100,000 customers tell Microsoft to save XP

The real intent of the Save Windows XP campaign explained and the stakes involved for business and home users. Will Microsoft listen to 100,000 customers?

Windows Vista was supposed to be a shot in the arm for Microsoft, which had gone five years without a new desktop operating system. It hasn't worked out that way. Instead, Vista sales have been slower than XP's (when adjusted for market size) and there's been a distinct lack of passion for the new OS.

In Vista's first year, InfoWorld US detected a deep anxiety over Vista among technologists and consumers alike. We decided to do something about it, launching a petition drive to ask Microsoft to keep selling XP after the planned June 30 end-of-sales date. Nine weeks after that January 14 launch, more than 100,000 customers worldwide have signed up. And that doesn't count parallel efforts by our colleagues in Germany and Canada.

Almost all the major media have run stories and thousands of user comments have been posted in our Save Windows XP blog. We've clearly struck a nerve.

Now what? We have asked Microsoft to have an executive meet with us so we can deliver the petition and discuss the issues we've heard from thousands of people who have commented on the site. Microsoft has declined, despite its claim that it listens to its customers. Perhaps another 100,000 need to sign up and add their weight to this effort.

At the same time, we've noted that the campaign to save XP has stirred up other issues, many of which have been raised by commenters on the site. Some users have misinterpreted the intent of the Save XP campaign -- as a criticism of Microsoft's support plans for XP, for example -- when in fact the issue is simple: the ongoing availability of XP licenses. As we continue to lobby Microsoft to listen to its customers, readers deserve a definitive explanation of what the Save XP campaign is, and is not, about.

It's not about Linux or Mac OS X

A small group of vocal Linux zealots have used the opportunity to promote Ubuntu, while a smaller and less vocal group of Mac enthusiasts has tweaked Windows users for not switching to Mac OS X. Both reactions are to be expected, but they're not what the campaign is about. It's your choice if you want to switch to another operating system, but we're not taking sides in platform battles. People should use whatever works best for them. We are saying that Vista is not ready to be the standard Windows platform, and for the majority that cannot realistically look outside the Windows world, XP needs to remain a choice.

It's not about techno-machismo versus Luddism

Another group of people argues that anyone who wants to stick with XP is afraid of the future -- not man enough to get the newest toy. That's a silly argument. While some people may look at operating systems as a way of demonstrating how cool they are, most of us use an operating system as a platform for getting stuff done, whether for running business apps, playing games, or using the Web. You don't change OSes to be cool any more than you throw out your house's furnace for a new technology every time one comes along. Not unless you have more money than sense.

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Galen Gruman

InfoWorld

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