Loophole Keeps XP On Shelves This Summer

Dennis Faas's picture

Three major PC sellers have found a way to continue offering Windows XP after it's officially withdrawn from sale on June 30.

Dell, HP, and Lenovo have all found loopholes in the terms of the Microsoft license which, in theory at least, imposes the deadline on supplying PCs with the system installed.

Dell is using a clause in its license to supply Windows Vista, the successor to XP. The license means they have to sell machines with Vista installed as standard. However, they will be able to allow customers to downgrade their package. HP is going to operate a similar system until July 2009.

In the same way customers could reduce the price of a system by removing 'standard' features such as a monitor or mouse, buyers will be able to choose to 'downgrade' to XP. (Source: vnunet.com)

For the loophole to work, the companies can't officially charge any money for XP. In reality, they'll either figure it into their basic pricing, or consider it worth 'giving away' because it will be a good selling point to people who want new machines but don't want to use Vista.

Lenovo is going to sell Windows PCs with Vista installed, but will include an XP 'recovery disk'. Officially, this is a back-up provided in case a computer owner has a serious problem and needs to restore a machine to its 'original' settings. In this case, customers will have the option of buying the machine and choosing to run on XP.

The loopholes have come to light as Microsoft seems to get cold feet about completely killing off XP as planned. They've already decided they'll keep on letting XP be used in low-powered PCs which might struggle to run Vista. Chief executive Steve Ballmer, when asked about extending XP's lifespan, said "If customer feedback varies, we can always wake up smarter." (Source: bbc.co.uk)

The obscure methods computer firms are having to employ to keep on selling XP past June makes it clear they still believe there's a viable market for XP. While it's understandable Microsoft wants to establish Vista as the standard, it seems bizarre they appear willing to turn businesses away.

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