XP may have had something to do with it. At the Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC), which opened Monday in Washington D.C., a company executive acknowledged that 74% of business computers still run XP. The downgrade rights are available only from OEM copies of Windows 7, those that are pre-installed by computer makers.

A dilemma for Microsoft – if you’re happy with Windows XP, why choose any other flavour of Windows, even when the advantages of 7 seem very clear?

Looks like another decade of use and support awaits you.

Neville Hobson

Social Strategist, Communicator, Writer, and Podcaster with a curiosity for tech and how people use it. Believer in an Internet for everyone. Early adopter (and leaver) and experimenter with social media. Occasional test pilot of shiny new objects. Avid tea drinker.

  1. Jason Zandri

    I don't think all of these facts within the post are correct.

    Please see http://windowsteamblog.com/windows/b/bloggingwi

    Also this post as well http://windowsteamblog.com/windows/b/bloggingwi

    From that second post:

    UPDATE 7/13: We’ve seen some confusion regarding the information in this blog post covering the changes we’ve announced to end user downgrade rights so I wanted to update this post with some clarification.

    Customers who purchase Windows 7 PCs with end user downgrade rights as provided in the software license terms (EULA) will be able to downgrade to Windows XP Professional on those PCs for the life of the PC. However, customers will not be able to buy a Windows 7 Professional or Ultimate PC with end user downgrade rights after Windows 7 reaches the end of sales date in the OEM channel – which according to the current Windows Lifecycle policy is 2 years after the next version of Windows ships.

    These changes are unrelated to our technical support policy. As mentioned in this blog post, extended support for Windows XP SP3 will continue through April 2014. So customers who downgrade their Windows 7 PCs to Windows XP will no longer be able to receive extended support after April 2014. After April 2014, customers will need to either get a custom support agreement or install a more modern OS on those PCs.

    And of course there’s also the question of third party applications that run on Windows XP that our customers need as well. Analyst firms such as Gartner are predicting that many third party applications will no longer be supported by their makers after 2011, so we encourage customers to think holistically about their IT infrastructure as they make their Windows migration plans.

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