Concerns Grow Over Microsoft's Plans to Kill Windows XP

CEO Ballmer says company remains committed to deadline, but an outcry could still change its mind.

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Most sales of Windows XP will end in June.
Most sales of Windows XP will end in June.

The teeth gnashing is getting louder over Microsoft's plans to quit selling Windows XP at the end of June. Many businesses and consumers are crying foul, saying they want to avoid Windows Vista because of complaints that it is incompatible with too many peripherals or runs too slowly on older PCs.

Dell, for one, has posted plans to continue selling Windows XP on some computers until June 2009, and HP has reportedly said the same thing. The equipment builders say they'll use a loophole that Microsoft offers to business customers to downgrade systems from Vista to XP. Dell and HP would make the switch before the computer ships, letting customers get a computer preloaded with the tried-and-true XP.

The switcheroo would help only customers willing to pay more for Vista's Business or Ultimate editions. That leaves out many PCs at retail, which often come with the Home versions installed.

But retailers might see slivers of light at the end of the tunnel. Microsoft could still change its mind if it heard a loud enough outcry about ending XP. Microsoft already extended XP's life once and could again, CEO Steve Ballmer told a group in Belgium late last week.

"If customer feedback varies, we can always wake up smarter," Ballmer said, according to Reuters. "But right now, we have a plan for end of life for new XP shipments."


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