Wednesday, May 21, 2008

XP is dead, long live XP!

I've just had a fascinating experience while buying a laptop. I had been looking at the Lenovo R61, and was encouraged that I had the option to get it with Windows XP, not Vista.

When I switched my attention to the X61 last night, this option wasn't available: I could have the X61 with any version of Windows, as long as it was some shade of Vista. I started agonizing about having to buy the machine with Vista, strip it off, got to retail and buy XP, then reinstall...

Fortunately I checked in with Lenovo sales this morning. (They have a very good IM support.) XP is indeed available, the rep said, via the "Genuine Windows Vista Business downgrade to Windows XP Professional" option. Why didn't I notice it yesterday? Because it was changed last night. According to the rep, "[this] will be happening across all products from Lenovo between now and the 15th".

So much for the end of XP in the retail channel on the 30th of June...

You could say it's a win-win. There’s no price difference between Vista Business and XP Pro, so this customer gets what he wanted, and is happy. And therefore Lenovo is happy.

And Microsoft gets to count a Vista sale (and an XP sale?) even though the customer refused to buy Vista – so Steve Ballmer is happy.

But note the Econ 101 implication: there is no incremental utility going from XP to Vista Business. So what, exactly, was that five year death march all about? My heart goes out to all the Microserfs who poured their souls into Vista.

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