Microsoft Gives XP Reprieve till May

by CXOtoday Staff    Dec 23, 2008

Microsoft said yesterday that it is offering a flexible inventory programme that allows distributors and system builders to place their final orders for XP to May 30, 2009

The software major had earlier asked service providers to place final orders for XP by the end of January.

“Microsoft is making accommodation through a flexible inventory program that will allow distributors to place their final orders by January 31, 2009; and take delivery against those orders through May 30, 2009,” the international media quoted a Microsoft spokesman as saying. “This is not an extension of sales.”

Microsoft stopped selling XP to retailers on June 30, 2008. However, system builders and OEMs had the option of purchasing Windows XP through Microsoft authorized distributors through January 31, 2009. Now, Microsoft will stop taking XP orders on January 31, but will deliver the products at any time before May 30.

Microsoft took the decision considering that Windows Vista - XP’s successor — got a lukewarm response from businesses and consumers. Many enterprise customers are reported to have opted to skip upgrading to Vista, and wait for Windows 7, which is expected to be available by the beginning of 2010. Even consumers have widely complained about how underwhelming Vista was, after all the hype.

If Windows 7 is released in early 2010 as planned, it means that there will only be about a six- or seven-month gap between when the last XP machines will be for sale and when Windows 7 hits the market. And some feel that Microsoft may even get Windows 7 to businesses by the end of 2009 because the company recognizes it needs to repair the Vista damage.

XP has an even longer shelf life for the emerging ultra-low-cost PC (ULCPC) market, another concession Microsoft had to make because Vista’s hardware footprint was too big for these machines. In April the company said it would be available for OEMs to install on ULCPCs either until June 30, 2010, or one year after the availability of Windows 7, whichever comes first.