Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer recently admitted that the Redmond giant might continue selling Windows XP past the current June 30 end-of-life date – if there was enough customer demand. Ballmer cited slow adoption rates in IT departments as a potential factor in considering the decision.
“What’s Steve Ballmer doing telling reporters that although XP is EOL, ‘if customer feedback varies, we can always wake up smarter,” Engadget blogger Nilay Patel asked. “Um, Steve? Customers have been feeding back like crazy and Microsoft has kind of ignored them, remember? Maybe it’s time for a quick nap.”
This strange news also comes on the heels of Dell’s announcement that its customers can have XP factory-installed on their computers until 2012 – along with a copy of Vista if they ever choose to upgrade. Wired blogger Scott Gilbertson said the move might just be a Microsoft ploy to inflate its Vista sales figures.
“Dell is offering to do a factory install of XP from the image CD, which is a nice touch, but you’re still buying the rights to Vista and then downgrading,” he wrote. “Thus, when Microsoft shows its sales reports, it looks like you bought a copy of Vista. Even if Dell reports the number of downgrading customers, all Microsoft has to do is point to the sales records to show that Vista is the customer favorite.”
The Ballmer and Dell developments have also left some bloggers, like TechRepublic’s Jason Hiner, speculating that Microsoft is now thinking ahead to next year’s release of Windows 7.
“I predicted that Microsoft will leapfrog Vista, release Windows 7 early, and change its OS business,” he wrote. “If Microsoft extends the lifecycle of Windows XP, it will only make that scenario more likely.”
But while Microsoft might be hoping its next operating system saves them from its stumble with Vista, ComputerWorld U.S. blogger Preston Gralla, said that won’t be the case.
“But it’s not at all clear that Windows 7 will be the significant improvement that they’re hoping for,” he wrote. “Although it’s still early in the development cycle, all screenshots that I’ve seen, including those I’ve shown about in my blog, look nearly identical to Vista. So people who simply don’t like Vista’s look and feel most likely won’t be pleased.”
ComputerWorld Canada readers can continue showing their support for Windows XP at SaveXP.ca.