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?

What Microsoft and PC makers need to do

This brings us back to the purpose of the "Save XP" campaign: letting people control their environments. Questionable UI changes and compatibility issues threaten that control. Worse, the simple option to retaining control -- being able to add XP on new systems as needed -- is being eliminated.

Until the market is ready to switch to Vista for its own purposes, XP should be available easily. That means available on OEM and system-builder PCs -- and not just a few models. That means available in shrinkwrapped versions you can order from Amazon.com or get at Best Buy.

That does not mean Microsoft's stingy options for XP availability after June 30. Sure, enterprises that have a Vista upgrade site license can downgrade their systems to XP, but very few others. If you have Vista on your new PC -- which nearly everyone does -- there are no such downgrade rights in any meaningful sense. (Technically, you have those rights if the OEM provides you an XP downgrade as well, but even Microsoft's spokespeople acknowledge that very few do.) If you bought a shrinkwrapped full or upgrade license of any version of Vista other than Vista Business or Vista Ultimate, you can't downgrade. In other words, almost no one but enterprises can downgrade to XP on new machines.

Worse, many new Vista-equipped PCs don't have XP drivers available, so they can't downgrade to XP even if they have a license that allows it. That's the fault of Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Lenovo, Acer, Sony, Toshiba, and so on. Buyers should call them on it by insisting on XP-compatible equipment across the board.

Microsoft should toss Vista in the trash, as the company did with Windows Millennium eight years ago, then issue a Windows XP Second Edition (as it did with Windows 98 eight years ago) that capitalizes on some of Vista's key benefits. Then the company should focus on Windows 7, rather than keep trying to push Vista down unwilling customers' throats. If that's too radical, how about doing an XP Second Edition while also continuing to rework Vista? Then Windows 7 can be the common upgrade path. Microsoft did that with Windows 98 Second Edition and Windows 2000, after all.

We know the chances of either scenario are slim: Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has said that he's using the well-designed Windows Server 2008's optimizations for desktop Vista as a way to push Vista onto PCs. Microsoft clearly will keep pushing until we all give up, or maybe the EU -- the only entity that seems to recognize that Microsoft is more than just a vendor -- fines it another few billion.

But there has been a steady, if quiet, stream of mid- and high-level departures from Microsoft, especially from the Vista management crew, in the last six months. Maybe the new blood will be able to chart a different course, not stick blindly to the past playbook.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Galen Gruman

Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?