Microsoft Gives In To XP Demand
While the motives for Microsoft might seem a little transparent, more users on a given OS means more support for everyone on that OS, so it might be worth backing just from that standpoint. In fact, in the 7 or so months that Vista has been out, it would probably be a fair statement to say that things are markedly better in terms of product support and overall computability. There may still be some rough edges, but it looks like Microsoft is certainly moving in the right direction.
Microsoft has started to back off of their Vista only policy and is now allowing system builders to quietly allow people to 'downgrade' to XP:
“A Microsoft representative confirmed there were changes made over the summer to make it easier for customers to downgrade to XP. Under Microsoft's licensing terms for Vista, buyers of Vista Business and Vista Ultimate Edition have always had the right to downgrade to XP, but in practice this could be challenging.
In June, Microsoft changed its practices to allow computer makers that sell pre-activated Vista machines to order Windows XP discs that could be included inside the box with PCs, or shipped to customers without requiring additional activation. Microsoft noted in a statement that neither it nor the PC makers are "obligated to supply earlier versions to end users under the end user licensing terms."
While there is always resistance by some to move to a new operating system, there appears to be particularly strong demand, especially from businesses, to stick with XP.”
It's not a big surprise that any person or group that relies on mission critical software might be holding out for Microsoft to polish Vista a bit more, and allow for software companies and driver development teams to refine their code. It could be a while longer before the entire situation with Vista (OS, drivers, & software) are approaching the level of refinement of the tried and true XP, but things certainly seem to be heading that direction.
The next major teething issue is likely to be consumers asking: “when will 64-bit OSes and drivers catch up to their 32-bit counterparts?”
We're hoping it will be sooner rather than later.