Ballmer: Don't Count Windows XP Out Yet

software Windows operating system

Ballmer, however, cautioned that right now the plan is to end retail sales and stop licensing Windows XP to computer makers effective June 30, according to a Reuters wire report.

"If customer feedback varies we can always wake up smarter but right now we have a plan for end-of-life for new XP shipments," Ballmer said at a news conference.

Ballmer and Microsoft may be getting caught up in somewhat of a semantics game since major computer makers have already set the stage to continue to sell Windows XP.

As ChannelWeb reported Wednesday, some computer makers have found a way to circumvent Microsoft's June 30 deadline to discontinue sales of XP.

Sponsored post

Hewlett Packard, Dell and Sony all confirmed plans to exercise the downgrade rights Microsoft offers with OEM versions of Windows Vista Business and Vista Ultimate in order to continue offering XP-equipped PCs to their customers.

Downgrade rights, which Microsoft also offers to volume licensing customers, give users the ability to roll back to the previous version of the product they're using. Downgrade rights have existed since 2001 for Windows, but many Microsoft partners say they've been seeing a recent uptick in the number of customers exercising downgrade rights to roll Vista back to XP Professional.

Glen Coffield, president of Smart Guys Computers, an Orlando, Fla.-based retail chain with six stores in central Florida, said getting XP will be no problem from system builders who can sell the operating system until January or through major computer makers providing a downgrade path to XP.

"If someone wants to get Windows XP they will be able to," said Coffield. "It is not going away. Everyone is getting all excited for nothing. You will still be able to get XP with downgrade rights it will just be more labor intensive that is all. It doesn't really matter that much six to one half dozen to another."

The downgrade rights path is one that both major computer makers and system builders have used in the past to assure customers can use an older Microsoft operating system once it has been phased out.

"It is more complicated to do a downgrade," he said. "Activation is more difficult. But Companies like Lenovo and some of the other ones have been shipping notebooks so that you can load it either way. Downgrade rights have always existed. It existed with Windows 2000 when Windows XP came out. We have always had downgrade rights. This is nothing new. The problem is the (Vista) implemtnation is a little bit different."