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Microsoft Extends XP For Low-Cost Laptops 388

Posted by Soulskill
from the stayin'-alive-stayin'-alive dept.
Ian Lamont writes "Microsoft says it will extend the sales of Windows XP Home to OEMs by several years, but it's not in response to the SaveXP petition. Microsoft is supposedly making the move in part to ensure that Linux doesn't dominate the market for certain types of 'ultra-low-cost' laptops. XP will be available for OEMs until June 30, 2010, or one year after the availability of the next client version of Windows, whichever date comes later. This greatly extends the earlier XP deadline of June 30 of this year (which was an extension itself), and means XP will potentially be installed on new computers nearly a decade after its original release. The author of the article suggests that the post-June 2008 release of Atom-based laptops encouraged Microsoft to extend XP, even though Intel says Atom can support Vista. Intel also claims that 'Moblin' Linux will be available on Atom-equipped mobile devices starting this summer."
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Microsoft Extends XP For Low-Cost Laptops

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  • by Tanman (90298) on Thursday April 03, 2008 @06:58PM (#22957802)
    "Can support Vista" and "Can support Vista for 5 minutes" are the same!
  • by ais523 (1172701) <ais523(524\)(525)x)@bham.ac.uk> on Thursday April 03, 2008 @07:02PM (#22957854)
    It seems that Microsoft made the decision to extend XP based on an attempt to prevent manufacturers switching, after previously ignoring pleas from the end-users to extend XP. The issue seems to be that they're more interested in selling software (such as Vista) even to people who don't want it than they are in selling software to people who do want it; Vista helps to drive the upgrade train, and XP doesn't, so until the low-cost laptops came off the ground continuing XP would presumably have been seen as a huge evil from Microsoft's point of view. It's the manufacturers that Microsoft are trying to please, not the manufacturer's customers (note that retail versions of XP will no longer be available), and only because they had a real alternative (Linux in this case); this strategy may end up backfiring in the long term, because if retailers are prevented from listening to their customers as long as they stay with Microsoft, they may eventually have enough incentive to change, so as not to lose revenue.
    • by truthsearch (249536) on Thursday April 03, 2008 @07:10PM (#22957942) Homepage Journal
      I think this is the only thing Microsoft could have done to keep the customers who want these new low power computers. I don't think it'll backfire because people will still buy computers with XP since it's familiar. Microsoft had to choose between two competitors: Linux and XP. They chose the evil they know because as long as people use some Microsoft software they tend to stick with it when it's time to upgrade.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by ozmanjusri (601766)
        I don't think it'll backfire because people will still buy computers with XP since it's familiar.

        You reckon customers buying cheap mini laptops won't notice one option will require them to buy Office, antivirus, etc, and more memory to store it all in?

        Especially since the other option includes a heap more free, is a lot easier on the hardware and doesn't break as often.

    • by daeg (828071)
      Microsoft would rather sell SOME software than NO software. If even a small portion of stranded XP-less consumers (and businesses) switch to Linux/free software, Microsoft loses out on multiple fronts simultaneously: lost license fee for the OS, lost cost for Microsoft Office, games, and other software, and lost ad revenue from live.com search results -- what Linux browser sets the default search engine to live.com?
    • That's the bottom line: the "end user" is not Microsoft's customer, the hardware manufacturers are.
      • by Asprin (545477) <gsarnold@@@yahoo...com> on Thursday April 03, 2008 @09:03PM (#22958860) Homepage Journal
        I disagree completely.

        Microsoft's customers are and always have been, developers. Why? No business goes out and puts in a Windows network because they think it's great - they do it because they need to run XYZ application that runs their business, and *IT* requires a Windows network.

        Remember the monkey boy.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by argent (18001)
          Microsoft's customers are and always have been, developers.

          Customers are people who buy Microsoft products. Hardware manufacturers are #1, followed by corporate purchasing departments.

          Developers might be third.

          That doesn't mean that they don't care about developers, that just means that developers are not Microsoft's customers, any more than authors are the customers of Random House.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by KiloByte (825081)
          As a developer, I say your post is utter bullshit.
          No one creates software because "Windows is such a great platform". The only reason why we can't afford to drop Windows support -- in most case, SOLE support, is that 100% of customers run Windows. It's a chicken and egg problem, with developers (the more technical people) wanting to get away from Windows the most.
  • Future Niche. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by headkase (533448) on Thursday April 03, 2008 @07:02PM (#22957858)
    As hardware progresses does this mean in a way that Windows XP could become the new Windows CE [wikipedia.org]??
    • by TropicalCoder (898500) on Thursday April 03, 2008 @10:53PM (#22959654) Homepage Journal

      Haven't you heard of "Windows XP Embedded" [wikipedia.org] It's a componentized version of Win XP Pro and is based on the same binaries as XP Professional. It's is marketed towards developers for OEMs, ISVs and IHVs that want the full Win32 API support of Windows but without the overhead of Professional. It runs existing Windows applications and device drivers off-the-shelf on devices with at least 32MB Compact Flash, 32MB RAM and a P-200 microprocessor. "XPe" was released on November 28, 2001. As of February 2007, the newest release is Windows XP Embedded SP2 Feature Pack 2007.

      XPe is not related to Windows CE. They target different devices and they each have their pros and cons which make them attractive to different OEMs for different types of devices. For instance, XPe will never get down to the small footprint that CE works in. However, CE does not have the Win32 APIs XPe has (although CE has an API that is similar to the Win32 API), nor can it run the tens of thousands of drivers and applications that already exist.

      The devices targeted for XPe have included ATMs, arcade games, slot machines, cash registers, industrial robotics, thin clients, set-top boxes, network attached storage (NAS), time clocks, navigation devices, etc. Custom versions of the OS can be deployed onto anything but a full-fledged PC; even though XPe supports the same hardware that XP Professional supports (x86 architecture), licensing restrictions prevent it from being deployed on to standard PCs :-(

      I was just thinking as I was reading this topic of how I would love to be able to load only the components I want. I'm a great fan of XP Pro and use it daily in my work. I hope I will never have to downgrade to Vista. These days I am developing software for Adobe Flex & Action Script 3. If I stay at this, I may just switch to Linux when full support for that comes out next year.

      The above is directly quoted from Wikipedia.

  • What it's about (Score:3, Interesting)

    by symbolset (646467) * on Thursday April 03, 2008 @07:03PM (#22957872) Homepage Journal

    Is keeping their product in front of the customer.

    This is going to make a lot of people unhappy. Lots of OEMs are going to have a little chat with Microsoft about this whole death-of-XP thing I think.

    If Vista runs well on a MID I will be shocked. If it ran well, the things would ship with Vista and we wouldn't be having this 8-year-old OS discussion at all since these devices weren't even announced until Vista had been out for a year.

  • Self Deprication? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Chabil Ha' (875116) on Thursday April 03, 2008 @07:06PM (#22957902)
    Is this a self admission that Vista didn't do what they thought it would? What happens when Windows 7 doesn't ship on time? Will they come out with XP SP5? <donAsbestosSuit />
  • cool... (Score:4, Informative)

    by theheadlessrabbit (1022587) on Thursday April 03, 2008 @07:08PM (#22957918) Homepage Journal

    Microsoft is supposedly making the move in part to ensure that Linux doesn't dominate the market for certain types of 'ultra-low-cost' laptops.
    so...Microsoft is afraid of Linux?

    wow. this is good news!
  • I was looking seriously at buying a new laptop before the June cutoff, so I wouldn't have to manually install XP over Vista. Now I can wait just a bit longer.
    • by peipas (809350)

      Now I can wait just a bit longer.
      Assuming you intend to buy an ultra-low-cost laptop.
  • Market Presence (Score:4, Insightful)

    by fishthegeek (943099) on Thursday April 03, 2008 @07:17PM (#22958028) Journal
    Microsoft sees a need to maintain a presence in the low-cost hardware market.

    Vista isn't going to do it and Windows Mobile is less than satisfying. XP is Microsofts only offering that can be squeezed onto machines that otherwise might have been exclusively Linux powered. I think this sucks for developers more than anything in that effectively Microsoft is asking them to support two platforms.
  • by dreemernj (859414) on Thursday April 03, 2008 @07:20PM (#22958068) Homepage Journal
    They are keeping an OS alive because it runs on less powerful computers. Nothing new. They developed Windows Fundamentals for Legacy PCs to do the same thing. But, in the case of WinFLP, it was to ensure that people that buy Software Assurance on a computer can continue to pay for that assurance even after their hardware reaches "Legacy" standing.

    They didn't release it to the public because it wasn't as effective as a full desktop version of Windows (although if you've used it you'll see it's more user friendly than Starter Edition) and because not enough people were buying new computers that couldn't run what they saw as the current OS.

    Now with a shift towards lower powered ultra mobiles, people are buying computers that aren't really suited to run what they see as the current OS.

    They are already maintaining a way to run a supported version of Windows on PCs going back to P233 with 64MB RAM because they saw a market driven reason for it. Extending the availability of XP Home just means they are recognizing a similar market in consumer space now.
  • by dotancohen (1015143) on Thursday April 03, 2008 @07:25PM (#22958122) Homepage

    Microsoft says it will extend the sales of Windows XP Home to OEMs by several years, but it's not in response to the SaveXP petition. Microsoft is supposedly making the move in part to ensure that Linux doesn't dominate the market for certain types of 'ultra-low-cost' laptops.
    Read: We know that this is what the consumer wants, but to hell with them. We are doing this in the interest of stifling competition, not in the consumer's interest.
  • by Vellmont (569020) on Thursday April 03, 2008 @07:26PM (#22958126)
    Mainstream support for XP is set to expire on April 14, 2009 according to http://support.microsoft.com/lifecycle/?LN=en-gb&x=16&y=12&C2=1173 [microsoft.com] Which is obviously before June 30, 2010. Does that mean they'll extend Mainstream support as well (I'd assume so). If so, it'd be the second time they've extended support (originally 5 years after release, or Dec 31, 2006).
  • What about XP's current TCP/IP stack limitations? Do Microsoft intend to add IPv6 in a service pack (which would, if i understand correctly) require the replacement of the whole networking system?

    seems like the kind of thing they've 'accidentally' messed up in the past..
  • by brainee28 (772585) on Thursday April 03, 2008 @07:34PM (#22958184)
    I think it needs to be made clear the following: XP Home will be available for budget laptops, such as the EEE PC, OLPC, Cloudbook, and Intel's Classmate PC. XP Home and Pro for standard vendors is still being taken off the market as of June 30. This is only for budget laptops; Dell and the other OEM's won't be carrying XP after June 30. Some of the AP stories and writeups on other websites are making it sound like they've gone back on their statement, and XP will be available again. This is to prevent Linux from getting a foothold in the budget laptop game.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by petermgreen (876956)
      what isn't being made clear is exactly what microsofts definition of "ultra-low-cost laptop" will be.

  • So if you're the average user petitioning MS to save XP, you basically get told to suck it. But if you're an OEM and threaten to carry low-cost Linux laptops, MS rolls over for them.

    Gives you a warm fuzzy feeling as a user, doesn't it? A warm fuzzy feeling in your a--. If there was any residual doubt that MS prizes sales over users, now you know.

  • by Whuffo (1043790) on Thursday April 03, 2008 @07:38PM (#22958224) Homepage Journal
    Microsoft is starting to understand the lesson the market teaches - much like IBM did some time back. Remember when IBM came out with PS/2 machines with Microchannel slots? They offered to license the Microchannel technology to any manufacturer that'd pay them back royalties on ISA technology. That was a non-starter; those other manufacturers decided to follow VESA and introduced another dead architecture.

    That's a long way of setting some background; what I'm trying to say is that when a company that's enjoyed success for years decides that their success is due to some special insight or knowledge - the market corrects them. IBM thought they were the leaders in PC technology and made a turn and marched off into the distance. They didn't realize that nobody followed them until much later.

    For IBM, this was the thing that changed them from being the leaders in PCs to an also-ran PC company in just a few short years. In their pride, they dictated how the future of PCs should be and ignored their market. Too bad for them; they're completely out of the PC business now.

    For Microsoft, Vista is their "Microchannel" moment. They lost sight of the need to satisfy their customer's needs and decided to make some fundamental changes (baked in DRM) on their own. Now they're enjoying the result of that decision; sales of Vista are far, far lower than they expected. And those sales figures don't include all the new machines that came with Vista that have since been upgraded to XP. I know that Vista will never touch any PC I own or control.

    Since there's a few smart people at Microsoft they've extended XP's life a few more years. A decent choice; better to sell the obsolete OS than lose more customers to Linux. This won't fix the real problem, though - Microsoft needs to decide which customers they're actually serving. If it's the end user then the next version of Windows is critical; another DRM infested release will spell the end. If they're actually serving corporate interests then it doesn't matter; they've failed already and we're just watching the death throes.

    While Microsoft plays their games, Linux continues to evolve and improve. This is a golden opportunity for Linux on the desktop...

  • by LingNoi (1066278) on Thursday April 03, 2008 @07:41PM (#22958242)
    They have to keep XP going for the low cost laptop market otherwise Linux will dominate that market, but if they keep XP they're not making any money from Vista.

    Sounds like their chess pieces are going to get taken whatever move they make.
  • by unity100 (970058) on Thursday April 03, 2008 @07:42PM (#22958252) Homepage Journal
    They are ditching a successful product like Xp (most successful among the big selling ms stuff at least) for failing vista, but also playing dirty to prevent linux from getting low cost market.

    get a load of that.

    in which business school they teach students to ditch successful products and to only use them to prevent competitors from getting a slice of some low cost market ?

    leave that aside, what kind of logic can justify this ? if you have something successful, you stick by it and make a pillar out of it.

    no sir. ms doesnt do that. because they are much involved in their years long legacy of playing dirty, screwing customers AND partners alike and that. in recent years, they have also shifted much attention to 'preventing competitors from being successful' rather than trying to be successful themselves.

    excuse me, microsoft lovers in slashdot, im no fanboy of anything, but this picture isnt a neat picture and there is nothing about it to even try defending against any criticism.
  • by WillAffleckUW (858324) on Thursday April 03, 2008 @07:44PM (#22958260) Homepage Journal
    We've been using WinXP or Win2K on dual-boot machines (I have one of the few single-boot WinXP machines) due to problems with excessive CPU cycle usage by WinVista - and had to request WinXP "downgrades" for a number of new PCs with dual and quad core CPUs for our statistical genetic analyses we run.

    If they only do this for "low-cost" PCs, then we'll have to completely move away from the Office suite and go to OpenOffice instead. Be a shame, but if they don't want us to use Windows, that's their problem.
  • Too late for me (Score:5, Interesting)

    by blind biker (1066130) on Thursday April 03, 2008 @07:44PM (#22958262) Journal
    I'm buying one (or two - must think of mom) Asus eee PCs. I've never felt so good about buying a computer in many years. I was very close to buying it online the past week but finally I decided I'll buy it locally in Helsinki.

    The straw that broke the camel's back was the problems I had with formulas in Word for Mac on my brother-in-law's iBook. Nice machine but OO.o works much better for me - and since it runs on Linux, and I always wanted a LIGHT notebook... eee PC just won out as the logical option for my on-the-move needs. If I could run a Matlab equivalent on it (and I will definitely look into that) this little gem might replace one of my desktops as well.

    By the way, this is my first experiment with Linux as a desktop OS. I have a router with CentOS at home, but as my WinXP-running desktops die out, I'll be replacing them with Linux. Sorry MS, no Vista for me.
  • by realmolo (574068) on Thursday April 03, 2008 @07:47PM (#22958292)
    They released either too soon, or too late.

    If we assume that business customers are where MS's real profits come from, then Vista is a fuck-up of epic proportions. I don't know of ANY business that plans to "upgrade" to Vista. Why would they? A five-year-old PC will run XP and basic office-type appliations at full-speed (especially if those machines have 1GB of RAM or more). What does Vista offer as an improvement? Yeah, the security is better, but in a corporate setting, those machines are (hopefully) locked down via Group Policies and permissions anyway.

    It's just impossible to justify in a corporate setting. Upgrade all the machines, to get performance rougly equal to what you already have. Oh, and lets not forget that quite a few peripherals don't and WON'T have Vista drivers.

    Now, the next version of Windows will come on a hardware-upgrade cycle for a lot of companies, so it will probably sell better. But even then, I imagine that many companies are planning to stick with XP until it's just no longer possible to run it on new machines. And that could be a long time.
  • by apodyopsis (1048476) on Thursday April 03, 2008 @07:59PM (#22958406)
    no great shock here.

    Eee Pc opened the floodgates - the future looks to be low power, SSD, minimal RAM long battery "laptop" style devices that will never run Vista in a million years.

    This is about containment of Linux - as this is the OS of choice for this new breed.

    I bet MS is shitting bricks over this, I have an Eee and the Linux flavor on it is very nice indeed. I still have not put Ubuntu on it.

    I keep hearing that 70% of PCs in a year or so will be laptops, if 50% of them are low power devices then that 1/4 to 1/3 of PC in a few years that will not run Vista - you can kinda see why they are doing it.

    However, when customers are told that they can only have Vista on their desktop or XP on their laptop they will be annoyed. Even more when XP is being phased out but new SPs are available for the "laptop" version of XP. I can understand what MS is doing, but I think it can (and will) go wrong for them in many ways. Interesting times ahead.

    • by drsmithy (35869)

      Do you just not think, before posting, or are you genuinely delusional ?

      Eee Pc opened the floodgates - the future looks to be low power, SSD, minimal RAM long battery "laptop" style devices that will never run Vista in a million years.

      The Eee PC is one iteration of "Moore's Law" away from being a decent Vista machine. So, less than 12 months from now, given how long it's already been out.

      I keep hearing that 70% of PCs in a year or so will be laptops, if 50% of them are low power devices then that 1/4

  • by Locutus (9039) on Thursday April 03, 2008 @08:58PM (#22958832)
    Think about it, some of these low power devices are easily in the power/performance range of ARM and PowerPC chips and a couple already run them on the very low end. The Nokia N800 for example. There's no way Windows XP can run on these and Windows CE is not up to competing against a full OS like GNU/Linux. So what could Micrsoft do and why for instance don't these vendors like Asus bring out ARM and/or PowerPC versions of devices like Eeee PC? They both have MMU's now-adays and are clocking up to the GHz range and GNU/Linux and OSS port pretty easily to these platforms. Getting drivers might be alittle more of a push but isn't the ball for Linux drivers rolling along nicely already?

    IMO, it would shut Microsoft out of this market and give the hardware vendors the profit margins they can build a business on. Bulking up the devices so Windows XP will fit on them and taking money from Microsoft to put Windows on them is not a sustainable business. Microsoft will pull the plug when they've limited choice to Windows and Windows only and then pull the plug on the payola for being a Microsoft supporter.

    Microsoft is not a hardware vendors friend and they should know this and be doing something about keeping control of their own destiny. IMO.

    LoB
  • by RobertM1968 (951074) on Thursday April 03, 2008 @11:32PM (#22959860) Homepage Journal

    XP will be available for OEMs until June 30, 2010, or one year after the availability of the next client version of Windows, whichever date comes later.

    Meaning... 2013 or 2014? Just an (un)educated guess based off what their previous initial "planned release dates" translate into on the real world calendar.

    ...one day I would love to see what sort of calendar MS uses for when they first announce a planned release date...

    It's funny how reality can often be so humorous.

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