For the Life of XPJanuary 9, 2009 at 1:59 pm | Posted in Computers, Economoney, Software | 1 Comment
Windows XP continues… for now. System Builders can now continue to buy XP for systems until the end of May ’09 – if they order this month. May is basically just before “Windows 7” ships. The suggestion has been that some organizations and people have decided the rather than migrating to Vista, they’ll wait for the new version. Some are starting to call Vista the “Edsel” of the biz. Dell customers are now paying an extra $150 to “downgrade” to XP, willingly paying for for 2 OS’s to get a more productive system.
Of course, it’s usually better to wait until some of the bugs are worked out of any new version. Some voices suggested waiting until Vista SP1 came out, for example. But it points to a change taking place in the biz. Is there an advantage to upgrading? Especially if you have to replace the hardware and some peripherals to get it working. If there is no increase in productivity, why bother? Indeed, if a new system will reduce productivity while people figure it out, is that any improvement? (Both Vista and Office 07 have completely different interfaces and Office changes file formats to ones incompatible with prior versions. Again.)
It will be interesting to see how it evolves. The development of things like portables and netbooks is increasing demands for a small footprint OS, something XP is easily adapted to. (as I documented here) There is a good possibility the focus and direction of the industry will shift, particularly with the economic changes. A reduced desire to change combined with reduced resources is a recipe for new solutions. The decision to buy needs to be more compelling.
One interesting trend is the blending of laptops and handhelds. For example, with my solid state drive netbook, I don’t have to worry about moving while the drive is active. I can pull it out on the bus. When I get to my stop, I just close it and get up. It goes to sleep while I jump off. While it doesn’t have the auto-save and instant on features of the Palm, the screen is large enough for my middle-aged eyes and it will do things like Skype better than my desktop. It also looks and acts like my desktop so there’s no other thing to learn. Plug in a large monitor (these days, even TV) and mouse and you have a desktop. But it costs half of a low end system.
And guess what – netbook makers can sell XP systems for a year after Windows 7 ships, making them soon the only systems available with a familiar OS. While netbooks are often marketed to students, many older people are very attracted to them too.
Early reports suggest Windows 7 is not much different than Vista but perhaps more reliable and better performing. That certainly would help it’s acceptance. But has the model begun to change? Are the building for a dinosaur? That’s the challenge facing PC makers – they have to plan years in advance for something that can change on a dime. The Internet is a classic example. Its sudden acceptance completely caught many off guard, leaving others like Netscape to fill the void. What’s next?