Dell defies XP cut off

Dell is set to defy Microsoft’s attempt to cut off Windows XP at the end of June by continuing to sell the operating system to its customers.

Dell defies XP cut off

The PC maker is exercising the “Downgrade Rights” that come with the Business and Ultimate editions of Vista to allow customers to preload Windows XP Professional beyond the 30 June deadline.

HP and other PC makers are reportedly set to do likewise.

The downgrade scheme could be seen as a win-win for Microsoft and the PC makers. It allows Microsoft to count the new machines as Vista sales, as customers still technically buy a Vista licence. Meanwhile, the PC makers can continue to supply XP to businesses and consumers who are reluctant to move to Vista.

There are, however, caveats for customers who choose the downgrade option. “Dell will only support the factory-installed operating system,” claims the Dell Windows XP Availability site. “Windows Vista Home Basic and Windows Vista Home Premium do not have this option, as they are not capable of downgrading to Windows XP.”

Dell is also describing the downgrade options as “Genuine Windows Vista Business BONUS”, with that “bonus” sometimes coming at an additional cost, despite being a “downgrade”. “The Vista downgrade programme is available as an option on Dell Latitude, OptiPlex and Precision systems at no additional charge,” a Dell spokesman says. “It’s also available globally on Dell Vostro and XPS gaming systems for $19.95 USD, or the equivalent in local currency, apart from the cost to upgrade to Windows Vista Ultimate or Vista Business.”

The downgrades make a mockery of Microsoft’s self-imposed XP cut-off deadline, which has already been put back from this January to June.

Steve Ballmer last week suggested that the deadline could be extended once more, claiming that: “if customer feedback varies we can always wake up smarter but right now we have a plan for end-of-life for new XP shipments.”

Forrester Research recently issued a report claiming many businesses were planning to skip Windows Vista altogether and wait for Windows 7.

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