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Windows XP Available to Mid-2009

Microsoft has given the green light to custom PC manufacturers, allowing them to offer machines with Windows XP

An article posted over on Sunday reports that Microsoft is allowing system builders--the smaller "white box" builders other than Dell and HP--to obtain copies of Windows XP for preloading on PCs until May 30, 2009. The catch is that all orders for the older OS have to be in place by January 31, 2009 just as Microsoft stated last year. System builders thus take delivery against those orders until May 30, 2009, meaning they don't have to buy the OEM copies in bulk quantities and sit on them, but rather take order of the software more gradually. According to ChannelWeb, distributors and systems builders actually have until December 31 to submit their "XP license demand forecasts" before placing the final order.

This generosity on Microsoft's part seems like a slight nod to the fact that many consumers--and manufacturers in fact--simply don't want Windows Vista. The availability of new PC's with Windows XP should be great news for consumers wanting a new PC without the hassles Windows Vista brings, especially gamers who still boot up older DOS and pre-DirectX 10 games. With gamers having performance issues and software incompatibilities creating havoc with Vista users, many consider Windows XP one of the best operating systems released thus far.

Microsoft officially discontinued Windows XP back in June, cutting off the OS supply to the larger computer manufacturers such as HP, Dell and Alienware. But Microsoft also said that the company would continue to offer XP to the systems builders until July 2009, followed by super-low-cost PC and Laptop manufacturers until 2010. Microsoft will continue to offer support for all the Windows XP platforms (Home, Media Center, and Professional) through 2014.

Is XP favored over Vista? It would seem so, and apparently, the distributors and system builders are really digging the new plan offered by Microsoft. "This should bring relief to the panic buyers and the large online retailers who would have probably bought up inventory in early January," said Ulmen. "I have to commend Microsoft on this channel-friendly strategy."

So what does all this hoopla mean to the end-users? Those looking for a Windows XP computer need not worry, as there will be plenty to hunt down for some time to come. Many distributors trying to avoid Vista hope that this new plan will extend XP availability long enough to expand into Windows 7 when it supposedly ships next year (although its speculated that the new OS could hit the streets as early as mid-2009). As of July 2008, consumers and businesses alike still chose windows XP over Vista.