Earlier this year, Microsoft announced that it would keep supporting Windows XP until April 2009. However, according to a report by APC Magazine, Microsoft plans to phase out the old operating system from pre-built PCs by the start of next year. Microsoft’s contracts with PC makers will mandate that the firms sell only Vista machines starting in January 2008. APC Magazine quotes Lenovo’s senior ThinkPad product manager as saying, “At that point, [the PC makers] will have no choice.”
The move may not sit well with some, especially small business customers who don’t tend to upgrade PCs in droves and might not want to mix and match Vista and XP systems. Dell told APC that it intends to continue pre-loading Windows XP on its Dimension and Inspiron machines until the summer—a good few months before the Microsoft deadline. By then, Dell could also start offering Linux-based desktops and laptops as it promised late last month, which may provide an escape route for users who don’t want to make the move to Microsoft’s new OS.