The 64-bit version of Microsoft's desktop and server operating systems is due to be released next month. Given that Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) has had 64-bit hardware available for around two years, many customers are expected to upgrade their old operating system to take advantage of performance benefits offered by the optimised code.
Microsoft Australia Windows Client senior product marketing manager, Danny Beck told ZDNet Australia  this morning: "For a limited time, Microsoft will offer OEMs who wish to support the trade-in program to exchange Windows XP Professional 32-bit or Windows Server for the equivalent version of Windows XP x64 (that is, 32-bit Professional for x64 Professional, 32-bit Standard for x64 Standard etc)."
Beck stipulated the program would be optional for OEMs. "They will individually make the business decision about whether or not they will support it," he said. "OEMs and system builders are in the process of being notified about the programme. This notification is ongoing. This is a worldwide initiative."
Those who don't have an OEM system won't be left out in the dark. "For customers who purchased through a local system builder partner or built their own PC, Microsoft has developed a host Web site enabling this exchange," Beck said.