Microsoft will announce late Thursday that it will give OEMs six additional months to sell PCs with Windows XP installed, CRN has learned.
Microsoft is extending the deadline for sales of new direct OEM PCs with Windows XP installed from January 31, 2008 to June 30, 2008, according to sources close to the company.
"The named accounts, the ones that have volume, have complained about the end of life for XP, and that's because adoption of Windows Vista has been slow," said one Microsoft partner who requested anonymity. "This is a pretty important development for larger partners, and it's also somewhat surprising because it shows that they've been listening to us."
The move comes as little surprise to VARs and system builders who have been ripping Windows Vista off the desktops and notebooks they sell and replacing it with Windows XP ever since the next generation operating system debuted in January.
"We don't really do anything with Vista right now, the requests are few and far between," said Douglas Lee, CFO and director of business development at BostonTech Partners, a Canton, Mass., solution provider.
Microsoft, for its part, claims demand is strong for Vista and its momentum is unprecedented. However, the fact that Microsoft has been working on a third service pack for Windows XP, currently slated for release in the first half of 2008, is a reflection of the still-strong demand for the OS, according to system builders.
"The problem is that XP is too good of a product," said one Microsoft system builder partner who requested anonymity. "XP has become so embedded in peoples' environments, it's extremely difficult to get them to switch to Vista."