Monday, June 16, 2008

Out with the old, in with the bad

If you are one of the millions who realize just how rotten Windows Vista is, then June 30, 2008 may remembered as a dark day. That is the last day you will be able to purchase a PC pre-loaded with Windows XP from any of the large, mainstream PC manufacturers. Dell, from whom I've bought my last 4 machines, will not ship XP desktops or notebooks after this Wednesday, June 18.

Microsoft tacitly acknowledges that Vista has been a bust. They are actually selling "downgrade rights" which enables the user to pull his PC back from the jaws of Vista and into the arms of XP. The fact that people are willing to spend extra just to stay away from Vista should tell you everything you need to know about the operating system. Even with that kind of evidence and experience, Microsoft has not indicated any flexibility on the June 30 deadline. It's as if they have too much invested - probably more in pride than in dollars - to do the right thing and let Vista go.

So what now? Large companies with enterprise licensing agreements, along with enough resources to build & maintain their own images, will not be immediately affected by this. Eventually their agreements will expire and the Vista vs. XP question will have to be addressed. But for now, they can do business as usual under their current agreements. But smaller firms that buy computers individually will have a tougher time. They could end up with a mixed environment, along with a host of new problems.

To deal with this, start by understanding what your PC purchases will be over the next 12-18 months. How many will need to be replaced? How many will need to be added to your environment? With that information, we can start to consider alternative strategies. Of course, I'm available to help; just drop me a line.

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