Microsoft Grants Windows XP another Reprieve

It’s no secret that Microsoft’s Vista OS has been met with some resistance. In fact, many users are sticking with Windows XP and downgrading new PCs to XP because they prefer the older OS. Despite some users’ preferences, Microsoft was trying to phase out Windows XP in favor of Vista and its upcoming Windows 7 OS.

In its efforts to phase out Windows XP, Microsoft had set a cutoff date of January 31 for PC makers to obtain licenses for the software. Now, Microsoft has created a new policy that will make it possible for hardware firms to get XP licenses until May 30, 2009. In addition, Microsoft had previously extended XP’s life until 2010 for netbooks and low-cost laptops.

Windows XP Professional BoxThe original plan was for Windows XP to disappear from store shelves on January 30, 2008 in order to make way for Windows Vista which went on sale in early 2007. But customers haven’t reacted as favorably to Vista as the company had hoped, so Microsoft granted a reprieve for XP. Even so, Microsoft still claims that Vista has sold well.

Because of the demand for XP, PC makers found a way around the former restrictions by exploiting a clause in the licensing terms that allowed them to offer a "downgrade" license with a new PC running Vista that let customers replace it with XP.

This latest reprieve makes it possible for PC makers and resellers to order before January 31st, but take delivery at any time until May 30th. Previously, many of these PC makers and resellers were working on the January 31st deadline and feared they would have to stockpile licenses before the cut-off and then hope to be able to sell them in the coming months.

Under the new policy, venders will still have to place orders before the official cutoff date of January 31, but they won't have to take delivery (or pay, perhaps?) until May. This policy should help alleviate the problem of vendors stockpiling copies of XP and should also eliminate any issues of manufacturers charging a demand-related premium for XP licenses after Microsoft goes Vista-only.