XP: The operating system that refuses to die

Microsoft may be ruing the day that it launched XP --- the operating system has proved so stable and durable that it appears Microsoft may now be forced to allow it to be sold on new PCs until April, 2010. Can anything short of a nuclear weapons kill this version of Windows?

I've previously said that Windows 7 will be the XP killer, because beta versions of Windows 7 are stable and fast, and will be able to run on netbooks. But the latest news from Microsoft makes it appear that even when Windows 7 ships, XP will stay alive and kicking, even on new PCs.

Computerworld cites reports that say XP will be offered as "downgrade" on new PCs not only from Vista, but from Windows 7, and at least through April 30, 2010. Given that Windows 7 will most likely ship this year, that's quite a long reprieve for the operating system that refuses to die. It's like the old Dodge Dart: solid, reliable, and it runs forever.

Computerworld quotes from a Microsoft email:

"Based on feedback, Microsoft is further broadening the options provided to Direct OEMs to help customers facilitate End User downgrade rights included in the product license terms of a new system with either Windows Vista Business or Windows Vista Ultimate. This option is designed to help Direct OEMs further support customers, primarily small business customers, looking for Windows XP Professional due to application compatibility concerns."

Computerworld further quotes a report in AppleInsider that says that PCs with Windows 7 will have downgrade rights to XP, and that HP has been told the rights last until April 30, 2010.

It's possible that Microsoft has reached the point of diminishing returns with new operating systems. Most of what's interesting these days is not on the computer itself, but rather Web-based applications and services, and that's not likely to change at any time. The operating system becomes little more than a window onto the Internet.

If that's the case, what's the point of moving to a new operating system if you're happy with the old one? It may be that Microsoft has yet to solve that one.

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