Windows

Windows XP to fall off retail and OEM lists in 5 weeks

Microsoft pulls Windows XP from retailer and OEM lists in just five weeks. What does this mean and are there any loopholes?

Microsoft is like the parent of two kids -- one everybody likes (Windows XP) and one who causes trouble and that no one wants to deal with (Windows Vista). XP keeps getting invited to the party, but Microsoft makes it take its bratty little brother.

Even though XP is still the most-used version of Windows Web (Metrics vendor Net Applications Inc. pegs XP as driving 73% of the personal computers that went online last month), Microsoft is going to force retailers to stop selling it in just five weeks.

According to Microsoft, June 30 is the last day it will permit retailers and OEMs to sell the nearly seven-year-old operating system.

For a FAQ on what exactly this means, click on this ComputerWorld article.

About

Toni Bowers is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.

37 comments
NateLANman
NateLANman

I think this is the worst decision Microsoft could make. The government department I work with is still running Windows Server 2000 and as far as I know, has no plans to even upgrade to Server 2003, let alone 2008. With regareds to Vista, the cost of upgrading OS is enormous. Take the cost of the OS and multiply that by the thousands of users who will need to receive the upgrade and you are looking at millions. I have not had a LOT of time to play with Vista personally, but I can say that a number of applications that have been designed specifically for the company I work for are incompatible with Vista. Just this last week we had a user who required a custom application installed on their Vista 64 machine and we could not get all of the components to work properly. The fix was to install VMWare with XP running and reload Office 2003. While it works great and the user is happy, this is not realistic for the thousands of users our company has that would require this type of installation.

NateLANman
NateLANman

I think this is the worst decision Microsoft could make. The government department I work with is still running Windows Server 2000 and as far as I know, has no plans to even upgrade to Server 2003, let alone 2008. With regareds to Vista, the cost of upgrading OS is enormous. Take the cost of the OS and multiply that by the thousands of users who will need to receive the upgrade and you are looking at millions. I have not had a LOT of time to play with Vista personally, but I can say that a number of applications that have been designed specifically for the company I work for are incompatible with Vista. Just this last week we had a user who required a custom application installed on their Vista 64 machine and we could not get all of the components to work properly. The fix was to install VMWare with XP running and reload Office 2003. While it works great and the user is happy, this is not realistic for the thousands of users our company has that would require this type of installation.

hamzka
hamzka

Well that is just Microsoft. Just force it down the throat. If you are just using office, e-mails, and WEB surfing and Skype, take a look at the Vixta project. www.vixta.org Its an open market :-). Let market forces decide.

Tank252ca
Tank252ca

In an age when many are trying to be environmentally friendly, we try our best to recycle our old hardware. We refurb our old PCs and try to pass them along to schools or charities and that sometimes means acquiring a new OS license. Occasionally hardware can be cobbled together or upgraded to support the next version OS. Windows98 lost support long ago, but we have many systems that could still run WindowsXP but would never be able to meet the hardware requirements of Vista. The same goes for my kids' PCs. Stopping the sale of XP is not going to drive us to purchase Vista or new hardware for that matter. If anything, it will force a move to a Linux distro. This is not how to best serve your customers.

billmunson
billmunson

it just like the new improved tide it would not take out the grease and windows vista is just to keep getting more more from computor users that all! more viruses and more money from them why do they have viruses and who creates them if not the software makers! how do they know their names before we get them and how to remove them??? thinks about it no one goes to jail that I hear and yet they keep on doing it!!

Boston
Boston

Our shop purchases only Dell computers. Dell will be selling computers with a Vista license but can be back leveled to XPSP2 OS. They will extend this until December. No one should be forced to go to another OS especially one like Vista with it's horrendous reputation.

critch
critch

What happened to Customer Service? Most companies will sell a product that someone WANTS to buy. I know our company would not last for long if we dictated to our customer want they can and cannot buy. Not too many consultants would stay in business either with that attitude. I prefer XP but taking away my options really bothers me more.

g_machuca
g_machuca

With a car. If bought new. Relatively speaking, it wouldn't cost that much to keep it running during its early life. The longer it is kept, the more it will cost to run and the need for 'support' increases. i.e. tyres and bits that wear out would need to be replaced by suitably qualified people, et cetera, et cetera. The cost goes up with time. With Windows it's the other way around. So having gone through the painful and expensive phase of living and supporting Windows XP ......... you get it??

g_machuca
g_machuca

Why can't Microsoft sell XP and all it means? Just like any huge corporation sells (assuming less profitable) bit(s) of itself to the highest bidder? Like VW sold the Beetle patent to people in Mexico and Brazil. Some other auto marques keep changing hands. There has to be (there is) a 'second hand' market out there for XP. Let Microsoft handle the 'lemon' they came up with in Vista. A marketing bod could read Vista/Microsoft as a 'mature' product and a company loosing momentum, struggling and running out of new ideas.

BALTHOR
BALTHOR

Agamemnon has spoken.

itpro_z
itpro_z

In response to those of you saying that Vista has no place in the business world, I would disagree. In our small enterprise, we thoroughly tested Vista Business, and found that except for a few exceptions it ran all of our critical apps, and ran them very well. The exceptions included one department that runs a web app that is IE6 only at this time, and a few users with older versions of Autocad who don't want to upgrade. For everyone else, well over 90% of our users, Vista presents no problems. One thing we did not do is call our software vendors to ask about Vista support. We did our own research and in house testing instead. Like most larger operations, the majority of our apps run on "big iron" rather than the desktop. Most of our desktop users run Office and client software, and Vista works very well in that environment. For the few desktop programs that don't work on Vista (very few, in my experience) simply upgrading to the latest version fixes the problems. If that is not possible, then virtualization is a better solution than simply trying to hold on to XP for the long term. For those complaining about needing to retrain your users, we have not found this to be an issue. Assuming you set up the system right, it should look pretty much like what they are used to. Shut off the gadget bar, add desktop icons for common tasks, and configure the Quick Launch tool bar and most users won't even notice the difference. Many of our users are not tech savy at all, yet have transitioned to Vista Business with little or no training.

NotSoChiGuy
NotSoChiGuy

...that as long as you're permitted to downgrade, this really isn't that big of a deal. Especially considering the clause to allow companies to continue to purchase XP Professional. Seems to be just bluster to try and drive people to purchase PCs unknowingly before the 6/30 'cutoff' or 'End-of-Life cycle', in my opinion. I will say this, though, Vista is not going to get any traction in business as is. I won't get into the hardware aspects of it, since XP demanded more from a system than did Win2K at a time when prices were higher, so that is about a wash (though, the overall economy right now makes it seem worse). The compatibility issues, though, far exceed anything that I've seen previously. I may as well try and re-introduce OS/2 Warp into the environment.

dcbraganza
dcbraganza

I love XP and hate Vista with a passion. For a company like Microsoft to put out a piece of garbage like Vista is unbelievable. Now just as they always do, they force us to buy their crap. I would rather wait and see what comes of Windows 8.

dnudelman
dnudelman

I don't agree at all. XP had its turn, and it is over. Vista is just different, and people are afraid or just lazy. Spend some time investigating the product instead of blindly attacking it. Have a try on VLite before trying some business deployments, and you will see Vista is no big issue. Vista is the preferred target for attacks. In the begging XP sucked really bad, but people tend to forget as time goes by and it got very stable, specialy after SP2.

VAR1016
VAR1016

Good name... Is it an operating system? I went to the site but it doesn't say what it is for or what it does. It is also impossible to play the enormous demo video (60MB!!!) since it is something called .ogg. I have downloaded something called OGM and something called "ogg codecs"; these made no difference. I have tried several players; why are there so many stupid video formats? Why can't they all be something that one can play? Works for Youtube I hope Vixta (whatever it does) is easier to use than their video demo... Paul

OnTheRopes
OnTheRopes

I saved it in my bookmarks as something I intend to download later. I appreciate it.

Dyalect
Dyalect

A cruddy service pack 3 will kill Windows XP and lack of future support/patches. (proper ones) After that we will be forced to go to vista. Which is unfortunate, but a sad reality. Vista is super pricey and there is really is no technical benefit of running it. Aero glass is shiny and pretty. :I

tr
tr

As this saga rolls on, it really begins to come into focus that, unlike other products that have built-in obsolsecence and/or built-in "spoon feeding" of technology, M$ actually screwed up by making XP "too good" and now are unable to top themselves. In their view, their only viable path is to cut the cord on their "embarassment" as quickly as possible by making the better product no longer available; saying its "too old". Stupid, to be sure They really do appear to be not getting the picture. Just own the mistake, get on the stick and make the new product BE wanted! What is it about "building a better mousetrap" that they don't understand?

ggrimstad
ggrimstad

Doesnt anyone see the big picture, they dont care about the new systems being sold as they do with the upgrades. All of us are going to have to dig deep for a new OS. how profitable is a OS that runs like a charm and already resides on your trusty desktop..Business as usual

burkew0@comcast.net
burkew0@comcast.net

The cutoff date will create an opportunity for creative marketeers. So you will still be able to get XP.

dbarlamas
dbarlamas

You all are very lucky, to have an IT staff, to have the time and resources to test and pilot. I am part of a non-profit nursing home, running solo, trying to keep up with all the new technology and applications that we have been adding at the rate of 3-4 application to support per year, I am just trying to survive. So we are not looking to the vista machine for a while. We are looking to put in some 10-15 thin client w/ terminal server for better access for our wireless connection and I am now concerned what OS will be avaliable for the july 1st budget year. If you all have any recommendations for the TC OS's I would love ot know.

jrc98
jrc98

Concur with many of the posts here. Very costly to convert to Vista, lousy support from the beginning, slow, truly one of the hogs of an OS in some time. What's not to like? And the advantage for the business to convert is ?????? No payoff and MS wonders why no one has jumped all over this. I too am going to wait to see the next round and just avoid the costs. Now the server OS and even SQL server are vast improvements from their predecessors, but for a client OS to really require 4 Gig of memory to get out of it's own way? Pathetic. (Unix variants are starting to look very good, as is the Mac)

reisen55
reisen55

I have experimented with application software for my clients on VISTA: we are not talking Microsoft Office 2007 stuff, but practical and unique business applications that actually run a business and keep things like paychecks alive and well. At a medical office I tried the patient management program (of slight importance of course!!!) and at a museum a major product called THE RAISER'S EDGE (used for fund raising, also important I should think).... VISTA accepted neither product. XP works well with them and keeps their businesses running. I could put my customers out of business if I blanketed Vista into shops and wind up with a few dozen lawsuits, years in courts and have thrown maybe 50 people out of work not to mention the impact this would have on patients in the medical offices too!!!!!!!! So, IT guru in Spain - YOU tell me how Vista can POSSIBLY be called great and good?

VAR1016
VAR1016

...with Vista, (came on new computer) and it was hell. Now I have XP - hooray - everything works - and fast for a change.

jdclyde
jdclyde

because that IS about the time that XP got to be usable, except of course for the long list of programs that SP2 broke....

boxfiddler
boxfiddler

or just flat out don't effing like it.

gypsydan
gypsydan

In reading all teh cmments on this topic, I am in awe of the degreee of complacency and fear. If you were married, and suddenly your spouse came home all fat and bloated, and said "Here is the New Me, you have to take me as I now am!" How many of you would do so? For better or worse should not be a criteria in the IT world. After having a debacle like I just described forced on you, who would stick around because they feared to talk back? Open Source allow you flaxability and a say-so in how the operating system functions, and who can beat the price of Ubuntu or Vixtra or Red Hat? But alas, DENIAL is the salvation for continuing to rationalize bad decisions. In non-linear dynamics "the butterfly effect," ALWAYS wins. I can see Microsoft being hurt by its continued predatory and controlling abusive manner as IT functionaries and Business decision makers finally tire of its immature abusive attitude in a dynamically changing landscape. Follow IBM, and other large corporations and nations into the Open Source World. Only then will freedom from the need to continually rationalize a career or decisions occur. Remember when IT used to be fun.

steveschiffer
steveschiffer

I am responsible for the dozen or so users in our relatively small office. As I order PCs to fill up the stations, I order XP. Why? Not because I dislike Vista as that is what I have on my home network. No, I do it because I have enough fun trying to keep users ontrack and productive without everyone learning how to do things or find things just a bit differently. Honestly, the break from OEM will almost be welcomed so I can transition over to Vista and get it over with.

gypsydan
gypsydan

Dos thismean I'm going to finally have to bite the bullet and switch to Linux. Sometimes when you have a monopoly who wants to play hardball, the only way to get out of the game is to not play anymore. If there was a mass defection to Linux, what would Dear Bill do? OR, maybe now is the time to force XP to become a public utility and make Micorsoft turn it over to the public domain.

JohnMcGrew
JohnMcGrew

Smart businesses do not "invest" in new tools or technology unless they recognize that there will be a worthwhile return on that investment. Nobody has yet to convince most of us that there is such a return with Vista. For example, I can replace my good (and paid for) truck with the ?new? model that gets 5% better mileage. Does it make sense to do so? Almost certainly not. Although the new truck may be new, cool, and prettier than my old one, it does not make economic sense to buy it for those reasons alone. At least that new truck gets better mileage. Vista actually gets worse mileage off of the same hardware. If only replacing/upgrading an IT infrastructure was a simple as buying a new truck. I?m sure there are plenty of IT shops out there filled with people who need to justify their existence by being busy with needless deployments. On the other hand, there are businesses that have better things to spend their IT dollars on, like application development or implementing new technologies that actually make processes more efficient or new processes possible. Translation: We?re not going to go through the pain and expense of deploying Vista just because Microsoft says we have to.

dpeter
dpeter

I ran Vista for a few months in my office. Everything did work fine and I actually did like it. BUT, there is two serious problems -Vista is not compat with my Project Management and Accounting software. This is def not a good thing for a General Contracting company. Oh yeah, the folks over at Isqft stated that Microsoft is going to pull Vista (hahahahahaha) and that they have no plans to prepare for Vista. Isqft is an online bid solicitation software. So for me Vista is going to really kill me. I think my rep at Dell stated they are going to continue to use XP for sometime though - I forget the exact date, sorry. Anyway

rstorm1
rstorm1

Calling people afraid or lazy doesn't change the fact that Vista is garbage. Matter of fact, you should keep those types of personal attacks to yourself, as they are not productive here. The facts are the business world has no plans to migrate to Vista due to the rampant problems with it, along with the exorbitant cost to upgrade hardware to run the memory hog of an OS. Vista is the best advertising that Apple has ever had. You are entitled to your opinion, but the vast majority of the business world doesn't agree with you.

dcbraganza
dcbraganza

I am the IT departmental head at my company and have had a million issues with the integration of vista into our network. In my opioion, the attacks on vista are completely justified. Microsoft did not do its research into integration of vista into 3rd party programs which left us scrambling to re-install XP on our workstations. For a business like ours, it meant authorizing umteen ammounts of overtime for my techs which has just blown our IT buget for this year. So please research your findings before calling attacks on vista unwarranted. Cheers.

tr
tr

My big question is: what is the time period that M$ is required to maintain support on a product after it has ceased to be sold? I remember that manufacturers had to provide support and parts for [physical] products for seven years after a product ceased to be manufactured. Don't know if this has changed over the years. Can M$ be required to do the same for software; even if it is a shorter period? The initial response was to go buy a few licenses for the boxes we'll likely build in the forseeable future but the "threat" of M$ not providing critical updates in this day and age of continual new threats to security is allowing them to hold a gun to our heads. If nothing else, this bonehad move will certainly get them even worse PR. Yeesh, are they just totally tanking?

g_machuca
g_machuca

We, the customers, have to figure out when a new O/S would REALLY improve the way we do things. Lets not forget though, that the O/S is not a ?productivity tool?, so on its own, it does nothing for us, a bit like WinPE (don?t get me started on THAT one!!). However, my point is, take sports goods for example. In the days when Gary Player was at his peak, those guys were pitching onto the green leaving themselves 10 ? 15 foot putts. It was considered, at the time, that they were playing fantastically well, those guys were almost demi-gods of the game. Modern players are playing as well when they leave themselves 5 foot, may less, putts. So. How many years of product progression went by to really notice the difference in the level of the game? The same goes for skiing. It has taken the best part of 10 years for skis to evolve sufficiently to actually make people better skiers. The tennis racket has a similar parallel. So going back to the O/S. How many products/years have gone by since NT4 before we got XP? So, before you go off racing to get your new shinny Vista O/S ask yourself. How much better/efficient is it REALLY going to make you?

HimDownStairs
HimDownStairs

Prior to leaving Dell (about 7 months ago) we used to tell customers what Microsoft told us: "Windows XP will still be available on select systems through January of 2009."

david.valdez
david.valdez

I have a concern with your statement...you apparently failed to prototype and pilot before deployment, which is WHY you blew your budget... I have a vertical app that is not Vista-friendly, but we've prototyped and piloted sufficiently to KNOW we could handle it if we were forced. We're not going there because NONE of our software vendors will admit to any Vista support, but I'm sure, like we have, our software vendors know they could support Vista. We're not going to Vista primarily because we have a large, non-technical installed base and we don't want to incur the re-training costs. Similarly, I would prefer to avoid Office 2007, btw... But we've already done our homework and know everything we need to know if and when we're forced. We can keep our users functional with a minimum of fuss and bother... Oh, and though I don't use Vista, either, I did for six months and it was fine...and now that SP1 fixed the Cisco VPN issue, I kinda wish I could go back...

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