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Windows XP to be phased out by year's end despite customer demand

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Windows XP to be phased out by year's end despite customer demand


Computer makers have been told they'll no longer be able to get Windows XP OEM by the end of this year, despite consumer resistance to Vista and its compatibility problems.


By early 2008, Microsoft's contracts with computer makers will require companies to only sell Vista-loaded machines. "The OEM version of XP Professional goes next January," said Frank Luburic, senior ThinkPad product manager for Lenovo. "At that point, they'll have no choice."


Despite Microsoft's relentless promotion of Vista, manufacturers are still seeing plenty of demand from customers for systems preloaded with XP, especially in the finicky SOHO market.


In a recent post on its Direct2Dell blog, Dell reaffirmed to concerned customers that it wasn't about to force small business users -- who typically purchase PCs piecemeal, rather than in large enterprise-style orders -- to shift to Vista, which has experienced a less-than-stellar reaction from many buyers because of driver issues and moderately beefy hardware requirements.


"Dell recognizes the needs of small business customers and understands that more time is needed to transition to a new operating system," the post read in part. "The plan is to continue offering Windows XP on select Dimension and Inspiron systems until later this [northern] summer."


"From a local perspective, the post was a reminder more than an announcement," Dell ANZ corporate communications manager Paul McKeon told APC.


"This was something we'd always planned during the transition phase since businesses will have different time frames to adopt the new OS. If you're a consumer, you're unlikely to be managing more than say 2.4 OS images at home, so it's less of an issue"


There's general agreement amongst PC resellers that Vista has provided a minor boost to PC sales, but hasn't produced blockbuster numbers. A similar story applies in the retail space. Figures from marketing consultancy GfK suggest that after an initial sales surge, around 1500 copies of Vista are now being sold through Australian retailers each week, according to a recent report in the AFR.


While Dell's post suggested it wouldn't be promoting Vista systems to the home market, manufacturers still have the option of selling XP-based systems for consumers this year.


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