Microsoft helps users downgrade to WinXP???

Your call is important to IT Blogwatch: in which Microsoft sets up a toll-free support line for small businesses moving to Windows Vista, or even moving back to XP. Not to mention the biggest little league game, ever...

Gregg Keizer reports:

Microsoft Corp. yesterday said it would offer free technical support to small businesses that buy new PCs with Windows Vista in the next three months, its latest attempt to convince users that moving to Vista is a good idea. And if those efforts are for naught, Microsoft will help those users downgrade from Vista to Windows XP, the same maneuver several large computer makers, including Dell Inc. and Hewlett-Packard Co., have used in recent months to continue offering the older operating system to buyers. The offer, dubbed Windows Vista Small Business Assurance, is available to businesses with fewer than 50 employees or 25 PCs, and it provides free telephone support through the end of October to companies that buy new PCs with Vista Business or Vista Ultimate. more
Emil Protalinski adds:
All this recent pro-Vista marketing is informative—as long as you can weed through the corporate malarkey—but Microsoft thinks it isn't enough. The company has decided to take a stand and offer a bit more tangible items than simply documents explaining that Vista is worth your money ... The plan is to help these businesses resolve any technical or compatibility bumps they may hit on their road to deploying Vista. more
Microsoft's Eric Ligman grins:
Small Businesses purchasing new PCs with Windows Vista Business or Windows Vista Ultimate between July 1, 2008 and September 30, 2008 can now receive free support, compatibility assistance, and one-on-one coaching from Microsoft to help them get the most out of their PCs ... Yes ... it is FREE! ... The new PCs with Windows Vista Business or Ultimate need to be purchased between July 1, 2008 and September 30, 2008. The free support will continue until October 31, 2008 ... Organizations with fewer than 50 employees or 25 PCs are considered small businesses by Microsoft. more
Ron Grattopp says, "This is huge":
The tagline is “Move to Windows Vista with Confidence”.  The program has ... a self-serve web site (with tips/tricks, tools, guidance, demos, and other ways to help you get the most out of Vista), and third, specific tools and guidance for dealing with app and peripheral compatibility issues ... Quite contrary to the pervasive negativeness I see in the press, the vast majority of the partners I talk to appreciate the Vista technology and are very happy with it. Hopefully, some of these SBA resources can help many of you jump start the upgrade or migration conversation with your customers and get them going on the more secure and future ready platform that is Vista. more
David Schrag exudes cynicism:
Microsoft really, really wants small businesses to start buying Vista instead of XP ... I suppose I like the idea of having my clients call someone other than me when they can’t figure out how to do in Vista what they’ve been doing for years in XP, so I don’t knock Microsoft for trying the free support idea. But it’s certainly not enough to make me start recommending it ... Is there anything in the description of the benefits of Vista that makes you want to upgrade your PC from XP? Or that makes you want to introduce a new PC running Vista into a business where everyone else is using XP? ... As long as I can still get XP preinstalled with free upgrade rights to Vista, that’s what I’ll be buying. more
"Too little too late?" asks Joe Panettieri:
Or right on time? ... For more than a year, Microsoft has claimed that Vista has exceeded customer expectations and sales expectations. Hogwash. At the same time, Apple has trampled Vista’s reputation ... Microsoft is finally responding with the Windows Vista Small Business Assurance program ... for those partners and customers who see value in Vista (yes, those folks are out there), Microsoft is finally — FINALLY — stepping in with better support. Still, Microsoft should drop the September 30 deadline for the phone hotline. Small businesses (and their VARs) often buy the bulk of their PCs during calendar Q4 ... kudos, Microsoft, for finally waking up. more
And finally...

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Richi Jennings is an independent analyst/adviser/consultant, specializing in blogging, email, and spam. A 21 year, cross-functional IT veteran, he is also an analyst at Ferris Research. You can follow him on Twitter, pretend to be Richi's friend on Facebook, or just use boring old email: blogwatch@richi.co.uk.

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