XP deadline matters little to business customers

Monday marks the deadline after which some PCs will no longer sell with XP, but the customers who care won't be affected

The countdown is nearly over: Monday marks the long-awaited date after which PCs preloaded with Windows XP will no longer be available.

But now that the date is imminent, does anybody care? The segment of Windows users that cares about XP's end of life -- business customers -- isn't affected by this date and can still get its hands on XP for the foreseeable future.

June 30 is the Microsoft-imposed deadline after which PC makers won't be able to sell computers prepackaged with XP and after which Microsoft will no longer sell shrink-wrapped copies of the OS. The exception is low-cost notebooks, which can continue to ship with XP through June 30, 2010.

Microsoft has been talking about phasing out XP essentially since it launched Vista, and the process has been similar to previous Windows client upgrades.

Yet the XP deadline has been making waves, for a couple of reasons. "This date has passed at least four times in the past without any coverage," said Michael Cherry, an analyst with Directions on Microsoft. He's referring to past upgrades, from Windows 2000 to XP, for example.

"Why is this a story?" he said. "Because whether or not it's true, the perception is that Vista is a bad OS."

Vista had a rocky launch with many users complaining of performance glitches and particular problems when running the OS on computers other than the very fastest, high-end machines.

Still, reluctance to upgrade now, more than a year after Vista launched, varies widely between consumer and enterprise customers.

While XP's deadline affects consumers more so than business users -- enterprises also must buy PCs that come with Vista but they'll be able to downgrade to XP -- many home Windows users are largely just fine with buying Vista machines.

IDC is expecting so few consumers to buy XP machines this year, that it is projecting that as many as 98 percent of consumer PCs sold in 2008 will use Vista.

That's very different than the enterprise customer. While around 70 percent of business buyers will purchase Vista computers in 2008, probably half will downgrade to XP, said Al Gillen, an analyst with IDC. So only around 35 percent of new business PCs sold in 2008 will use Vista, he said.

Consumers, who may hope to buy a PC that will last for several years, are more interested in buying the latest technology, the analysts said.

"When you go out and buy a new machine, I'm not sure you want it with an 8-year-old operating system," Gillen noted. Most consumers will want to "move forward rather than look backward," he said.

"I think it's better for customers not to go back," Cherry agreed. Even though Microsoft will continue to support XP, consumers will be better off going with the newest OS, which also is the one Microsoft is actively maintaining, he said.

However, savvy consumers who really want to buy new machines with XP can still get it several ways. They can simply go to Dell's Web site and order one of the business PCs, which come with Vista but can be downgraded to XP, Gillen said.

In addition, Microsoft will continue to allow the low-cost laptops to ship with XP.

Join the newsletter!

Or
Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Nancy Gohring and Agam Shah

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?