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Microsoft shouts 'Long Live XP'

Extends XP sales as market snubs Vista

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Microsoft’s dream of a Vista only world moved farther out on the horizon yesterday as the software firm admitted it would extend sales of Windows XP by another five months.

XP was supposed to be off the vendor’s price list by the end of January 2008. Now it will stick around until the end of the second quarter. The cut down Starter edition for very low end machines will stay on Microsoft’s price list till 2010.

Mike Nash, Microsoft corporate vice president, Windows product management, put a brave face on the decision, claiming that, “While we’ve been pleased with the positive response we’ve seen and heard from customers using Windows Vista, there are some customers who need a little more time to make the switch to Windows Vista.”

Or put another way, punters are doing anything they can to avoid having to install and run Vista on their machines.

Nash also said, “We’re also seeing more retail customers purchasing their new Windows operating system when they get a new PC than we ever have before, rather than purchasing it standalone.”

The problem is, while Microsoft used to have punters queuing around the block to buy a shrink-wrapped copy of its latest OS, this time it’s remaining copies of a six year old product that they’re carrying to the check-out.

Microsoft’s sputtering Vista launch has left vendors and the channel fuming, after they ramped up to deal with the hardware hungry leviathan of an OS.

UK retail chain PC World blamed the non-take off of Vista for an over-stock problem in its most recent results, with CEO John Clare saying “gross margins have been materially impacted as a result of increased promotional activity to reduce one-off hardware stock levels that resulted from lower than expected demand for Vista products.”

Vista’s half-cocked launch has also been blamed for a slide in component prices, that has exacerbated price cutting in the PC market, putting manufacturers’ margins under even more pressure.®

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