Round Rock (TX) – Microsoft is set to cut off sales of Windows XP after June 30, but Dell has announced that it plans to continue offering the long-standing operating system on its computers past the beginning of summer.
Last year, Microsoft quietly released a downgrade-to-XP option for computers pre-installed with Vista Business or Vista Ultimate. Dell said it will fully offer this option to consumers even after Microsoft stops selling XP to most users.
Microsoft has given indications that it may not want to pull the plug on XP in June after all. Earlier this year it extended its XP support for low-end computers, and recently CEO Steve Ballmer indirectly said that if consumers want to keep XP alive, Microsoft may decide to fulfill that request.
However, the software giant made firm assertions that it has no official plans to extend the lifetime of Windows XP. Microsoft has been struggling for over a year as it tries to migrate users from XP to Windows Vista.
Dell, the successful PC maker known for its wide array of customization options, said it will offer the XP downgrade option free of charge fo its Latitude, Optiplex and Precision line of computers. These professional-grade PCs come standard with the high-end versions of Vista. Additionally, other systems including Vostro and XPS models can come with XP for a fee.
Additionally, Dell will include a Vista installation CD for consumers who request a system with XP. The way the program works, all “downgraded” PCs still include Vista licenses.
According to Infoworld, Dell has pledged to continue offering the option as long as Microsoft supports the XP downgrade option.