InfoWorld has confirmed that Dell will sell and support Windows XPto consumers beyond the June 30 Microsoft sales cutoff date thatMicrosoft reaffirmed today, after earlier comments from CEO SteveBallmer seemingly indicated it might reconsider that decision.
Dell will take advantage of a licensing option in Vista Business andVista Ultimate that lets PC makers provide XP under the Vista license,which Microsoft calls a “downgrade” license. (Enterprises with sitelicenses have these same rights with any version of Vista.) In essence,the user is buying a Vista license that it can apply to XP, andMicrosoft can still claim a Vista sale.
Dell will preinstall XP Professional as a “downgrade” on a variety ofdesktop PCs and laptops, a spokesperson said, saving users the hassleof doing it themselves. The computers available with the XP option willinclude the Windows Vista installation DVD in the box so users canlater install Vista over XP under the same license if they wish.
The “downgrade” program is available as an option on some DellLatitude, OptiPlex, and Dell Precision systems at no charge. It’s alsoavailable as an option on some Vostro and Dell XPS gaming systems for asmall fee; these systems are targeted mainly at small business usersand consumers.
A Dell spokesperson said this program will be supported as long as Microsoft supports the “downgrade” program.
Although Dell will ship a resource DVD that includes XP and Vistadrivers for included peripherals, it’s unclear whether Dell will shipXP drivers for all the available options. For example, a Vostro 200desktop today available with a choice of Windows XP and Windows Vistahas an option for a wireless card that will not work under XP.