Want XP on your new Dell? $50, please

Want XP on your new Dell? $50, please

Summary: You read correctly. Dell will start charging customers up to $50 for factory-installed Windows XP on some of their PCs, Computerworld reports today.


XP VistaYou read correctly. Dell will start charging customers up to $50 for factory-installed Windows XP on some of their PCs, Computerworld reports today.

Consumers interested in the bargain-basement Vostro line of desktops and notebooks will pay $20 to $50 more for Windows XP Professional installed as a "downgrade" from Windows Vista Business or Vista Ultimate than they would for just Vista.

To meet Microsoft's June 30 end-of-availability deadline, Dell will stop pre-installing most versions of XP after tomorrow. Yet it will still be able to ship PCs with XP by taking advantage of the downgrade rights built into Vista Business and Vista Ultimate. Downgrading lets Dell install Windows XP Professional in lieu of Vista -- though the newer operating system is still shipped with the machine so that buyers can, if or when they want, transition from XP to Vista.

The full details, below:

Adding Vista Business to a Vostro 1000 notebook, for example, costs an additional $99 above the price with the default operating system, Vista Home Basic. However, selecting the downgrade option -- Windows XP pre-installed and Vista Business installation media in the box -- costs $149. That's a $50 downgrade surcharge.

Downgrading from Vista Ultimate comes with a smaller add-on charge, although the Vista operating system selection itself is pricier. Adding Vista Ultimate to a Vostro 400 desktop, for instance, costs $149 more than the default Vista Home Basic; choosing to downgrade from Ultimate -- Windows XP pre-installed and the Vista Ultimate installation disc in the box -- costs $169, a surcharge of $20.

On its consumer PC site, Dell doesn't specify whether it is slapping downgrade fees on three systems that can be configured with XP: the 630 and 720 H2C desktops and the M1730 notebook, all of which are part of Dell's XPS high-end line. Dell has said that it will not offer downgrades for any "currently available Inspiron laptops and desktops." Inspiron is Dell's best-selling consumer brand name.

Dell did not respond to a call asking for more information about downgrade charges for its consumer PCs.

What do you think, readers? Would you pony up for XP or settle for Vista? (Or drop the whole thing and get a Mac?) Tell us in TalkBack.

Topics: Operating Systems, Dell, Microsoft, Software, Windows

Andrew Nusca

About Andrew Nusca

Andrew Nusca is a former writer-editor for ZDNet and contributor to CNET. During his tenure, he was the editor of SmartPlanet, ZDNet's sister site about innovation.

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  • Windows Vista all the way!

    I haven't used Windows XP since January 2007. Windows Vista is so much better than Windows XP. When will people wake-up and see Windows Vista as the best, most secure, operating system currently available?
    • Only when you have good HARDWARE

      Vista is better than XP only when you use great hardware and have current drivers.
      • And isn't that the point...

        Of buying a new PC? To get newer better hardware that should have the capability of running Vista? We are talking about buying NEW PCs and not used PCs, right?
      • Vista and Hardware

        Not so. Have you even tried Vista??? I have vista on 2 computers that are at best medium level hardware. Granted, both are dual core. At most I have 2 GB of RAM on the desktop pc and 1.5 GB in my laptop. Both run very fast! And I do a lot more than just surf the internet and do e-mail.

        I will say you do have to do regular maint. I defrag hard drives about once a month or so. Also, I run adare every 1-2 weeks and make sure I remove all the crapware.

        You don't need top of the line hardware to see good performance from Vista. Neither one of my system cost more than $800.
      • Moronic "argument"

        [i]Vista is better than XP only when you [...] have current drivers.[/i]

        Oh my, downloading current drivers!! THE HORROR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

        [i]Vista is better than XP only when you use great hardware[/i]

        My bad, i missed the memo that said new OSes were not supposed to be designed with the future in mind. Seems to be standard MO for any other platform; as new technology comes out the OS is designed to take advantage of it. How dare they do that!
    • NOT until

      Vista *becomes* the "best, most secure, operating system currently available". Until then - and that may be never - our 1500 PC's will stick with XP (and I'll personally stick with Mac, no matter what Windoze comes up with).
  • how about a no OS option?

    would that count as a downgrade and get a price break?
    Linux Geek
    • No

      Dell doesn't sell computers without an OS just like Apple doesn't sell computers without an OS. That is the business model they have chosen. If you want a computer with no OS and get a price break for it, buy from a company like [url=http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/category/category_slc.asp?CatId=336&name=No-OS] Tiger Direct [/url] or any of the hundreds of local computer stores that will be more than happy to sell you a computer without an OS for a discount.

      This whole [i]Dell must sell me a computer with no OS[/i] is as ridiculous as [i]Apple must sell me a computer with no OS[/i]. Dell could do so if they thought it made sense but nowhere are they under any obligation to sell any single configuration that you want.
      • Tying.

        Dell not offering to sell it without an OS is tying. MS was guilty of it, it is written in the settlement, but we know how toothless the DOJ became. Regardless it is illegal to ty the sale of one companies product to the sale of another companies product. Pretty simple, and the EU is looking at this. MS's monopoly will be broken when the EU (assuming $s don't do the talking there) mandates that any vendor selling there must offer OSless if chosen.

        Now, Apple sells a complete product, hence they are not guilty of tying.

        • I'm all for the choice

          [i]Regardless it is illegal to ty the sale of one companies product to the sale of another companies product.[/i]

          I don't buy that for a second. I couldn't buy my car without also buying the stereo which was made by a different company. If I really didn't like that particular stereo company, I could always buy a different car, no problem. Likewise, if you aren't happy with the OS that comes with the Dell, buy a Tiger Direct or a Mac or from your local computer store. And I say that [b]regardless[/b] of what the DoJ or the EU find. Just because something has been decided in a court or by a government department does not mean that I have to agree with it.

          [i]MS's monopoly will be broken when the EU (assuming $s don't do the talking there) mandates that any vendor selling there must offer OSless if chosen.

          Now, Apple sells a complete product, hence they are not guilty of tying. [/i]

          Really? You can't be serious when you suggest that Apple has built everything that comes with a Mac. Can I buy a Mac without paying Intel for a CPU? Do you believe that Apple created the graphics card, the RAM, or the hard drive? Apple sells a complete product in the same way Dell sells a complete product: a computer with hardware and software that is assembled with pieces manufactured by different companies. In fact, Apple didn't even build the whole OS. The standard Apple Apology for the recent PWN2OWN embarrassment was that it was Perl that was hacked and so Apple isn't to blame!

          As far as the customer is concerned, they are buying a working computer with OS, CPU, RAM, graphics card, and a hard drive and they have no clue (nor need they) that the various bits were built by different companies. This is the case when they buy from Dell and when they buy from Apple.

          If you truly believe that you can't tie the sale of one company's products to another then Apple must give me a choice of buying a computer without a hard drive, graphics card, CPU, or RAM because each of those components were built by a different company and are available for sale as a standalone unit. Otherwise, if you believe all PCs should be available without an OS, then Apple should not be excluded from that requirement since Macs are advertised and sold to the [b]exact[/b] same type of customer and in [b]exactly[/b] the same way as Dells are sold to customers.
          • Strawman.

            I can go into any dealership and tell them to remove the stereo, I'll take the car and they will. Especially if I tell them I'll pay MSRP minus the cost of the stereo.

            I can't purchase 95% of most PCs today with the stipulation that I refuse to pay for a 3rd party OS. You also missed the definition of product. Apple does NOT tie you to purchasing the OS from another company, it is one company. They make the appliance. Your less appropriate example don't hold up either. I can purchase the HD, memory, from the suppliers of Apple WITHOUT having to purchase everything to make an Apple computer.

            I also never said customers should NOT have Windows pre-installed if they want, more power to them, but consumers should not be FORCED to purchase a 3rd party product when they purchase a SEPARATE companies product. See my reply to Ye.

          • Unlikely.

            [i]I can go into any dealership and tell them to remove the stereo, I'll take the car and they will. Especially if I tell them I'll pay MSRP minus the cost of the stereo.[/i]

            Maybe a few will do it but I doubt it holds universally true.
          • Only have my RX-8 example.

            I wanted chrome rims, they offered aluminim (I love the radio, you can't have that back). They tried to get me to take it "stock", but I told them they have sold the car if they put the chrome rims I want on it. I got the dealer cost of the rims back. In all, it was not really a sticking point, and of course the salesman tried to tell me I really wanted the aluminum rims, but I just smiled.

          • @TripleII: Like I said: Maybe a few will do it but...

            ...I doubt it holds universally true.
          • Actually I can't think of one that doesn't

            I've never seen them discount you the price of the stereo but they will sell it to you with it removed. I mean it takes all of 30 seconds to remove it, at least for the thieves it does. I'm sure a dealership take more care and has it out in 5 minutes. If all it takes is 5 minutes of work to make deal they will do it. They will add stuff to your car too at no cost as well to make the deal. Usually stupid things like floor mats.

            My brother inlaw was a car salesman. As he put it "If you get a salesman refusing to remove the stereo you have salesman not interested in selling you a car".

            Of course car analogies don't work here. You don't buy cars like you buy PCs. Cars have huge room for fiddling with the price. PCs have razor slim margins in which to make a profit. With some cars the salesman only needs to sell one for the month. With PCs you have to sell thousands in a month. You just can't compare the two.

            Also what's wrong with a business tying themselves to one OS. It just makes sense. One OS to support means better cost savings for me. Also why not get Vista with a PC purchase? It's the cheapest way and it's not like you will save building your own or buying a PC without an OS. Just don't use it and if by some freak chance you need it then you have it.
          • Stereo manufacturer still gets paid

            [i]Especially if I tell them I'll pay MSRP minus the cost of the stereo.[/i]

            The stereo company still gets paid and the car manufacturer still gets paid. If the dealer rips the stereo out and gives you a discount, that is coming out of the dealer's profits, not the car company or the stereo manufacturer. It would be no different than if the Best Buy guy gave you a deal on an HP and also reformatted the hard drive. The discount is from Best Buy, not HP or MS.

            [i]I can purchase the HD, memory, from the suppliers of Apple WITHOUT having to purchase everything to make an Apple computer.[/i]

            I'm sorry, I simply don't understand what you mean here. Can you clarify? I think the fact that you [b]can[/b] buy the HD, memory, CPU, etc. from the suppliers directly (just like you can buy Windows from the supplier directly) proves that Apple is selling no more a complete product than Dell is. Also, how is the fact that I can't buy a Mac without paying Intel any different than the fact I can't buy a Dell without paying for Windows (if we ignore Linux for the sake of argument).

            However, I have the distinct feeling that I'm not understanding your point here.
          • Dealer installed options.

            They have a stock of these, they simply save it for the next one. My truck arrived (granted this was 1998) at the dealership without the radio, they installed it before I took delivery. Most are probably factory installed now, but they will just send it back or hold it until needed, no harm no foul, it's still new.

            On Apple, I disagree, and fully support your right to disagree with me.

          • Cherry-picked argument points

            So how can you define an Apple computer as a whole product, when the only thing they make themselves is the OS and the shinny exterior? The processor, RAM, MoBo, hard drive, etc etc is supplied by other companies, just like on a Dell.
            I guess in your little bubble of a world the OS is the defining factor in making the computer a "whole product."

            Anyway, thanks for the laugh.
        • So Ubuntu is guilty of tying since Dell offers...

          ...systems with Linux pre-installed?

          Time to get off the monopoly bandwagon. That was 10 years ago. Today's consumer has many options for purchasing a computer without Windows. One of them, as mentioned above, is directly from Dell. The other from Apple. Still another is from various other companies that will sell you a naked or Linux PC.
          • That's one of your worst agruments ever.

            I can purchase the same computer without Ubuntu. Please, of all the following, which CAN I purchase without Windows mandatory?



            Do I need to link Gateway, Toshiba... For the record,

            [B]Tying is the practice of making the sale of one good (the tying good) to the de facto or de jure customer conditional on the purchase of a second distinctive good (the tied good).[/B]

            I tried, with HP, asking them which of their Home line comes with Linux or no OS, they said "None". I cannot purchase the good (the computer) WITHOUT purchasing the tied good (OS from MS).

            They were found guilty of that, it is in the ruling, there is an explicit provision where MS enforce tying, but as Gateway summed nicely...

            [B]Gateway also faulted another provision of the new licensing agreement, which requires PC makers to pay a Windows royalty on every PC shipped, even if it didn't include Windows.[/B]

            There's your post DOJ tying, MS ENFORCES it's tax, making anything other than Windows a guaranteed loss.

            I sincerely hope the EU enforces anti-trust laws, unlike the DOJ.