Rumors of Windows XP's demise have been greatly exaggerated.
I wrote about Dell's downgrade program in a post earlier this week (Windows Vista just can't catch a break). It looks like Dell may have started something. Both HP and Lenovo now plan to offer Windows XP to business customers after Microsoft's official cut-off date of June 30.
Lenovo will provide a Windows XP recovery disc with systems so that users can downgrade from Windows Vista until January 31, 2009, according to Information Week. The downgrade program covers laptops and desktops with Vista Business or Ultimate. HP said it will offer Windows XP to business customers for an unspecified time beyond June 30.
Dell's program covers OptiPlex desktops and laptops, Latitude laptops, and Precision workstations. Those systems come with Windows XP pre-installed but include a copy of Vista Business or Ultimate so customers can upgrade when they are ready. The Vostro desktops and laptops for small and medium-size businesses, and some XPS gaming systems, will also continue to offer the downgrade service for a fee.
Though it has been widely reported that the Dell downgrade option would be good through 2010, (when Microsoft is set to release Windows 7) Dell now says the program will last as long as "Microsoft supports it," according to Information Week.
This comes after CEO Steve Ballmer suggested earlier this week that Microsoft might change its mind and extend Windows XP if customers asked for it. But he said the majority of new systems ship with Vista, and so far they haven't seen customers asking for Windows XP.
Not everyone is convinced. Microsoft reported quarterly earnings on Thursday and revenues in the client division fell a little short, which The New York Times' Steve Lohr writes could be a sign the company has a problem with Vista. Meanwhile InfoWorld Editor-in-Chief Eric Knorr has collected more than 160,000 signatures for his Save Windows XP petition (complete with countdown clock).
Microsoft has already announced that Windows XP will continue to be available specifically for ultra low-cost systems that do not meet the system requirements for Vista.