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Thursday, 27 March 2008 07:35

The end for XP draws near

Written by David Stellmack

Image

June 30th looks to be the end of the road

Many consumers and business users are unhappy about the forthcoming end of the road for Windows XP. Microsoft has already extended its sales of Windows XP by six more months allowing them time to get the first service pack out for Windows Vista and to get users more accepting of the phasing out of Windows XP.

Right now it does seem unlikely that Microsoft will extend the sale of Windows XP again beyond the already announced June 30th date. In anticipation, many retailers are already stocking up on Windows XP Pro licenses while they can still get them.

A retailer that we talked to said that he has been buying extra Windows XP Pro licenses a few extra at a time over the past couple of months and has been increasing his orders for Windows XP Pro licenses with each additional order.

According to this retailer, he told us that he expects to have enough Windows XP licenses to be able to provide his customers with all they need until late fall, maybe even early winter of 2008. However, he does expect that he will be raising the price of the XP licenses as his stock of them is depleted.

The options for business users are better if you are covered by one of the large Microsoft Volume License Agreements that will continue to allow the purchase of Windows XP. Small business owners are in a bit more of a pickle with them having to at least have 25 machines in order to get into some sort of a volume license program. Even then, the program requires the purchase of Windows Business and a Windows XP Volume License key to downgrade the Windows Vista licenses to Windows XP.

While all support for Windows XP is scheduled to end on April 14, 2009, some large corporate customers might be able to get a bit of an extension to allow additional support, but Microsoft will be ending general support for Windows XP on April 14, 2009, which will also mean an end to the public releases for patches for Windows XP on what has become known as “Patch Tuesday.” The lack of publicly available security updates and patches for known holes will force some users to consider upgrading.

Much of the problem with Vista centers on the fact that the perception of the operating system isn’t good, and the OS does lack in some performance areas over Windows XP. As things stand today, the drivers are still pretty weak when compared to their Windows XP counterparts. The prospect of having to upgrade hardware just to run the new OS also is playing a role in the fact that people are not flocking to Vista.

From the corporate IT perspective, it is hard to roll out Vista when the rest of the company is still on Windows XP. While many companies are still evaluating Windows Vista Business and conducting compatibility testing, now with the latest service pack release several people that we talked to say that they have to start this testing process over again to account for the new Windows service pack release. Simply put, the timeline is just too soon for many companies to get there, besides the fact that they are pretty happy with Windows XP.

The entire situation presents a challenge that both business and consumers will have to face as the time draws near. For the short term, if you are looking at a new PC and want it to come pre-loaded with Windows XP, as long as it is Vista Ready, it might be a good time to start thinking about getting one. We do suspect that many OEMs will continue to offer downgrades on some models to Windows XP for as long as they can, but don’t expect that to last forever.

The end of Windows XP is just right around the corner; it is just unfortunate that Microsoft wants to force people to move to Vista.

Last modified on Thursday, 27 March 2008 09:09

David Stellmack

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